The Reunion That Would Tear Kobe





DENVER – Game 3 of Lakers-Nuggets is a few hours away at Pepsi Center on a beautiful day around the Rocky Mountains, and the building subplot isn’t far behind: Derek Fisher against his old team and, more to the emotional point, Derek Fisher against his old backcourt running mate.

Kobe Bryant does not love the idea. But with Fisher and the Thunder in complete control of their first-round series against the Mavericks and the Lakers in position to take the same 3-0 lead against the Nuggets tonight, Los Angeles vs. Oklahoma City in the Western Conference semifinals is quickly moving from likely to inevitable.

Bryant obviously wants the second round. And he may even want the Thunder, the young opponent that has been trying to push the Lakers into a retirement home for years, the opponent that spent most of the regular season as West favorites.

But looking forward to facing Fisher, a close friend and confidant?

Not so much.

“I’d be a little torn,” Bryant told NBA.com. “I’ve always wanted to see him do well, I’m always pulling for him and so forth. But at the same time, being great friends, somebody has to win and I’d rather it be me.”

Bryant admitting that much – that he would be torn – is a rare side of the superstar shooting guard who thirsts for competition. But the situation is that unique, the way they came into the league together with the Lakers, won titles together, became trusted teammates in the way Bryant trusted few from any part of his life, and now the way Fisher was traded to Houston as the pair was beginning to line up another playoff run.

Fisher reached a buyout with the Rockets and signed with the Thunder to back up Russell Westbrook at point guard. Bryant, meanwhile, had to move forward without him, although with hopes of getting Fisher to re-sign with the Lakers in the summer. Even now, even though they had been separated once before, it seems weird to Bryant to be at this stage without Fisher.

“It is,” he said. “It’s different. I find myself having to do the bulk of the speaking and things like that about certain things here and there. Normally it would be something he would say. It’s definitely different.”

Just nothing like the feelings if (when) he faces Fisher in the next round.

50 Comments

  1. GONZO says:

    its gonna be a tough series, LAL on OKC.
    experience and coolness will be a factor! if either team can make the opponent frustrated would give them a huge advantage. think about performances from MWP, Bynum (last year vs. DAL) or ego shooting nights from westbrook.
    he’s the key, for me. If he plays more like Rondo, I see him become a superstar and bye-bye LA. But he also could fall deep, when failing to be a floor general.
    Right now I feel a slight advantage for LAL, but OKC got home court. Like I said, a tough one. The outcome is crucial for the SEASON, because winner will face the spurs and then the heat.

  2. happening22 says:

    anybody can try to start a debate on this comment right here i will win

  3. happening22 says:

    LAKERS DONT CARE IF ITS IN FOUR FIVE SIX OR SEVEN WILL WIN GUARANTEED

  4. happening22 says:

    buddy your just wow dont you remember the last game the played when mwp shut down Durant tell he was ejected and westbrook could do nothing with koby guarding him.

    • happening22 says:

      buddy your just wow dont you remember the last game they played when mwp shut down Durant tell he was ejected and westbrook could do nothing with koby guarding him this is for asdfasf

  5. asdfasf says:

    First lakers has to get past denver they play hard at home i see it going 6 or 7. roound two alot of people forget thunder was built for lakers which is why they got perkins who can guard any center. Ibaka can gaurd gasol if gasol plays like the girl he play a season. lakers have no stop fo durant or westbrook artest to slow for durant and durant dont need to get to the rim to score like lebron alittle space and he has a good shot. westbrook needs to hit his mid range shot cause he gets them when he wants to help defense comes ibaka has the open jumper. only way lakres have a chance if bynum the star of the series and kobe wont allow that to much ego

  6. kngdom of Jogis says:

    Iam die hard fan of Lakers and playing against Thunder in the second round is a great match and Thunder might win .

  7. what says:

    whoever thinks the nuggets can beat the lakers is an idiot and doesn’t know basketball. Second round matchup OKC Vs LAL… LAL goin to win in 7

  8. danmar says:

    session you must play better on the ball defense and in the next series against okc pressure west the full court to wear him down the let blake sub you for a spell..

  9. danmar says:

    if lakers play big man basketball..i mean post up everyone including session vs fisher(when he s in the game) or any other point guard other than taller westbrook the lakers can and will when win aleast 3 0r 4 more championships before kobe retires.They have an overwhelming mismatch up front with bynum,gasul and hill..no other team have that…all the on the teams including the east play small ball..Now when the lakers go to the post those guys have to play strong.either score the basket or get filed then knock down the free throw..they must recognize which big man is rolling and continue to explot him and make the defense collapse that frees up outside shots which kobe,session and barnes must hit those shots…Stick with the game plan kobe..if you are rolling go get if you are not rolling get someone until you are ready…let s win this thing for the few years bynum and hill are your young guns..

