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Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: December 30, 2011 2:59 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 3:02 pm
 

Kobe Bryant advised A-Rod on knee procedure

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-knees

If walls could talk, imagine the stories they would tell.

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant and New York Yankees All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez could surely spin yarns for hours, swapping stories of leading marquee franchises to world championships and dominating headlines -- and the tabloids -- for more than a decade while reaching the pinnacle of fame.

So it shouldn't be all that surprising that Rodriguez, 36, turned to Bryant, 33, for advice in pursuing a new age knee treatment.

The New York Times reports that Bryant said he was happy to tip off Rodriguez to the German doctor who performed the procedure on his knee during the lockout. 
“I gave him the phone number,” Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star, said with a smile Thursday night.

Bryant gave his endorsement after having the treatment — known as Orthokine, which is similar to platelet-rich plasma treatment — on his troublesome right knee. He said his knee was now “95 percent” and “as close to 100 percent as it’s going to get.”

Rodriguez had the procedure on his right knee and left shoulder, but only after consulting Bryant, a longtime friend. “He reached out to me,” Bryant said. “We have a good relationship.”
Was it sound advice?

USA Today reports the Yankees believe Rodriguez looks good to go after he a subpar 2011 season.
General manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that Rodriguez is "100 percent," with "no red flags" going into spring training. Rodriguez had surgery on his right knee last July and saw his power drop in the second half and postseason. He played in 99 games and hit 16 homers, struggling to produce at his usual prolific levels.
As for Bryant, he is averaging 27.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game through the first four games of the 2011-2012 season. All of those numbers are up from his 2010-2011 averages.
Posted on: December 30, 2011 2:34 am
Edited on: December 30, 2011 2:50 am
 

Report Card: Westbrook's redemption



By Matt Moore

The Knicks wilt again out West, the Thunder rise and fire, and the Blazers win the best game of the night. Here's your nightly report card. 

A: Russell Westbrook


One day removed from a horrid shooting performance in a near-loss and after a brief altercation with Kevin Durant that subsequently became the biggest story in the league for a day, Russell Westbrook brought the Thunder back. He made all the plays late starting with a dunk and-one off a steal. He hit big shots when he needed to and grabbed a huge offensive rebound off a Durant miss late. It was a terrific job by a player with a lot of pressure on him, and showed why the Thunder believe he and Durant can be special together.

Westbrook isn't the pure point a lot of people think Durant needs. But in terms of scoring point guards, he's one of the best in the league. His fearlessness and ability to make things happen in key moments should not be overshadowed by a handful of poor shooting nights for the young player. Westbrook is a legitimate star who plays on the same stage, if not level, as Kevin Durant. 

A: Los Angeles Lakers


Ball movement. Help defense. Efficiency. The Lakers won with good basketball. Not superstar power, though Pau Gasol played well. They weren't pretty or fun to watch, they just worked to create open shots and knocked them down. Even when the Lakers were losing earlier this week, they had great effort, just poor execution. Against the Knicks, they really turned the effort into execution and simply played better basketball against what is arguably a more talented team in terms of star power.

B: Houston Rockets


The Spurs didn't have it, but the Rockets also never allowed them to find it Thursday night. The Rockets ran efficient offense over and over, getting contributions from their key guys and really attacked the Spurs inside with Samuel Dalembert. It was a key win after a disappointing opener against the Magic. Kevin Martin stopped being terrible and went back to Kevin-Martin-hood.

B: Portland Trail Blazers


They won against a very good Nuggets team and kept their hot streak alive. They shot 51 perent from the field. They also turned the ball over 25 times and let the Nuggets back in it after a huge initial rush. They lost the free throw battle. In reality, they had a hot night, shooting 51 percent from the field. They also played solid defense, if allowing a number of open looks. These two teams are evenly matched and the Blazers edged them. Room for improvement, but they get a B.

