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Kobe's shot has clinched series for Lakers

June 10, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

As much as I pleaded with my online poker-playing adversaries to not say anything about Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night (which I was taping because, as with most poker addicts, my priorities are really skewed), they just couldn't help themselves.

As such, I can say with certainty there are few three-word sequences that can rip the heart out of a Lakers hater quite like these:

"Oh no!"

"Kobe."

Ugh.

By the time someone else mentioned the game was going into overtime - just as my tape cut off at midnight and forced me to miss the final five minutes - I realized it didn't matter. The Lakers would win Game 2.

After a shot like Kobe's, teams don't lose.

Not a game.

Not a series.

Ask San Antonio. The Spurs can tell you all about Derek Fisher's answered prayer in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals.

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I didn't watch Game 6. Didn't need to.

Some plays define a series. Fisher's shot. Tayshaun Prince's block of what was supposed to be an uncontested lay-up by Reggie Miller that gave the Pistons all the momentum in their Eastern Conference series with the Pacers. And now, Kobe's 25-foot bomb.

Had Detroit headed home for tonight's Game 3 with a 2-0 lead, all the pundits who wrongly predicted an NBA Finals mismatch would be eating crow. This Pistons team is really good, and has been since the trade for Rasheed Wallace. They don't back down from anybody, not even Shaq, Kobe and L.A.

It doesn't matter now.

In most championship series, be it the World Series, the Stanley Cup finals or the NBA Finals, one play is looked at as the play that turned the series, the play that catapulted a team to the title.

Kobe made that play.

The Lakers will be champions.

(Unless the fabled Kauffman jinx strikes them down. Columnists always have ulterior motives.)




Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at kauffman@herald-mail.com

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