End of the Kobe Curse
When Kobe Bryant wore No. 8, he had Michael Redd's number. He routinely dominated the Bucks guard, and often provided Sportscenter with a humiliating Redd facial or two. And the Lakers always won. But now that he wears No. 24... not so much.
Last night it was Redd who was handing out the humiliations. He absolutely destroyed his old nemesis. He tallied 45 big points, most of them with a high degree of difficulty, and most of them right on Kobe's smug grille. Meanwhile, the Sportscenter lowlight from this game was at Bryant's expense -- courtesy of Dan Gadzuric -- who smashed one of Kobe's jump shots into the celebrity section at the Staples Center. Ouch. As a result, the Bucks beat the Lakers for the first time since 2001.
Is Redd unguardable?
Redd was amazing. He was making some of the most difficult shots look easy. If there is a better, more creative, scorer in the game, I haven’t seen him. Redd can make shots from any angle, and at any spot on the floor. You almost can’t defend him. If you take away his left hand, he can hit those leaning shots going right. If you try to squeeze off his jumper, he blows by you. If you run guys at him, he is nimble enough to snake through and get off that scoop lay-up. He’s having a remarkable season.
Other thoughts on the Laker game
…The Bucks nearly blew this game, a game they should have won easily. What happened? It was defensive lapses and ballhandling errors. (I’ll address the latter in a moment) Accounts of the game will credit the Bucks zone defense for the victory, but it was actually the Lakers poor shooting. The Bucks zone rotations were often way too slow. By my count they gave up 12 wide open jump shots in the fourth quarter alone. Luckily, the Lakers only made 3 of those.
…Hey Mo, what the hell? Mo Williams had a good game right up until crunch time, when he absolutely fell apart. It looked like he was trying to invent new ways to turn the ball over. He was passing it to no one, kicking it off his shins even though unguarded, and generally playing like a high school backup who’s scared to handle the ball. It was weird.
… Did anyone catch the huddle exchange between Mo and Bogut during a fourth quarter timeout? Bogut unloaded both barrels on him. I don’t know what Bogut initially said, but it was animated, and at the end of the “conversation” he backhanded Williams on the chest and clearly yelled “Pass the ball!”
…I’m not sure about this one, but after Gadzuric gave that wicked facial to Kobe Bryant, I thought I heard this request come from the Laker PA announcer “Will Row 34 please return the basketball?” I mean, that was a swat and a half.
…Welcome back Charlie Bell! Most of the credit for last night’s win will be given to Redd, but without the super stretch play of Charlie Bell, the Bucks would have lost. No shot was bigger than the shot Bell made at the 1:33 mark of the fourth period. It was an extremely difficult shot, and he hit pure chords with it.