Tag:Kobe Bryant
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?
Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 8:08 pm
 

The Game Changer: Memphis mauls the Lakers

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MEMPHIS WALKS OVER L.A.

This really was kind of a bizarro game. The Lakers fell behind early to a quicker, more athletic Grizzlies team and never had the firepower to really make up the deficit.

It was basically the formula you see good teams use to beat bad ones. A couple 6-2 runs placed in between bigger 10-2 ones and before you know it, the margin is 20. And that's what the Grizzlies did to the Lakers all night.

Kobe tried to shoot the Lakers back into the game late finishing with a fourth quarter flurry of points, but it was too late. Rudy Gay had already done too much damage, Zach Randolph had already had his way inside and O.J. Mayo had already gotten hot from outside.

Obviously the look here is at the Lakers who have lost again, this time big against a sub-.500 team. But really, shouldn't we be impressed a little with the Grizzlies? They've started playing much better the past few games and take away Tyreke Evans' miracle and they've won four of five. As it stands, they're three below .500 but have three straight tough ones playing the Thunder twice and the Jazz in the middle.

But while the Lakers will gain most of the chatter for getting worked over by Memphis, I think it's at least courteous to give a little credit where credit is due. The Lakers don't lose just by playing bad. Someone had to make them do it. And the Grizzlies did Sunday.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Blake Griffin had a very Blake Griffin night. Big highlights and 31 point and 15 rebounds.

DeAndre Jordan was actually quite good as well: six points, 12 rebounds and six blocks

DeMarcus Cousins had the best game of his young career with 28 points, eight rebounds and six assists

Danny Granger finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds in a loss to the Knicks.

Antwan Jamison dropped 35 and pulled in 10 boards, but the Cavs lost to the Mavericks.

RONDO RETURNS, BOSTON WINS

It wasn't against a great team or anything, but the Celtics got Rajon Rondo back and took care of business, dispersing the Raptors. Paul Pierce scored 30 on 15 shots, but it was having Rondo back that was the story. He played 34 minutes, scored four points and ` out eight assists, but just his presence commandeering the Celtics was a huge difference.

With Rondo, there's a different level of execution. The spacing is terrific and the team plays just with a looser, more confident feel to it.

Getting Kevin Garnett back is the next goal, but just having Rondo on the floor again is nice for Boston.

MAVS BEAT CAVS

For Cleveland, that's 17 out of 18 in the loss column. For the Mavericks, it's now one out of four without Dirk Nowitzki. I just thought that was worth pointing out. Plus I wanted to say "Mavs beat Cavs."

PORTLAND GETS A LEG UP

In a battle for the now-getting-more-and-more-interesti
ng eight-seed spot, the Trail Blazers took down the Rockets behind a big game from Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Even without Brandon Roy when the Blazers play in the open floor the way they did, they look like a capable playoff team. They always defend, they always rebound, but it's the offensive execution where sometimes they lack. But against the Rockets, everything was on point especially when the Blazers ran.

Houston has been coming on strong lately, and a team Portland will likely be fighting with for months to come. It's not a statement so much as it's a leg up on the nearest competition. The Blazers are potentially good enough to solidify themselves as an eight-seed or higher contender despite injuries, but winning games against the direct competition is key.

Paul Pierce SMASHY

Blake Griffin had himself another stellar finish yesterday, but Paul Pierce gets the dunk award for the day with this Griffinesque cram.


PARTING THOUGHT

The Clippers did a very Clipper thing by blowing a late lead over the Hawks by surrendering 37 fourth quarter points. This Clipper team has some really nice pieces. But they're obviously one of those young groups that isn't exactly sure how to win or finish. They keep reminding me of the Thunder from two years ago. Clearly talented but just not ready to win consistently. Patience is key here, but I think by April, we're going to have reason to be impressed.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: January 3, 2011 11:28 am
 

Kobe's not loving Phil's "Zen (B.S.)" right now

Posted by Royce Young

It's been an odd up and down season for the Lakers this year. They started 8-0, looked rightfully invincible and that was before all their pieces were together. Then came some rough patches. Four straight losses. Then three by double-digits. And after a 19-point loss to the Grizzlies Sunday, some passive-aggressiveness started coming out between Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson.

Jackson said: "We get behind early on in the third quarter on some stupid plays -- poor passing, poor transition defense -- and then Kobe has to screw up the game and start energizing the team by going one-on-one and that takes the rest of the guys out as a consequence. That didn't bring us back in, but it did give us a little run, we got the game back a little bit but we couldn't sustain it and we just went right back and made the same mistakes again."

