The “rise-up” is no doubt one of the incomparable skills of Kobe Bryant, and even opposing coaches actually recognize this fact.
The rise-up is Bryant’s signature move on the court wherein a defender is covering him on all sides, blocking his perfect view and keeping him from making a serious drive, but Kobe does the unexpected, making that perfect leap and leaning as far as he can, whether backward or forward, and releasing a perfect jumper in the process.
During the last minute of the LA Lakers victory against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night, where the Lakers secured their victory for the conference, Bryant was up against Grant Hill, concluding his performance that earned him 37 points. The Lakers will then go into the finals with an opportunity to take vengeance on the Celtics. Bryant had to contend with Hill all the time, but he always managed to evade the veteran forward, leaping successfully and wrapping up a winning 23-footer.
Bryant is in the middle of one of the most impressive playoff runs of his entire basketball career, and this has nothing to do with the fact that his numbers are bigger than in any previous season. For the past 11 games of the Lakers, he was able to score 30 points and furthermore has led the team even with a wounded center, unpredictable starters, and minimal bench help from Lamar Odom, beginning Thursday evening at the Staples Center.
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If only Bryant had not been his usual excellent self, the Suns would have had some opportunity at beating the defending champions. Averaging 33.7 points, he was able to secure 7.2 rebounds and 8.3 assists while accomplishing 52.1 percent of his shots, continually beating Phoenix in the process.
Bryant, however, remains indifferent to his uncanny ability at rising up whenever called for, having mastered that awe-inspiring shot that no one else in the NBA can duplicate. Bryant said that he needed to make a bit of space, after having had a good look and knowing that the shot was a tougher one than usual. He was able to knock it down of course.
Bryant will be getting a four-day leave, which he will spend resting before the finals. While he had been unable to practice during the entire spring while dealing with injuries, Bryant is fully aware how he will prepare himself for the 2-month playoffs, after having been to the NBA finals six times.
Although he claims that he does not care which team the Lakers will contend with during the finals, he is also not too direct about his injuries or his plans. He admits though that he is looking forward to the battle, the confrontation up ahead.
During playoffs, Bryant is best known for his focus, showing this especially by making short responses to reporters during interviews, oftentimes with just one-word answers. This unrelenting focus so evident in Bryant is reminiscent of the way Michael Jordan used to be, who was able to win a total of six championships. Bryant will possibly relish his fifth should he be able to steer the Lakers in the right course.
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