Sunday, May 24, 2009

Numbers game in Denver
        The number 24 got big play in the Rockies this weekend with No. 24 of the Lakers branding it on the hardwood at Pepsi Center. It was 24 years ago that the Mile High folks last had a conference finals game in their city.  They've got another one on Monday but they won't soon forget Kobe Bryant's show-stopping performance Saturday night. Lakers up 2-1.
         Just when it looked like the Lakers were out of oxygen, Bryant breathed air into their playoff fortunes by scoring 41 points. Pao Gasol pretended he was Popeye and muscled his way to 11 rebounds and 20 points. Maybe Kobe was tired of ESPN's running over and over the clip of LeBron  James' last second three-pointer that saved Cleveland from going down 0-2 to the Magic on Friday. Or it could have been a nice way of saying to Jerry West, "hey, I'm just as good," after West recognized LeBron as the best player in the NBA.
          Bryant is still trying to win a title without Shaquille O'Neal. But the Lakers don't have Robert Horry and they don't have Chick at the mike and Magic is doing TV. For Bryant at 31, it's hard to believe he's been in the league for 13 years, there won't be that many more chances. The Lakers have had a couple days to get used to the altitude. They may never come down if they come home  3-1.

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