C: Dallas Mavericks


The Mavericks got a number of things to go their way in this game, and also played much better. The ball movement was there, Dirk was resurrected from lockout hibernation (29 and 10), JET was firing, and Ian Mahinmi and Brendan Haywood played well inside. But their defense was still several steps off of last year, and for crying out loud, the only guy in the building you have to guard with 1.4 seconds left and you give him a look? Better, Mavericks. Not good.

D: Dirk Nowitzki


Dirk nabbed a technical for complaining about a call in the fourth quarter. Was just a terrible time for that kind of a tech. 

D: New Jersey Nets


Missing Brook Lopez? Sure. But the effort isn't there, from any of the players. How exactly are you going to convince Dwight to come there by getting killed by him?

F: New York Knicks


Carmelo Anthony, point forward is not walking through that door. Carmelo Anthony, ball-stopping shooter is. Both Anthony and Stoudemire struggled mightily against a Lakers defense that attacked their dribble whenever they got the ball. The Knicks have no creator, no initiator, no playmaker, just bullets and no gun. Oh, and defensively? Renaldo Balkman spent the most time guarding Kobe Bryant. Whoever had that idea needs to spend some time reconsidering the way he approaches the world.

Incomplete: San Antonio Spurs


Back-to-back, but after two really solid defensive games the Spurs took a giant step backwards Thursday night.

E for Effort: Orlando Magic


It's not hard to beat the Nets. But the Magic are firing on all cylinders right now. Dwight Howard with 24 rebounds, Ryan Anderson 22 points. The Magic are still a good team in the middle of all the turmoil. Again, against the Nets. But still.

Gold Stars:


Dirk Nowitzki. Jason Terry, Serge Ibaka. Steve Blake. Pau Gasol. Josh McRoberts, Luis Scola. Jimmer. Wesley Matthews.
Posted on: December 28, 2011 8:39 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 8:46 pm
 

Report: Andrew Bynum hit with 2 traffic tickets

Posted by Ben Golliverandrew-bynum

It's time to hire a chaffeur. 

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum is involved in another legal mess related to his operation of a motor vehicle. TMZ.com reports that Bynum was hit with two traffic tickets this week for 
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Bynum was pulled over Tuesday for driving without a license plate and having illegally tinted tail lights. Bynum walked away with a fix-it ticket. But it was not lesson learned, because today Bynum was pulled over in his Porsche 911 on the freeway for going over 80 mph. Bynum was cited and released.
Bynum, 24, set off a firestorm of controversy back in July when he allegedly parked in a handicapped spot while grocery shopping. In November 2010, Bynum was pulled over for driving his Ferrarri for going 110 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone.

Bynum is currently serving a suspension for laying a dirty hit on Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea during the playoffs. That suspension was reduced to four games earlier this week. He will therefore be available to make his season debut on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. Consider that your early traffic advisory if you're planning to attend the game or visit downtown L.A. this weekend.

Now in his seventh NBA season, Bynum, when healthy, is one of the NBA's most talented pivotmen. He averaged 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game last season.
Posted on: December 28, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 1:53 am
 

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard



By Matt Moore


There is a fairly established path to rebuilding. When a team is forced to start over, the way back to contention is to trade the biggest star along with a salary dump for as many young players and draft picks as possible. Then you rebuild through the draft using the picks you acquired and your own picks, which are high on account of you being terrible. This is a fairly proven formula, with the Blazers having had success before injuries wrecked them, and the Thunder currently a Finals contender with that model.

Which is why today's report from ESPN.com should be concerning for Magic's fans and is confusing for the rest of us. From ESPN:
Sources familiar with Orlando's thinking say that a picture of what the Magic will ultimately expect in return for their anchor has indeed begun to emerge, telling ESPN.com this week that Orlando would not hold out for youth and draft picks as the league-owned New Orleans Hornets were ordered to do in the Chris Paul sweepstakes. The Magic, sources say, would instead prefer to bring back multiple established veterans who can keep the team competitive.

