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Anyone who watched the Lakers-Suns yesterday received a vivid reminder just how amazing the NBA can really be. It was, encapsulated, all the greatness of professional sport, what the NBA has been, and what it appears it could be again.

Or, to put it as Free Darko does, "Kobe Bryant is no longer a bandwagon—he's an axiom."

"I knew Luke was going to control the tip," said Bryant. "I was just going through my calculations, looking at the clock, and just played the moment over in my head before I got the ball, thinking about how much time I would have to operate. Once I got the ball, I just took my time and got the look I wanted."

Here's our favorite part of yesterday's game: Kobe only took 14 shots, eight fewer than Nash. We know our Los Angeles readers probably aren't up yet, but, you know, a Clippers-Lakers matchup for the conference finals is dangerously close. Think ya'll be able to show up on time and leave when it's over for that one?

Taking It By The Horns [LA Times]
Never Ever Ever Ever [Free Darko]

(By the way, anybody else noticed Kobe making this exact same facial expression in about 30 different pictures yesterday? They didn't just take their pictures at the same precise moment, did they?)