    • HeatFan27 says:

      Lakers won’t win this match up. They lost 2-1 in the regular season. Ibaka is the best shot-blocker in the NBA today so the Lakers won’t drive the lane. Durant and Westbook score with higher FG% than Kobe. The lakers bench is weaker. In short the Lakers have virtually nothing going for them, However, the Lakers will still win probably two games so my guess is the Thunder in 6.

  10. Parth Yadav says:

    OKC will come out with a win over the Lakers. While Bynum could prove to be a problem, Durant will be a defensive monster on the night. Lakers don’t have anyone to match up with Durant when OKC is on offense either. If OKC runs pick and rolls, Kobe loses Westbrook and Westbrook will score. They hate Metta-World-Peace and will play so hard that Lakers age and lack of depth will lose out. Serge Ibaka will block so many shots and Kendrick Perkins will go beast. Expect a blowout series on this one

    • danmar says:

      durant is not a good defender he can be lit up…hardy and perkins carry that team…with dirty work called defense…

  11. noyb says:

    DFish will get the sweet taste of revenge! OKC will maul LAL in the 2nd rnd. Won’t even be close (4-1, or something like that).

  12. Gventura says:

    It will depend on how will both teams control the tempo, If lakers will defintely have to dominate the paint if they really want to win as it is therir only advantage. The X factor will be Ebanks, Barnes and Worldpeace, they need to control Durant to average around 25ppg so that they could have a great chance of winning the series. As of Westbrook, I believe Sessions could match up well against him. For me it’s Lakers in 6.

    • ledzepage says:

      I really think sessions is gonna suffer agianst Westbrook, and youve all been mentioning Durant Russel Ibaka and even Perk but missed James Harden!!! I think “the beard” is gonna be the real game changer if this series happens.

      • danmar says:

        I’LL GIVE THE LAKERS A CHANCE THEY ARE BATTLED TESTED AND THEY WILL NOT BE PUSHED AROUND..I WILL TELL THIS,THERE WILL BE NO “MADE FOR TV DUNKS BY OKC”..THE NO-LAYUP RULE HAVE JUST BEEN DISCUSSED.

  13. akosibonik says:

    im a lebron fan, and i want to see kobe and him in the finals. to settle who is the real deal. it’s like pacquiao vs mayweather. i hope God will hear me! lakers vs okc, lakers are favored because of two words. DEFENSE and MAMBA.

  14. ernzsports says:

    lakers were beaten in game 3 by the nuggets… being so overconfident will kill them. If they continue on this kind of attitude okc will beat them. I hope not coz im a laker fan, no team can overpower bynum, gasol and kobe when they are in their best form.

  15. Dan Wolves says:

    don’t speak too soon, Nuggets are just down 1 game to 2.

    • danmar says:

      LETS GIVE THE DENVER FRONT OFFICE CREDIT THEY DUMP MELO,KENYON MARTIN,JR SMITH,MARCUS CAMBY AND NA NA..THAT S ALOT OF MONEY AND HERE THEY ARE TRYING BUT WILL COME UP SHORT..NO TITLE IN DENVER FURTHER MORE NO NFL TITLE EITHER..I LUV MANNING..BUT NO…

  16. objective says:

    Heeeelll YEah OKC will destroy Lakers !!!! Period !!!! Since when do the Lakers pound the ball inside ??? I rest my case. It’s gonna be a showdown how many times can Kobe shoot the ball without any consideration with his teammates. And besides who’s gonna stop mister Westbrook ? Gasol is gonna be posterized like 3 times and Serge Ibaka is gonna make him cry. And PLease recognized that Durant is the better player. Thank god there’s enough towels for the tears for the Lakers as wel as yours ( ignorant Lakers fans) and be aware : i’m not even a OKC fan. But Respect is DUE tho the ones who deserve it. Kobe will never get his 6th ring, DEAL WITH IT !!!!!

  17. point is says:

    point is, there wont be OKC vs LA, Denver WILL beat LA, and they just proved it with game 3 win

  18. Flying Raijin_41 says:

    lakers will win against the thunder….Laker have the edge over the young thunder…

  19. Francisco says:

    kobe chokes again 7out of 23 , 3 points in fourth quater , closer what a joke?

