By: Kyle Tooley ~Staff Writer~
We’re only a few days into the NBA playoffs, and fans are already starting to get upset. In the first two nights, four games were separated by 25 points or more, Steph Curry didn’t play in the Warriors’ second game and Kevin Durant missed 26 shots in the Thunder’s Game 2 loss.
Why couldn’t the playoffs just be like the regular season’s final day?
April 13 was a historic day for NBA fans everywhere, as heading into the evening we knew that the Warriors were on the verge of winning an NBA record 73 games and that Kobe Bryant would be making his final appearance on a basketball court. It was such a big day that ESPN could not decide which game to air on what channel: Warriors vs. Grizzlies and Lakers vs. Jazz. The stage was set.
To the surprise of few, the Warriors cruised to their 73rd win of the season with a 125-104 win over an injury-ridden Memphis team. They were officially the best regular season team in the history of basketball, and with Steph at the helm, ESPN was about to lose its mind over the following few days. That is, of course, unless something crazy happened in the Lakers’ game.
Something crazy did happen in the Lakers’ game.
Kobe Bryant, in his final NBA game of what is most definitely a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, scored 60 points. Granted, he scored the 60 points on 50 shots (the most in a single game in NBA history) in 42 minutes, but he still managed to take over the game when it mattered most. Vintage Kobe reappeared with about three minutes to play with the Lakers down eight. Without missing a shot, Kobe scored 15 points in the final minutes to lead the Lakers to a 101-96 victory at the Staples Center. It was a captivating performance that had the media in a frenzy.
It seems that Kobe Bryant is one of the few players who could overshadow a team winning its 73rd regular season game. A fitting ending for an historic season.