3 votes – Kobe Bryant. Hard to go past the Mamba. A day after his coach called him out for bad shot selection, Mamba’s shot fell when it needed to in the fourth (15 points) as he out-dueled Kevin Durant on the way to 39. Kobe showed that he can still pour in the points when needed, and every 39 of those was needed to stop an upset in LA. This game might have killed the Thunder off for good, at least you get that feeling listening to Coach Scott Brooks: “That was about as well as we can play and we came up a little short”. A historical point of note – Kobe is now only 16 points behind Jerry West on the all-time playoff points scoring list. When he passes West – next game you’d think – he will sit 5th on that list. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are watching the fifth most prolific playoff scorer in the history of the NBA. Enjoy every moment.
2 votes – Pau Gasol. Only Pau Gasol could play a game like this and still be completely overshadowed by his teammate. 25 points on 8-14 shooting, 9-13 from the stripe, 12 rebounds and 2 assists, and get this – 19 more points than the next guy on the Lakers roster! It was, without doubt, a more complete and more efficient game than Kobe’s. But do you think Pau Gasol made any headlines after this game? No. Of course not. Two votes on Day 4 is all the cred he’ll get.
1 vote – Ray Allen. Look out, Ray is back! In a performance that can only be described as “typically Ray Allen”, the Man with No Hair connected on 9 of his 13 shots – 7 of which came from long distance. It just goes to show that no matter how crap Ray Allen plays for weeks on end, he still can turn in a gem like this when he wants to. I very nearly gave this vote to Joe Johnson who sealed the win in the fourth quarter for the Hawks in a battle with the Bucks. Ray didn’t have to seal this one. He just cruised around, shot a few open threes, didn’t have to sweat much, and looked good in the process. You know, a typical Ray Allen game.