Tag:Kobe Bryant
Posted on: November 4, 2010 9:17 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 9:17 am
 

Shootaround 11.14.10: Post-Halloween Scary

Posted by Matt Moore

  • Richard Jefferson hit four deep corner threes last night to help the Spurs bury the Suns (again). NBA Playbook breaks down one of them . Next time your team hoists another contested mid-wing three, ask yourself why it is that the best teams work for high percentage areas for high percentage shots and bad ones don't. 
  • Doug Collins left in the second half of the Sixers first win against the Pacers with vertigo symptoms. Collins' concussion was some scary stuff.
  • It would be remarkably easy to find only negatives to talk about in the Pacers' loss to the Sixers (the Sixers first win) by a comfortable margin. But 8 Points 9 Seconds points out that a big difference in this year versus last is that last night, no Pacer showed up his teammates . Bad teams turn to good teams when things like that start happening. It's early, so things can still go south, but it's a good sign. Losing well can at least be a building block for a young team, as long as it doesn't happen too often.

Posted on: November 3, 2010 11:03 pm
 

Kobe sets Lakers minutes record

Hall of Fame guard sets record for minutes by a Laker, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Posted by Matt Moore


Kobe Bryant added another record to his sterling career as a Laker. Tonight Bryant played his 37,493rd minute, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time record in minutes played as a Los Angeles Laker. Kobe is now the all-time leader in minutes played by a man in the yellow and stylish purple. Pretty amazing for a player who's only 32. If you had a dollar for every minute Kobe Bryan has played as a Laker? Well, okay, you'd still be tens of thousands of dollars short of what Bryant makes per-game. But still, it would be a lot of money. You could buy something really nice.

So Bryant claims another record, one of what will continue to be many as he racks up the accolades in a stellar career. In a sport where so many players miss significant time, Bryant has been an absolute warrior to get to this point. And with as many years as he has in front of him? It may be a long time before any player surpasses him.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 10:44 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:23 pm
 

Kobe Bryant commits to Team USA for 2012 Olympics

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has committed to playing for Team USA for the 2012 Olympics in London. Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant After winning NBA titles in 2009 and 2010, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is looking for another back-to-back: Olympic gold medals.  Bryant, a key member of the 2008 USA men's national team that took home gold in Beijing has committed to play for Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times with more.
The Lakers' shooting guard green-lighted another run at the Olympics, committing to it Tuesday on Mike Krzyzewski's Sirius XM radio show. Krzyzewski coaches Team USA and Duke.
"You guys want me there, I am there and I'm ready to defend," Bryant said of the London Games. "And then when you guys need me to put some points on the board I'll do that too."
Bryant was a major force for Team USA in Beijing, making up a triumvirate of stars with Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and then Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. Bryant finished with 20 points, including a number of big shots down the stretch, to lead the USA past Spain in the gold medal game. The early commitment is big news for Team USA, which is also expected to add Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant to the 2012 team. Durant led a watered-down Team USA to a gold medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey, in the absence of Bryant, Wade and James. Bryant's presence may help influence other big-name stars to re-up on their national team commitments, which requires a significant time investment during the off-season.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 9:21 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:19 pm
 

The Game Changer 11.01.10

The Heat are rolling, the Thunder are struggling, Brandon Jennings goes triple-double, Jason Kidd hits from way downtown, Rajon Rondo dresses up like Tiger Woods for Halloween, and a bunch more. Posted by Ben Golliver

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: MIAMI KEEPS ROLLING

Another day, another runaway win for the Miami Heat, who clobbered the New Jersey Nets on Halloween, 101-78. The result wasn't particularly surprising, but it was a nice chance to see how the Heat handled one of the league's best big men, New Jersey's Brook Lopez. Entering the season, many felt Miami's biggest vulnerability was at the center position. The Heat uses a rotating cast of characters -- including centers Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskuas, Jamaal Magloire and power forwards Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem -- to handle opposing big men. While there is both size and talent in that group, none of the players individually stands as an ideal match-up for guys like Lopez, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. On Sunday, Lopez had a nice game. He finished with 20 points, five rebounds and an assist on 8-17 shooting in 28 minutes. He wasn't dominant, but he was clearly New Jersey's go-to player and he hit from a bunch of places and in a variety of ways. Unfortunately for Lopez, his teammates combined to shoot 3-14 from distance and 22-67 from the field. So while he shot 47%, his teammates shot 33%. And that was basically the ball game. The Heat showed Sunday that one-tricky pony offenses are simply no match for its balanced attack. Without New Jersey's shooters -- multiple shooters -- hitting from the outside, Miami's perimeter defenders were free to harass Lopez to their heart's desire. Coach Erik Spoelstra used Anthony, Ilgauskas, and Bosh on Lopez at different points over the course of the game, and each received help from teammates collapsing into the paint. Miami's active defense combined for 10 steals and they paid careful attention to boxing out Lopez on the offensive boards, limiting his opportunities for second-chance points. While Lopez is very good already, he is not an elite force capable of swaying a game single-handedly. On Sunday, he was just a puzzle -- a relatively simple one at that -- for the Heat to solve. With six Heat players scoring in double figures and a team shooting percentage above 53%, Lopez needed a lot more help than he received.  Sunday felt like a lesson for the rest of the NBA teams. Bring a balanced offensive attack -- some credible outside shooting to complement a solid interior game -- or risk watching LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh yuck it up on the bench during the fourth quarter, your fate already sealed.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE WEEKEND:

