Tag Archives: Jason Kidd

Bulls (3) vs Bucks (6) Preview : Defense

Chicago Bulls (50-32) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (41-41)

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The Bulls brought in a whole lot of talent this offseason on the offensive end of the ball. Pau Gasol (low post scorer), Aaron Brooks (scoring point guard), Nikola Mirotic (European star), and rookie Doug McDermott (shooter), all make the Bulls more potent on offense. With all of the new talent as well as the emergence of Jimmy Butler and the defensive prowess of Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose can finally pick and choose his spots without having to forcefully do everything on his own.

Milwaukee has been a bit of a surprise this season. Jason Kidd has coached this team up without having rookie Jabari Parker or center Larry Sanders, two players who were supposed to be vital in this teams growth and success. From top to bottom this team has little to no playoff of experience which usually spells doom.

Starters:

PG: D.Rose vs. M.Carter-Williams

SG: J.Butler vs. K.Middleton

SF: M.Dunleavy vs. G.Antetokounmpo

PF: P.Gasol vs. E.Ilyasova

C: J.Noah vs. Z.Pachulia

Both teams have top 10 defenses and offense that can be lackluster for long stretches. With these two teams being division rivals and right up the road from each other expect a nice old fashioned, physical, defensive oriented series. The Bulls have defensive ace Thibs as head coach while the Bucks have the length and speed to disrupt the passing lanes. Very intriguing right?

The Bulls won the season series 3-1 with all but one game being fairly close. Neither team scored 100 points in any of those games.

Keys:

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have entirely too much talent to let this series get away from them. As long as they control the ball and force turnovers instead of coughing up the rock themselves the Bulls should win this series fairly easily.

Milwaukee Bucks

To make this series interesting the Bucks have to get into the head of D.Rose and force him to over think and force things. If they can contain the paint and force turnovers the Bucks could potentially scare Chicago… Jason Kidd is going to need to coach the series of his life to be completely honest.

Prediction Bulls Sweep the Bucks 4-0. The Bulls have the advantage defensively, offensively, experience wise and coaching wise. I really see this as a tuneup series to prepare for a 2nd round bout with the Cavaliers…

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Kobe Bryant: Facing A Reality

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THE INTRO

When I first started watching basketball, Michael Jordan was no longer that guy. Gary Payton was washed up. Karl Malone was ring chasing. John Stockton was taking up space. Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon were gone. Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller were shells of themselves. Patrick Ewing was no where to be found, and Clyde Drexler was out. The league itself was vastly different.

When my interest in the NBA peaked, Allen Iverson was dominant. Tracy McGrady and his cousin Vince Carter were stellar. Shaq and Kobe were a hell of a tandem. Kevin Garnett was elite. Dirk and Steve Nash were coming into their own. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were making noise in the East. And Tim Duncan was just extremely boring. (I know I left off guys like David Robinson and Jason Kidd off but y’all get the point.)

Out of all of those guys though, there was no one I liked more than Kobe Bean Bryant.

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MY STORY

When it came to Kobe there wasn’t anything you could tell me.

You couldn’t diss his game, talk about his personality, or belittle him in any way without me being ready to argue.

In my family and amongst my small group of friends, everyone has had atleast that one specific guy they watched faithfully and would go to war for.

My father’s guy was Magic; my uncle’s guy was Jordan; my mom’s guy was Isiah Thomas; my great grandfather’s guy was a tie between Larry Bird and Julius Irving.

They followed their guys faithfully, like I’m doing now and tried to tell me it’s not going to be a happy ending. I didn’t really believe them until that foresight became a reality.

Personally I thought they were full of s#!% and didn’t know what the hell they were talking about; until I sat down and thought about each player.

MJ’s downfall was him coming back and playing at age 40 for the Washington Wizards. Larry Bird’s career couldn’t continue because his back was out of sorts. Isiah’s career ended after he tore his Achilles. Magic on the other hand retired due to the HIV/AIDS situation. He later came back and wasn’t the same guy.

My guy is in the same boat at this point in time.

A few years back I was in denial. I’ll own up to it. I had just witnessed the Lakers lose in five games to a hungry OKC team (2012) that featured the likes of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. In response, I looked for excuses to help Kobe out.

The thing is, there weren’t any.

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THE OBVIOUS

In that specific series, Westbrook was tearing him apart, Harden was giving him buckets, and Durant was giving him fits with his length making it hard for him to score. As a matter of fact, James Harden was playing him tough defensively as well. The whole series in general wasn’t pretty. Kobe couldn’t get to his spots, he couldn’t contain anyone and he was a step slow.

