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Kobe…For the win

May 23, 2009

Near the end of the game, the Denver Nuggets trapped Kobe Bryant in the corner after catching an inbounds pass. After Bryant was fouled by a pair of Nuggets, he looked as tired as any professional athlete I’ve ever seen, and with good reason.
The performance delivered by Bryant in Saturday’s Game 3 between the Nuggets and Lakers was one of his best. With his team struggling throughout, he stepped up, slicing through defenders to the hoop and draining jumpers to carry his team with a game-high 41 points.
Of those points, the biggest three came with just over a minute remaining in the game when Bryant pulled up in front of J.R. Smith to give his team a one-point lead it would not relinquish.
It may not have been as dramatic as LeBron’s game-winner Friday night, but it got the job done. Now, the Lakers have the win they needed to get in Denver, taking home court advantage back from the Nuggets. And the main reason behind that win is Bryant, who scored 13 points to Denver’s 18 in the fourth quarter.
There was a poll on ESPN.com today asking who was the best clutch shooter remaining in the playoffs. Of nearly 70,000 polled, 45% chose Kobe, 31% said LeBron. After the shots they each made in the last two nights, it’s hard to argue with either.
For my money, if I had to choose a player to take a shot in the last seconds of the game, I’d take Bryant over any player in the NBA today.
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