Brandon Jennings:  23 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 6-8 shooting.
Young Money cashed his first triple-double in Milwaukee's Saturday win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Honorable Mention goes to... John Wall: 28 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists 9-17 shooting. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft showed he's going to be a serious problem for NBA defenses, blasting off in Washington's loss to Atlanta on SaturdayPaul Millsap: 30 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 12-19 shooting. With this stat line in Utah's win over Oklahoma City on Sunday (their first W of the season), did Millsap just officially stick a fork in the Carlos Boozer Era?

DON'T MISS:

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the New York Knicks are cooperating with a league investigation into allegations of illegal pre-draft workouts that stretched over multiple seasons. He also writes that New York needs to surround power forward Amar'e Stoudemire with some better talent.

THUNDER STARTING COLD:

By Royce Young Offensively on paper, the Oklahoma City Thunder should have it good.  They have the league's reigning scoring champ in Kevin Durant. They have rising scorer and potential star Russell Westbrook. they have quality role players with scoring ability in Jeff Green and James Harden.  And yet, the Thunder offense has sputtered in the first three games. Yes, the team is 2-1 after a Sunday night loss to the Utah Jazz. But on the season, OKC is shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from 3-point range. So really, it's sort of amazing the team has two wins under its belt.  What's kept the Thunder alive is the free throw line. OKC is taking an average of 41.6 free throws a game and is making 84 percent of those attempts. Without all those freebies, the Thunder could very well be sitting at 0-3.  Against the Jazz Sunday, it's the first game the Thunder didn't make more free throws than baskets. (In their first two games, the Thunder took 47 and 44 free throws, respectively.) OKC made 32 shots total and 30 free throws (out of 34). Still a large number from the stripe, but obviously not enough in a game the Thunder lost by 21. Not to dismiss the Thunder's two victories by simply saying they were gifts from the charity stripe, but at this point, the Thunder offense isn't really getting it done.  For instance, against the Utah, Oklahoma City went 23-35 inside 10 feet, but 9-45 outside of that. In fact, Durant made five of those longer 2-pointers (four 3s) and the rest of the team just four. The Thunder are settling for jumpers, the ball movement is poor and the typically deadly transition offense just isn't there right now.  The 3-point shot just isn't there and outside of Durant who is 6-13 on the season from deep, OKC is just 5-40 from 3 as a team. That's 12.5 percent. That's fairly terrible.  So is there a problem with the Thunder offense? No, not really. It's just kind of a matter of progress. Scott Brooks runs his training camp and preseason based almost entirely around defense and has even said publicly that he's not too concerned with OKC's offense. Any team looks better offensively when its making shots and right now, OKC's not making shots. Durant is shooting just 38.8 percent from the field which is obviously not something that will keep up.  The Thunder can thank the free throw line for their two wins and curse poor shooting and some defensive breakdowns for Sunday night's loss. The offense is sputtering right now, but it's a result of settling for jumpers and the fact that some of those jumpers just aren't going down. 