Reason being: Orlando has moved into a new arena last season and has a 85-year-old owner in Rich De Vos. Sources say De Vos has little interest in starting over/rebuilding, as evidenced by the recent decisions to trade for Glen "Big Baby" Davis and re-sign Jason Richardson even though Howard's future is so murky.
via What will Magic want for Dwight? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN. So the Magic are looking at that well-established path back to contention... and wanting to do the exact opposite. The problem is that the Magic would not and cannot get anything back that is comparable to Howard, so they'd be looking at either an aging star, or someone overpaid. Which means problems for the Magic in a few years when those contracts get larger and the talent isn't there. It seems like a cash grab for tickets in order to make casual fans go to games instead of really building towards a championship which perennial season ticket holders and long-term fans would want.

There are several repercussions if this report is accurate.

1. It puts the Lakers squarely in the lead for Howard. If you want established All-Star-level players, the Lakers have them. A package of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, which the Lakers insist they will not send for Howard, would fit this bill exactly. Even if they won't trade those two for Howard directly, the best scenario might be to bring Houston back into talks similar to what they were working on in the vetoed Chris Paul trade. That could net the Lakers a suitable replacement for Gasol in terms of firepower, provide Orlando with an All-Star power forward (Gasol) and the Rockets a franchise center of the future. Either way, if it's stars the Magic wants, the Lakers have them.

2. It severely damages the Nets' approach. Already missing their best trade chip in Brook Lopez due to a broken bone in the foot, the Nets have reportedly been dangling as many as five first-round picks for Howard. If the Magic want legitimate players, the Nets don't have any outside of Deron Williams. Their next best chip, Kris Humphries, cannot be traded until March due to his contract. If the Magic are serious about continuing to contend for the playoffs, the Nets can kiss their chances at Howard goodbye. In related news, the Nets were wiped off the map by the Hawks last night.

3. Speaking of the Hawks, ESPN says the Hawks have made offers regarding a possible trade of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith for Howard. This would be a genius move by Atlanta, even if Howard doesn't re-commit to signing there. You make one playoff run, clear Joe Johnson's cap-killing contract, and if Howard decides to leave, you've got cap space to rebuild with behind Jeff Teague and Al Horford. The immediate question mark is if the Magic would be willing to take on Joe Johnson's contract. Remember, if the Hawks want All-Stars, they have to take on big contracts, and Johnson's a multiple-time All-Star, even if his notoriety isn't on part with that accomplishment. Also keep in mind that Otis Smith traded for Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu last season. Big bad contracts do not scare the man. Still, the Haws are clearly on the outside of this race.

The Magic should be following the same pattern New Orleans did with the trade it actually pulled off. There's a reason the league vetoed the Chris Paul trade offer form the Lakers, and it wasn't because they all of a sudden hate their most popular team. It's because adding big contracts for lesser stars only compounds your situation and sticks you in NBA purgatory: late playoff seeds leading to first-round exits and no traction. That hurts every facet, competitiveness, ticket sales, enthusiasm, morale eventually. But if this is what the Magic want, they're in a position to wait until the trade deadline to get as much as they can. They don't want to start over, they just want to stay in the conversation.
Posted on: December 28, 2011 2:00 am
Edited on: December 28, 2011 2:12 pm
 

Report Card 12.27.11: Lakers back on track



By Matt Moore


The Lakers get off the schneid, the Heat win by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin, and the Blazers look better than last year. All this and more in Tuesday night's report card.

A: Portland Trail Blazers: On the second night of a back-to-back, the Blazers trounced the Kings in dominant fashion, including holding them to just 14 points in the fourth quarter. There's a lot to like about this Blazers team along with the usual suspects, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews. Mostly, the defense, lead by Gerald Wallace. Wallace was an absolute demon Tuesday night, covering wall-to-wall and making every play you can imagine. The Blazers blocked three shots on one possession at one point, and wound up with eight blocks and six steals. A dominant showing on a night when their guards struggled. Blazers look good early.

