On Tuesday night at the Staples Center, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers witnessed an incredible comeback led by Kobe Bryant. With Game 5 on the verge of getting out of control and the Denver Nuggets leading the Lakers by as much as 15 points in the fourth quarter, Kobe turned it on like only the five-time NBA champion can.
After hitting three after three after three, Kobe’s game-high 43 points put the Lakers within striking distance late in Game 5. With just a few ticks left on the clock, Kobe was given the green light to keep on firing as no one else on the floor outside of Ramon Sessions was hitting big shots down the stretch. Unfortunately, the Lakers’ leading scorer came up just short with time expiring, and as a result the Nuggets have officially gotten back into this series with their second win in five games.
The tough loss at home was a wakeup call for the Lakers as it proved that they aren’t going to cruise into the second round to face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not only has the loss forced the Lakers to fly back to the Mile High City for a crucial Game 6 showdown at the Pepsi Center on Thursday, but it has also taught All-Star center Andrew Bynum a valuable lesson.
Before taking on the Nuggets in Game 5 at home, Bynum was quoted saying that close-out games like this one were “actually kind of easy.”
Obviously, that wasn’t the case with the Nuggets and up-and-comer JaVale McGee (21 points, 14 rebounds) handing the Lakers a second loss in the NBA playoffs. As a good head coach always does when the opposing team has a lapse in judgment in terms of saying things to the media, Nuggets Coach George Karl used Bynum’s quote as motivation for his team to avoid elimination via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
Nuggets coach George Karl took Bynum’s quote and not only used it as bulletin board material, but spliced it into the pregame video his team watched as motivation.
“It just gave me an opportunity to philosophize, which I think you know I like to do,” Karl said after the game. “I think it’s hard to win. I’ve been blessed to win a few series, and it’s hard to win the next game and it’s the hardest thing in the world to win the fourth game. I don’t care who you’re playing, if it’s the eighth seed, it’s hard to win that fourth game.”
After the Game 5 loss, Bynum was asked if he regretted making the statement about this being an easy game to win:
“No,” Bynum said. “We didn’t get out to a good start and we lost, so I guess the same holds true.”
It seems that no matter what Bynum does on or off the floor, the 24-year-old refuses to have accountability for his actions, and the immaturity of the rising star continues. The only way the two-time NBA champion can redeem himself from here on out after this ridiculous quote and refusal to accept responsibility will be having a monster Game 6 in Denver in order to help the Lakers advance to the next round.