Lakers' Blake Rises From Bench to Podium

Lakers' Blake Rises From Bench to Podium

In the NBA playoffs it's not necessarily about keeping players out of the paint or off the boards. It's about keeping them off the podium.

When the postseason arrives and the numbers of media members increase, the key players don't speak to reporters in the crowded locker rooms anymore. They're in the interview room, up on stage, with the logoed backdrop behind them, the cameras beaming their words on live television. Normally it's the province of the superstars, the one-name guys such as Kobe, LeBron and Dirk.

But when someone such as Steve Blake shows up at the podium, it's a bad sign for the opponent. It means they failed to fulfill one of the primary goals of anyone going up against a superstar (or superstars): Don't let the other guys beat you. If you're going to lose, lose to a player who ranks among the game's all-time greats, not someone who can't even crack his own team's starting lineup.

But it was Blake, not Kobe Bryant, who made the most memorable shot of the the Los Angeles Lakers' 92-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets: the decisive 3-pointer with 18.9 seconds left to play that doubled the Lakers' lead, from three to six, that made it a two-possession game with less than a shot clock's worth of time remaining.

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