That series against OKC ended a four series stretch of Kobe struggling. Against Dallas in 2011, he struggled against Shawn Marion and others from that championship team; losing 4-0. The series prior to that, he struggled against Chris Paul and his no help Hornets; winning 4-2, and in the series against Denver prior to the OKC matchup, Kobe struggled against the fast paced Nuggets. That series went the distance 4-3 and was more about Andrew Bynum.

That series against OKC ended his Postseason career.

At that point in time, the writing on the wall was very clear to everyone else outside of me, Kobe was in his decline.

That offseason he participated in the Olympics where he was out of place and out of sorts. It was as clear as day that he didn’t belong on the court with a few of those guys. It was so obvious to the point where Coach K was reluctant to play him in certain stretches.

Even with the putrid performances in the Olympics, I still believed. Especially when the Lakers landed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash that same offseason.

When the those trades first surfaced, I was as hype as anyone. I thought Kobe would be rejuvenated and eager to play (as he always is) and I started stating a lot of other things that you generally say when a player has lost it.

But again, I was over hyped and I continued to look past the new Kobe’s obvious deficiencies in skill.

REALITY SETS IN

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During that season I wrote an article (Are You Talking About Kobe Bryant) talking about how Kobe was better than ever and stating that he was beating Father Time. From a numbers perspective I was right, but from a physical standpoint he wasn’t getting the same looks or shots that I was accustomed to seeing.

After working hard, all season long, to get the Lakers into the playoffs; Kobe’s Achilles popped days before the postseason.

I couldn’t help but shed a tear when ESPN aired his injury statement. I knew his best chance at getting ring number 6 was gone. And I also knew he was never going to be the same again.

When Kobe said he was going to comeback better and defy the odds I regained a slimmer of hope. I thought that because he was determined and hungry along with the fact that he loves to prove people wrong, then he would come back elite.

I was wrong…..

In the 2013-2014 season, after playing in 6 games Kobe broke a bone in his knee. All I could do was throw my hands up and accept it for what it was….Father Times never loses and Kobe is no longer Kobe.

He was just K.Bryant from that point on. The guy who played in six games and averaged a measly  14pts, 6ast and 4reb… No longer special.

I, as I’m sure many Lakers fans did, sulked over that demoralizing season. The Lakers were bad. Kobe was gone. What do you do now..

The NBA as a whole became unfun for me. I truly wasn’t ready to face the truth and I also didn’t have anyone else to cheer or root for. I was just uninterested.

After the season concluded and free agency along with the draft went by, I finally got over my depression. I had heard that Kobe was looking better, more fit, slimmer, and healthier.

I sat and pondered about Kobe and his recent years some more and decided I’d give it one more go. He had just turned 36 and basically had a year off.

With 36 being a fairly decent age and him having a year off for rest and to get healthy; I felt he would regain his old form…. Dumb I know.

A month or so before the season started, ESPN produced their yearly NBA Players Rankings. At first glance I was furious at how wrong they did Kobe by placing him at #40 on the list.

Guys who hadn’t accomplished anything thus far in their careers (Love, Wall, Kyrie etc) were ahead of him and I didn’t understand the reasoning until the season actually started…

This year Kobe was officially washed up. He would chuck up shot after shot. Committ turnover after turnover. And he would also get beat off the dribble damn near every defensive stance….

I mean he still had the same “I’m gonna come at you” mindset as he always did, but his ability just wasn’t anywhere close to prime Kobe.

After a series of minor injuries and players, as well as pundits, speaking out about his current style of play; Kobe became more of a facilitator.

That role suited him more since he wasn’t capable of dominating the game from a physical stand point. By using his IQ and unique passing ability he was able to prolong his season and delay the inevitable injury that was soon to come…

On Thursday, January 22nd, Kobe’s season was over. He had torn his rotators cuff in a game against the Pelicans the day before…

Three straight seasons…. Three straight season ending injuries…

TODAY

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As much as I hate to say it…. Kobe is done…

He can no longer stay healthy. He can no longer dominate games for long stretches. He can’t keep up with anyone defensively..He’s no longer that guy.. And the old guy won’t ever be returning.

Kobe’s mileage finally caught up with him: All of the long seasons that resulted in Finals apperances.. All of the playoff runs that resulted in 3rd and 2nd round exits…The hardwork he put in trying to comeback from injury… Playing in the Olympics. Everything.

