Pretty spectacular clutch performance by arguably the NBA’s premiere player of the last decade. Kobe Bryant not only struck a pose after missing the free throw but managed to step aside to allow the decisive play to be made by this guy…
Mr. Jason Phillips, whose game assignments can be viewed here, updated daily at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time, tonight will be working James Harden’s tip — I mean the Houston Rockets-Memphis Grizzlies game. His lack of performance was acknowledged by the league Thursday morning… (from the AP)
The NBA announced Thursday that its referees missed a foul by Kobe Bryant on Ricky Rubio during the closing seconds of a 120-117 Lakers win over the Timberwolves at the Target Center on Wednesday night. The ruling, which was first reported by the Associated Press, amounts to a simple apology and has no bearing on Wednesday’s result.
An NBA review concluded that Rubio should have been awarded three free throws after Bryant “fouled Rubio while Rubio was in his shooting motion” as he attempted a potential game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation. Had the foul been whistled, Rubio, a career 78.7 percent foul shooter, could have forced overtime by going three-for-three from the line. However, the referees ruled that Bryant had not fouled Rubio, ending the game and enraging both the Spanish point guard and Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman.
The good that does the Wolves now is intangible, standard league apologies are, but the quotes from Kobe were precious…
“That’s not a foul,” Bryant told told reporters after the game. “They ain’t calling that s—. I don’t think I got him. That’s just a tough call to make. I just put my hand in. It’s not like I went out and smacked him across the arm or anything like that.”
And what if the foul had been called and Rubio had forced the game into an extra period?
“We would have gone into overtime and won the game,” Bryant said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Why, according to Kobe, NBA referees wouldn’t make a call like ‘that s—‘ is debatable. Is it because Kobe’s the one committing it? Is it because the NBA hates teams playing against the Lakers? Is it because Rubio was shooting it? All sorts of ridiculous conspiracies and straightforward questions to be pondered.
The reality is: Kobe, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard were quite a handful for the Wolves, who let the Lakers put up 120, and yet still had a chance to make something special out of it. Ricky was the only Wolf running for much of the 2nd half after the Lakers made their 3rd quarter run. As inspiring as his energy was in effort to turn back Los Angeles, this post-game interview would seem too much to bear. With some tough squads coming up, we’ll see how it holds.
And we’ll keep an eye on Mr. Phillips. Between his technical foul call on J.J. Barea and his gutless Kobe-lust, he’s earned it.