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Kobe Bryant Admitted He Played 1-On-1 Against Reggie Miller Because He Wanted To See His Strengths And Weaknesses And What He Could Exploit If They Ever Played In The NBA Finals

Kobe Bryant Admitted He Played 1-On-1 Against Reggie Miller Because He Wanted To See His Strengths And Weaknesses And What He Could Exploit If They Ever Played In The NBA Finals

The Los Angeles Lakers have always had some of the most talented players play for them. Each decade, the Lakers seemingly get their hands on a generational talent which helps them win NBA titles.

But by the end of the 1990s, the Lakers somehow managed to pair both Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant together. The Purple and Gold were coming off a bunch of bad seasons after the 'Showtime' era was over and were desperate for some success.

With Kobe Bryant, whose mindset Shaq described as 'alien-like,' the Lakers won a lottery. The Mamba had a mentality that you can't teach. He was obsessed with becoming the best ever player to play in the league, and in order to achieve that goal, he always wanted to stay one step ahead of his competition.

Had he not done that, the Lakers probably wouldn't have three-peated at the start of the 2000s.


Kobe Bryant Was Already Aware Of Reggie Miller's Game Before Their Matchup In The 2000 NBA Finals

During the three-peat era of the Lakers, the Indiana Pacers were arguably the toughest opponents that the franchise faced. The Pacers were finally able to make it to the NBA Finals after the end of the Chicago Bulls dynasty.

It was a neck and neck series that went to six games and ended with the duo of Kobe and Shaq winning the first of the three NBA titles that they won together.

One of the biggest talking points of the 2000 NBA Finals was the matchup of Kobe and Reggie. It seems like Kobe predicted that matchup a year ago and prepared accordingly.

"I was filming some show at UCLA the summer before (the 2000 NBA Finals), and Reggie Miller was up there. I said, ‘OK, they’ve got a really good team. We might see these guys.’ And I said, ‘Let’s play one-on-one.’ And we played one-on-one, and I proceeded to really measure him. See what he liked to do defensively, see where he moves, see where he was weak at and what I could exploit. So when that happened and the Finals were here, I knew what I had and knew what I could take. I knew what he would give me. It was a matter of just measuring and going to work. It was a thought-out attack."

After an average performance in Game 1, Kobe was troubled with a sprained ankle in Games 2 and 3. He missed most of the second game and was forced to be sidelined in the third game of the series.

But he had a phenomenal performance in Game 4 of the series, especially in overtime. With Shaq fouled out, Kobe took over in OT and finished the game with 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists to his name.

This was enough for the Lakers to win the game with a score of 120-118. As Bryant mentioned in the clip, he studied Miller's game and took full advantage of it throughout the series.

Despite that, Miller ended up averaging 24.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 3.7 APG in the series. On the contrary, as a whole, Kobe's numbers were lower than Miller's at 15.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 4.2 APG.