Tag:Kobe Bryant
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:10 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:27 pm

The Shootaround: Heat haven't shown greatness?

Miami's coach says the Heat haven't yet shown greatness, Scottie Pippen has Dennis Rodman's back, Nate Robinson shares his thoughts on this year's dunk contest, Chauncey Billups really was sick, the latest on the Carmelo Anthony trade talks, and much more. Posted by Ben Golliver.  shootaround
  • Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra says in an interview transcribed by SportsRadioInterviews.com that he has not yet seen greatness from his team. "We have proven that we can be great, we can be great on the defensive end of the floor, but we have not shown greatness yet. We do not do it on a possession or every single minute of the game mentality yet. We’re moving in that direction and I think our guys understand that this isn’t where we want to stop. To play really at the elite level, and we’re talking seven game series, we need to be more consistent with that and that’s what we’re striving for and working for every single day.”
  • Boston Celtics guard, and Slam Dunk contest champion, Nate Robinson says the NBA wants Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin to win this year's contest. The Boston Globe quotes Robinson: “It’s time to basically let Blake Griffin win, because that’s what they want. Hopefully the young fella can go on and get it done.’’
  • Former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen is campaigning for his former teammate, Dennis Rodman, to make the Hall of Fame, notes NBA.com. “We all watched Dennis’ career and we know just how good he was as a basketball player,” Pippen said. “I think we all got caught up in his antics, and things he did away from the game, and it sort of disrespected or took attention away from what he did on the basketball court. But he is surely a Hall of Famer.”
  • Yesterday, we noted that there was some speculation regarding Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups' absence from practice due to illness, and ongoing trade talks between the Nuggets, New Jersey Nets and Detroit Pistons. Billups' agent, Andy Miller, tells Yahoo! Sports not to read into it. “He’s really sick,” Miller said. “He has a headache and was feeling under the weather. There is no correlation with regard to the rumors and speculation regarding a trade scenario. Chauncey’s professionalism should never be in question in regards to his responsibilities as a professional athlete.”
  • Here's the up-to-the-minute latest on Carmelo Anthony trade talks, which includes discussion of Houston's potential involvement and Denver's reported unhappiness with the public nature of the negotiations. "The teams haven't stopped talking, but the Nuggets are trying to show people that they aren't going to be rushed into anything," adds ESPN.com.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn lets the Associated Press know that no trades are imminent for his team and that patience continues to be a virtue. "As painful as this is, there was no way to do this with a quick fix and put the team into a position to dramatically rise overnight," Kahn said after practice. "It is really painful to work your way through this process. I'm actually encouraged that maybe it won't be as painful for as long as I once worried it would be."
  • The Utah Jazz are considering changing their starting lineup to fix some slow starts. The Salt Lake Tribune writes that point guard Deron Williams wouldn't comment on any specific changes, other than to say he wants to pick up the pace. “I want to run more, that’s all I can say,” Williams said.
  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says his knee "feels good," but he's back to sitting out of Lakers' practices after a short stretch of participating over the holidays, according to the L.A. Times. "It feels good," Bryant said after practice Monday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. I'm not going to answer questions about my knee every damn day. I said what I had to say. My knee feels fine. The key is to make it stay fine."
  • Toronto Raptors sophomore wing DeMar DeRozan tells TheScore.com he's not hitting the rookie wall this season. “I think around this time last year, I was so banged up,” DeRozan reflected. “I think I hit the rookie wall or something like that. I remember just being tired, being banged up and I wasn’t playing as many minutes as I am now. Just being able to get stronger in the offseason, being able to take the physicality of going inside with the big guys.”
  • DimeMag.com has an interview with Greg Minor, Antoine Walker's former Boston Celtics teammate. Minor touches on Walker's current D-League stint.
Posted on: January 7, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2011 2:16 pm

Kobe Bryant on his knee: 'almost bone on bone'

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant describes the condition of his surgically repaired right knee. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bryant

This week has been a virtual love fest for Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant, as we've noted that he has entered the NBA's top 10 all-time in scoring and is tops in the NBA's current All-Star voting.

Bryant has been extremely durable during his NBA career, playing through pain so many times we often assume he is indestructible. But in an interview with the New York Post, Bryant offers a bit of a jolt concerning his health, confirming that he has not practiced all season because of the condition of his surgically repaired right knee.
“Because I have very little cartilage under my right knee cap, it’s almost bone on bone.”
Bryant has undergone three operations on that same knee, one this past offseason, after having it drained several times during last year’s playoffs.
If that phrase "bone on bone" sounds familiar, it's because another Western Conference All-Star, Brandon Roy of the Portland Trail Blazers, used the same phrase to describe the condition of his knees earlier this season, before the team announced that he was out "indefinitely."