ESPN was accurate when they declared that 39 players were better than Kobe. I was just too blind to see it.

Now opening my eyes I see how Rose, Bledsoe, Wall, CP3, Westbrook, Lawson, Rondo, Curry, Kyrie, Lillard, Dragic, Lowry, Parker, Beal, Ellis, Butler, Klay, Harden, DeRozan, Wade, LeBron, Durant, George, Leonard, Melo, Dirk, Love, Randolph, Griffin, Bosh, Aldridge, Davis, P.Gasol, M.Gasol, Dwight, Cousins, Noah and a few more are all better players at this point…

Now that the word is in and we know Kobe is out for nine months, we have to ask ourselves: Was that his final game?

He’s under contract for one last year after this season.. The Lakers are tanking and no one seems interested in joining a rebuilding project. I mean why should he return? He’s the 3rd leading scorer in NBA history. A 5x-NBA Champ, an MVP and is universally (peers wise) regarded as the ”Best Player” of his generation and has been deemed as the second best shooting guard to ever play the game… There is nothing left for him to prove at this point that will have any significance on where he places in NBA history.

REFLECTING BACK 

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Kobe’s demeanor and personality wasn’t liked by many.

People didn’t like the arrogance and cockiness that was coming from a sidekick (to Shaq) who wanted to be like Jordan. They would often ridicule his ambitions and aspirations as he was nothing more than a lesser version of the original. And they would also belittle his game by saying he was a ball hog and that he couldn’t pass.

It was just too soon for someone to come in and be the heir to ”His Airness”.

People often cite Kobe for piggy backing onto the likes of Shaq. They’d state that Kobe wasn’t doing anything and Shaq would do all of the work; when in reality Kobe would be the one to close games and facilitating making sure everyone was contributing. Those minor details will forever be overlooked because of how Shaq dominated the Finals’ boxscores.

By tying in the attitude factors, Kobe’s quote on quote ”Piggy Backing” on Shaq, the fallout between him and Shaq, and Phil Jackson’s quote on stating how he was ”uncoachable”, you can see why people hated Kobe so much. Throw in the rape charges and loss of endorsements and you’ll begin to see why Kobe’s fan base is a bit lackluster.

Unlike Bird, Magic, LeBron, Durant, Jordan and Doc.J, Kobe’s fan base is much smaller. Allen Iverson’s fan base may be greater because of his impact on to the whole NBA landscape.

Kobe is the NBA’s version of Tom Brady, both great players, but disliked because of their personality and accomplishments.

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ACCOLADES 

Even though his career may not fully be over, (it needs to be) he accomplished everything he should have. (Outside of two more MVPs and a few more scoring titles)

2x Olypic Gold medals

25x 50pt games

5x 60pt games

Slam Dunk Champion

MVP

2x Finals MVP

2x Scoring Champ

5x NBA Champion

9x First Team All Defense

3x Second Team All Defense

11x All-NBA First Team

2x All-NBA 2nd Team

2x All-NBA Third Team

17x Allstar Selections

4x NBA All-star Game MVP

All Rook 2nd Team

2nd Most Points in a game (81pts)

3rd All-Time Points Leader

2x Best NBA Player ESPY Award

Numerous Lakers Records

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CONCLUSION

Coming back shouldn’t be an option. He’s done enough to make a claim as a Top 10 player of all-time. The only thing he should do is accept the reality for what it is…..His time is done. Y’all have accepted it, I’ve accepted it and now he needs to accept it.

No one beats Father Time

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Ryan Fort

Twitter: RyanDFort, Fortonsports Inc

The Rivalry Of Yesterday ( Knicks vs Pacers )

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During the 90’s New York and Indiana met six different times in the Playoffs. Each series was intense, entertaining and deserved an encore. After 10+ years of not meeting each other in the Playoffs, the Knicks and Pacers now have a chance rekindle the old but great rivalry.

In the series against Atlanta, Indiana struggled on the road; they also struggled to score. Atlanta gave them hell on the defensive side of the ball, by suffocating the bigs inside and making life tough on Paul George. Without Paul George and his play making ability, Indiana struggled to generate any type of offense. In Atlanta, Indiana seemed to play a level down. They wouldn’t score as good; they would defend as well; and they didn’t make smart decisions. It seemed as if they were overwhelmed by Atlanta’s home crowd. Even with those difficulties they eked out of the series in 6 games. But, with those two problems their chances of beating New York may be hampered.