WHIMSY:

The Boston Celtics clearly had a good time on Halloween. For a full look at all the Halloween costumes around the NBA, click here. celtics-halloween

 

VIDEO CLIP MANIA:

Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd shows that, even in his decaying old age, he still has some tricks up his sleeve. Kidd sinks a three-quarter court shot before halftime of Dallas's game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Video courtesy of outsidethenba on YouTube


ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

Rest in peace, Maurice Lucas.
maurice-lucas

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 9:17 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Lakers owner supports increased revenue sharing

Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, says through a spokesman that he supports increased revenue sharing in the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliverjerry-buss  Whenever the issue of contraction in the NBA was raised during the last few weeks, one couldn't help but wonder whether it was a case of rich owners publicly bullying poor owners.  It's no secret that the league's franchises enjoy vastly different levels of success and that their interests might not be in total alignment during ongoing labor negotiations with the players' union. By floating the idea of contraction, perhaps, the league or some of its owners might be reminding struggling franchises that it's a privilege, not a right, to participate in, and profit from, the collective. Another hot topic along rich owner / poor owner lines is revenue sharing, whereby the team's most successful financial teams (usually those in the largest markets with the sweetest TV deals) help subsidize less successful teams in the name of the competitive good and league-wide stability. NBA commissioner David Stern has acknowledged that the amount of revenue sharing among NBA owners will increase after the next round of collective bargaining, to narrow the gap between teams that play in front of packed houses with movie stars sitting courtside and those playing in half-empty stadiums. While you might expect the large-market owners to protect their financial interests by toeing a stern line against increased revenue sharing -- or at the very least remain quiet about the issue in public -- Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register writes that Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers has publicly voiced support for increased revenue sharing in the NBA's next collective bargaining agreement.
So how much are the Lakers going to fight that revenue sharing? "Not only are we not going to fight it, we'll support it," Lakers spokesman John Black said Sunday night, "due to the benevolence of our owner, who is willing to sacrifice for the overall good of our league." There you have it: The Lakers, the league's royalty whose purple and gold robes already make everyone in the NBA some nice coin, are on-the-record on board with giving up a lot more. At a time when there's almost no good news coming out about how the NBA could avoid a lockout after this season, that's a definite something.
Is it just me, or does an alarm bell go off anytime you hear the word "benevolence" used to describe someone with power? The guy is an NBA owner, not a third-world dictator. He's willing to share a few extra of his millions with other millionaires, I'm not sure that qualifies, exactly, as benevolence. But this statement does qualify as a meaningful step in the public discussion. Even if Buss is trying to get in front of potential criticism, his willingness to address the issue is a positive sign. And Ding makes a smart point: the Lakers, as a financially successful team and one that is in the midst of a potential dynasty as the end of Kobe Bryant's career approaches, have arguably the most to lose on both the balance sheet and the court if there is a lockout. Here's hoping Buss, whose Lakers have stood as a model franchise for decades, means what he says, and that other NBA owners appreciate his message and follow his lead.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 7:59 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Shootaround 11.01.10: Kobe is healthy, got it?

Kobe Bryant says his knee is healthy, questions in Houston after a slow start, two young point guards shine on Saturday, and former all star Maurice Lucas passes away. Links from around the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver
  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says his knee is 100% healthy, but he's a little testy about it. Writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com: "Bryant told a FOX Sports West reporter during an interview shown on the Staples Center video board that he is all the way back from offseason surgery to his right knee and didn't want to be asked about it again. Bryant was later asked if his statement was accurate by reporters in the locker room and he stood by it. 'Yes, so leave me the hell alone about my [expletive] knee,' Bryant said."
  • Last week, Boson Celtics guards Delonte West and Von Wafer got into a scrap after practice. In a video posted on Boston.com, West attempts to downplay the incident. "It's not that serious. We've moved past that, you know. We're competitive guys being competitive. Hopefully, it's for the benefit of the team. There's nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better. But things went a little too far."
  • Washington Wizards rookie point guard went off huge against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Despite the loss, CJ Hempfield of BulletsForever.com liked what he saw. "John Wall had stretches during the 3rd quarter in which he looked unstoppable. Not only was he blowing past people on 1-man breaks but he also began to blow by defenders in the half court as well as hit a jumpers. He began to show flashes of what he might become in the future and the prospects are awesome."
  • In other electric point guard news, Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the finalists for last year's Rookie of the Year award, notched his first career triple double on Saturday. Alex Boeder of BrewHoop.com was suitably impressed. "Jennings pitched a near perfect offensive game, getting all Chris Paul on the Bobcats to the tune of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on 6-8 from the field, 3-3 on threes, and 6-8 from the line. He bursted with channeled enthusiasm for the game of basketball tonight, looking like the most excited guy in pregame introductions, and then directing an offense that owes him a thank you card signed by all. As a game manager, this was about as good as a 21 year-old can get."
  • Rob Mahoney takes a look at some Miami Heat numbers for the New York Times. " At first glance, turnovers would appear to be one of Miami’s most glaring flaws. James and Wade combined for an abysmal 14 turnovers against Boston on Tuesday, and James followed that sloppy performance with another nine turnovers of his own against Philadelphia. Something to note, though: Miami has been turning the ball over more often than it should, but it won the turnover battle in both games. Miami posted a lower turnover rate than both of its first two opponents (the Heat had a -3.3 turnover rate differential against the Celtics and a -3.2 differential against the 76ers), suggesting that while turnovers are a problem, they’re not necessarily the problem."
  • We noted last night that former NBA all star power forward Maurice Lucas passed away Sunday at age 58. His New York Times obituary. "Lucas was a rugged defender and an outstanding rebounder, capable of a sturdy pick and a timely basket on offense. Possessing a glare that presumably intimidated many an opposing player, he became the prototype power forward when he emerged as a star for the Trail Blazers in the late 1970s."
Posted on: October 26, 2010 9:57 am
 