Let's analyze that quote. Honestly, it's not as bad as it sounds. Phil isn't saying Kobe did screw up the game, he's just making the point that because of the team falling behind, Kobe had to try and bring the team back in it and try and energize them. But then again, that's classic Phil Jackson. He says something that sounds bad, but really isn't, but has a point hidden underneath it. Deep, man.

Kobe's side of it: "We've had days off and blown teams out, so I'm not buying any of that Zen (B.S.). I think we're looking too far down the road instead of looking just at the game that's right in front of you. You start skipping steps if you look too far down the line."

Kobe was referencing how Jackson have the team New Year's Day off from practice. And obviously nudging his coach a bit in the process.

When a team like the Lakers start losing, this sort of thing happens. They're too good to be losing like this and they know it. So obviously something has to be screwed up. Whether that's the players, the coaching or just everything in general, the team knows this shouldn't be happening. As a result, fingers get pointed.

It's not like Kobe and Phil don't like each other and are having some meltdown. They've had differences but that's natural. With Kobe's competitiveness and Phil's mind games, this sort of stuff happens. It's part of a season. It doesn't mean they're the bestest of friends right now, but it's not something to freak about. The goal here is to win games and right now, they aren't doing a great job of it.

All of it will surely get sorted out and the Lakers will start winning and looking really good soon enough. Whether that's in two weeks or in March, it's going to happen. But the longer this goes on, the worse things will appear. Kobe will have a game where he shoots it 34 times and Phil will point that out which will make Kobe not shoot for an entire first half or something the next time. It's all drama in L.A., all the time.

But really, it's about the slip in defense for the Lakers. They're allowing teams to a higher field goal percentage and overall have dipped quite a bit stopping the ball. With bad defense comes bad offense because you're trying to work your way back into a game. That's kind of Phil's point. But it doesn't sound like Kobe wants to hear it.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:29 am
 

Shootaround: 1.3.11: A cake for a king

Posted by Royce Young
  • Can the Spurs win 70? Don't ask Gregg Popovich: “No,” Popovich told a member of the visiting media when asked if the milestone has crossed his mind. “Are you still drunk from (New Year's Eve)? Now if we lose three in a row you're going to say, ‘Is it time to panic, do you think?' ... Come on.”
  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "Fate can have a crazy, cruel side. When in a nasty mood, it sends wicked twists. Caron Butler won't let karma break him, even though his knee buckled in front of his family, friends and a couple of hundred kids he bought tickets for at the Bradley Center on Saturday night. Don't weep for Butler. He wouldn't want it that way. Yes, he's gone, probably for a significant portion of the season, maybe all of it. And he becomes a free agent on July 1. The timing of this injury was horrible for the Mavericks and disastrous for Butler and his family. He was on his way to a nice season and would have been an in-demand free agent. Now? Who knows?"
  • However, the Wizards are defending better. Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "The Wizards weren't necessarily looking to turn around the season when they dealt away the former face of the franchise, Gilbert Arenas, to Orlando for Rashard Lewis on Dec. 18; the primary goal was to better clear the slate in order to rebuild around John Wall. So while the team's 2-6 record since making the trade is still unsettling, the dramatic changes on the defensive end have been startling. In the past eight games, the Wizards (8-24) have allowed just one opponent to reach triple digits after their foes scored at least 100 points in 16 of the first 24 games. The Wizards are surrendering just 91 points per game since the trade, compared with giving up 105.8 before."
Posted on: December 30, 2010 1:20 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:54 pm
 

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard top NBA All-Star vote

The latest round of votes for the NBA All-Star game have been announced, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Orlando Magic centerkobe-dwight Dwight Howard lead the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively. Posted by Ben Golliver

The NBA All-Star game fan voting process is one of the world's most elaborate popularity contests, and some familiar names top the latest round of this year's results, released today by the NBA.   Western Conference
In the Western Conference, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant leads the way, and he is the top overall vote-getter, clocking in at more than 1.1 million. The other current starters for the West include Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony and Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. Yao, of course, has played just five games so far this season due to injuries, and recently suffered a season-ending stress fracture in his ankle. Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who has also missed extensive time due to injuries this year, is in second place behind Yao. Yes, this makes no sense. Did the fans get it right?  Bryant and Durant are locks. You can quibble between Paul or Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams, but Paul is a solid choice. MVP candidate Dirk Nowitzi is the biggest snub here, as he should certainly be in above Anthony. As for the center position, the ballot for that position is a mess and the West should probably just play four-on-five.
Eastern Conference

In the Eastern Conference, there's no question about which center is most deserving (and popular). Indeed, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard leads the East in overall votes, at just under one million. He's joined by Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Boston Celtics guard Rajon RondoDid the fans get it right? 

