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Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:46 pm

Kobe won't have German procedure on wrist

Posted by Royce Young

If you saw Kobe Bryant's performance against the Suns, you probably thought two things: 1) Kobe is super good at basketball still and 2) I guess that German knee mystery procedure really worked.

Not only did Kobe drop 48 points, but he finished a reverse alley-oop. He was bouncing around out there like he just finished practice at Lower Merion. The strange medical procedure he has done in Germany over the summer has seemed to bring back his hops and strength in his legs.

So with him battling a nagging wrist sprain that causes him pain everyday, as he said, would he consider trying the procedure on his wrist? Not happening, according to the L.A. Times:

He will not undergo the same procedure on his wrist that he had on his knee and ankle in Germany last year, for a variety of reasons.

Of greatest importance, the German doctor whom Bryant trusts immensely, Peter Wehling, does not plan on coming to America to do his innovative "regenokine" or "orthokine" procedures that aim to reduce swelling, The Times has learned.

Part of the problem is that there's not really an opportunity for Kobe to do it unless the German doctor comes over. It's not like the Lakers have an away game in Berlin this season. 

The Lakers do not foresee giving Bryant time off from the regular season to go overseas, especially because of his steady play, said a person familiar with the situation. If Bryant underwent the procedure, he would need about a week to recover.

Plus, it hasn't really proven to be an issue. Kobe is getting shots and it's hurting, but being the tough guy he is, he's playing through it. And obviously playing well, as evidenced by the fact the 33-year-old is leading the NBA in scoring.

The wrist might be an issue for Kobe all season, but then again, he won a title with a busted index finger too. The guy plays through injury and normally plays pretty well.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:13 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 9:48 am

Kobe drops 48 on the Suns... and a reverse oop

By Matt Moore

Kobe Bryant had scored 37 points, 30 points, 39 points, and 26 points headed into Tuesday night's game against the Suns. He had effectively silenced critics saying he was shooting too much, that he was struggling from the field. He took it a step further against Phoenix as he blistered the Suns for 48 points on 18-31 shooting, with five rebounds, three assists, three steals and just two turnovers. I'm sorry, let me say that again. 

Kobe Bryant scored 48 points with a torn ligament in his wrist.

Here's how he did it:


So 27 of his 31 shots were jumpers and he still nailed that many. That's just madness.

But not as mad as this:


When Bryant told reporters that his knees feel better than they have in years, he wasn't lying. Good gravy. 

Kobe Bryant is showing he's still one of the best players in the league, wrist, no wrist, whatever.
Posted on: January 6, 2012 6:09 pm

Kobe to shot selection critics: 'Get over it'

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-shooting

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Earlier this week, we noted that Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant was sticking to his guns when it comes to his shot volume. One of the NBA's all-time most prolific shooters, Bryant told reporters then that his wrist injury, the rise of center Andrew Bynum and a new Lakers offense won't slow down his shooting whatsoever. 

Nevertheless, questions have continued to swirl about what is the right number of shots for Bryant to take. Once again, he is leading the NBA with 22.5 per game through eight games. Next on the list: Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis with 20.8. 

Prior to a nationally-televised Thursday night game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Bryant pointed to his past to explain why he should keep hucking, calling out his critics in the process. 
"Look, I've played 15 years. I've won world championships. I've done all these things. And people still want to talk about this stupid-a** [stuff]? I'm a scorer first ... I'll try to make the good play, the good pass, kick it out when my teammates are open, but I'm a scorer first. I may shoot 27 times. I may shoot 20 times. Nobody complains when I shoot 10 times. You don't hear ME complaining when I shoot 10 times. It just depends on the game, you know?"

Yes, but Kobe, according to ESPN research, you have the highest "usage rate" -- that's the number of possessions a player uses per 40 minutes -- in the NBA. In fact, your usage rate (38.9) would be the highest in the 3-point era of NBA--

--"Yeah," he says. "And I also have five rings."
Despite some dogged defending from the Blazers, Bryant scored 30 points on 13-for-24 shooting. It marked the second straight night he went over 30 points in scoring and it was just the second time this season he hit more than 50 percent of his field goal attempts. 

After the game, Bryant shifted from defending himself to attack mode on his shot selection critics.

"Get over it," a clearly annoyed Bryant told reporters after a loss to the Trail Blazers in Portland. "Get over it. I shoot the ball that's what I do. I'm a shooting guard. Some nights I have 24 shots some nights I have 29 shots. Get over it."

Bryant is shooting 43.3 percent on the season, his lowest mark since 2004-2005. has video of Bryant's exasperated statement.

Posted on: January 6, 2012 3:04 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 5:52 am

Gerald Wallace key as Blazers down Lakers

Posted by Ben Golliverwallace-windmill

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Gerald Wallace has spent a full decade in the NBA now, overlooked and underrated, a favorite of basketball purists who never quite cracked into the "superstar" conversation despite two-way play and boundless energy matched by few.