Bone on bone isn't necessarily a death sentence, as many players have reportedly played on knees in that condition for a long period of time. But it does require extra monitoring, can be painful and could hasten a decline in athleticism. Bryant tells the Post the lack of practicing this year was part of a preemptive strategy to protect the condition of his knee after he had to have it drained during the playoffs last season.
“Until I got it drained the first time during the opening round against the Thunder I could not bend that knee at all,” he revealed. “It was swollen as hell and it hurt like hell. Luckily things got a lot better once I had the procedure.”
“So, in order to protect my knee and avoid a situation like last year, we decided before the season to sacrifice the team’s intensity by minimizing wear and tear as much as possible.”
So far, that extra attention seems to be working. Bryant's numbers have dropped this season, but just a touch, more in line with general aging than a falloff you might expect from someone with a troubled knee. The greater concern, obviously, is long-term for Bryant.
Category: NBA
Posted on: January 6, 2011 1:37 pm

Kobe Bryant leads the All-Star voting, again

Posted by Royce Young

The third batch of All-Star returns are in and nothing much has changed. Kobe Bryant is still leading everyone, Dwight Howard still leads in the East and the snubs are pretty much the same. But here I am to update you regardless.

In the Western Conference, Kobe leads with 1,391,597 votes and is followed at guard by Chris Paul (724,605). Kevin Durant, a member of last year’s All-NBA First Team, tops all forwards in the West (945,944), with Carmelo Anthony (742,284) second.

Yao Ming (754,583), despite being injured, is the leading vote-getter among Western Conference centers, with the LakersAndrew Bynum (493,237) placing second who has also been injured most the season.

Howard, the leading vote-getter in the Eastern Conference with 1,205,159 votes, leads centers in the East, followed by Shaquille O’Neal (506,621). LeBron James leads all Eastern Conference forwards with 1,194,091 votes, followed by Kevin Garnett (850,687).

Dwyane Wade, last years All-Star Game MVP, paces all guards with 1,167,649 votes; the CelticsRajon Rondo is second among guards in the East (929,781).

Two races worth keeping an eye on:

1) Amar'e Stoudemire isn't far behind Kevin Garnett. Stoudemire trails by about 25,000 votes and with Garnett injured, there's real opportunity to gain ground there and win the starting spot.

2) Derrick Rose is only about 12,000 votes behind Rajon Rondo for the starting point guard spot. It'll be tough seeing how Rondo has returned and put up a huge triple-double against the Spurs, but Rose certainly could put up a few big games and catch up to the Celtic star.

Other than that, it's all pretty much decided upon.

Starters will be announced Jan. 27.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 8:43 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 9:09 pm

Bryant: Lakers' problems not as bad as 2002

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant says this year's struggles aren't as bad as those of the 2002 Lakers. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-fisher

It's January, and the Los Angeles Lakers aren't undefeated on the season (they've even dropped a few games they really shouldn't have), so some Lakers fans and critics are freaking out a little bit, predicting apocalypse for the two-time defending NBA champions. 

Even though the Lakers are 24-11, tops in the Pacific Division, a recent up-and-down stretch that included a blowout home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies raised some concerns that the team might not be able to three-peat. 

Leave it to Lakers star Kobe Bryant to act as both history teacher and calming influence. In comments posted on ProBasketballTalk.com, Bryant says this year's struggles -- which include forward Ron Artest getting into it with coach Phil Jackson this week -- are nothing compared to what the last three-peating Lakers, led by Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant, went through.
“We were awful,” Bryant said. “People here forget about that stuff. We were awful and dysfunctional. Here, right now, we’re just awful. It’s much better now than it was. People forget that three-peat that we had to get to, we were [expletive]. We had to go on the road in San Antonio and thank God the Eastern Conference was terrible. We winded up having home court advantage in the Finals but we were awful.”
It's going to be a long haul to achieve a three-peat, it always is, but Bryant makes an excellent point. Going through bad stretches of play is one thing; dealing with bad internal chemistry is another. The Lakers' core is a veteran, tested group that has been there and done that many times, and it's as ego-free on the court as can reasonably be expected from a star-studded group of millionaire basketball players in Tinsel Town. And, other than rehabbing center Andrew Bynum, whose role is still a bit of a question mark as he returns from knee surgery, the important pieces are known quantities that have exhibited success together in the past.