A: Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers played so well I'm handing out two A-grades. On the third night of a back-to-back, the Lakers came out at home and put away any talk of their losing streak stretching to 0-3 in the first quarter. The Utah Jazz looked like the worst team in the league Tuesday night, but the Lakers' dominance was great enough to overcome the challenge of a terrible opponent bending the curve. Defense was the key here. Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace were everywhere. Gasol played extremetly strong both at the rim and in space against Al Jefferson. The Jazz were a wreck, but the Lakers steered them there. Great first win for Mike Brown and company.

B: Norris Cole: The Heat rookie was the fourth quarter closer the Big 3 could not, would not be. 20 points for the rook who was aggressive at every turn. Cole not only took the game by the horns and drove the Celtics into the ground to bring back for supper when they made a furious fourth quarter run behind a zone defense, he was pivotal on defense and made good decision making. He would nail a big shot, then fist pump his way to the bench without turning around for Dwyane Wade or LeBron James' approval. So why the B? He was a bit too aggresive at times and still struggles with finishing like all rookies do. Wouldn't want the kid to get too big a head on his shoulders. The kid simply stepped up, did his job, and helped get the win for the Heat when they needed someone to step up and hit the shots. And now everyone gets to ask, "They have MORE talent?"



C: Boston's comeback: Great adjustment by Boston coach Doc Rivers to go to the zone, which the Heat will now be seeing in every game for the remainder of the season. That, combined with some great shooting, particularly from Keyon Dooling, helped the Celtics bring the Heat to the knife's edge before Cole turned it around on them. The Celtics made the push they needed to, and showed why they are still dangerous. So why the C? They lost, are 0-2, with two losses to teams they are likely to encounter in the playoffs. It was a good comeback effort, but ultimeately, it wasn't enough, and you have to wonder if it would have been that close had it not gotten so out of hand in the third so as for Erik Spoelstra to start screwing with lineups. The Celtics get a D, but the comeback is a C. 

D: Heat's composure: How many times is this team going to melt down in the fourth? They had to turn to a rookie to save them late in a key game against arguably their biggest rival. It should never have gotten that close. Oh, and Paul Pierce didn't play. The Heat won, and they played incredibly well in the third, but man alive, they need to learn to close better.

F: Utah Jazz: So, you know, this draft class, it looks great...

Other Notable Grades:

Withdraw: Heat as invulnerable: Best team in the league right now? No question. But after looking like a flying death machine in the third, the Celtics drew blood on Heat before falling to their own mortality.

E For Effort: Kevin Love: 31 points, 20 boards in a three-point loss to the Bucks. Love was a monster and gave it his all in a badly coached game by Terry Porter with Rick Adelman absent due to a death in the family. One complaint? His final shot was either badly drawn up or executed, a pull-up 35-footer a la Kevin Durant in last year's playoffs vs. the Mavericks. But that stat line is part of what we missed during the lockout.

Gold stars: Pau Gasol (5 blocks). LaMarcus Aldridge. Brandon Jennings. Jon Leuer. Chris Bosh. MarShon Brooks. Vlad Radmanovic.
Posted on: December 27, 2011 6:57 pm
 

Kobe Bryant: Injured wrist is 'painful daily'

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant admits that he is hurting.

Yahoo Sports reports that Bryant is managing constant pain thanks to a torn tendon in his shooting wrist. 
“It hurts more when I fall on it with the impact below the wrist,” he said. “When I fall and hit the ground, that’s when I feel it the most.”

“It swells daily, it’s painful daily,” he said. “I try to stay on top of it as much as I can.”
The wrist injury caused Bryant to sit the Lakers' second preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers and has caused an up-and-down start to the 2011-2012 regular season. He's been forced to play with a protective sleeve covering his shooting arm from elbow to wrist, which is no small matter. 

Bryant shot a combined 21-for-47 in losses to the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings; he committed a costly late-game turnover and had a potential game-winning shot blocked at the buzzer during the Christmas Day loss to the Bulls. 

