Tonight the Utah Jazz (3-0) look to make it 4-0 with a win against the injury hampered Los Angeles Lakers (1-2). It's October. It's the preseason. And most of his running mates are going to sit this one out. So, honestly, you have to ask yourself if Kobe Bryant is even going to care tonight . . . or this season. A lot of talk has been made about his legacy, and he's almost certain to surpass Michael Jordan in total regular season points this season (he's less than 600 points off, which he is sure to get from the free throw line against small market teams this year alone). He's about two and a half seasons behind Karl Malone, and I don't know if he's going to care enough to go for it. Most Lakers fans I've talked to are honest about the fact that this team is a few years away from getting on the right track, despite having a collection of nice players to build around. Kobe has to be honest with himself too. If he's all about winning championships then he just isn't going to be in the hunt for any more with the Lakers. And if he comes into this season gunning then we know he's putting his legacy ahead of the needs of this team. It's a tough situation for the Mamba. But if you were him you'd probably go down shooting too, right?
That's what the Lakers are going to need tonight as they face one of the surprisingly okay defenses in the NBA right now in the Utah Jazz. Utah is holding teams down to 89.0 ppg in three games against Western Conference playoff contenders so far this preseason. Call it a combination of luck, the other teams missing shots, or fundamentally smart team defense -- right now it's working. And the greatest test for them will be one of the greater scorers All-time in Kobe Bryant.
For his career he has played 57 regular season games against the Jazz. And in that time he has averaged 25.9 ppg, a few seasons ago that mark was around 28+ ppg, but age is slowing him down. For the record, Kobe has gone for 30+ against the Jazz 31 times in his career (including playoffs). His highest output was 52 points back in 2006. He shot 73.1 FG% against our squad, and only went to the line 15 times. (Only.) He was just on fire from the field, and no one could stop him. The Jazz did win that game, but still, a snake's head detached from its' body is still deadly.
And with an injured Lakers squad with a Kobe on a mission, that's just what they are.
Bean went 3-13 in his last game, and probably wants to finish with more than 6 points this time around. But that's under the assumption that he cares about a preseason game in Anaheim, in the middle of the week, on NBA TV. If Kobe cares is going to be something to watch for the rest of his season, and career, going forward. If he cares tonight, the Jazz could be in trouble with our shooting guard depth somewhat in question (as Alec Burks and Carrick Felix were reported earlier today to be game time decisions).
The Lakers are going to be something to watch this season with Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash, Carlos Boozer, JOrdan Hill, and company. And Jazz fans love Ronnie Price to pieces. There's something to watch here tonight too -- an early indication of what to expect from Kobe this season. His team is already injured, and the game doesn't matter one bit to his legacy. Is he going to come out shooting, or not care?
With all the injuries tonight roll 3d6 and find out who the starting lineups are. I presume for the Jazz you're going to see Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors again. For the Lakers? Your guess is as good as mine.
And that's kinda the deal with them going forward I presume.
It's going to be a tough year or two in Tinseltown. At the end of his career Charlton Heston was in a lot of bad movies. I think we're going to see Kobe be a part of a bunch of bad teams going forward.
Enjoy the ride while it lasts. It's tough to see a legend's last few seasons end in futility. This is one thing Jazz fans and Lakers fans have in common, for once.
The Game tonight is on NBA TV at 8 pm MT.
GO JAZZ GO!
Who is going to win tonight?
This poll is closed
The Utah Jazz (3-0)
The Los Angeles Lakers (1-2)