Kobe Bryant made a triumphant return to the Lake show last night. The Lakers trumped the Grizzlies in the most exciting of fashions. What a surprise. Bryant hits another game winner. Kobe hit a big time three to tie the game with around a minute left. Then capped things off with a go ahead 3 pointer with a few seconds left in the game. OJ Mayo’s rebuttal at the buzzer clanked off the back of the rim.
For those of you who do not remember, in one of Kobe’s last games before the injury at the beginning of February, Kobe passed the ball to an open Ron Artest for the game winning three-point attempt as time expired. Artest missed the open look and the Lakers lost. On this night, Phil Jackson and Kobe knew better and made sure that the superstar got to shoot in the end. This was Kobe’s 5th game winner of the season. Talk about Mr. Clutch.
One of the background stories in this game was the old lion vs new lion. The superstar vs the up and coming star. Bryant vs Mayo. O.J. Mayo is one of the finest talents in the League at this time. For those of you from the Cincinnati area, you must remember the O.J. Mayo show that hit Cincinnati a few years back. O.J. and his traveling all-star buddy, Bill Walker, took Cincinnati high school hoops by storm for a three-year period. Mayo enjoyed beating up on the likes of Cincinnati Country Day and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. I will never understand why Mayo decided to go to a division three school like North College Hill and not a big time division 1 program. Either way, the kid turned out fine and is playing fantastic basketball.
In a way, O.J. played the part of the kids from those smaller schools like Cincinnati Country Day last evening to an extent. He did everything in his power to keep up with the king of smooth, Kobe Bryant. Unfortunately for him, he will probably never be as good as Kobe. Just like those lesser opponents he played in high school a few short years back will never be as good as him. In a way it is karma. O.J. beat up on the rich kids and now the Kobe Bryants of the world are going to beat up on him (on the court obviously).
Now O.J. is having a phenomenal year scoring nearly 18 points a game. Also he did put up 25 last evening. But he was unable to come up with the big shot down the stretch and showed why he is not quite on the level with Kobe and Lebron. Mayo is very comparable to a John Wall type prospect. He is just more polished at this time. Both are 6 4 guys who can play both the 1 or 2. Wall has more speed than Mayo. But Mayo can shoot more proficiently.
It will be interesting to see how both Mayo and Wall develop and I will be very curious to see them match up next year in the League. Maybe Mayo will take on the Kobe role and show the young fella who is boss. Mayo is only 22 years old by the way.
So Kobe comes back with a fury last evening dropping 32 points and willing his team to a hard-fought victory. O.J. Mayo will keep getting better, but on this night, anything he could do Kobe could do better.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.