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Carmelo Anthony And Kobe Bryant Had An Intense And Physical Duel In The 2009 NBA Playoffs: "One Of The Most Intense Matchups In Playoff History"

Carmelo Anthony And Kobe Bryant Had An Intense And Physical Duel In The 2009 NBA Playoffs: "One Of The Most Intense Matchups In Playoff History"

In the late 2000s, the NBA had some of the most compelling teams and superstars in the history of the league. Kobe Bryant was on his way to leading the Lakers to back-to-back titles, the Celtics Big 3 had just won them a ring and LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were dominating as they firmly entered their primes. 

The playoff battles in this era were truly iconic and perhaps one of the best ones that people have somewhat forgotten about happened between Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant in the 2009 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers took on the Nuggets and Bryant and Anthony had a battle for the ages that went for 6 games and saw Kobe and the Lakers emerged victoriously. Few challenged Bryant in a head-to-head matchup, and Kobe knew that, but Melo was unafraid to go at the Mamba. 

Clips from their intense duel have been making the rounds on the internet as basketball fans reminisce about the good old days. Kobe's stifling defense on Carmelo Anthony hitting shots despite of that is a perfect example of the sort of elite basketball that was on offer during those years. 

Contact like this would almost always result in a foul in today's game but that wasn't the case when Kobe and Melo were locking horns with one another. The sheer competitive spirit on display between two of the greatest scorers the game has ever seen had NBA fans missing the intense and physical style of basketball. 

NickZeiglerr: "Goddamn I miss this. Neither one of them crying about a call. Go out there and play ball."

Nipsey_Struggle: "Damn I miss when the league was like this."

TheRealTyCrane: "Back when defense was actually apart of game planning lol .. good times good times."

Flare: "Can’t even play like this today, would have gotten techs called."

ClassyDiva: "Back when basketball was great! No ticky tacky fouls or anything like that. Good times, man..."

SjDavid25: "They don’t play like this no more… the passion gone."

pimp C: "NBA not fun like this no more."

PierFromDa9: "I miss competitive basketball. Cuz in today’s game, Melo woulda picked up six fouls off that first play alone."

EverythingUWant: "One of my favorite Lakers series.."

Tahas_Takes: "One of the most intense matchups in playoff history."

The game has become more conducive to offensive play, which has led to some of the rougher parts of basketball dying out in the last decade. While modern fans love the game as it is now, there was an undeniable charm to watch the greatest players leaving everything out on the floor while fighting it out. Carmelo Anthony and the late Kobe Bryant will always be remembered in history as two of the greatest scorers and fiercest competitors of all time.