The Knicks,on the other hand have a couple of minor issues. Those issues are Carmelo Anthony and J.R Smith. In Games 4, 5 and 6 against Boston New York’s offense became stagnant when the ball was in their hands. They would force shots that weren’t there and wouldn’t make the right decisions. Other than the minor problems offensively the Knicks don’t have much to worry about.

Series Analysis
If scoring on Atlanta was tough the Pacers have alot to worry about; New York’s defense is alot tougher than Atlanta’s and can suffocate players defensively ( just ask Paul Pierce.) On the defensive side of the ball Indiana doesn’t have to worry about points in the paint as much. All they have to worry about is the perimeter. If they’re able to keep close out on the 3’s and keep Melo on his heels the Pacers should be able to win this series.

For the Knicks to win this series they’ll have to establish an inside presence. ( I’m looking at you Amare’.) Perimeter oriented teams won’t beat Indiana unless they score inside as well. On the defensive side of the ball New York is going to in trouble. With an undersized lineup Roy Hibbert and David West should be able to have their way inside, especially when Melo is at the four.

Final Prediction
This should be a physical, ugly series. The scores aren’t going to be pretty and no one is going to be lighting it up. After 7 hard fought games Indiana should upset the Knicks, because of their bigmen. But if New York is able to knock down their shots and contain David West and Hibbert the series could very well be different. The likelihood of that happening for four games is very low. Therefore the Pacers should win in 7.
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Analysis of the and Bulls-Heat ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-5A)

Analysis of the Warriors-Spurs ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-4a)

Ryan Fort

Defying Father Time

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For the last couple of years Kobe and his play has put fans and analysts in a bad mind frame. Before this season started there was talk of Kobe Bryant showing his age and slowly becoming a second tier player.
         The talk first started two seasons ago after Kobe and his Lakers got swept by the Dallas Mavericks. In that series against Dallas, Kobe wasn’t able to carry his team to victories. In the first two games of that series Kobe got out played by Dirk in crunch time. Kobe was also getting beat by J.J Barea and Jason Terry whenever he guarded them. And last but not least, Kobe couldn’t get the looks he wanted because of the tough defense being played by Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd and Deshawn Stevenson. After the series concluded we found out Kobe was playing on one knee and messed up his ankle. So not only was he showing his age, his body was deteriorating.
        During that offseason Kobe went to Germany and had knee surgery on his ailing knee. After the surgery there was talk of Kobe showing some spark and playing younger. After hearing that fans of Kobe ,and others, became excited about the upcoming season. But during the pre-season Kobe tore a ligament in his wrist that happened to be on his shooting hand. Despite the injury Kobe played and turned some heads. During that season Kobe averaged: 28pts 5reb 5ast 30% 3pt 43% FGP 84% FT in 39mpg. Compared to the 25pts 5reb 5ast 32% 3PT 45% FGP 83% FT in 34mpg Yes his scoring went up but his efficiency went down; which meant he wasn’t getting easy looks. So instead of raving about the scoring he was doing people knocked him for being slower and inefficient.
         During the Playoffs last season Kobe’s age got to him. In the series against OKC Kobe got out played by Durant, James Harden and Westbrook. During the 4th Quarters Kobe couldn’t close like he used to; Kobe couldn’t defend; Kobe couldn’t get the looks he wanted; Kobe couldn’t make the plays that needed to be made. As a result Kobe and the Lakers went home in five games. After that series there were talks of Kobe running out of gas. Kobe showing his age. Kobe’s body is done. Kobe would be lucky to average 20+ points next season. And other ignorant claims. During the Olympics Kobe looked out of place at times when playing with Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, LeBron, Melo, Igudola and others. He couldn’t run the floor like they were doing. He couldn’t score like they could. He couldn’t defend like them. And after hearing and witnessing those type of things there was only one thing that could be said: Father Time Has Finally Caught Up With Him. People stuck with that until the start of the season.
       Once the season started we saw a younger, quicker, stronger, faster, efficient Kobe Bryant. Despite him being hampered by injuries this season ( Hip, Foot, Ankle, Ankle, Hand, Knee, Flu etc,) he averages 27ppg 6reb 6ast 33% 3pt 46% FGP 83% FT in 38mpg. Compared to the past two seasons all of his numbers are up and he’s playing better defensively. 
         After 16 (17 if you count now,) seasons in the NBA players usually become shells of themselves. Hell after 13+ season players’ productions drop off because of their ages and the wear and tear their bodies have consumed thru the duration of their career. But not Kobe Bean Bryant.
At age 34 with 16 1/2 seasons under his belt, numerous injuries and plenty of excuses to live off on, Kobe continues to defy the odds and fight Father Time. Instead of getting worse he’s getting better. Instead of aging he’s getting younger. Instead of giving up he keeps fighting. In cases of him losing to Father Time he keeps rewriting.

