2 Guard Matchup

The matchup between Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen seems to be becoming the key matchup to watch in this year's finals.

Monday, ESPN covered an article about what the Celtics did in order to beat the Lakers the first two matchups of the regular season. In these two games, the Celtics refrained from both double teaming Bryant and sending key defensive players James Posey and Paul Pierce to chase Bryant. Instead the Celtics used Ray Allen, the teams most suspect defender, to defend Bryant leading to him taking a high number of jumpshots, and lower number of opportunities to get in the lane or get fouled. While this strategy of playing Kobe straight up didn't work for the Spurs, as Kobe's shot was deadly accurate in the conference finals we'll see whether the Celtics continue this strategy and whether or not Kobe will still be able knock down the shot, and get others involved. Especially since the Lakers are 38% Better When Kobe Isn't A High Volume Shooter.

Finally, Kobe and Ray Allen are downplaying comments the two made of each other 4 years ago after Shaq was traded. Ray Allen said "If Kobe doesn't see he needs two and a half good players to be a legitimate playoff contender or win a championship, in about a year or two he'll be calling out to Jerry Buss that 'We need some help in here,' or 'Trade me,' " Allen said. "And we'll all be saying, 'I told you so,' when he says that."
Surprisingly, Allen's comments were dead on. Kobe cried to Kupchak for Jermaine O'Neal and Jason Kidd and then publicly asked for a trade. And now Kobe has his two and a half good players (Odom, Gasol, and half a season of Bynum) to finally for the first time legitimately contend again.
It's no surprise though that the two aren't bringing it back up. Allen is too much of a humble guy to say "I told you so", and Kobe's matured much from the Shaq trade that he should just be focused on proving himself on the court.

Picture Source: ESPN

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