Kobe Bryant is the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player, and has been known in the past to take over games and basically drag his teams to victory, whether they like it or not. According to his coach though, there's a very fine line between doing so to help the team, and trying to do too much, to the point that it could end up being costly. And apparently, Phil Jackson was of the opinion that Kobe's fourth quarter during the team's easy-turned-difficult win over the Hornets was an example of the latter scenario.
Before the game, Phil was praising Kobe for involving his teammates, and seemingly knowing now when it's okay for him to take over. But after his team almost gave a game away in New Orleans, Phil thought that Kobe lost that judgment for a bit, especially during the fourth quarter.
"He was doing too much at the end of the ball game," Jackson said. "We should have had him off ball a few times so it wasn't always him on ball. But he came through with the big shot that kind of clinched it."
A couple of things here. Since the Lakers were facing the upstart Hornets -- a team who finished just a game behind them in the standings last season -- it was important for them to hang on to win that game. For better or worse, Kobe's going to take over when his team's on the verge of blowing a big lead on the road to a contender like that; it's just who he is.
Equally important (at least to Kobe) was the fact that James Posey was guarding him late in the game, and after Posey's performance in the NBA Finals against L.A. as a member of the Celtics, Kobe was clearly in revenge mode. During a regular season game in November, we should have no problem with Kobe wanting to get this out of his system, especially when he's able to come through the way he did when the game was on the line, by hitting a three-pointer to seal it with Posey all over him.
In the past, Kobe has definitely been guilty of not trusting his teammates and trying to do too much on his own. And hey, maybe Phil Jackson was just making sure that his star didn't start to revert back to playing that style of ball. But against the Hornets, he came through when it mattered most, and ended up getting the team a victory -- while at the same time, getting himself at least a little bit of personal satisfaction.