Friday, August 31, 2007
The Mamba Mission
I'm willing to bet any kind of money that Kobe Bryant saw Lebron's Perfect Show on Wednesday and decided that he would use Team USA's matchup against Argentina to show why there was no equal to him as far as individual unstoppability. When it comes to competitiveness, Kobe is somewhere between Michael Jordan and George W. Bush.
I'm sure he's grown tired of hearing how Argentina was supposed to be the main comp for the U.S. and how they beat America in past tournaments. I know he hated reading about forward Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino and Manu Ginoboli.
In reality, Argentina never stood a chance. Kobe and the Americans came out with the idea of proving a point to the world that they weren't here to fuck around like past years. He scored 27 points -- 15 in the first quarter alone -- and would have easily challenged Carmelo Anthony's U.S. FIBA record of 35 points if Coach Amex would have given him some more time.
The full repetoire was on display last night. He started off the game hot from 3-point land. He then moved inside and started taking the Argentinian defenders one on one, where he is completely unstoppable. Reverse layups, dunks, fadeaways, consecutive forced shots, awkward Jordan-like facial expressions, it was the Kobe we all love.
Some other random thoughts from the game:
- If you missed the game, you missed one of the filthiest posterizing dunks in a long time. 'Melo rose up on two dudes and banged it with ferocity. I knew he could get up there, but not with that kindo of intensity.
- Somebody should really judge Chauncey's bad shots per minute. Whenever he had the ball, he either forced a three or looked like he was dying to force one. I'm sure he doesn't remember that that's what killed Detroit in Game 4 against Cleveland.
- At one point in the second half, Team USA went an estimated 10 straight possessions without passing the ball to Amare Stoudamire. We're a long way from Phoenix, STAT.
- Jason Kidd attempted arguably the nastiest alley-oop ever in the fourth quarter. He went around a pick in the halfcourt and threw the ball off the top-right corner of the backboard that LeBron James muffed at the rim. Like Bill Walton said afterwards, they should have tried that again. I agree.
- I saw no reason to be believe that if Ginoboli was there that Argentina would have fared any better. The U.S. defense was tight all game and besides, we would've just put Kobe on him. End of discussion.
- Finally, the other reason I was watching so closely was to see Scola, who my Rockets traded for in July and will suit up next to Yao Ming in two months. My analysis: Me likes. He shot consistently from the mid part of the floor where we expect him to hit so many open jumpers. Scola rebounded well in the midst of the bigger Americans, and he showed how good a passer he was. He'll fit in well in Houston.