Sadly for basketball lovers, the last LeBron-Kobe matchup is in the books. Heading into the matchup, the Lakers were on a surprising two-game win streak after stunning the Golden State Warriors and beating the Orlando Magic, but the run came to an end with a 120-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting, hitting three of four three-pointers to lead the Lakers, who failed in their attempt to win three in a row for only the second time this season. LeBron James finished with 24 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds as the Cavaliers (46-18) captured their fifth win in six games to remain 2.5 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
With Kobe’s final showdown against LeBron having come to an end, Bryant only has 10 more home games in front of the Staples Center crowd.
D’Angelo Russell had another solid night, scoring at least 20 points for the seventh game in eight outings. The rookie finished with 24 points on 8-of-19 shooting, continuing his impressive post All-Star march. He was slightly outplayed by opposing point guard Kyrie Irving, who went for 26 points and 9 assists.
It was another Lakers loss, but the biggest takeaway was the time shared on the court between Kobe and LeBron. Bryant put together a somewhat throwback performance, sinking fade-away jumpers over James while reminding the basketball world of his greatness that has lasted two decades.
But while the regular season showdowns between the two legends are entertaining, basketball fans will remember their rivalry as a missed opportunity. Despite a combined 13 Finals appearances between the two, Kobe and LeBron never squared off on the NBA’s biggest stage.
That’s certainly something both future Hall of Famers wish they could change.
Source: CBS Sports