Howard, James and Wade are all locks. There's a strong argument that Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose should be in ahead of Rondo, but I like Rondo here as well. As for Garnett, he probably deserves to get bumped so that New York Knicks power forward and MVP candidate Amar'e Stoudemire fills out the starting five. That's not as bad an oversight as Anthony over Nowitzki, but a little team diversity in the starting lineup never hurt anyone. Here's the full list of votes for the starters courtesy of an NBA press release.
Bryant, The Finals MVP last season, is the overall leader with 1,153,694 votes.In  the Western Conference, Bryant, a three-time All-Star MVP, who garnered the  honor  in 2002, 2007 and 2009, is followed at guard by the New Orleans Hornets’  Chris  Paul  (585,690).  Kevin  Durant,  a  member of last year’s All-NBA First Team, paces forwards in the West (735,521), with the Nuggets’ Carmelo  Anthony  (602,516) second. The Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming (637,527) is  the  leading  vote-getter  among  Western  Conference centers, with the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum (376,283) placing second.
Howard,  the  leading  vote-getter  in  the Eastern Conference with 988,572 votes, paces centers in the East, followed by the Boston Celtics’ Shaquille O’Neal  (410,663).  James,  a two-time All-Star MVP (2006, 2008), leads all Eastern  Conference  forwards  with 969,459 votes, followed by the Celtics’ Kevin  Garnett  (712,555), MVP of the 2003 All-Star Game. The Heat’s Dwyane Wade  paces  all  guards  with  938,402  votes; the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo is second among guards in the East (777,310).
The 2011 NBA All-Star game will be played on February 20 in Los Angeles, California.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:17 pm
 

Kobe must stop shooting, but Lakers will be fine

Kobe Bryant must curtail his shooting as his percentage dips with the Lakers struggling, but come playoffs? They'll be fine. 
Posted by Matt Moore





The Lakers are 7-8 this year when Kobe Bryant shoots more than 20 times. The defending NBA champions who are 21-10 overall, have a losing record when Kobe Bryant shoots more than 20 times. On the season, Bryant is shooting 44% and 33% from the perimeter. In those 15 games where he's shot 20 attempts or more, he's shooting just 41% and 30% from the arc. 

So, in all honesty, Kobe's got to stop shooting. 

Don't count on it. 

Before the season started, there were discussions with the Lakers training staff and coaches about Bryant's role in the offense, and the hope that he would come to accept a decreased role in the offense. Instead, Bryant seems more intent on shooting his way out of the hole the Lakers have found themselves in.  He has responded to the Lakers' struggles by yelling at teammates, demanding improvement, and then going out and not letting the most talented team in the league be the most talented team in the league. 

This is the worst part of Bryant's offensive kamikaze failures. The Lakers' offense features the personnel, talent, and system to allow them to overcome any individual challenge. Is the defense denying Pau Gasol the entry pass (while he's once again failing to establish position)?  Lamar Odom off the cut should pull the defense apart to allow Gasol better angles. Has the defense compacted to shut down on interior movement?  Shannon Brown, Ron Artest, Steve Blake, and Derek Fisher will make them pay from the perimeter. 

Bryant's refusal manage his game when it's not falling (or when his pinky is bothering him) has to concern Lakers fans not only about this season, but about how the rest of his career will shape up as his skills continue to deteriorate. But at the end of this, after three losses of double digits by the Lakers, are they in trouble?

Come on. It's December. 

This Lakers team had troubles in the 2009 playoffs. They slacked off in the regular season last year. And while this stretch of games feels considerably worse than their issues last year which were all coasting, Phil Jackson has five months to get the team right. This has never been a team to sprint to the finish. Or the middle. Or really at all.  For a team driven by such an obsessive as Kobe Bryant, the Lakers haven't held an all-out attitude.  But they still have two rings to show for it. Trying all the time and remaining focused hasn't been their path. But being taller, more talented, and more experienced has gotten them where they want to go, regardless of how they perform in the winter months. Spring is what matters for this team. 

The questions are about whether they'll have home court advantage. But with the experience this team has, it may not need it. There's not a dominant home court advantage for a contending team, unless you consider Oklahoma City such a team. The Lakers just need to get a top four seed, not the top seed. As long as they're ready for May, that's what they care about. 

That said, the Lakers danced with Bryant shooting them out of games in the playoffs last season, but managed to survive it. (Go check out his numbers from Game 7 of the Finals.) This year, with an improved Eastern Conference and now the West making a strong show, at some point, something's got to give. The coaching staff is going to have to get Bryant to buy into trusting his teammates in a way he never has before. In the past, he's relied on them to fill in the gaps of his game. Now, he may need to rely on them to carry him for stretches. Something tells me that's going to be an awkward conversation for the Mamba. 
Posted on: December 29, 2010 10:23 am
 

Shootaround 12.29.10: 5-Hour Tuff Juice

Kings don't want Ming, Camby doesn't want out, and a really weird Mavs video, all in today's Shootaround. 

