Tag:Kobe Bryant
Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:16 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:16 pm
 

Bosh, Love the big All-Star starter snubs

Posted by Royce Young

Despite leading the West in rebounds and sitting third in points, Kevin Love wasn't named a starter. (Getty Images)

The starting fives for the Eastern and Western Conference were announced Thursday night
and while there weren't any surprises from the fan vote, the question is, should there have been?

By default this season, the fans weren't afforded the opportunity to really mess this up as Yao Ming retired and wasn't on the ballot. But I'm sure he's still somehow going to be named the Western reserves anyway. It wouldn't be a proper All-Star Game without him.

But let's figure it out: Did the fans get it right?

EAST

Obviously Derrick Rose is the right choice at point guard. The alternative option would be Deron Williams I suppose. Or Rajon Rondo, who finished second. Or if you wanted to get clever, maybe Jrue Holiday or Kyrie Irving. But Rose is the obvious correct choice despite him missing a handful of games with an injury. You don't snub the reigning MVP.

But at shooting guard, there's a case to be made for someone else here. Wade is the obvious top 2 in the East, but he's only played in 13 of Miami's 22 games this season. His numbers are good and he's as much a superstar as you can be, but if you want to give it to a deserving player, you could point to Joe Johnson who is leading the Hawks to the top of the East despite Atlanta having lost Al Horford. Still, Wade's the choice. Just the way it is.

Dwight Howard, check. Moving on.

The two forward spots is where I'd point to a mistake by the fans. LeBron James is obviously the right pick, but Carmelo Anthony is not. Not only has he missed a good chunk of New York's season, but he's not even playing that well. His team stinks and Melo's putting up near career-low numbers. You know who deserves that spot? Chris Bosh, believe it or not. Bosh has quietly had a terrific season for Miami. A 21.0 PER, 20.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Bosh deserves to start. Melo absolutely does not. Quite honestly, I'm not even sure if he's a reserve at this point.

WEST

If I wanted to have things thrown at me, I'd say Russell Westbrook deserves to start ahead of Chris Paul. CP3 missed a number of the Clippers' games and Westbrook has followed up last season's breakout with another terrific start. But I won't go there. CP3 showed Wednesday in Utah why he's not just the best point guard in the West, but the entire league.

Kobe Bryant, not going to argue with that. Honestly the only player that you could even recommend right now with Manu Ginobili being hurt is James Harden. And that's not at all reasonable.

Kevin Durant, check. He's not just scoring the ball well again this year while averaging career-highs in rebounding and assists, but his team sits atop the West and he's a solid MVP candidate.

Andrew Bynum gets the starters nod almost by default of being the best center in the West, but you could try and make something for Marc Gasol or Nene. Clipper fans want to point out DeAndre Jordan's defense, but come on. Bynum is averaging career-highs with 16.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Bynum is the right selection, but not by too much.

Where the fans whiffed was at the 4 again. Yes, that means I'm going to tell you why Blake Griffin, even with his detonation of the Internet by posterizing Kendrick Perkins, is not the choice. Griffin's had a terrific season thus far, but I don't see how you deny Kevin Love. He doesn't have the highlight resume and doesn't have an arena oohing over a good offensive rebound, but Love leads the West in rebounding, is actually third in the West in scoring and has a PER of 25.87.

Griffin's numbers are great and you could even try and say LaMarcus Aldridge or Pau Gasol are deserving of mentions. So there they are. But that spot is owed to Love. His numbers are just too good to deny and there's not the excuse that his team is terrible anymore. The Wolves are nipping at that eight spot and are playing good basketball.

Plus, Love did this to Griffin, which should count for something, right?
Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:15 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:55 pm
 

2012 NBA East, West All-Star starters announced

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade will square off in another NBA All-Star Game. (Getty Images)

The NBA officially announced the starting lineups for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, as voted by the fans on Thursday night, and there were no surprises.

The Eastern Conference starting lineup: Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Heat forward LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

The Western Conference starting lineup: Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

The league's coaches will vote to the rest of the rosters and their decisions will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 9.

