Heir'z Corner: Bryant Fights Off Injured Finger, Outduels James
Final Score: 105-88
A big game comes along with enormous emotions. The intensity of tonight's game reminded me of last year's series against San Antonio. It was good seeing this team play with passion and demonstrating that they aren't the type to back away from a challenge. That's exactly the type of swag they need to carry around until we get everyone back.Vlad
- Well because of Kobe's selflessness for most of the night, especially in the first half, Vlad never really got a chance to get loose. He had a couple of free shots but that was it. On defense he fell asleep on a couple of occasions, though. He always seems to fall asleep getting back in transition because he's one of those players who runs without a purpose. He just runs back just for the sake of running instead of picking up his man. That lack of thinking allowed LeBron and Pavlovic to get some uncontested shots. Final stat line: 6 points, 2-4 from the field, 2-4 from downtown. Bynum/Gasol
- This ended up being another game where Bynum started off strong but slowly but surely tailed off as it progressed. But then again Cleveland grabbed 5 consecutive offensive rebounds at one point and Bynum gave up double digit rebounds to his man yet again. I like that he's starting to score more, but he still needs to keep in mind that rebounding and being a presence is more important. No one can say that it's the knee anymore. Before it was a logical argument to make, but since Phil has brought it up, as well as analysts, and Bynum's had enough power to score double digit points these past few games, he should have the power in that same knee to rebound. If 6 total rebounds is an improvement compared to past games, you know something is wrong....and it's not the knee. Pau on the other hand had a perfect night. Had Kobe not hogged the assists (harmless joke, don't kill me) he probably could've had a near triple double. There's not much to say about his performance tonight. He made the most of his opportunities and rebounded, something other big men on this team has lacked all month, but I won't say any names (another joke....kind of). Final stat lines: Bynum- 14 points, 6 rebounds, 6-10 from the field, 2-6 from the line. Gasol- 22 points, 12 rebounds, 11-13 from the field, 36 minutes. KB24
- His intensity said it all at the beginning of the game. Even after dislocating his finger and picking up a quick foul, Kobe still wanted to guard LeBron. He even took a high risk by knocking the ball away when LeBron drove to the rim. High risk because of his finger already being injured and he very easily could've picked up a second foul. But he didn't commit another one for the rest of the game. It was obvious that he had the killer (not premeditated) instinct in his eye from the get go and was almost destined to have a big scoring night, but he was limited by the finger after getting it taped. For most of the first half he focused on getting his teammates involved. Then in the second half, particularly the 4th quarter, he became more assertive and relinquished his will on LeBron and co. LeBron's played the best this season so far, but tonight's game proved he's the best player on the planet. I don't think Kobe is ready to take off the belt just yet. Final stat line: 20 points, 12 assists, 9-22 from the field, 1-5 from three, 1-3 from the line, 6 rebounds, 5 turnovers.
- Sasha came in at the end of the first quarter and gave us life. We were kind of sleep walking through those last few minutes but he hit some big shots that brought the arena alive. That was pretty much the story of the game for him. Catch, shoot, run back on defense, irritate. Exactly why we love him, no homo (well at least for Me. can't speak for DB and Maddocks).Rest of Bench
- After Sasha, Ariza was the brightest star in the sky off the bench tonight. His steal on LeBron and alley oop dunk in the 4th quarter helped seal the game. Lamar played a good game too, 8 points along with 10 rebounds.Final Thought
- Cleveland weathered the storm a little bit in the 4th but that 10-0 run response by us took it home. This win was big for us in the standings, but even bigger for our psyche. Tonight we proved that our offense is unstoppable, even against arguably the best defense in the league. We already scored over 100 points against San Antonio on their home floor. Cleveland was shorthanded without Ilgauskus but we're fighting off even more injuries than they are. Now, see how much easier it is to win a game when you play defense?HC Shout out
- Shout out to TLN's latest couple, DB and Maddocks. Continue to spread your love and harmony across the forums. And also shout out to Craig Sager for that story on Ariza and LeBron. In case you missed it, all the hype LeBron was getting back in high school frustrated Ariza's uncle who came out and said that his nephew was better than him. LeBron's response? A 52 point performance the next time he faced Ariza.