Posted by Matt Moore

Vince Carter is expected to make his Suns debut tonight. The Suns' training staff is excited to take on their biggest challenge yet. Keeping Carter on the floor for more than five minutes at a time. 

Marcus Camby has had just about enough of being bounced around and is feeling very "Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon." He may be too old for this stuff. He's making noise that were he to be traded to a bottom-feeder like Charlotte, he may just retire instead. He doesn't need the cash and has talked about retirement for a few years now. 

Since when did Kobe Bryant feel the need to get into it with third year players like George Hill?

And since when did Pau Gasol feel the need to call out the Lakers' lack of inside presence without taking on the responsibility himself for not establishing post position? Gasol did respond to suggestions that the Lakers' bigs needed to call for the ball more, but didn't comment on his post position.

The Heat's intro video is really silly.

The Magic have shot 47.4% from the arc since the big trade two weeks ago. So much of that is having more weapons on the floor and guys who understand spacing. The guys they shipped out had simply lost that with age. 

Corey Maggette is making all sorts of bad noise in Milwaukee about the team, the coaches, everything. Bad mojo on the horizon. 

The Kings are not interested in any trade for Yao Ming. Which is bizarre because anything else they would get back from Houston would be better than what they have now. 

Then there's this. Whatever this is. 

Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:25 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 12:11 am
 

Spurs take down Lakers; is it worry time in L.A.?

Posted by Royce Young



From the opening tip, you could feel the intensity. This might've been a regular season game on Dec. 28, but it sure seemed like something you'd see April 28.

Two titans of the postseason were playing and even though it's just one more of 82, anytime the Spurs and Lakers hook up, pleasantries don't stay in the arena very long.

Kobe Bryant and George Hill tangoed in the first half, pointing fingers in faces and saying, um, stuff to each other. Ron Artest roped Tony Parker on a fast break for a hard foul. Andrew Bynum clothes-lined Tiago Splitter on the inside. Richard Jefferson and Derek Fisher had an exchange with Fisher picking up a technical after chasing Jefferson down to bump. Hard fouls, technicals, trash talk -- this one just had that extra umph.

But just like a classic Spurs playoff win, San Antonio used stifling defense, smart offense and big plays from role players to overwhelm the Lakers in the fourth quarter, beating the defending champs 97-82 in front of a sold-out AT&T Center crowd.

And here's where we go one of two ways: Is the story how well the Spurs are playing or if the Lakers officially in crisis mode?

Let me hedge here and say both. The Spurs are playing wonderful basketball. They're undefeated at home in December, own the NBA's best record and get something from everybody that steps on the floor. Tim Duncan was just 1-7 from the floor and scored only two points. Manu Ginobili went just 3-12 from the field. So naturally, since this is the Spurs we're talking about, someone stepped up.

DeJuan Blair was a complete difference maker scoring 17 points while also grabbing 15 rebounds. Gary Neal -- who you can just picture becoming Robert Horry in the postseason -- hit two huge fourth quarter 3-points to give the Spurs some serious breathing room. George Hill was entirely terrific on Kobe in the fourth quarter, frustrating the Laker star into turnovers, bad shots and some serious barking at the officials. And of course one of the San Antonio stars played big with Tony Parker pouring in 23 including 14 in the first half.

On the Laker side, things never really looked good. The Lakers almost seemed like the team desperate for energy, frantically looking for a spark. It was almost like they were rattled. Offensively, there was never any kind of rhythm. Especially in the second half where L.A. scored only 38 points total.

The Lakers shot 35 percent for the game and the man leading the charge there was Kobe. He went just 8-27 from the field for 21 points. Pau Gasol was 3-8 for only nine points. Lamar Odom was 3-9 for nine points. Really, L.A.'s best offensive player was Matt Barnes who went 3-4 from the field.

So again, good Spurs or bad Lakers? From my perspective, it looked like a game where the Lakers self-combusted a bit as Kobe kept shooting and shooting while a very good team in San Antonio took complete advantage of it. Take this game for L.A. and put it against Sacramento and the Lakers probably win ugly. But against the Spurs? You lose by 15.

That's not something that should sit well with the Lakers. Kobe has been pretty honest with his appraisal of the team, feeling at times that they don't seem interested or committed enough. And that's what really showed against San Antonio. Kobe tried to do way too much, the offense never ran through Bynum or Gasol and defensively, there wasn't ever any kind of urgency.

This makes three straight losses for the Lakers, all coming by double-digits. And while it seems like this might be a time to scratch your head, keep in mind, this is December, even if the game felt like it was in April. It's not time to worry... yet.
 
 
 
 
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