Smack / May 16, 2009 / 7:53 am

All Eyez on Kobe

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

No NBA games yesterday or today, as it’s all about prepping for Sunday’s pair of Game 7′s: Rockets at Lakers (3:30 p.m. EST, ABC) and Magic at Celtics (8 p.m. EST, TNT) … We’ll be previewing the Eastern Conference showdown in tomorrow’ Smack, so for now let’s look at the West. What should you be checking for in this all-or-nothing battle? Aaron Brooks has been the X-factor throughout the series; when the Lakers have contained him, they’ve won. When they haven’t, they’ve lost. It’s no secret by now that Derek Fisher can’t guard Brooks, but what he can do is post him up on the other end and perhaps sap some of his energy, making it easier for Jordan Farmar and/or Shannon Brown to keep up with Brooks … As the Rockets’ only legit big man, Luis Scola will have to win the battle against Pau Gasol again, and it would help if Ron Artest didn’t pick Sunday to slap up one of his 6-for-22 Captain Jack Sparrow games. Some hot shooting by Shane Battier would also be huge for Houston, as well as solid play by their energy guys like Carl Landry and Kyle Lowry … Gasol needs a big game for the Lakers. It would also help if Andrew Bynum showed up, and if Fisher and Trevor Ariza hit their open jumpers … But of course this one will be all about Kobe. You could say that this is the most important game of his post-Shaq career. Last year was the first time he’d been the undisputed leader of a championship-caliber team, but the series loss to the Celtics at least made sense. This time, from the beginning of the season, everybody was picking L.A. to cruise to the championship, and losing to the Rockets in the second round while they don’t have their two best players would be an epic fail. It’s not like Kobe has to drop 40 points; he simply has to win. If he does that, and L.A. takes care of business against Denver and whoever comes out of the East, no one will remember Kobe’s team being pushed to the brink in Round Two. But the hardest part for Kobe is that through all of this, he’s gonna have Artest and Battier on his ass like white on rice … And if you can’t get enough of Kobe on Sunday, today is the premier of Kobe Doin’ Work, the Spike Lee documentary where he basically follows Kobe’s every move for one gameday. It’s showing on ESPN at 8 p.m. EST … Wayman Tisdale passed away yesterday at age 44, another major loss for the basketball community right on the heels of Chuck Daly‘s passing. Tisdale played 12 years in the League with the Pacers, Kings and Suns and averaged 15 points per for his career, but he truly a BEAST in college. Three-time Big Eight P.O.Y. at Oklahoma, three-time All-American, gold medalist with the ’84 Olympic team, 25 points and 10 boards a night, he was basically Blake Griffin before Blake was even born. (Griffin actually asked Tisdale if he could wear his #23 at Oklahoma, and Tisdale granted him permission.) Just last month, Tisdale — who’d been dealing with cancer that caused part of his leg to be amputated — was chosen for the College Basketball Hall of Fame and was honored during a late-season OKC Thunder game. He was of course also known for his skills as a musician; he recorded eight solo albums as a jazz bass guitarist … Some front-office notes: While the Wolves appear close to hiring Tom Penn (from the Blazers) as their GM, reports are that Kevin McHale will be given the option to decide whether or not he’s coming back as head coach. And in Philly, after Tony DiLeo moved back to his job upstairs, the team interviewed Eddie Jordan for the coaching job … After considering Michigan, Nebraska and some other schools, turns out Greg Paulus is going to play football at Syracuse. Enrolling in grad school, Paulus has one season of eligibility, and has a decent shot at winning the starting quarterback job. If you weren’t aware, ‘Cuse stinks at football. Their new coach has already moved last year’s QB down to 2nd on the depth chart behind a freshman who’s never thrown a D-1 pass, and another former starting QB has been moved to tight end … Dime’s Austin Burton was in Newport Beach, Calif., this week for the launch of Nike’s Trainer 1, which you can see here. While there, AB got a few minutes for a 1-on-1 with Brandon Roy, who talks about his postseason debut, his summer workout, and what it was like being guarded by Artest and Battier for six straight games … We’re out like Syracuse football …

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  • knoc

    comon now kobe time to put up.they could always sick kobe on brooks.

  • Yoooo

    If Kobe loses, im off the bandwagon

  • Soopa

    96 > 24.

    Its as simple as that.

  • dk

    Brooks sucks harder than Aubrey O’day.

  • that’s whats up

    Kobe will either shoot 9-31 from the field or 16-27, there’s no in between

    I gotta be home in time on Sunday – I can’t miss either game. I just cannot.