All 10 players were on pace as leading vote-getters during the first and second rounds of balloting that were released during the last two weeks.

2012 marks Rose's third selection, Wade's eighth selection, James' eighth selection, Anthony's fifth selection, Howard's sixth selection, Paul's fifth selection, Bryant's 14th selection and Kevin Durant's third selection. Bynum is the only first-time All-Star selection among the starters. Griffin, making his second appearance, joins Bynum as the only other first-time starter. 

Aside from Bynum and Griffin, the other eight players were all selected as starters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Anthony represented the Denver Nuggets and played for the Western Conference team last year. Paul represented the Western Conference as a member of the New Orleans Hornets.

Retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire are the two 2011 All-Star Game starters that did not return this season.

Here are the final vote tallies for the 10 All-Star starters. Howard was the overall leading vote-getter and Bryant led the way out West.
East: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,600,390; Derrick Rose (Chi) 1,514,723; LeBron James (Mia) 1,360,680; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,334,223; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 1,041,290

West: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,555,479; Kevin Durant (OKC) 1,345,566; Chris Paul (LAC) 1,138,743; Andrew Bynum (LAL) 1,051,945; Blake Griffin (LAC) 876,451
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at the Amway Center in Orlando on Feb. 26. Bryant will look to repeat his performance as the 2011 NBA All-Star Game MVP. Here's a look at the jerseys that will be worn during the game.

For more coverage of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, check out CBSSports.com's NBA All-Star Game hub.
Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:47 pm
 

Bynum says changes could come after road trip

Andrew Bynum says changes could come for the Lakers after the Grammy's trip. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The Lakers are not their usual dominant selves. They're good, improving to 13-9 after a thumping of the Bobcats Tuesday night. But there is a prevailing sense that after losing Lamar Odom and some changes in roster through free agency as well as the new coaching regime, they are not the usual favorites. There was, of course, the Chris Paul trade which fell through, and rumors relating to Dwight Howard persist.

But there have been no changes. Yet.

ESPN spoke with Andrew Bynum, who says that depending on how the Grammy's trip goes, the Lakers may not be the same team when they get back from the six-gmae trip as they are when they get on the plane. From ESPN:
"If we do well on this, then we'll be the team we need to be," Andrew Bynum said. "If we don't, then they might start looking around."

Lakers coach Mike Brown confirmed reports that the team has been in touch with Gilbert Arenas, whose sole duties of late have been cashing the checks Orlando keeps sending his way after using the amnesty provision on the remainder of his contract. Arenas believes the Lakers want to see what type of shape he is in before making a commitment, according to a source.
via Daily Dime - ESPN.

The Lakers need to make a move. Kobe Bryant only has so many years left, even with his scoring output and spring in his knees. Pau Gasol's on the slide. They need to make one more run and set themselves up for the future. Bryant is owed $30 millions by the end of his contract, which means either the Lakers will be surrounding him with very little support, or a trade or amnesty will be in order to avoid death by luxury tax. Not even the Lakers can afford that kind of bill. The time is now. If they can't pull this team into a position to look like the unbeatable team it's seemed in the past four seasons (despite the epic meltdown in the second round last year vs. eventual champion Dallas), they need to face the reality and make a move. They'll always have leverage as the most popular place to play. They need to exert it. 

Arenas has been talked about for a week now. He's not going to come in and be the difference maker, though. He can produce, and have some scoring nights. Certainly having a limited role will help. But his body simply can't give what the Habachi used to cook up.

That said, the Lakers' trip only includes one legitimate contender in Denver, with the Celtics' slide and Philadelphia still largely untested. There's a good chance they rack up the wins, puff up the record, and settle in for the long wait till the trade deadline. Then, no matter how well the team is doing, the Dwight Howard scenario will be in full effect, and the drama will only get louder in Hollywood. 

