Lakers’ Kobe Bryant has no use for teamwork


From Boston

Finally some fun, the only disappointment — Our Ball Hog didn’t take every shot. And score 93 points.

I just love Our Ball Hog when he puts on a one-man show like this, after all, this is only Sunday night entertainment unless you somehow think your life changes whether the Lakers win or not.

He scored 23 straight points between the second and third quarters, many of them dancing off one leg and falling backward, the other guys on his team just running around and letting the Celtics score so he might shoot again.

This was superstar basketball, almost a made-for-TV movie, one against five in a dramatic shootout.

He scored the first 19 points in the third quarter for the Lakers, the Lakers down by 11 when he started ignoring the rest of his teammates and down by 11 when he had finished.

Over the years it doesn’t always mean the Lakers are going to win when Our Ball Hog loses sight of everyone else, but you’ve got to admit it’s the best in basketball entertainment.

In addition to scoring, he’s also going to give dirty looks to any teammate who doesn’t get him the ball, which is good for a chuckle if you’re watching. And tell me you didn’t grin or laugh when TV caught him coaching, pointing to himself and insisting he be the one to cover Paul Pierce.

Later, I heard he wanted to fly the plane home, too.

Our Ball Hog took 27 shots, maybe some of them were forced, but that’s become a part of his game. He scored 38 points, the reason folks watch the NBA to see the game’s best score.

I know Phil Jackson likes to emphasize teamwork and all that other nonsense that makes a coach think he has an impact on the game, but I expect we won’t know how he really feels about Our Ball Hog until his next book.

For now, he said, “he’s the kind of guy you ride a hot hand, that’s for sure.” And “we were waiting for him to do that.”

But then as he often does, he offered contradictory remarks. He said, “You know, other than that, you look at the assists, we had 12; they had 21. That’s a big differential in a game like this.”

And that’s because the ball was in Our Ball Hog’s hands and he wasn’t giving it up.

Jackson also opened his postgame remarks by saying the game turned on “a couple turnovers by [Our Ball Hog),” the Celtics then running out to a 10-point lead.

He’s got a point there. Our Ball Hog can’t play much better than he did in the third quarter, but the Lakers were down by six points when it started and after a few wild misses, he left just before the end of the quarter and they were losing by 10.

What do you want? A win, and in this series they have been ugly and not all that interesting, or a tremendous night of entertainment and athletic prowess you might never see again?

That performance in the third quarter was chilling.

Do you really care if a bunch of millionaires get another diamond ring? That third quarter was as good as almost any NBA player will ever have — one shocking shot atop another — just priceless.

I’ve been to a couple Lakers parades, and there is nothing in terms of excitement to surpass the show put on by Our Ball Hog here.

The Lakers still get a chance to win a championship, and have a pretty good chance at that if they just play to their level of talent, which from the start this season should have been better than any other team assembled.

Las Vegas odds makers already have them a seven-point favorite in Game 6 because they will be home, and because more than anyone else, Our Ball Hog wants to win it.

We know this because of the look on his face, his serious demeanor during postgame news conferences and because he’s always telling us he wants to win more than anyone else.

Some folks might worry his teammates might object to everything always being about him. But as you might expect, the wimps, otherwise known as his teammates, were fine with him after the game because they had to fly home with him.

They don’t get a ring if Our Ball Hog isn’t the guy dictating the opposition’s terms of surrender, so they really are just along for the ride. They’re just going to have to adapt to whatever game he chooses to play.

I think we would all agree if Our Ball Hog has the ball, it means Ron Artest does not, which is a very good thing for the Lakers.

TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from M.C.:

“There’s only one embarrassment here and you’re it. Mike Garrett’s comments regarding the NCAA are spot on and endorsed by Trojans and fair-minded people worldwide. We’re not arrogant, we’re just better, and you and your kind can’t stand it. There are only two kinds of people, Trojans and those who wish they were.”

You wouldn’t think USC would have to cheat then to convince kids to become Trojans.

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