After the Jazz won a thrilling game 4 against the Lakers on Sunday, and after Kobe Bryant was held to just 2 of 9 shooting in the fourth quarter and OT, is it any wonder that we're starting to hear whiny excuses wafting into the series like a cool breeze on the beaches of Southern California?
"A back (injury) is a little different," Bryant said after game 4. "You have to make some adjustments. You can't run like you want to, can't cut like you want to. It's a back." (Taken from This Deseret News Article)
Seriously? Like... a back back? Well why didn't you say so?
Predictably, the same injury that kept Kobe writhing on the floor for 10 minutes on Sunday will be a perfect storyline for game 5. In this way, I have found Kobe to be a brilliant competitor. By playing the "oh my aching back" card, he now has both an excuse if the Lakers lose, and an epic story of triumph if the Lakers win. Kobe is brilliant at making sure he's covered in every scenario.
And it started early. He already got all the love he needs after his poor performance on Sunday.
Oh, Kobe missed 7 of his last 9 shots when his team needed him the most? It's okay, he had a bad back. All is forgiven. It's a back, after all.
Here's a wild, new concept, Mr. Bryant: If your back is hurting you so much that you can't make your shots... PASS THE BALL. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful his trick back somehow gave him MORE confidence, but Kobe Bryant didn't exactly do his team any favors by hoisting up shot after shot.
The truth is, had he made those shots, the back wouldn't be a story. It only became an issue after the game was over and it just happened to be the perfect excuse as to why the Lakers now have to play more basketball than they're used to.
And now, not surprisingly, Kobe is covering all his bases by saying his back is still bothering him as we head into game 5. Kudos to you, Kobe Bryant. I'll be sure not to blame you completely when the Jazz take you Laker scum in 6.