Kobe Bryant hasn’t played good defense this year. He has even admitted that it’s difficult for him to carry both the offense and defense for the Los Angeles Lakers. But in the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, Bryant was on the top of his defensive game in the fourth quarter.
With the task of slowing LeBron James, Bryant was outstanding. In the fourth, he blocked James twice and also stole the ball from him. James was only able to score one point in the fourth quarter on a late free throw.
Bryant wasn’t doing much on offense — he had nine points on nine shots. But on the other end, the Lakers legend illustrated why he’s one of the most competitive people on the planet. He had the task of slowing James and he was masterful.
As for James, this won’t be seen as a big deal. He got the monkey off his back last year when he won the NBA championship with the Miami Heat. Now that he has shed his label as a loser, James can simply move on.
Truthfully, the Lakers will look at this tape and be a little surprised. Where is this effort during the regular season? Why is Bryant only a stopper in the All-Star game? In their bid to make the playoffs, Los Angeles will undoubtedly ask Bryant to show All-Star level effort on the defensive end.
As James can attest, that would be bad news for Bryant’s opponents.