(HT: SLAMOnline.com)
Posted on: January 30, 2012 2:03 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:41 pm
 

Rubio trash talks Kobe: Spain to win 2012 Gold

Posted by Ben Golliver 
Kobe Bryant and Ricky Rubio will go head-to-head in London. (Getty Images)

There's been a lot of media fuss over how well Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio's game has been a better fit in the NBA than in Europe. His swag is officially NBA-ready too.

HoopsHype.com transcribed a Marca.com video in which the Minnesota Timberwolves' rookie sensation dished out a little trash talk to Los Angeles Lakers All-Star point guard following a Sunday night game between the two teams. Rubio, who first became a household name internationally during the 2008 Olympics playing for the Spanish national team, told Bryant that Team USA won't be winning the Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Kobe Bryant to Ricky Rubio and Pau Gasol: "You talking about London?" 
Gasol: "Oh yeah." 
Rubio:"You're gonna be there?" 
Bryant "Yeah." 
Rubio: "You know you're getting the silver medal. You know that." 
Bryant: "[expletive]. I'm taking bets! [laughs] If I win I get the keys of Barcelona." 
Rubio: "I bet what you want." 
Bryant: "I take it!" 
Bryant was recently named one of 20 finalists for Team USA and is considered a likely starter on a team that will look to repeat its 2008 Gold Medal performance. Gasol and Rubio are both expected to be major players for Spain, widely regarded as the United States' only serious competition for 2012 Gold. 

USA beat Spain in the 2008 Gold Medal game, 118-107.  Bryant had 20 points in the final. Gasol finished with 21 while Rubio had 6 points and 3 assists off the bench.

Bigger, stronger and more experienced competitors have wilted from Bryant's trash talk over the years, so the fact that Rubio stands toe-to-toe in this tete a tete is further proof of his arrival and immediate acclimation to the NBA. Given his fearless play in 2008, it's also not all that surprising. London can't come soon enough.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 1:39 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 1:42 pm
 

Rufflegate: CP3 'incensed' over Gasol head rub

By Matt Moore

At the end of the Lakers' win over the Clippers Wednesday night, Chris Paul and Pau Gasol got into a dispute, of sorts. Paul and Gasol exchanged some words, and then some more words, and then Gasol ... how can we put this? He ruffled Paul's head. You know, like you would the paper boy, if paper boys existed if papers still existed. Paul, to put it lightly, did not take it well. Here's the incident. 



And after the game, Paul was not at all letting it slide. From the Los Angeles Times, which describes Paul as "incensed" after the game: 

 

"I don't know if (Pau) has kids, but I'm not one of them."

This rivalry is going to be so much fun.



(image via Got 'Em, Coach)
Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:29 am
Edited on: January 26, 2012 3:37 am
 

Report Card: Lakers get revenge in Battle of L.A.

Posted by Ben GolliverMatt Moore and Royce Young

Lakers' Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol proved too much for the Clippers. (Getty Images)

Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments.

Los Angeles Lakers

In the rematch of the Battle for L.A., the old guard finally emerged victorious over the up-and-comers. Pau Gasol set the tone for the Lakers early, Andrew Bynum made several key plays late, and the duo combined for 42 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 assists on 15-24 shooting while playing heavy minutes and dishing out plenty of trash talk. In a feisty, intense game filled with technicals and skirmishes, the Lakers kept their heads and executed down the stretch. Lakers coach Mike Brown will surely like the shot distribution -- 13 for Gasol, 11 for Bynum and 17 for Kobe Bryant -- and the end result, a 96-91 gutsy victory. Solid way to end a 3-game losing streak. -- BG

Blake Griffin's whirling dervish

Even in defeat, Clippers All-Star forward manages to do something jaw-dropping. Griffin was a high-energy freight train throughout, finishing with 26 points and 9 rebounds, but his most impressive play was more graceful than forceful. Sizing up Gasol in the low block, Griffin dove into the paint and rose for a spinning reverse flip shot that almost defies description.

