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Kobe: Who Gon' Stop Me, Huh?

For the Los Angeles Lakers, when in doubt, give it to Kobe Bryant. For a team that struggled at the ...

For the Los Angeles Lakers, when in doubt, give it to Kobe Bryant. For a team that struggled at the start of the season with many questions lingering over them, they surely have shut the critics up now after jolting towards a five-game win-streak already as they stand at 9-4.

It was a tough start to the season, with people questioning if this Lakers team can even make the playoffs. After being swept by the eventually NBA-champion Mavericks, were the Lakers too old? The only real highlight for this team's off-season was their knucklehead player changing his name to Metta World Peace.

And what about Kobe Bryant? He lost millions of dollars after getting divorced. Could he even focus now after that? We've seen some athletes perform well after a divorce, but it took time. It took Tiger Woods about one or two years! Could Kobe do it, or will he struggle? And plus, what about his wrist? Can he even shoot well? Or his age? What about those knees?

What about the Lakers as a whole? They didn't really get any big-name guys but some people who can help off the bench, like for instance in Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts. This team isn't very young, but they still looked like they could at least perform at a high level.

The season didn't start out so well, as L.A. lost two straight with a opening night loss to the Chicago Bulls and then a 100-91 loss to the Sacramento Kings the next day. With a grueling schedule to start off December with five games in six days, could Los Angeles perform well? But that's when the Lakers started winning, jumping back up and finishing off December with a 3-2 record. However, they then went 1-2 for the next three games, falling down to 4-4. After that, magic happened.

I don't know what happened with Kobe, but he just started shooting.

And shooting.

And shooting.

And just when you thought he couldn't stop, he did even more shooting.

And with that, the Lakers are now at 9-4. It started out with a win vs. Golden State, where Kobe had 39 points and seven assists to lead to the 97-90 victory. After that, L.A. hosted the Memphis Grizzlies, finishing off with a 90-82 win behind Kobe's 26 points and nine assists.

But on January 10th, 2012 is when Kobe started becoming unstoppable. The Black Mamba gene was really taking it's toll now, as Bryant went on to score 48 points! Yes, you read that correctly!

48 points.

48.

48 for a guy who is coming off a divorce, not getting any younger, having a banged up wrist, not so solid knees, and with a less-talented squad. And guess what? They won. They beat the Phoenix Suns by a score of 99-83.

As showing himself as one of the NBA's best closers, Kobe finished off the game, scoring the Lakers' 15 of their last 17 points to ensure a victory. Following the victory, Kobe responded to ESPN's NBA rankings earlier in the off-season, saying, "Not bad for the seventh best player in the league."

Yes, even ESPN doubted Kobe Bryant as he was placed number seven in their NBA rank. LeBron was ranked number one, and on paper and in real life when you look at it this season: Kobe has been the better player. Easily. The Lakers are on a five-game win-streak, while Miami is on a three-game losing streak. Heat are 8-4, Lakers are 9-4.

But just when you thought those 48 points were just one of those once-in-a-blue-moon nights for Kobe this season, he wont to put up 40 the next day in an overtime-thriller in Utah. He hit some huge three-throws with .7 seconds left to bring home the win.

Kobe also made things magical just as much as Tim Tebow could with a big assist in the corner to Pau Gasol, who knocked down a three-pointer.

"Pau's been shooting them well in practice and Coach has been urging me to trust him at the 3-point line," Bryant said. "I thought about passing it to him, it seemed like an eternity. But I said, 'What the hell.'

"You think Tebow prays? When that ball left his hand, I must have said 30 Hail Mary's."

Two days later, on January 13th, Kobe came back again with a vengeance, looking to torture the Cleveland Cavaliers at home.

With the left hand getting better and better, Kobe kept shooting and shooting.

And he was converting and converting.

With that, Bryant finished with 42 points in a 97-92 victory.It was a tough game, as Kyrie Irving would not let down with his quickness and his pair of fancy lay-ups, but Kobe was able to close it out. Kobe kept hitting shots, as he hit four three's and had a sick-jumper with four minutes left in the game from 18-feet. He was simply unstoppable.

"He's seen every defense that you can throw at him," said Cavs coach Byron Scott, the longtime Lakers guard. "He's one of the smartest players I've been around, and one of the most competitive. So I don't know if it's better for us if he's taking most of the shots and the other guys are getting less, or if he's taking less shots and they're getting more. I don't know. He's just a threat when he's on the basketball court, no matter what."

With that, Bryant is now on a three-game streak of 40-plus points. He had ten straight games of this stretch in 2003. As of right now, the Black Mamba has 110 games of 40 points or more, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain and the great Michael Jordan.

Honestly, it's crazy to see how good Kobe is doing. Despite shooting so much...he's making them! And you just can't stop him when he's doing this. And the Lakers team as a whole? Man, who can stop them! Andrew Bynum has shown himself as one of the top five centers in the league now for how good he's doing. And paired up with Pau Gasol, it makes things that much better.

They have an old, but still solid point guard in Derek Fisher, who helped dish ten assists last night. They have a nice back-up two-guard in Andrew Goudelock, who can hit any kind of three you can imagine. This Lakers' squad may look somewhat mediocre on paper at the start of the season, but when you look at them now, their just unstoppable.

Bryant currently leads the league now with 31.2 points per game. He's definitely playing like he is ten years younger right now. The 33-year-old is simply too good.

Who gon' stop him, huh?
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Written by Josh Dhani, Founder (Archive/RSS)

Josh has been writing since 2009 and founded FootBasket in April 2009. He also writes at Hardcourt Mayhem and is a featured columnist at Rant Sports. Check him out on JoshDhani.com and follow him on Twitter @JoshDhani

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