Bryant, 33, has cultivated a reputation as a warrior and has backed that up by being one of the NBA's most durable superstars. In the last six seasons, he's missed just 16 regular season games combined.

He's a gamer, there's no question, but he probably feels like he doesn't have much choice here, as the Lakers have no readily available other options. Even with one arm in a cast tied behind his back, Bryant is far and away the best option because L.A.'s other available backcourt depth includes reserve point guard Steve Blake and rookies Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris.

In other words, the pain will go on. 
Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:39 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 1:52 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 2

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

denver-nuggets-pr

The 2011-2012 NBA season is a few days old, and with that comes the second installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Denver Nuggets at No. 2
. I realize it's easy to get excited about the Nuggets. They whipped the defending champs in their opener. But after one game we're moving them all the way to No. 2? After one game, they jump 12 spots? I think it's probably more overrating the Mavs than it is the Nuggets, because Denver's win over Dallas wasn't that impressive. The Mavs are uninterested, unmotivated and unhungry (is that a word?) right now. They're coasting. And they probably aren't even as good as they were last year. Yeah the Nuggets looked good in their takedown of the Dirks, but geez, I think we're getting a little ahead of ourselves here in having Denver jump Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Clippers. -- RY

2. Too Low: Los Angeles Lakers at No. 23 
Just when Royce got done scolding for over-correcting on the Nuggets, there's the Lakers, who dropped 18 spots by virtue of losing a tight one to No. 6 ranked Chicago on Christmas under bizarre late-game circumstances and getting picked off by a hungry Kings team on the second night of the back-to-back. That places Kobe/Pau/company six spots behind the Toronto Raptors and seven spots behind the Charlotte Bobcats. Come on. Maybe the last five years or so should have a touch more bearing than the last 48 hours in weighing the relative merits of these organizations. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: New York Knicks at No. 5. The Knicks took down a wounded Celtics team at home on opening day. They looked solid at times, sure. But is this New York team truly in the class of the NBA? Is it really top five material, with point guards named Toney Douglas and... Toney Douglas? (OK, so I know Mike Bibby is on the team too, but he doesn't count.) The Knicks are a quality squad but there's a burning desire in many to crown them a contender, but I think that's premature. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 26
. I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself here, but after watching the Wolves compete  against the top-notch Thunder, I came away impressed. Rick Adelman has made a difference, Ricky Rubio is fun and between Derrick Williams and Kevin Love, there's some real talent there. Minnesota hasn't necessarily done anything to deserve being higher than 26 because you need to actually win to move up. Moral victories don't count. But fourth to last? This Wolves team won't be in the bottom five for long. -- RY

5. Sure Thing: Miami Heat at No. 1.
 Miami looked so good in routing the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day that the general reaction around the league seemed to be to just pretend it didn't happen. Outside of the Oklahoma City Thunder, it's difficult to imagine any NBA team being able to keep pace in a 7-game series, Bulls, Celtics, Clippers and Lakers included. Here's hoping Miami keeps its foot on the gas all season long. The Hated Ones can do some amazing things. -- BG

6. Wild Card: Houston Rockets at No. 25
. The middle-of-the-pack Western Conference teams are likely headed for a rollercoaster ride on this year's power rankings, and Houston probably gets to be the first poster boy for that phenomenon here. They start near the gutter but still have enough talent to work their way into the top-15 in fairly short order. But would you bet your money on it happening? -- BG
Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:58 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 2:02 am
 

Report Card 12.26.11: Mavs crushed again



By Matt Moore


The first full night of games and it was a doozy. Rookie debuts, buzzer-beaters, and some vomit. The NBA is back in all its glory. Here are your grades for Monday, December 26th, 2011.