  20. Chris says:

    I’m happy that the Lakers aren’t going to sweep the Nuggets. Sure, if they swept the Nuggets, all the players would get rest. But I think the most important thing is to get rid of the 6 postgames, now 3 postgames left, without Metta World Peace first. If the Lakers can go 4-1 against the Nuggets, that would leave 1 game without MWP against Thunder. If they can get rid of all 6 games with the Nuggets and go 4-2, that would be perfect. They would have MWP in the first game against the Thunder. If the Lakers are at full strength, I don’t think you can count them out.

  21. kobe24 says:

    Lets not forget who’s gonna be back by then. MWP lol

  22. Sick says:

    after second round the lakers will go fishing… LOL

    • danmar says:

      DONT LAUGH TO LOUD..THAT ELBOW BY MWP WAS NOT ABOUT THAT REGULAR SEASON GAME IT WAS A MESSAGE TO LET OKC KNOW THIS IS HOW IT S GONNA BE IN THE PLAYOFFS..THE NO-LAYUP RULE IS ON..NOW LOL….

  23. twolves says:

    Thunder 4-3.

  24. ChrisBrown says:

    As a laker fan i would love to see this match up and see weather if KD if up for the challenge and ready to take over. But as a laker fan too i’ve never seen KB so determined. Best of luck for both teams hope they’ll give us a helluva series.

  25. anthony says:

    im expecting a good series from these two teams but the lakers are just getting two old ii say durant will have the slight edge over kobe but andrew bynum and russel westbrook will be the difference okc 4-2

  26. LakersRus says:

    The Thunder has a great team but I’m more worried about San Antonio! It’s hard to find any weakness in their game! Go Lakers! The Lakers are doing better than I thought they would! I hope they stay focused and play great defense cause that is the key! I’ve been a Laker fan since 1996! They haven’t disappointed me!

  27. uh...yeah... says:

    If Bynum and Gasol can dominate Ibaka and Perkins, the Lakers got this. However, if they don’t I doubt Kobe alone can out carry Westbrook and Durant at the wing.

  28. Louiemdc says:

    Thunder wins it. 4-1

  29. The Real Question says:

    To beat Fisher or not, is NOT the question facing Kobe (and the Lakers).

    The real question is whether the Lakers want to keep pace with the Thunder (wrap up their series in 4, in order to be as fresh as their next opponents) OR burn games to ensure Meta’s defense is available to them from the beginning against OKC .

    Your opinion Mr. Howard-Cooper, please.

  30. Daniel Hoch says:

    This is a rather interesting behavior we are seeing out of a guy who has said boldly that he has ‘ice water throught his veins’. I love it honestly, because this is a new side of Kobe that nobody has ever seen before. Either way you put it, the Lakers-Thunder series has the potential to go the distance, but i think that the Lakers will be better equipped for OKC than OKC for the Lakers. But…that is why they play the game

  31. green_d says:

    But at the same time OKC is ridiculous!!! Like watching them play!

  32. green_d says:

    Kobe is still the man, period dot!

  33. HeatNation says:

    I think OKC will win in 7

  34. karen says:

    thunder will win the series against lakers in the second round…..

  35. ITS WAR says:

    It will be a great series OKC vs LAkers both GREAT TEAMS the winner might be decided in the small details and luck

  36. Domainsnext says:

    That’s Kobe being Kobe, the great player, the great philosopher, the great politician, but when it comes to winning may God have mercy on the opponent, it doesn’t matter how close he is to his heart. Lakers win the Thunder 4-2.

    • Subway Soup says:

      DREAMER 4-1 thunder thunder up!

    • That is going to be a great matchup! I think experience and the size of the Lakers will beat out the youth of the Thunder. As long as the Lakers pound the ball inside, can shoot a decent field goal percentage, slow the game and their bench plays like it has been and not like the beginning of the season they will be the victors. If they don’t do those things I think OKC will beat the Lakers, as they have a deeper bench and they are fast. The thing that hurts OKC is later in games they tend to settle for jump shots rather than drive to the basket and Durrant and Westbrook tend to take too many shots. If their shot is off it really hurts the team. They need to work on ball movement and using their big guys more. If they do that on a consistent basis, I think OKC would be tough to beat.
      I myself am a Laker fan and hope Kobe gets his 6th ring, but OKC will put up a big fight. I look forward to a great series!

    • Gerald Gatewood says:

      @Domainsnext: Man…I hope you are right…but I agree with kevin nicholls INDIANAPOLIS…I don’t think the Lakers have enough firepower to match the Thunder…But there was never a time I hoped to be proven wrong until now!!! I WANT THE LAKERS TO WIN IT!!!!!

    • --- says:

      lakers win against the thunder 4-2? impossible. thunder will definitely win. you must be a lakers fan…

  37. two hard fought games has woke the thunder up i don’t think the lakers are ready for that thunder to much talent and depth for lakers