    …and I can see Ron-Ron trying something crazy early in the game to rattle the Mamba

  • ERIC

    Hopefully this is just a bump in the road. The Celtics were pushed to 7 games in their first two series last season before their ‘chip and no one really talks about it… not to mention that they’ve been pushed to 7 again in the first two this season.

  • foolio_iglesias

    Correction.Battier and Artest will be all over Kobe like white on BROWN rice.

  • blazerjunkie

    Bynum BIGTIME BUST!!

  • http://dimemag.com Big Freeze

    You can expect another blowout win for the Lakers. You can expect Kobe to run through the Rocket’s D like he ran through that white girl’s asshole.

  • BRUCE

    I expect Kobe to deliver just like Judas!

  • UncheckedAggression

    ERIC- Where the hell have you been? That’s pretty much what everyone has been talking about. The main difference is that the Rockets are missing important players.

  • E$

    Is Spike Lee still mad about the Rockets beating those Knicks? Perfect timing on this Kobe Documentary….Now he will go out & show why ppl film him (ugh)

  • E$

    Kobe on Brooks? lol great, then he will use alot of energy on the defensive end & that jumper will be short late in the game

  • QQ

    Time for the real..

    I picked the Lakers to destroy the Rockets, and yes, I was wrong. But for this final game, I’ll still pick LA. I give Houston all the credit in the world: When everyone was saying it’s all over, the Rockets show us that it’s about heart AND skill, not just one. That’s why I love basketball.

    Even the so-called Rockets fans who were fucking quiet when the news about Yao’s injury was released, and then became full of swagger when Houston destroyed the LA the following game (doesnt include GEE, obviously), I salute you. No, I’m just kidding. You know what loyalty is??? No??? Exactly.

    But still, after a series when their reputation as the favorite to win the chip is almost completely shattered, I expect the Lakers to say ‘Enough of this shit. We’re gonna finished this now.’ I pick LA.

    If yall don’t know who I’m gonna pick in the other game, here’s a clue: It’s not the Celtics.

  • Phileus

    I really want to see a Cavs-Lakers Finals, even though I would love to see Houston win. Cavs-Nuggets would be cool too. But Celtics, please sit down and die quietly.

  • murcielago

    how does kobe go during past game 7s? Still think pau is the key 4 lakers.

  • Blazermark

    The Refs will win this one for the Lakers. You wait and see all of the horrible calls going the Lakers way. WWE!

  • Jah

    I predict a Lakers victory.

  • doc

    everybody is either blind or doesn’t see the obvious home cooking that the rockets AND lakers are gettin on their home courts. what’s funny is that kobe has as many technicals as lebron has FOULS this ENTIRE PLAYOFFS. seriously if i see lebron tackle someone in the air again and get credited for a block ima lose my mind. and they say the “king” is a top defensive player. gtfoh

  • Juiceman

    How come the game isnt on TV?

  • azazin

    mamaba is overrated, never plays D.. Why compare him with MJ!!! you don’t see him dominate on the defensive end, he slacks on team D, never rotates, put his arms up and look at Phil when get beat..”where my help Phil”… don’t know why he’s on the defensive team…And he’s the worst “Superstar” on closing out games…Phoenix, Boston, etc,.I don’t know.. what the hell… But I’m a laker fan..

  • dk

    @20 So you watched five minutes of the Houston series, bravo faggot….

    @ spike lee Awesome piano music during the Kobe documentary……

  • razzle

    azazin you’re a retard. Never plays D? Man go watch some Laker games.
    And I love how you put that extra bit, “But I’m a laker fan..” at the end just so you won’t get bashed. Fucking salty. A true fan has faith in their team

  • mole

    kobe doin’ work was waaaaaaaaaaack. Kobe should win razzie for his performance.

  • Ian

    lol loved that last line azazin hahahaha but yeah hes overrated

  • http://www.basketsim.com BNZA

    “losing to the Rockets in the second round while they don’t have their two best players would be an epic fail”

    Im hoping for that epic fail, so no one will ever talk about comparing Kobe to Air Jordan.

  • dk

    @23 Kobe is first team all defensive player almost every year and has a skill set similar to MJ, bunch of idiots on this site a bunch of f’in tools I swear…

  • LakeShow84

    There goes ur epic fail.. go hate on ARod now chumps..

    Since we all seem to WANT one of the most entertaining athletes of this decade to fail..

    Bigups to the Rockets for making us fans shit our pants..