It was fitting, then, that his signature performance as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers was obscured, for a half, by a television black hole that made the game unwatchable for virtually the entire country. The first game of TNT's doubleheader -- a short-handed Miami Heat team with just one of its "Big 3" active versus an Atlanta Hawks team that broadcaster Charles Barkley admitted he "couldn't stand" -- dragged into three overtimes, keeping the Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers nightcap off the air for the first two quarters. 

By the time the nation was able to tune into the second half, Wallace already had 17 points, matching Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant point-for-point for the first two frames. He was just getting started.

Wallace finished with a game-high 31 points plus five rebounds and two steals, and TNT managed to catch up just in time to air the highlight of his time in Portland, a tenure that began when he arrived in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats at last year's trade deadline.

Halfway through the third quarter, Bryant missed a deep 3-point attempt with Wallace closing late to contest. Without stopping, Wallace leaked out behind the play, catching a well-timed pass from center Marcus Camby in stride. With none of the Lakers in pursuit, Wallace took a rare opportunity to add an unnecessary flourish, finishing the play with a windmill slam dunk that set the Rose Garden crowd into hysterics.

"I was down there by myself for about two minutes," Wallace joked afterwards. "I had time to get myself together and wake my legs up. I needed something to get the team off their feet. Get our defense going. I think that was a game-changer right there for us."

A game-changer for sure, the emotional key in a 32-18 third quarter that pushed Portland to a lead it wouldn't relinquish on its way to a 107-96 home victory.

"You've got to let Gerald go and allow him the freedom to play," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "His hustle, his energy -- we feed off of that, just scrapping and making plays, rebounding the ball, starting the break as well as finishing on the break. Then defensively, disrupting, coming up with some steals. We've been good when he plays like that."

With Bryant finding a shooting touch that has escaped him in recent games -- finishing 13-for-24 for 30 points -- Wallace did his best to harass him from first touch to follow-through, through screens and in transition. The effort earned Bryant's respect. 

"I love Gerald. He's a high-energy player. He's really worked on his game. His outside shooting, his ball-handling. His defense. He's been a tremendous player. He's been kind of below the radar."

The Blazers now sit at 5-1, tops in the Western Conference despite depressed preseason expectations that had them on track for a lower-half playoff seed, at best, following the losses of guard Brandon Roy and center Greg Oden to ongoing knee issues. In their absence, Wallace has been the difference, as his pairing with new point guard Raymond Felton has combined to transform Portland from one of the slowest teams in the league for years to one of its fastest so far this season. On Thursday, Felton finished with a season-high 10 assists.

"They pushed the ball down our backs," Bryant said flatly.

Indeed, the pace was furious from the opening tip. The crowd played a big role in that, with both teams looking ready to go from the opening seconds. Crisp play matched the pre-game excitement. The lockout-shortened schedule reduced the number of Portland's home dates against Los Angeles to just one rather than the customary two. Because of that, this early season game had a "now or never" feel, with fans of both teams arriving well before the television-delayed tip and the decibel levels approaching triple digits multiple times.

"I tell you what, it seems like everybody has a rivalry against the Lakers," first-year Lakers coach Mike Brown said before the game, after maintaining for days that he wasn't aware of the level of passion Portland fans feel when the Lakers come to town. 

Brown, like Phil Jackson before him, left Portland on Thursday night looking for answers. The Blazers, meanwhile, left with their eleventh win in their last 13 times hosting the Lakers.

"It drives me crazy," was all Bryant would say about L.A.'s continued struggles in the Northwest. 

On a night when the first half was lost to television scheduling and the second half unfolded while most of the country was already asleep, we would all do well to heed the three words Brown kept repeating after the loss: "Give Portland credit."

Especially Wallace. He's gone plenty long without getting his fair share.

Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:37 pm

Kobe Bryant taking pain shot every game

By Matt Moore

It's easy to criticize Kobe Bryant for his shooting so far this season. His shooting percentage is the lowest it has been since his rookie year. He's shot L.A. out of several games, but also dropped a brilliant performance on Tuesday against the Rockets. In total, though, it's been a really rough season for him on and off the court. But there is no question the guy is the toughest son of baller on the planet. The Orange County Register has a piece Thursday on the terrible toll the torn ligament in his wrist has had on the Black Mamba. It's not pretty:  
These days, over Bryant's right wrist also rests a fat postgame ice wrap roughly the size of rookie guard Andrew Goudelock, Bryant trying in vain to minimize swelling after acting on the court as if there isn't a torn ligament in there.

Bryant has been taking a numbing injection to that wrist before every game in hopes of performing normally. Yes, it's that bad.

