The Captain woke up very early this morning for the basketball cup of the Sports Festival of Hong Kong Teachers Association (i am not a teacher but i was invited to participate since i coach a middle school team here in Hong Kong).
It was raining heavily outside and quite obviously that it was going to be cancelled since we had to play in outdoor courts. Though my main man - Michael aka "The Textbook" called me and said that the Association sms'd him earlier telling him that we still had to go, so we went. To be honest, i did not really want to play today because the Lakers VS Nuggets game was on. For me not wanting to play? You know how big and attractive the game was.
Very fortunate, well sorta, that the cup was finally cancelled due to the unstable weather. I was already out eating breakfast while enjoying Game 3 with Textbook and other teammates, so we had decided to stay in the restaurant and to finish the game.
I was so excited because both teams are my favorites. My man KB24 going up against my boy Melo, who has been having red-hot stroke. Watching this game is tough for me because i love both of them as well as their teams. I even use Denver as my dynasty team in NBA 2K9 and most of the time when i play against good 2K9 users, i choose L.A.
Let me break down their rosters before i share my thoughts on the game here.
L.A. - with the King (no LBJ, sorry) leading the team as the spearhead, D-Fish is sharing his invaluable experiences, Odom keeps up his versataility, Gasol is good but needs to get tougher, Ariza is making a name for himself, so is Shannon Brown with his penetration and defense, Vujacic keeps hitting 3's, Farmer is up and down, Bynum is forgiven due to his injuries.
Denver - the leadership of Billups is probably the most valuable asset of them all, Melo is arguably the best pure scorer in NBA plus he finally defenses, Birdman is having a block party, while J.R. Smith enjoys doing whatever he wants to do on the court, K-Mart is back to the top, Nene shows you some Brazilian style on his dunks, Dahtay Jones tries to tear up the defence, Anthony Carter provides stability and Kleiza gives you sparks from beyond the arc.
It was intense throughout the whole game. They were exchanging leads fairly frequent in the last quarter. Honestly, i wanted Lakers to win, probably because i like Kobe more than Melo. But i like Nuggets more than Lakers.
You often hear people say, 'you never win until the game finishes'. That's so true and you could generally say that the 4th quarter is the most important quarter out of 4. In the 4th quarter, i saw the difference between great players and good players. When you look at Melo's eyes, you don't see the fire whereas when you look at Kobe's eyes, you can see the determination and how bad he wants to win it.
During the 4th quarter, i saw Melo messing up shots, he was forcing shots, missing free throws and got fouled out towards the end of the game. On the other hand, Kobe was quietly doing his thing, hitting 5 of his last 6 free throws and made a game-commanding 3 in the face of J.R. Smith plus a possible foul, which did not get called.
All these classified the players from good and great with their psychological standards, willingness and desire to win it all.
Kobe, who did not do very well on defense in game 2, desperately wanted to make up for the loss of game 2 at home. He was full on aggressive on offense throughout the whole game, who ended up scoring 41 points along with well-planned 'foul' strategies by Phil Jackson and his coaching staff, led to a win in Denver.