The NBA’s reigning MVP makes his only visit of the season to Dallas tonight as the strug-guh-leeng Mavericks host the undefeated Lakers. Two questions:
*Will Kobe Bryant go off?
*Will he even need to?
It was three years ago that Kobe infamously torched the Mavs for 62 points – through three quarters! Despite sitting the final 12 minutes – the 62 could’ve been 80, or more – Kobe set the Mavs’ record for points by an opponent.
Not sure if he’ll provide those kinds of memories tonight, but the climate seems ripe.
The Mavs are currently clueless. Dirk Nowitzki is questioning their effort. Josh Howard is out with an injured wrist. With a loss tonight Dallas will produce its first 0-3 start in American Airlines Center. (The last 0-3 home start was in Reunion Arena with the Quinn Buckner-led 13-win season of 1993-94.) The Mavs have surrendered fourth-quarter runs of 16-2, 13-0 and 13-0 in three of their four losses. The Lakers, meanwhile, have won their five games by an average of 22 points.
I assume coach Rick Carlisle will throw at Kobe a combo of Antoine Wright, Gerald Green and maybe even Jason Kidd. I also assume Bryant is snickering at the thought. His high this season is only 33. In other words, he’s due.
So, I ask you MFFLers, how many points do the Mavs limit Kobe to tonight? (FYI, the AAC record is Dirk’s 53.)
Looking into my crystal roundball, I see 43. You? – Richie Whitt