Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kobe Vs. LeBron Tonight: It's Still More About Team

The NBA's two premiere superstars face off in Cleveland tonight. You know I'm talking about Kobe and LeBron. The lights will be on for a nationally televised game on TNT tonight at 8 PM Eastern. Now that everyone is about half way through their season in terms of games, this game is more a mid season report card than a one-on-one game between Bryant and James.

The Lakers should remember the Christmas beating the Cavs delivered to them at home earlier this season. Los Angeles didn't execute well throughout that entire game and the level of complacency was not acceptable. Now that the road games are beginning to pile up on the Lakers, it's time for them to prove that they can win big games on the road. You know they'll be up and ready to start this game, but the consistency (LA is 9-6 on the road) is something that must be shown to put them over the top.

Cleveland just has to show the average NBA fan how they've hit their stride. The chemistry is back from last season, the new parts are fitting together nicely and though they've still got to improve, they've shown they can make noise come playoff time. I really don't want to see a lot of LeBron isolation plays in the crunch time. One key to watch is how Mike Brown wants the Cavs to execute down the stretch and how the Lakers attempt to stop LeBron James.

Phil Jackson will have a firm idea of who is the man to come and double LeBron and how to swing the defense accordingly when he makes the pass. This will be what makes or breaks any team that plays Cleveland in a playoff series.

I'm picking the Cavs to come out on top of this one in close fashion. LeBron will make a play, whether it be him taking a shot or a teammate getting an easy bucket; that will sway the game Cleveland's way. The Lakers will play well and bring the intensity, but they're still learning how to deal with road tests and this exam won't be too easy.