Kobe Bryant is totally right to be upset. He's totally wrong to think he's going to get that call. Not in the closing seconds. Nor on the road. Nor in a game involving two teams frantically throwing body parts in the name of playoff position. Much like in the closing minutes of a tight game, referees are more likely to silence their whistles now, in the closing weeks of a tight season. Not happening. Not even for Kobe Bryant, who no longer plays for a championship-caliber team but rather one trying to squeeze into the Western Conference's final playoff spot. Even if Bryant thinks the referees can't see or properly judge, they can read and most certainly hear. By now, they've probably picked up on the fact the Lakers aren't fulfilling their once-projected prominence. It's called influence or leverage and, at this point, these Lakers don't have it. Check back in a year, though, as recent glimpses of what could be continue to temp this team and its perpetually antsy fans. Bryant is having a stupidly stupendous season, and, rightly, no player in the NBA – including reigning champ LeBron James – has earned the weight Bryant has with the officials.
Lakers, Bryant still battling uphill
Orange County Register | Mar 15