Great Scott: LA's Bryant whines his way to a loss
OKLAHOMA CITY — In last year’s NBA Finals, Miami star Dwyane Wade got a phantom call and hit a pair of free throws to save the Heat from a possible sweep by the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs led 77-68 going into the final quarter before Wade repeatedly went to the line. The late call — when Wade wasn’t even touched in the final seconds — gave Miami a 98-96 win to cut the series deficit to 2-1.
The Heat went on to win the series 4-2 and Wade shot 83 free throws in the process. Dallas, as a team, attempted 155.
Wade is an excellent player and one of the top stars in the NBA, but he, like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and others seem to “get the calls” to get to the charity stripe, making it near impossible to defend such an athlete.
It wasn’t any different Saturday night inside the Ford Center, when the Oklahoma City Hornets hosted the Los Angeles Lakers before the eighth sellout crowd (19,329) of the season.
Kobe Bryant was in town, and, after a slow start, he started going to the rim like all the stars do.
But 7-1 Hornet Tyson Chandler defended well in the paint, outstretching his elongated arms standing flat-footed.
Kobe Bryant charged into the lane and was stopped dead in his tracks by Chandler.
What appeared to be at least a no-call if not an offensive foul, Kobe Bryant was sent to the line for a pair of free throws.
Once again, a star got the call.
Kobe Bryant, who was averaging 28 points per game, actually was defended well in the game by Rasual Butler and Desmond Mason. Kobe ended the game with 23 points.
The officials let the players play very physical in the final minutes of the Hornets’ 113-103 win.
The contest was tight with the Hornets leading 102-99.
Kobe Bryant knifed to the hole, attracted a little contact but got his shot blocked in the process.
What does the star do?
He just stood there with his hands up in the air while Butler, who was defending Bryant, ran back up the floor to hit a game-clinching 3-pointer for a 105-99 advantage with 1:52 left in regulation.
From that point on, Kobe quit. Too much crybabying.
With 25 seconds left, Oklahoma City guard Bobby Jackson stepped up and swiped the ball from Bryant. No hustle from Kobe, he just stood there watching Jackson run down for an uncontested layup.
Saturday night at the Ford Center, a whining star cost his team dearly.
NOTE: Preceding the Hornets’ home game with the Portland Trailblazers on Monday, Jan. 29, both Harrah teams will face Shawnee in the Ford Center. The girls will kick things off at 1 p.m. with the boys to follow at 3 p.m......The ensuing Wednesday on Jan. 31, the Choctaw Yellowjackets will take on the Carl Albert Titans at the same times preceding the Philadelphia 76ers/Hornets.