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Article By: TK The Rocket, NHO Administrator
We finally reached the big day that many fans have been waiting for. Children opened up their presents, while Santa Claus delivered a special gift to the NBA fans this year. The Miami Heat went up against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, however, the game was most advertised as “Kobe vs. Shaq”.
In a previous interview between Shaquille O’Neal and Al Michaels last Monday, O‘Neal referred himself as a brick wall and Kobe Bryant, his former teammate, as a Corvette. When asked what would happen if Bryant drove the lane, O'Neal replied: "When you've got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you know what's going to happen." We found out when Kobe Bryant drove the lane and was denied by Shaquille O’Neal in the opening drive. However, as the game went on, Bryant seemed to be scoring many points from all areas of the court. With the game coming to a close in the fourth quarter, O’Neal tied the game after dunking off of a missed shot with only three minutes to go. Forty-five seconds later, Shaquille O’Neal fouled out of the game after Kobe Bryant drove the lane and drew the foul. Bryant proved to be more dominant than O’Neal on this night, and it showed when Bryant drew O’Neal’s fifth and sixth fouls with under five minutes left in the game.
How can this be? It’s “Shaq vs. Kobe”, there’s still left time in the game, and there is no “Shaq” left. Someone from the Miami Heat had to play at a higher level to give the team a chance to beat the Lakers. The team focused on the same man that had been playing great all game, and he goes by the name of Dwayne Wade. After Bryant made both free throws, Wade didn’t waste anytime. Wade went in for a lay-up to tie the game with under two minutes remaining in the game. Christian Laettner from the Miami Heat, and Lamar Odom from the Los Angeles Lakers both made one of two free throws to tie the game at 94-94. With a timeout by Miami with 44 seconds left and Christian Laettner’s offensive rebound, Dwayne Wade had two chances to win the game. He missed both jumpers and the game went into overtime.
Overtime had arrived with no Shaquille O’Neal. It started with Lamar Odom making a bad pass that landed in Dwayne Wade’s hands. Eddie Jones from the Heat hit a 17 foot jumper assisted by Wade within the first 20 seconds. Lamar Odom was not about to let that pass bother him. He went on to score all eight points for the Lakers in overtime, and he finished with 24 points in the entire game. Miami took a timeout with less than 30 seconds left in overtime. They had a two point lead, and they also had possession of the ball. It lead to a shot clock violation, without the Heat getting a good look at a shot towards the basket. With three seconds still remaining in the game, the Lakers had one last chance to tie or win the game. Everyone knew who the ball was going to; Kobe Bryant. Kobe was guarded by two defenders but had a decent look at a three point field goal to win the game. Everyone held their breath, and for a split second the Staples Center went silent in anticipation. The shot fell short and the Miami Heat had defeated the Los Angeles Lakers thanks to a great 29 point, 10 assist night by Dwayne Wade. Shaquille O’Neal, after fouling out of the game early, had 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Ultimately, this game came down to teamwork. The “Shaq vs. Kobe” game was no longer with O’Neal out and Bryant in desperate need of his teammates. Bryant did all that he could, scoring a game-high 42 points, with 6 assists, and shooting a perfect 13-13 at the free throw line. With O’Neal unable to help out his teammates, Dwayne Wade and Eddie Jones worked together enough to overwhelm Bryant’s Lakers team