An NBA title is never totally smooth sailing. But bet against the defending champs, talented and playoff-tested, at your own risk. 

For more on the Lakers' struggles so far this season and some possible recipes for turning it around, check out CBSSports.com's Ken Berger breaking it down on video.

Posted on: January 5, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 5:10 pm

Bryant on pace to pass Jordan on NBA scoring list

It’s no guarantee that Kobe Bryant will match or pass Michael Jordan’s six rings, but he should pass Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring chart with kobe-bryant-michael-jordan.jpgrelative ease. 

Posted by Ben Golliver.

Even at 32 years old, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has plenty of NBA miles ahead of him. This week, he moved into the top 10 on the NBA’s all-time scoring chart, and if he continues scoring at his current rate through the rest of the season, barring injury, he will move into the No. 6 position on the list, passing Hall of Famers Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Oscar Robertson in the process.

But Bryant surely won't be content with sixth place. Just like he is chasing Michael Jordan’s six NBA titles, he’s also in hot pursuit of Jordan’s NBA career scoring tally, which at 32,292 points puts MJ in third place all-time, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928).

So what does Kobe need to do to pass Jordan? Let’s take a look.

Since turning 30, Bryant has fallen off his career-high scoring numbers posted in his late-twenties, but he’s still scoring at an exceptional rate. Over the last 2.5 seasons, Bryant is averaging 26.6 points per game, although his number has slipped to 25.2 points so far this season. Even given that slippage, the rate is more than enough for Bryant to reach Jordan in the relatively short-term.

The difference between Jordan's career total and Bryant's total through Tuesday is 5,621 points. That equates to 223 games at his current scoring average of 25.2 points. With 47 games left this season, assuming Bryant plays all of them, Bryant would need to maintain this season’s scoring pace for 176 games, or 2.15 full seasons, after this year. In other words, assuming no further slippage and that Bryant averages 25.2 points for the duration, Bryant would pass Jordan early in the 2013-2014 season.  That season happens to be the last of Bryant’s current contract, when he is scheduled to make $30.5 million dollars at age 35.

That should be considered a best-case scenario, and not particularly likely because scorers universally fall off as they progress through their thirties. For the sake of argument, let’s say Bryant finishes this season scoring 25.2 points, but is only able to average 20 points per game from there on out. It would take Bryant 222 games, equal to 2.7 full seasons, averaging 20 points per game, starting with next season, to reach Jordan’s career mark. In other words, Bryant would still be on pace to pass Jordan in 2013-2014, it would just happen in the spring rather than the fall.

Even if Bryant were to fall off dramatically, to, say, 16 points per game following this season, it would still only take Bryant 277 games, or 3.3 seasons, to pass Jordan. In other words, even with a very conservative estimate, Bryant would pass Jordan in 2014-2015, at age 36. Jordan played until he was 39, in a diminished capacity, and he was still able to average 20 points per game his final season. Surely, by comparison, Bryant will be able to average 16+ at age 36, even with the extra miles caused by his prep-to-pro jump and no mid-career sojourns to play minor league baseball.

What about the impact of health? Through 14 full seasons and the start of this season, Bryant has played in an amazing 91.7% of Los Angeles’s regular season games. At his current scoring rate, he would still pass Jordan in 2013-2014 even if he missed his average of roughly 8 games a season. At 20.0 points per game, missing 8 games a season, he would pass Jordan at the very end of the 2013-2014 season. Playing 75 games per year and scoring 16 points per game, he would pass Jordan in late 2014-2015.

Given the length of his contract, his excellent health and his scoring output to this point, Bryant will almost certainly end his career in third place on the all-time scoring list, at least, and could challenge Jabbar and Malone should he continue playing into his late-30s.  But third place would be good enough to top Jordan, and surely that’s where Bryant wants to be. 

For a more detailed and refined projection of Bryant's career scoring progress, check out this 2009 post from Basketball Prospectus.

Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:30 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 11:43 pm

Jackson and Artest have 'direct' confrontation

Posted by Royce Young

When the Lakers lose, things start getting snippy. And weird.

First was the apparent skirmish with words between Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson through a couple odd quotes. Now, it's a small dust-up between Jackson and Ron Artest. Via Yahoo! Sports:
At a recent practice, league sources said, Artest loudly confronted Jackson. As he tried to fit into the defending champions a season ago and earn his way, Artest grudgingly went along with Jackson’s public floggings. This season, Artest has less tolerance for it. Essentially, Artest told Jackson that if he wants to coach him, coach him. Just stop embarrassing him in public.
Jackson acknowledged the confrontation but said using the word "loudly" was inaccurate, instead saying it was "direct." He also added that his relationship with Artest is completely fine.

