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.
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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