Shootaround 10.26.10: And it begins

Posted by Royce Young
  • You guys, the NBA season starts today. How exciting. Just a couple games tonight but they're all wnners. Phoenix vs. Portland, Houston vs. LA and that one team vs. Boston.
  • Kobe Bryant did a radio interview yesterday and hinted that his first retirement might not stick: "Yeah, I mean, you see so many people and so many players do it, but it's tough to say that you won't go through that. Obviously, everybody does go through that. That's the point where you have your family handcuff you to a chair."
  • Greg Oden played some 5-on-5 yesterday but admitted he was a little hesitant: "I was worried, but it was fun ... I got my blood moving, it felt good being out there. Coach basically told me 'Don't try and go full-go'. It wasn't like a full blown practice. I was the weak link out there, but I was still out there."
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "The Heat's recruiting of stars and Pat Riley's ruthless master plan had nothing on the Magic's tactics. The Magic exhausted themselves clearing salary. They knocked themselves out trying to snag Tim Duncan. Greeting a plane in their hangar with Duncan aboard, they erected a huge banner that read, 'GRANT US TIM,' and offered trays of finger-food. Lon Babby then leaned over to John Gabriel and said, 'Tim doesn't eat cold cuts.' The color drained from Gabe's face as he imagined Duncan passing on the snacks -- and the Magic. They frantically dispatched staffers to retrieve burgers for him. It's just a snapshot into the lengths a team will go to win. Your team. Maybe the Magic and their fans shouldn't be so hard on the Heat."
  • How did Udonis Haslem end back up in Miami? Have a read: "Something that doesn't have a lot of precedent in American sports happened then. Wade called Bosh and asked him to cut $15 million off his salary for Haslem. Wade called James and asked him to do the same. Bosh and James barely knew Haslem. Just a few short conversations here and there. But Wade told them this team needed someone hungry and gritty and unselfish like Haslem, and promised to cut $17 million out of his own contract to make it happen, too."
  • The Lakers kick off a title defense tonight and Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold warns to be patient: "I bring all this up because this season will be filled with peaks and valleys.  Like every other season that we’ve observed as followers of this team, there will be moments where hope is low and where the frustration spawned from suspect results will dominate the mind.  Do not succumb easily to these feelings of doubt.  The NBA title will not be decided on Christmas Day or on the Grammy Road Trip.  These are just steps in the process and must be separated out from the larger goal at hand.  Enjoy the journey and understand, again, that it is a long one.  Championships aren’t won in a single game during the regular season, but over the long haul the lessons learned from the cumulative will prepare the players (and the fans) for the bigger prize."
Posted on: October 25, 2010 5:19 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2010 7:23 pm
 

The Laker Manifesto

This is the way your season ends. This is the way your season ends. This is the way your season ends. Not with a burn, but in gold. Posted by Matt Moore



You see that?

That's theirs. It was theirs last year. It's theirs this year -- tomorrow night, actually . And unless Boston figures a way to play better and stay healthy, or the Triad is actually as good as advertised , then it'll be theirs again this year. They are that good. They are that strong, that experienced, that focused and that deep. But most of all? They're that good.

And here's how it will happen.

This locker room, from all indications, is not unlike your typical successful business office. It's not a monkey bars meet-up like Oklahoma City, nor is it some sort of Reservoir Dogs luncheon like what I experienced in the Heat locker room. It's just like a succesful office. Guys hang around the water cooler, yucking it up about Monday Night Football or the obnoxious dude down the hall. There's a comfortable familiarity, everyone knows each other and Christmas parties are a blast. Everyone gets along, outside of the Slovenian dude who keeps blasting Drake at high volume on Fridays and can't figure out how to work the printer. Someone brings doughnuts, the kitchen's usually pretty clean, everyone pulls their weight, and the chatter about Glee is both in-depth and hilarious.

