Could Kobe still win MVP?
Shane Battier buried a 3-pointer to press the Rockets closer to the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant took the ball on the left wing, measured the distance between him and Battier, and let fly with his 25-foot answer. Twenty-eight seconds later, Bryant skirted off a pick and quickly fired another 3-pointer over the head of Battier.
This time, Bryant paused to watch the shot slide through the net, holding his right hand aloft as he admired his work. The Rockets’ shoulders slumped, but Bryant’s daggers pierced far deeper than the opposing bench. Some two hours earlier, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers had jetted out of Orlando on the heels of a 29-point loss that James called “embarrassing.” By the time the Cavs touched down in Cleveland, they knew this much:
Kobe isn’t ready to concede the MVP race – or home-court advantage – to LeBron just yet.
Only three days earlier, the Cavs seemed to have all but locked up home court through the NBA Finals after the Lakers followed a loss in Atlanta with another in Charlotte. But that was before the Washington Wizards delivered one of the season’s biggest upsets by beating Cleveland. The Cavs were further humbled by the Magic, trailing by as many as 41 points.
Home court is up for grabs. The MVP award might be as well….
If nothing else, Bryant’s performance against the Rockets should now make voters hold onto their ballots until the final day of the regular season. The Lakers also beat the Cavs in both of their meetings, a talking point that figures to occupy the top line of Bryant’s résumé should the teams finish the season with the same record….