Of course as we learned in 2008, Kobe can’t do it by himself. Few remember that it was the Lakers, not the Celtics, who came into the 2008 NBA Finals favored to win. Regular season MVP Kobe Bryant was coming off a 39-point gem against San Antonio, brushing them aside with ease in the Conference Finals. It was a foregone conclusion that Kobe and Phil would capitalize on a seemingly over matched Celtics squad.
But when the ball was tossed up at center court in Game 1, Kobe and Co. ran into a green and white buzz saw. Celtics coach Tom Thibodeau implemented a now celebrated defensive scheme that held Kobe Bryant to a subpar 40% shooting, locking him up tighter than a pair of Chinese Finger Cuffs (Copyright: Kevin Smith).
Celtic brutes Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett had made putty of Pau Gasol down low, effectively taking him out of the series with a brand of physical basketball the Lakers simply weren’t prepared for. After watching Boston push the Lakers around like they were George McFly for six games, the national media began to question LA’s “toughness”.
Next: Quest for redemption…