by Marcel Mutoni

Kobe Bean Bryant is a lot of things: Cunning, calculating, a winner, and of course, insanely competitive. One thing he is not, though, is someone willing to admit defeat. Ever.

Sayeth Bryant following a performance that saw him shoot an unsightly 35% from the field, largerly thanks to the C’s swarming defense.

“No, I just missed some bunnies,” he said after his Lakers suffered a 98-88 Game 1 defeat to fall behind in a series – the NBA Finals – for the first time this year.

“I just missed some really, really good looks. I’ll be thinking about those a little bit tonight.”

The truth of the matter is that Doc Rivers sent three defenders at Kobe all night long, and when he got by the perimeter D, Bryant was funneled into the agile trees that make up Boston’s front line.

He and Phil Jackson may not admit it – and really, there’s nothing to gain by doing so – but they will have to go back to the drawing board if the plan on escaping Beantown with a split.