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Extra! Extra! (5.8)

May 8, 2006 |  8:49 am

Kobebryant506_iyvmicnc An outcome that couldn't be more predictable if it were a Saved by the Bell plotline: People continuing to scrutinize Kobe Bryant's game 7. How to classify what is, whether pro or anti-Kobe, an undoubtedly odd performance? To some, it's a simple matter of Kobe  inexplicably choosing not to force the issue when necessary, even if the reasons are fuzzy. In one writer's opinion, the game managed to expose Kobe as the Bizarro-Jordan. But what's even funnier is how it managed to turn the normally hyper-critical Peter Vecsey into the Bizarro-Vecsey.

(AK's note: What amuses me about Pete's article is that it likely has less to do with his opinion of Kobe and more with the public sniping the columnist and Barkley have engaged in. Under normal circumstances, I imagine P.V. would have shredded Kobe's "motives," since he typically bags on everyone. But when nemesis Barkley beat him to said punch- which must have really steamed him- he shifted his focus to railing against Chuck.)

Of course, much of Kobe's performance goes hand in hand with the "help" he was getting from his teammates. But no matter whether you think Kobe went out on a malicious bang or a frustrated whimper, it's obvious the front office needs to add a few more pieces. Even the overwhelmingly positive strides made this season can't mask that truth. A slew of free agents from Speedy Claxton to Reggie "Grabby Hands" Evans will be evaluated for their potential to fit in. There will also be the question of what to do with their own free agents, Devean George being the most prominent.

And finally, the Clippers will represent L.A. in the quest to bring the city a title. How weird is that sentence? It may not be the series everyone (including the Lakers' roomies) wanted, but it should nonetheless be pretty entertaining. As they say on PTI, who ya got? (AK's prediction: Clips in 6)

photo by Paul Connors/AP