He does not want to publicize all the details of his wrist, which is usable only because the bones were not moved permanently out of alignment without the ligament to hold them in place. But it's now clear just how problematic the wrist is, and it's fair to wonder where all this will take Bryant.

Bryant walked out of Staples Center on Tuesday night with something that looked like an oven mitten over his right hand and wrist. He wears an immobilizing brace over the wrist when off the court, meaning take-for-granted parts of life such as texting on his phone or zipping his fly become rather challenging.
via Wrist injections keeping Kobe’s drive alive | bryant, brown, wrist - Sports - The Orange County Register.
Dude can't zip his fly! And he's shooting on it! He's shooting in an NBA game without the ability to zip his fly. That's pretty much the craziest thing we've read about Bryant's devotion... this week. 

Beyond the impressive dedication, however, is the sobering reality that Bryant was looking forward to finally being healthy. His knee is better than it has been in years after an experimental procedure. His pinky was finally healed. And now the wrist looks like it may be a problem throughout the entire year. He can't rest it, he has to play on it. And as long as it's this bad, he's going to be amazing some nights, and really struggle the next. How he adapts to that reality will determine how far the Lakers go this year. 
Posted on: January 3, 2012 6:40 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2012 6:43 pm

Kobe Bryant: I'm not going to shoot less

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-power-balance


That's what Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant is shooting through five games, a figure that includes a 6-for-28 performance during a Sunday night loss to the Denver Nuggets and a 6-for-18 performance in a Saturday win over Denver.

Bryant is battling a torn wrist ligament, but reports that he is adamant that he's getting his shots, no matter what.
"I do what I do. If guys are open, I kick it to them, if they're not, I shoot it," Bryant said. "I play my game."

"We always start inside-out," Bryant said, when asked about Bynum and Pau Gasol's effectiveness on offense. "If you mean (to ask me) if I'm going to shoot less, the answer is no. It starts with me. I do what I do and we play off of that. That's not going to change."
One of the more remarkable NBA stats: Bryant has attempted at least 20 shots a game in 10 of the last 11 seasons, including each of the last seven. He's led the NBA in field goal attempts in four of the last six years and is currently more than 2,000 attempts ahead of Kevin Garnett, who is second on the field goal attempts list for active players. By the end of the 2012-2013 season, barring a debilitating injury, Bryant will be No. 3 on the all-time attempts list, passing former Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan. 

The numbers agree: Bryant couldn't be more correct in saying that he does what he does. He will shoot the ball, whether he's on a championship team or a non-contender, whether he's surrounded by stars or role players, whether it's fall, winter, spring or summer. He is, without argument, an all-time great when it comes to attempting shots.

The emergence of Lakers center Andrew Bynum, which has been impressive, won't change that. New Lakers coach Mike Brown isn't about to request a new approach from Bryant. The wrist injury is unlikely to change his approach; the only way it will limit Bryant if it keeps him off the court completely. 

In an ideal world, one primed for offensive efficiency, Bryant would take either less shots or higher percentage shots. But that type of ideal world would also involve a time machine that brings back forward Lamar Odom from the Dallas Mavericks, where he was traded in a hurried salary dump after he expressed discontent when he found himself in trade rumors. With Odom gone, the temptation for Bryant, 33, to go into gun-first, gun-often mode is simply too powerful. Given the available fourth scoring options -- Metta World Peace, Steve Blake -- it's tough to blame him.

Certainly, there's a threshold for shooting too much. Even though he's leading the league in attempts again, Bryant hasn't crossed the line. Here's the benchmark: as long as both Gasol and Bynum are hitting double-digits in attempts, and both have in every game they've played, Bryant gets as many shots as he wants, even if he's falling away, double-covered and dealing with a painful wrist injury that requires constant treatment.

If that prescription continues to produce performances like this weekend's, the change in strategy should come in how the injury is being managed -- i.e. force Bryant to take extended rest -- rather than how the offense is being executed or how the shots are being divvied up.
Posted on: December 31, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 6:57 pm

Theory and Proof: Andrew Bynum surprises in debut

Posted by Ben Golliverandrew-bynum-2012

THEORY: Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum is a prime candidate for a slow start in a lockout and suspension-shortened season.

PROOF: 29 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal, 13-for-18 shooting in 32 minutes in his debut against the Denver Nuggets. Not exactly what we expected. 

The last time we saw Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum in an NBA game, he had stripped himself half-naked in frustration after getting ejected for delivering a dirty, dangerous hit on Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea.

That day marked the beginning of what would be a long lockout for Bynum, who has dealt with questions about his maturity, his health, his conditioning and his potential use as a trade chip for seven months. 

