DENVER — Kobe Bryant was impressed by LeBron James’ amazing buzzer-beater, not envious.
“He got a clean look,” Bryant said. “That’s what you really want to do.”
The fashionable argument for Lakers fans after watching James’ 3-pointer over Orlando’s Hedo Turkoglu that knotted the Eastern Conference finals at 1-1 was to say Bryant should have been given the same chance to salvage Game 2 against Denver in the Western Conference finals in Los Angeles.
Instead, Bryant was a decoy for a play designed for Derek Fisher, whose 3-pointer was deflected by Nene preserving Denver’s 106-103 win.
“He got a good look, no matter whatever Hedo does or whoever does, you can put your hand up, it’s not going to matter,” Bryant said. “If you get a good look at the basket, that ball’s going down.”
When Turkoglu’s shot with one second left put Orlando ahead by two, Lakers coach Phil Jackson figured James would still salvage the series.
“I was sitting at a counter, a greasy spoon I have in my soup and a greasy burger,” Jackson said. “The guy next to me said, ‘Aw, man, Orlando’s going to go up 2-0 and Cleveland’s going to go down in the series. You want to see Orlando? I said, ‘You wrote off this guy. He can still make a shot from almost anywhere.’ And he did. That’s the way he is. James is just a terrific player.”
The Nuggets were also abuzz over the shot.
“Great, great shot,” Chauncey Billups said. “It’s what the great ones do.”
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