By Mac Moore
As the regular season winds to a close , the only story for a playoff push falls apart. Or more accurately tears an Achilles.
Kobe is done… with the Lakers… if they’re smart. Basically, he said he plans to retire after next season. Even if the Black Mamba recovers faster than most humans, the 34 year-old won’t play until after January. He definitely won’t reach top form before the playoffs next season.
Instead he will just cost the Lakers $80 million in luxury tax, according to ESPN reporter Bill Simmons. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban might go from fool to prophet after discussing the possibility of using an amnesty on Bryant. Even in top health, is Kobe leading a team that almost didn’t make the playoffs worth $80 million? No.
The Achilles tendon won’t end Kobe’s career. It will however leave the Lakers with a choice and the situation already wasn’t ideal for winning a championship. The Lakers will have to make a tough decision, then Kobe will have to figure out what he will do from there.
As I said in my trade deadline column, few teams would be able to compete with the Heat. I said this before, the Heat went on their ridiculous 27 game winning streak. Initially it looked like the lack of moves would leave the Heat with little competition until the Finals.
Not so fast. Before the season I made a long shot bet with my co-worker. We both had to pick the MVP but could pick neither LeBron James or Kevin Durant. He picked James Harden who was not too shabby in his first season with the Rockets. I picked Carmelo Anthony. If LeBron didn’t put up one of the most impressive seasons in NBA history, I might have won this bet.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to a 13 game win streak and the second seed in the East. During the winning streak, he shot so unbelievably well that he surpassed Kevin Durant for league scoring leader, averaging 38.6 pts/gm in April, according to NBA.com.
Normally, excessive scoring by Anthony leads to the rest of Knicks falling out of rhythm on offense. Not during this stretch. The team has shot lights out and look to have a staunch defense once Tyson Chandler comes back from injuries.
While the competition out West looks fierce, the memorable series this June might be when the Heat face off with the Knicks in the Conference Finals. The Knicks have the fire power, they have beat the Heat three out of four times this season and won by double digits all three times. I’m excited for the playoffs.
Contact Mac Moore, sports editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org