Of the Lakers’ first 12 shots in the fourth quarter of last night’s Game Three against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kobe Bryant took eight. By the end of the period, Bryant was 2-10 from the floor and the Lakers’ one-point lead entering the quarter turned into a 101-96 loss. For the game Kobe needed 29 shots to score 24 points, an inefficient performance if ever there was one.
Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times said it, not me: Kobe Bryant can be a ballhog.
Good Kobe or bad Kobe? With his team surrounded by the young energy of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the screeching hopes of their newbie fans, would Kobe Bryant’s addiction to the ball and the dramatic lift the Lakers or doom them?
Good Kobe or bad Kobe? With the Lakers needing a lift to close out Game 3 and essentially clinch this first-round series Thursday, would his renowned postseason pops save the day, or ruin it?
In the end, fans dancing through streamers, white-clad players staggering through deep blue hugs, a building shaking in shock and awe, there could be no argument.
This was bad Kobe. This was bad, bad Kobe.
The Lakers lost, 101-96, in a game that they led every moment for three quarters because Kobe Bryant imploded in the fourth. They passed on a chance to put the dagger in an increasingly dangerous team because — stop me if you’ve heard this before — Bryant simply would not pass the dang ball.
Plaschke went on to describe Bryant’s performance as “Van Gogh creating with spray paint,” and “Michaelangelo building a mud fort.”
Kevin Durant thoroughly outplayed Bryant as the rafter-shaking fans and the ignorance of youth helped lead the Thunder back from the brink of defeat and come one step closer to making it a real series.
And Kobe? He might want to ice that right shoulder of his.