With the game tied in the closing seconds Kobe Bryant went all Kobe Bryant on James Harden at the Drew League on Tuesday. (h/t to Got ‘Em Coach for the video)
UPDATE: Commenter Chearn was at the game and gives us the skinny on the game:
It was a good competitive game. Not NBA quality for sure, but it was a good pickup game. The game featured, Pooh Jeter, DeMar Derozan, James Harden, Toronto’s Ed Davis, 2nd pick in the draft Derrick Williams. Derrick Williams has been with Kobe most of the summer having traveled with him overseas to China. Derrick, Ed and Kobe were on the purple team while this seasons MVP Casper Ware Jr., Pooh, DeMar and James played on the white team.
Kobe’s team was down most of the game and in the 4th quarter they were down by 9 pts. Kobe shot a couple of jumpers that were long but got consistent rebounding from Davis and Williams for put backs. Williams and Derozan went back and forth making shots against each other. Kobe tried to go to the hole after a steal and either lost the ball out of bounds or was fouled. After a time out he hit a 3pt shot which put the purple team ahead by 2pts, however, on the defensive end the purple team gave up a basket to Derozan. This lead to the last play of the game with 18 seconds to go.
Kobe took the inbound pass and the crowd started chanting, “Kobe, Kobe!” Kobe dribbled the ball down the court with everyone in the gym knowing that he would take the final shot. Harden picked Kobe up defensively as he had all game. Kobe probed to the right with Harden playing him tough defensively, while the seconds ticked off the clock. Kobe dribbled back left to just above the free throw line and pulled up for a jumper with Harden a finger nail away from deflecting his shot. Kobe drilled the shot and back pedaled with his hands in the air and grinning as if he had just won the NBA championship. The crowd swarmed him as he stayed there enjoying the adulation. Sheriff’s tried to get the kids away from Kobe, but he did not appear to notice.
At some point during the 4th quarter Kobe’s manager tried to take him away from the game for some other appointment. But, Kobe said no I am staying to finish this game. At that time the purple team was down by 9-12 pts.
The most telling thing about the game was that Kobe played without a sleeve on his knee he looked good defensively on Harden sliding laterally, he went to the hole a couple times getting fouled or finishing at the rim. His jumper was streaky just as it has been this past season, but his finger was not taped. He got it hit a couple of times when the ball was stripped from him. At least once I saw him pulling on his finger after the ball was stripped. I am not sure about his ball handling because that game was not indicative of what to expect from him in controlling the ball in an NBA game. His back to the basket work was unparalleled, his back down turn around jumper was money.