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Are the Knicks For Real?

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Going into this season people had their doubts about the Knicks. Some people said Amare’ and Melo won’t be able to work together, while others said they lack leadership, size, consistency and defensive players. During the offseason the Knicks focused on those principles. The Knicks brought in Rasheed Wallace, Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer and Pablo Prigioni. During that time frame they guys like Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields go. By making those moves the Knicks added leadership, size, consistency, awareness and defensive minded players.

While they were adding players to help make the roster go, their four best players were doing things to get better on their own. Amare’ started working on his post game with Hakeem Olajuwon. By adding a legit post game to his arsenal he was suppose to help the Knicks climb the rankings more. Iman Shumpert, the best wing defender they had last season, was recovering from his acl injury so in a way he was getting better. Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler got better by playing for Team USA during the Olympics. By participating in that their games expanded tremendously.

So by adding all of those elements we presumably have a nice powerhouse in the making. A roster that features Melo, Kidd, Wallace, Shumpert, Stoudamire, Camby, Felton, White, Brewer, ( until he got traded), Prigioni, Copeland, Smith, Novak and Chandler shouldn’t have any problem in dethroning the Heat as the East’s Beast, right? No, that assumption is wrong. By fast forwarding the season to where we are now the Knicks season has been injury riddled and filled with inconsistency.

At the beginning of the season they were playing mind boggling D and sharp shooting the 3, as well as moving the ball around to perfection. During that brief span they had two blowout victories over the Heat. The first victory was an emotional game. During that time the New York area was dealing with Hurricane Sandy which dealt a powerful blow to the nation’s most populated city. Before the game Heat players talked about how they shouldn’t be playing and how they didn’t want to play; the end result being a blowout victory for the Knicks. The second game against the Heat they played and won without Melo, but in the same breath Miami has a tendency to get bored and slack off when they’re playing a team that’s missing their best player. So realistically the Knicks haven’t played the Miami Heat. During the first part of the season the Knicks were missing Amare’ and Shumpert. But before they came back Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby went down. Jason Kidd also missed some games here and there and so did Carmelo Anthony. Once Amare’ came back Raymond Felton got hurt and the trend continues. Eventually they signed K-Mart to help out with their injury woes and nothing more.

At the end of games the Knicks have a tendency to stand around and watch Melo go to work with no help. Every so often Melo might pass the ball to J.R. Smith and let him go to work but not much. During the beginning portion of the season they moved the ball around a lot in the 4th quarter which helped them win games. And now that they’re relying on hero ball, something Melo does extremely well, the L’s have started to pile up. Despite all of the on going problems they’re dealing with they have a good record against the top 8 teams in the East, 9-8. OK I lied, that record is very pedestrian. (Keep in mind they lost 91 to 125 against the Pacers in one the recent games.) When playing against the top 8 teams in the West they currently hold a 4-4 record. Overall they’re slightly above average but nothing more. And as of right now the Chicago Bulls, even without D.Rose, the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers are all better than New York. In a playoff series I don’t think New York can hang with any of them, because New York struggles with tough, physical, defensive minded teams. And a case can be made that Boston poses a bigger threat to any of those three than New York does. With all jokes aside, Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks are no more than 2nd round and out playoff team.

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The Rivalry That Never Was. Kobe vs LeBron

       

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Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, two of the three most talked about players in NBA History, with Michael Jordan being the other, continue to dazzle our eyes with great inseason matchups that will never translate into a much anticipated NBA Finals series.

Once LeBron ascended into a top tier player fans of the game dreamed of an NBA series that involved both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. LeBron, like Kobe, was suppose to be the second coming of Jordan. Both Kobe and LeBron acknowledged Michael Jordan as their idol and a player they wanted to be like. LeBron adopted Jordan’s number while Kobe adopted Michael’s game and body language. Once Kobe and Shaq broke up people talked about four things, Kobe, Shaq, Duncan and LeBron. LeBron was asserting himself as an elite NBA player. He led his Cavaliers to the Playoffs and had memorable series against the Wizards and Pistons early. During that tenure LeBron James was anointed the nickname King James.

