I'm not doubting his sickness, or trying to take anything away from Kobe. He clearly wasn't feeling his best, but he still gave his maximum effort. That's a LOT more than you can say about some of his teammates in game 6.
Lakers coach Mike Brown wasn't afraid to say it, either.
Clearly he was specifically calling out Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, both of whom struggled last night, to say the least. Bynum had 16 rebounds, but he only went 4-11 from the floor, while Gasol was only 1-10.
Kobe was also frustrated, and let his teammates know after the game. When asked if his teammates showed as much heart as he did, he replied "no, of course they didn't."
Bryant's 31 points led the Lakers, and no one could possibly question his heart or his desire against the Nuggets. Yet his teammates clearly weren't on the same page, and looked completely lackadaisical at times.
Fortunately for Kobe and the Lakers, their old friend Ron Artest, AKA Metta World Peace, will be back for Game 7, and Kobe made no secret that he's looking forward to it.
When Ron Artest, perpetually the craziest man in the room, is the only one you can trust, that's a serious problem.
That having been said, Kobe's right. No one on that team is willing to work as hard as Artest, no one will be as determined as Artest, and no one will do whatever it takes to win at all costs quite like Artest.
We'll see if Artest provides the difference that the Lakers need to finally finish out this series Saturday night in LA. However, if Bynum and Gasol play the way they played in game 6, it might not even matter.
In other Kobe Bryant news...
Everyone wanted to compare last night's game to Michael Jordan's infamous "Flu Game," when Jordan scored 38 against the Jazz to take a 3-2 series lead in the 1997 NBA Finals.
Unfortunately for Kobe, the Lakers lost. That put a serious damper on it, despite the fact that Kobe himself played great.
Michael Lev of the Orange County Register was already preparing for inevitable Kobe-MJ comparisons when he wrote this piece on Wednesday, detailing exactly why Kobe will never be Jordan, even if he wins his 6th title, tying him with Jordan.
He's right. Kobe is great, and he has done a great job of coming through in the clutch, which has put considerable distance between himself and LeBron James among active players. LeBron still has time to catch up, but it's hard to believe he'll ever match Kobe's resume in clutch situations, especially with his early career failures.
But Kobe still isn't Jordan, and he never will be.