Jackson addressed the situation Tuesday:
“It was not a loud confrontation it was a man-to-man confrontation. It was obviously out of character for that to happen at practice and for Ron. And it was not about embarrassing him in public, it was about some of the issues that have been brought up that were focused about him.

It’s nothing more than what could normally happen in a practice. And obviously there is a spy or a cam or a leak or something that went on in our practice, but those are the things that happen in practice. It was not the first time and it’s not going to be the last.

Ron came in and apologized not only to me but in front of the team for what he said was a distraction at practice. That was his own desire to do that, I didn’t even solicit it from him."
Again, when a team that's used to lots and lots of success starts losing, things get chippy. Tension rises. Small quibbles between players or coaches seem to rise to the surface. Winning makes everyone feel appreciated.

After the Lakers rip off five or six straight everyone will be best friends again. But right now, fingers are being pointed, criticism is going public and the Lakers look like they're near a blow-up. Sometimes though, this sort of thing is good for a team to go through. Especially one that has two straight titles in their back pocket. Sometimes a little kick in the pants is needed to get everyone going.

Between Kobe and Phil's jabs, the iPhone malfunction, Kobe's public frustration and now this, something has got to give in L.A. And if we've learned anything about the will and mettle of the Lakers, it will.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 9:59 pm

Report: Apple iPhone glitch gets three Lakers

Posted by Royce Young

If it looked like the Lakers were a bit lethargic in their 104-89 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday, it's because some of them actually were a little weary-eyed. As in maybe they just woke up.

A team official told ESPN.com that at least three Lakers, including Pau Gasol, were victims of Apple's now famous iPhone/iPod glitch that caused the alarm function to not work. As a result, Gasol entirely missed the team's shootaround and the two others (one was Luke Walton) were late.

Mentioned in the report is that Gasol's absence just added to Kobe Bryant's current frustration with the team, highlighting a perceived lack of committment and focus from the two-time champs. The loss to the Grizzlies made it fourth out of six in the loss column for the Lakers.

Gasol had 10 points, eight rebounds and five turnovers with no assists in 32 minutes. After the loss the Memphis was when a lot of the barbs between Phil Jackson and Kobe started getting tossed around.

One of the complaints from Jackson was how Gasol wasn't involved enough in the offense in the second half. Maybe the reason he didn't get more involved was because he wasn't totally awake during the game.

Right now, the Lakers are going through the motions and just kind of expecting to get by each night because of talent. They don't have the same commitment to the defensive end that made them champions and Kobe is trying to do way too much.

It really looks like the Lakers need a pretty good wake-up call. Better to use something other than an iPhone for it though, I think.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 8:58 am

Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson reconcile after spat

After exchanging some words following a Sunday night loss, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson reached a middle ground. kobe-phil Posted by Ben Golliver.

It sounds like the fallout from the Los Angeles Lakers' blowout loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night is starting to lose some of its radioactivity. 

On Monday, we noted some back-and-forth comments made on Sunday night by Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson. Jackson said Bryant "has to screw up the game" while Bryant said "I'm not buying any of that Zen (B.S.)."

Later Monday, after the loss had some time to sink in, both Jackson and Bryant appeared to make conciliatory comments.

Jackson, according to the Orange County Register, clarified what he meant by "screw up," claiming he didn't mean Bryant wasn't messing up the Lakers' gameplan. 
 ”When the game starts getting out of hand, Kobe will crank it up, not screw it up — I used the term screw it up, not in terms of being in error or a mistake, but crank it up another notch to try and get us back in ballgames,” Jackson said. “That’s our fourth-quarter action. That’s how we win ballgames. When they have to crank it up in the third quarter, there’s not much left in the gas tank after that.”
Bryant, for his part, acknowledged the truth of Jackson's words, saying that he did go outside Los Angeles's normal offensive system in an attempt to single-handedly pull the Lakers back into the game.
“He was right,” Bryant said. “I totally broke the offense, but I did it intentionally because I felt like we needed to get something started because what we were doing just wasn’t working. I tried to kick-start it, and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
“But Phil doesn’t really care how many shots I take, he just wants me to take them inside of the offense.  That was one of those days where I was like, ‘(expletive) the triangle, I need to get myself going and try to save this damn game,’ and it just didn’t work out.”
Sounds like cooler heads have prevailed. Maybe?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com