“If I didn’t have Pau, Andrew, the crew that I have, I would score 45-50 points and everybody would say he shoots too much. I have a great crew. I don’t need to do that. I can pick my poison so when I get in the paint I can have so many choices. If they play me, I’ll give it to my guys and they’ll score and have big nights. If they don’t, I’ll have a big night. Simple as that. I got guys I can manage. You got to pick your poison. It’s like conducting an orchestra or a symphony.”—Kobe Bryant
“I don’t understand why people say he’s lost a step. He’s the greatest player in the game. There are only a couple guys who can turn it on and off like him and get 15 in a row and also get 10 assists and get their guys involved. He’s probably the best ever. You can’t say that he’s lost a step. He’s the same Kobe from a while back, maybe he’s not dunking on a lot of guys like he was back in ‘01, ‘02 but he’s still the same Kobe.”—Kevin Durant on Kobe Bryant
“Our expectation is we wanted to win both of these games and be done with it. I think that’s every team’s mindset coming on the road being up 2-0. It’s not the reality of the situation. We’ve got a tough fight, and it should be fun.”—Kobe Bryant
There was a huge free throw discrepancy, but a huge rebounding discrepancy as well. 12 free throw attempts for the Lakers to the OKC’s 34. Kobe’s shot selection in the 4th was bad, but Fisher’s shot selection to close the 3rd while Kobe was on the bench, was just as bad. Pau Gasol needs to show up. When he got the ball on offense, I thought he took way too much time off the shot clock and then would pass out forcing the perimeter guys to settle for jump shots that weren’t good looks. He needs to be quicker with the decisions he makes in the post. Definitely a winnable game, the Lakers lost it in the end though. The free throw discrepancy sucks, but regardless the Lakers could have won had they executed. The refs didn’t lose the Lakers this game because they were within reach the whole time. Yet again, it boils down to execution when it matters and the Lakers didn’t have it. That falls mostly on Kobe because he was the guy taking all the shots. What was he 2-11 in the 4th? At some point you realize your shot isn’t falling and time is a ticking and its better to pass. Lakers made more FG’s than the OKC and more 3’s. They’re in good shape. Losses happen it isn’t like the Lakers would sweep. OKC was expected to take at least one at home. The Lakers just have to refine their execution and they’ll be fine. On to the next one
“I think the biggest thing why we [Kobe Bryant and himself] are close is because the hunger and the passion for the game that me and him both have. Granted, the skill level might be different, but you can’t — as far as heart and desire and things like that — like, I’m up there. And everybody knows that. People can look at that and be like, ‘That’s my guy.’”—Josh Powell (via Nothing Reserved about Josh Powell; Dave McMenamin)
People won’t appreciate what he’s done until he’s finished,” Joe Bryant said. “You look back, and players won’t play because their finger is swollen, or because their pinkie toe is hurt. Someday, they’re going to look back, and think, ‘Damn, these guys now aren’t like Kobe.’
“… To me, it’s just like watching Picasso.”
“The fourth quarter is when I have to provide a spark,” Bryant said. In his mind, those rules of engagement stay unchanged. To hell with the ankle, the knee and that wrapped, broken finger. To hell with it all. Get him the ball late, and live and die with his choices. Across the past month, the Lakers weren’t so sure they could still live that way. Around L.A., no one was too sure.
No one but Bryant. Everything had balled up within him these past few weeks, where he probably been anything but amused and entertained. He was ornery and angry, and he’s always painted his most beautiful basketball pieces that way. After 14 seasons, Kobe Bryant was right: All those (bleepers) should have known better.