And everyone's afraid for their jobs except the two guys with corner offices.

There's a level of excellence demanded of this team, and it starts and stops with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. That mindset -- the professional, hyper-achieving without sacrificing the mind concept -- is what permeates. It makes the team disciplined and proficient, and it makes most of its players terrified of the day when they slip up in front of the bosses. You will not fail, because Bryant and Jackson will not allow you to fail.

The Triangle really isn't the right fit for most of this team. That's not only pretty certain, it's painfully obvious. Shannon Brown, when released from the shackles, looks like a dynamic, powerful, well-intentioned guard. Within its confines, he's like an ADD kid trying to sit through The English Patient . Lamar Odom? Everything he does is largely outside of the triangular box, filling in the gaps and playing loose within the margins. The only players that really benefit from the system are Kobe, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher. Phil Jackson does too, of course. Because Jackson doesn't have to spend the time running out variation upon variation. It exists upon itself and all he has to do is teach it right. This isn't because he's lazy, far from it. It allows him to work on what is most important. Getting their minds and souls in the best place to compete. Sometimes that means kicking the dog down the stairs and to New Jersey to play backup point guard. And sometimes that means questioning the player in the press in order to get him to have the best run of his career, like Ron Artest. It's a balance that allows for focus.

Are there questions? Sure.

Starting and ending with Bryant's knee. It's not 100%, not close to it. But the man won a title with nine fingers and 1.5 knees. So I wouldn't let your breath out when he has the ball, kiddos. If there's one thing Bryant's shown, it's that he adapts. Constantly. Growing a post-game, grinding out the mid-range jumper, bombing from downtown. He'll do what the team needs, what he needs. There's no quit in Mamba, but there is a gigantic set of fangs.

Also, this team coasts. For days and weeks. Long stretches when they simply could not care less. Lazy passes, weak defense, a lack of hustle that would put Jerome James to shame. They know they don't have to care, and they don't. To the point where it's entirely possible they won't have the top seed in the West, depending on whether the team stays healthy. But they'll be there, and that's all they need.

The team relies on an absurd level of talent. While people scoff, cough and vomit towards the Triad in Miami, the Lakers employ two Hall-of-Famers, three quality starters (at least for the two weeks Fisher is awesome per year), a talented, if oft-injured, legitimate center in a league that doesn't feature many. Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, starters on other teams, are the seventh and eighth men on this one. It's a team loaded for any opportunity and its personnel fits its needs. Blake can spot up and run the offense (to the degree the Triangle needs running from the point). Barnes plays defense and will basically be a poor man's Odom. And the starting unit is so loaded, it doesn't matter.

Gasol may shoulder more of the load this year, and that's fine, since many considered him the best big in the league last year. That fadeaway touch jumper from the mid-block? You can't stop it. Usually, the only thing keeping Gasol from posting huge numbers is his comrade in arms taking jumpers.

And Kobe will shoot. That's who he is and his ego won't let him do anything else. He'll fire until there are no more bullets left. Then he'll throw the gun. No other player so often garners condemnation for his shot selection, then completely backs it up by nailing the game winner. He'll put his team in a position to lose by firing off-balance J after off-balance J, then hit the running game winner and come off smelling like roses. He played horribly in Game 7 of the Finals and still came off the hero. Because for all the misses, he's still the guy you want shooting and still the guy that can drop 50 if things go his way.

Fisher is a massive liability at both ends of the floor ... until he's not. Bynum is a half-player that cannot be relied on to make the tough play ... until he does. And no player better symbolizes the kind of transformation wearing the yellow and purple can have on you more than Ron Artest. From Crazy Pills to mental health spokesman, gunner without a conscience to brilliant complementary player, from loose cannon to lovable winner. This is what L.A. can do for you, what Staples Center and Lawrence Tanter can do for you, what the gold of a championship team can do for you.

And it will do it again.

Get excited about Miami's superstar power. Get riled up about Boston's defense, or the seemingly endless wave of up-and-comers. But know this.

Tomorrow night, the reigning champions will receive their rings, the second of three they intend to get. They have the pieces, they have the board, they have the plan, they have the manifesto, they have the leaders.

Now all they need is the game.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com