I would love to point to the Lakers’ win over the Suns in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals as Exhibit A of why Kobe Bryant is better than LeBron James. Of how Kobe wills his team to victories while James pouts in the corner when he’s not dribbling off his foot. Of how Kobe’s Lakers can close out a series while James’ Cavs seem to do anything but. But I can’t. I can’t because the game doesn’t fall on Kobe’s shoulders every night. He has so much help around him.
He has Pau Gasol, who led all scorers in Game 2 with 29 points (Kobe had 21). It’s no coincidence that the Lakers finally managed to get deep into the playoffs once Gasol came to LA in 2008 in a trade so lopsided that it looked like the product of a Michael J. Fox pottery class. In the three years between Shaquille O’Neal’s departure to Miami and Gasol’s arrival, the Lakers missed the playoffs once and were bounced from the first round twice.
He has Lamar Odom, who responded to Amare’ Stoudamire’s claim of enjoying a “lucky” Game 1 (19 points, 19 rebounds) with 17 points and 11 boards in Game 2. He has Andrew Bynum; that’s three teammates of Kobe’s that are seven feet or taller. He has a Hall Of Fame coach and an owner that doesn’t resent treating him like the superstar that he is. Oh and Ron Artest and his 33 minutes per game weren’t a terrible offseason addition, either.
The Lakers should be destroyin’ fools, but as the Book of LeBron has taught us, establishing expectations and meeting them are two entirely different animals. But really, if Phoenix doesn’t step it on their own floor in Game 3, they should just cancel Game 4 and send LA to the Finals. Not that such a measure would be necessary. After all, LeBron was the one that couldn’t close out a series.