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May 29, 2009

Kobe Bryant


Los Angeles – 119
Denver - 92

Q. Kobe, did the challenge Denver presented force this team to finally play to its potential?
KOBE BRYANT: I think so. Denver is a great team. Very skilled at all positions. Strong inside. Strong on the perimeter. And very huge problem for us. Huge problem. And because of that we had to elevate our level as a unit. And if we didn't do that, we'd be going home early.

Q. The journey this year to get to the Finals from last year, was this a tougher journey this year?
KOBE BRYANT: By far. By far. Much, much tougher. Much more physical. Mentally challenging for us. But we gained valuable experience, went through a roller coaster of emotions: You win one, lose one at home, then dealing with that day, the travel, and then to come up in a hostile environment and try to win Game 3.
Those are things that make you tougher.

Q. Can you elaborate on how big a game and how big a win this was for the Lakers, and with that momentum going into the Finals?
KOBE BRYANT: It's a huge win, obviously. Denver team, like I said, is a great team and they play even better at home. And for us to come in here and put on the performance we put on gives us a lot of confidence that we can sit, we can look at film and talk about it in practice and then be able to carry it over into the game and execute, I think that shows a lot of maturity.

Q. You seemed really satisfied in the fourth quarter, especially, just little things. You guys were executing the offense properly. Why do you think that all seemed to come together at this stage?
KOBE BRYANT: We just got a read for what they were doing. I think that was the key. We just got 'em beat. Like I said, it was something we talked about. Last game we talked about it, and we have guys on the team that are very smart, very smart basketball players. So I could communicate something to them and they can just in turn take it out on the floor and do it.
And we were able to kind of learn on the fly.

Q. Coach Karl said after the game that Jesus would have had trouble guarding you. What do you think of that comment and is there anybody that would have not had trouble guarding you tonight?
KOBE BRYANT: (Chuckling) well, it's tough to say that's a compliment, you know what I mean? It's a tremendous honor, obviously, to be viewed that way in terms of being hard to defend offensively.
And, I don't know, I did a great job using my teammates and they knocked shots down and put the defense into a position where I could play one-on-one a little bit and take advantage of that.

Q. Can you compare the mood in the locker room this year compared to after the Spurs series last year and was it a little more subdued?
KOBE BRYANT: It's different. It's different. We're very thankful being in this position, obviously. But did it last year, so we're ready to move on to the NBA Finals and try to take care of business.

Q. Kobe, can you talk about the team's performance? You had some outstanding performance from Lamar. He had 20 points. And Luke had 10 points. He was more aggressive on scoring. What brought that about? What was the execution factor that brought that about?
KOBE BRYANT: It was the defense. It was the defense. And, like I said, we did a great job of reading that and finding the open man. We knew where the open man was going to be. Luke knew where his shots whether going to come from. Lamar knew where his spacing was going to be. And once that happened we made the passes and then they made the plays.

Q. Were you actually upset that you missed the half court shot at the end of the first half? And the second one is what exactly did you say to Pau when he was on the ground after that flagrant? You grabbed him by the head and kind of shook him a little at the end of the game.
KOBE BRYANT: I don't know. I can't remember. I can't remember what I was upset about. Pau, I just told Pau to stay focused. It was a flagrant foul. Looked like he was pretty upset. Just reminded him of what we were here for. Not to retaliate or anything like that. Just get up and knock down the two free throws and go from there.

Q. You had a moment, that's what I was getting at.
KOBE BRYANT: Pau and I have been in constant communication. There's been times where I texted him at 3:00 in the morning, be ready to play tomorrow. And then he'll send a text right back so I know we're on the same wavelength.

Q. What was the turning point of the whole series? Like what play stands out the most in the series that you knew that it was going to go the Lakers' way?
KOBE BRYANT: There wasn't one play at all. This Denver Nuggets team is a problem. Big problem. With Chauncey on the perimeter, Carmelo, Nene, Martin doing what he does on the bench. And J.R. It was a problem.
So it wasn't like there was one moment where we knew we had this series. We had to be on edge all the time. As soon as you relax, they'll bust you. So it wasn't that one moment, it was all the way to the finish.

End of FastScripts

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