Granted, some of those shots down that stretch were amazing, some of the younger, very athletic, “wow, how did he do that” moves flashed as he tried to carry the team to the finish line. But against a good team it always falls short. It always has, and always will because one can’t beat five (unless that five is the Toronto Raptors).
As amazing as Kobe can be during those stretches he also is putting his teammates in stand-around mode. They’re not involved and they know they won’t get the ball so they don’t cut, and they don’t even try to rebound. All they try to do is give Kobe space to do his thing and then watch. I think it even effects their defense because they get too relaxed rather than being aggressive and working hard, and you can’t play NBA defense unless you’re working hard.
During many games there are times where it looks like Kobe might morph into the “Black Hole” but for the most part he’s gotten much better at bringing the “Mamba” instead. And I’m not even sure if it is always his fault. He wants to win so badly and sometimes you wonder if his teammates want it bad enough and are willing to work hard enough to contribute to a winning effort. So maybe they just fade away creating a “Hole” for Kobe. But, as the leader, Kobe has to resist the urge to go too far and instead force his teammates to stay involved, stay working, stay cutting, rebounding, and shooting.
There were times at the beginning of this year when the Lakers were playing so well together as a team that they looked unbeatable. Cutting and passing, getting layups, dunks and alley oops, wide open threes and hitting on every cylinder and with all five guys on the floor involved. This is when they look like champions. They have very talented players at every position, and when all five are involved a three-peat is well within their grasp. But every time we see the “Black Hole” the light at the end of the tunnel gets very dark.