Written by: Steve Buerge
When you have a superstar at the level of Kobe Bryant, inevitably his performance has a huge impact on most games. He can be the dominant force willing the Lakers to a victory or he can come up short of his usual performance and the result is usually a disappointing loss.
There has been endless discussion over Kobe’s career regarding his style of play. One game he’s “the facilitator,” the next he’s “the scorer,” the next he’s a “ball hog” and then he’s “the savior” as he drops in a game winning shot. For many Lakers fans it seems that if he could just settle into being “the TEAMmate” the Lakers would never lose.
Some have said that being “The Teammate” doesn’t work if the rest of the team doesn’t show up. This is very true, but to me the key definition of a superstar is making your teammates better. And Kobe has become better and better at this over the years, and especially over these past two championship years. When Kobe is “The Teammate” he can bring out the “Black Mamba” just when they need him to strike, or finish off a wounded opponent while still keeping his teammates involved and actually energizing them to greater feats.
In a game like Sunday’s game against the Celtics, I’ve heard some say that the Lakers “Bigs” let the team down (Lakers were out-rebounded 43-30), or that the Lakers defense disappeared at times (Celtics shot over 60%). Sure Kobe scored 41 points in 38 minutes. And some of those shots were certainly amazing. He was the high scorer with reserve forward Lamar Odom a distant second with 15. No other Lakers starter had more than 12. This is very unbalanced scoring and has proven over the years not to be the recipe for a victory against a top tier team like the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics.