The Kobe Rules

Kurt —  December 14, 2006

It was mentioned by Ian yesterday in the comments, Dallas has developed its “Kobe Rules” — defensive rules that apply just to Kobe in an attempt to stop him from doing things like scoring 62 points in three quarters.

The rules are pretty logical: try to deny Kobe the ball, be physical with him, vary the double teams and looks you give him, use different guys on him to keep the defenders fresh, and make Kobe work on the defensive end of the floor.

These are obviously a take off of “The Jordan Rules,” the famous steps the Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly set up in 1988 to stop Michael Jordan from single-handedly beating his title contenders. What people need to remember is it worked — the Pistons beat the Bulls 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semis in 88, beat them 4-2 in the conference finals in 89, beat them in seven games in 90. It worked until there were good enough players around MJ (and some coach to channel the skills) that the Bulls could win without MJ scoring 50.

I bring that up because in Dallas last night the Kobe Rules were in effect, and with Odom out nobody else stepped up.

Radmanovic got the start and at times looked confused as to where to be in the offense, finishing with 5 of 9 from the floor but with just 3 rebounds and a -17. Kwame Brown was 2 of 7, just 4 rebounds and was -17. Luke Walton was 3 of 13 and -23.

Now I don’t think that alone caused the Lakers to lose — playing defense that allows the Mavs to shoot 63.1% (eFG%) was the big problem (the Lakers didn’t seem to fight through an off-the-ball pick all night). And I’ll also say that not many teams have the depth and athletes that the Mavs do to play the Kobe Rules.

But Kobe and the Lakers are going to see a lot more of this for the next month, or until Odom is back. And, unless other players step up, much like those 80s Bulls teams they are not going to win as much as they would like.