All I have to say is I feel really bad to be a fan of the Knicks tonight…
Yahoo! Sports: They are pals only in sneaker commercial puppet ads, so Kobe Bryant(notes) had no use for one of those congratulatory star-to-star half-hug mid-court meetings. The game was over, he was gone. As LeBron James(notes) preened to a screaming, celebratory sellout, Bryant turned his back, marched through the tunnel seething, scowling and promising hell to pay for the Los Angeles Lakers. These were old times for Bryant: Angry, sullen and promising pure misery.
”They know I’m pissed off,” Bryant sniffed in the losing locker room. ”I don’t need to say anything right now.”
Only Bryant did, and he will again and again. Bryant is never happier than when he’s miserable, than when he has a boogeyman threatening the championship fabric of this burgeoning dynasty.
All around him, Bryant has reasons to be livid Thursday night: Pau Gasol missed two free throws in the final seconds. The frontline had been outmuscled everywhere. James toyed with Ron Artest for his 37 points, owning this night on a yo-yo. Phil Jackson left Bryant on the bench for all but five minutes of the fourth quarter, the coach refusing to treat these Cavs as anything more than another back-to-back when Bryant’s body needed to be protected for the long run.
All angered Bryant, and all promises to make for a most unpleasant Kobe over the next seven games of this trip.
Nevertheless, he should’ve delivered some self-loathe for his part in a 93-87 loss to the Cavaliers. He tried too hard Thursday night – needing 31 shots for his 31 points. No, Bryant didn’t want to lose that season series to the Cavaliers, but there was something bigger happening here and assuredly it wasn’t lost on Kobe Bryant. However flimsy the possibility, Bryant lost his chance to be the MVP again.
When everyone dissects these two candidacies come April, it will keep coming back to this: LeBron swept the Lakers and Kobe, beat them in Staples Center on Christmas and again with Mo Williams(notes) out for a month with a shoulder injury. Once more, James will be praised for doing more with less, and Bryant will be partially penalized in the MVP voting for something that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird never were in the 1980s: Playing with too much talent.
With LeBron’s second straight MVP close to secured, Bryant must return his mind to what’s still most available to him: Another NBA Finals MVP.