From the outside looking in, there were reasons galore to expect a slow, sloppy start from Bynum. While fully healthy for the first time entering a season in a few years, Bynum was suspended for the season's first four games due to the hit on Barea, meaning he lacked the first week conditioning ramp up afforded everyone else. He was away from the professional game for seven months, given a two-week period of training camp and preseason and then forced to wait as everyone around him -- teammates and opponents -- continued to progress.

That's just the tip of iceberg. Bynum is dealing with a new coach, Mike Brown, and his new systems. He's dealing with a new rotation surrounding him that lacks forward Lamar Odom, dumped in a trade to the Mavericks. He's playing with the knowledge that his front office nearly blew up the roster to acquire point guard Chris Paul in trade and knowing that he is the No. 1 most desired chip if and when Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith bites the bullet and moves All-Star center Dwight Howard. Of course, Bynum is also dealing with continued scrutiny of his offcourt behavior, which includes a number of recent traffic citations and an embarrasing incident in which he was caught parking in a handicapped spot while grocery shopping.

To complicate things even further, Bynum was set to make his debut against the league's fastest team and highest-octane offense. The Denver Nuggets entered Staples Center on Saturday ranked No. 1 in pace and No. 2 in offensive efficiency. The Lakers, with questions about their lack of depth abounding, were facing a team that lacks top-end starpower but easily goes nine or 10 players deep to continually apply pressure and one that has two big men -- Nene Hilario and Timofey Mozgov -- to bang with Bynum.

But Bynum emerged -- from the layoff, the conditioning questions, the offcourt distractions and the challenging opponent -- as the player of the game on Saturday. He might not be the sole reason this game slowed down and got ugly, allowing the Lakers to eek out a 92-89 win in the game's closing seconds, but he was a big one.

17 of Bynum's 18 field goal attempts came in the paint. Five baskets came on follows or putbacks; 6 of Bynum's 13 rebounds were offensive. He helped L.A. win the points in the paint battle, 46-32, and he managed to stay out of foul trouble throughout. Bynum finished with 29 points, a number he has topped only once in the regular season, a career-high 42 points against the Clippers in January 2009 and he's only attempted 18 shots in a regular season game three other times in his career. Bynum scored L.A.'s first six points -- finishing with 10 in the first quarter -- delivering time-and-again as his team clearly looked to establish him early.

But the defining sequence came late, not early. With just under two minutes to play, the game tied at 89, Bynum swooped in to block a layup attempt by Nene, a swat that quickly led the other way in transition for the Lakers. Bynum sprinted -- have we ever seen him move this fast? -- to the other basket, collecting a pass from Derek Fisher and smoothly converting a layup to put the Lakers up for good. That bucket provided a leading margin that stood despite two long misses, a turnover and a missed free throw attempt from Kobe Bryant in the final two minutes.

The win pushes L.A. above .500, to 3-2, and Bynum's starring role buoys the spirits in Tinseltown, where the trade rumors, the rise of the Clippers and an injured wrist for Bryant have led to a lot of anxiety. Bynum's addition takes much needed pressure off of Bryant and provides insurance against inconsistency from Pau Gasol. The team's three-headed monster is back and looking, for a day, like it never left.

This season debut should help put to bed a lot of the lockout ghosts -- or illusions of ghosts -- for L.A.'s big man. Bynum now must turn his attention to the same problem facing every NBA player: finding a way to make a similar impact, night after night after night, in a compressed schedule that does its players, particularly the big guys, no favors.
Posted on: December 31, 2011 11:56 am

Will someone please take Bynum's keys?

By Matt Moore

This is getting ridicuous. 

TMZ reports that Andrew Bynum was pulled over in early December for "crossing a divider and driving on the wrong side of the road" while trying to pass a car. 

Oh, good grief.

This happened, in TMZ's words, "JUST DAYS BEFORE"  Bynum was pulled over and ticketed for having illegally tinted tail lights and no license plate... wait for it, and then after that pulled over going over 80 MPH in his Porsche.  This is after double-parking in a handicapped spot last July, and Bynum was ticketed for going 110 MPH in November of 2010. 

So to review.

Two speeding tickets.
Parked in a handicapped spot.
Illegally tinted tail lights. 
No license plate.
Drove on the wrong side of the road.

Look, if you want to say this has no impact on him as a basketball player, nor on his maturity as a teammate, that's fine. Maybe it doesn't. It certainly won't affect his play when he returns to the lineup Saturday against the Nuggets. But it's not exactly comforting to see Bynum repeatedly making the same mistakes. He's not getting into fights or criminal trouble. He's just committed a high number of unnecessarily violent fouls an has problems with driving regulations. 

But seriously, will the Lakers, Kobe, Mike Brown, someone get Bynum a driver? This is just absurd at this point.

No wonder Kobe Bryant takes a helicopter to games.  
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