A: Denver Nuggets: Yeah, it was against the same team the Heat ran out of the building Sunday, this time on the second night of a back to back. But the Mavericks are still the defending champs and the Nuggets ran them out of their own building. It wasn't just the offense, either, though they were en fuego (49 percent from the field, 56 percent effective field goal percentage). Denver was also dialed in defensively. The best wins are those in which your offense allows you to set your defense to attack, which creates opportunities for your offense and it becomes a vicious cycle for your opponent. The Nuggets were like a race car wheel roaring down the track. They forced 19 turnovers, creating 20 percent more opportunities for themselves, and they took full advantage. Ty Lawson was a speed demon and when the Mavs did get in front, he smoked them from the perimeter (3-6 from the arc, 27 points). Al Harrington not only provided a huge offensive lift off the bench, he was engaged defensively. At one point he created a steal which bounced to Danilo Gallinari, who ran the floor then stopped and shoveled it back to a sprinting Harrington for the dunk. The Nuggets played so wel they could mess around on fast breaks. Dominant performance in their first season opener since 2003 without Carmelo Anthony.

B: San Antono Spurs: A little bit of revenge after the Grizzlies eliminated them from the playoffs last spring. The Spurs, six months removed from a season where they were an offensive juggernaut but couldn't stop anyone, especially down low, got back to their roots. They held the Grizzlies to an 86 offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions),which is elite status. They got back to defending, rebounding, and grinding their opponent to dust. Throw in a surprising performace from Richard Jefferson and an impressive debut for Kawhi Leonard, and all of a sudden, the "past their prime" Spurs look like they might be getting back to what made them great.

C: New Jersey Nets: Well, they were down 21 points at one point to the Washington Wizards who were playing without the fifth pick in the draft, Jan Vesely. The Nets looked lost, inept, ridiculous. And then they turned it on. Outscoring the Wizards 53-39 in the second half, they fought their way back into it and watched Flip Saunders' team self-destruct. Deron Williams was the exerienced All-Star. And Kris Humphries, man of the hour. 21 points and 16 rebounds, cleaning up misses and killing the Wizards down low. This was a game that's hard for either team to feel good about because of the opponent, and being down 21 to the Wizards is madness. But they won, and they'll take it.

D: Kobe Bryant: Here's what is working for the Lakers right now, without Andrew Bynum, and why they fell apart in a loss to the Kings. Ball movement, hustle and intelligent, efficient play. And the Lakers, after a lackadaisical game had them out of reach, fought their way back with that exact kind of play. And once again, Kobe Bryant went hero mode and once again, an opportunity to win was squandered by the Hall of Famer. The entire Lakers get a "D" here for failing to play any on the perimeter. (Seriously, Mike Brown, what's it going to take for Derek Fisher to get yanked? How many times must Tyreke Evans blow past him or block him?) But the Lakers keep getting within range through team play, and then Bryant attempts to take the team on his shoulders like he used to. That Kobe is gone, at least until the wrist heals. 24 field goal attempts for Bryant, who leads the league by a mile in usage percentage (percent of possessions used -- tricky stat that), and two turnovers, including an offensive foul late. A bad month for the Black Mamba gets worse.

F: Dallas Mavericks: You have GOT to be kidding us.

Other notable grades:

Incomplete: Chicago Bulls: Are they as bad as they have looked in the first two games after a loss to the Warriors on the road to open the season? No. But they do look bad. Really bad. But with a 1-1 mark, considering the schedule (two West coast road games to start the season on consecutive nights) and the opponent (a Warriors team with confidence after nearly nailing the Clips, even if they were on their own second game of a back to back). The Bulls fought back in and made it a game late, but if they don't make up their homework to the teacher, bad grades are coming.

E for Effort: Minnesota Timberwolves. Open the season with a narrow loss to the Thunder? Rubio looks great. Derrick Williams looks promising. Kevin Love is an All-Star. The effort was there for the Wolves, and they're only going to get better.

Gold stars: Eric Gordon (CLUTCH). Alonzo Gee. Ed Davis. Danilo Gallinari. Sean Williams. Roy Hibbert. Manu Ginobili. Marcus Thornton. Stephen Curry. Tristan Thompson. Tyreke Evans. LaMarcus Aldridge.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com