On the other side of the U.S. Kobe Bryant led his teams to the Playoffs and had memorable series against the Phoenix Suns. Each player had little to no help en route to leading their teams to the playoffs. After the 2006-2007 season (which was the year LeBron lost to the Spurs in the Finals), the Kobe LeBron Finals matchup seemed more realistic.

The following year Boston got Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, L.A got Pau Gasol, Atlanta got Mike Bibby, Dallas got Jason Kidd and Phoenix got Shaq. Not only did those trades change the NBA landscape they made the Kobe and LeBron matchup a little bit more realistic. With J-Kidd and Shaq heading out West that paved the way for LeBron and his Cavs to move up into the upperechelon of the Eastern Conference. With the Lakers acquiring Pau Gasol they became the team to beat out West.

During the Playoffs that year LeBron and his Cavs took Boston to seven games and lost while Kobe and his new sidekick, Gasol, went all the way to the NBA Finals in a matchup with Boston. Eventually the Lakers lost and had a dreadful offseason.

Before the start of the 08-09 season LeBron’s team brought in Mo Williams to help propel them to another level. To help solidify their roster even more Cleveland pulled off a trade to bring in Ben Wallace and Delonte West. After bringing those guys in talks of a Kobe vs LeBron Finals matchup intensified. After having signed both LeBron and Kobe to lucrative deals Nike started making commercials about the two meeting in the Finals. Once Playoff time came around all eyes were on LeBron and Kobe. Each player led their team to the Conference Finals but only one advanced to the NBA Finals.

LeBron and Co. faced an Orlando Magic team led by Dwight Howard. In six hard fought games the Magic outlasted the Cavaliers and sent LeBron home in the process. Kobe on the other hand, led his team past a Nuggets team that featured Carmelo Anthony. After six tough games against Denver Kobe went on to the Finals where he beat the Magic and earned his fourth ring.

Weeks after the Lakers celebrated their Championship Parade, the Cavaliers did a trade with the Phoenix Suns to bring in Shaq. Days later the Lakers sign Ron Artest. Players, fans,coaches and analysts got the sense that a Kobe and LeBron series had become inevitable. Both teams started the season off strong. Even with the great start, Cleveland felt like they needed to give LeBron more help. At the trade deadline Cleveland did a trade that brought in Antwan Jamison. GMs and Experts said that move made Cleveland the best team in the league. Weeks later the Nike commercials came back campaigning for a LeBron and Kobe showdown. People around the world got hyped up and excited until the Playoffs came around. In the 2nd round of the Playoffs the Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics, who go on to lose to the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

While Kobe is having fun with his 5th ring, LeBron bolts Cleveland and signs with the Miami Heat to play alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Now that LeBron had Wade and Bosh nothing was suppose to keep him playing in the Finals against Kobe Bryant. Once again people anticipated a Kobe and LeBron Finals matchup, until the Dallas Mavericks shocked the world. On four magical wins the Mavericks swept the defending NBA Champions in round two of the Western Conference Playoffs.

Instead of a Kobe and LeBron showdown fans got a Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade rematch. The end result being LeBron goes home ringless and Kobeless yet again. Last year LeBron led his team to victory in the Finals against the arguably the best scorer the game has ever seen in Kevin Durant, and the OKC Thunder, who happened to beat Kobe and the Lakers two rounds earlier.

During the offseason the Heat picked up Ray Allen and the Lakers traded for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to make one last push to the NBA Finals while Kobe is still in play. Fast-Forward about six months and we’ll be where we are today. We have the Miami Heat as the top dog in the league while the Lakers are like a lost puppy finding their way, while struggling to keep pace with the nine teams ahead of them in the Playoff Race. LeBron and Kobe have been in each of the past six NBA Finals without matching up against each other. Six straight years without one heated series between the two. We may have had some scoring battles between the two from 05-06 to 07-08  (http://www.nbauniverse.com/awards/nba_scoring_leader_year.htm),  and some nice two games matchups during the course of regular seasons between the two but thats not a true rivalry. Rivalries are made thru Playoff Series. Kobe and LeBron haven’t been in one against each other and don’t play each other enough during the season to even start one.

So stop with all the Kobe and LeBron rivalry stuff. Kobe has no true rival and LeBron doesn’t either. Kobe’s career is on the downside while LeBron’s is up North. It’s time to face the fact: Their paths will never cross.

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