"The guy's shooting a 360 jump hook," said Bryant, according to ESPNLA.com. "You have to enjoy and admire his stuff. It's pretty sensational stuff." Take a look at the video below. -- BG




The Fired-Coach Effect


It never fails. Worked for Sacramento earlier this season. Worked for Washington on Wednesday night in a romp of the Bobcats who all of a sudden are the worst team in the league. The Wizards made a point Wednesday. For a night, anyway. -- MM



New Jersey Nets

Every bad team (except Charlotte) gets a good grade! A great win of the Sixers that was all about beating up on what is usually a very good perimeter defense for Philadelphia. Their burst in overtime was particularly impressive with Jordan Farmar and Deron Williams leading the way. -- MM



Dirk Nowitzki's color commentary

Dallas Mavericks All-Star forward has been sidelined this week as he attempts to work himself back into shape, but one thing that doesn't need any boot-camp training would be his vocal chords. Nowitzki filled in as a color commentator during Dallas' home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves and reacted hilariously to a Jason Terry to Brandan Wright alley-oop. "Oh my God!" Nowitzki screetched. "Shut it down! Let's go home! That is a wrap." Watch, listen and love.



Indiana Pacers


This was one of those "I watch the game, then look at the score, then my brain shuts down because the two element are incongruous. It seemed the Bulls were all over the Pacers, but the Pacers were incredibly patient and never got rattled by the Bulls' pressure in Chicago. Roy Hibbert essentially had his way with Joakim Noah. Danny Granger was bothered by Ronnie Brewer, all the way to 22 points and on 16 shots and nine rebounds. Really, this could have been a more convincing win had Darren Collison and Joakim Noah not played wretched in all things related to point guard game management. Paul George was efficient and the Pacers' defense on Derrick Rose deserves an award all its own. Even without Luol Deng and Taj Gibson, a huge win for the Pacers on the road as they start to build their resume with wins over L.A. and Chicago in the past week. -- MM
 
Detroit Pistons

They pass! They lost, yes, but the improvement shown in their close loss to the Heat on so many levels is enough to warrant a passing grade for this downtrodden team. With Tayshaun Prince out due to personal reasons, Austin Daye flourished, filling up the scoreboard while Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe both contributed. There's a young core in Detroit worth watching, if they can just scrap and claw their way to the front of the rotation. -- MM


Dallas Mavericks


Really? You lost on banner night to the Heat and rings night to the Timberwolves? Really? Maybe no more celebrations on game nights, Mavs. -- MM




Russell Westbrook

The Thunder's second star has picked up his game lately but took a step back Wednesday against the Hornets. Westbrook started the game 1-10 from the floor and finished just 4-14 for 14 points. And he also turned it over seven times. It was one of those Westbrook games where he made some crucial plays, but for the most part, was a touch out of control and didn't make great decisions. Twice he went for highlight reel jams only to be denied at the rim by a Hornet big man. OKC won, but Westbrook wasn't great. -- RY

Posted on: January 26, 2012 1:45 am
 

This is how the Lakers win

The Lakers shut down the Clippers and in doing so found their model for success this year. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


The Lakers have struggled this season to establish any sort of identity. They look lost often times on both ends. Some of that is a new system, their first in really over a decade (we won't talk about the Rudy T year). Some of that is new personnel, with so many new pieces and the gaping hole where Lamar Odom used to be.

But in their rematch win over the Clippers, they found their model. Even distribution of offense between Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Byum, and emotional swarming defense from the reserves. Metta World Peace steps up to deliver key play after key play and the Lakers slogged Lob City into a swampish mode. When the Clippers aren't able to operate in space, their decision-making becomes suspect.

Now, it was still a come-from-behind win over the "little brother" in which the Lakers needed Metta World Peace, who has not played well in two years to come through in the biggest way possible, and a 32-14 free throw advantage, and a series of disastrous decisions from the Clippers (like a late Blake Griffin three attempt which he was out of bounds on), and for Chris Paul to look extremely rusty in his first game back from injury. But separate from their opponent, it gave the Lakers a sustainable approach.

All season long the Lakers have relied on inconsistent, unsustainable approaches. Kobe Bryant cannot score 40 per game against quality opponents shooting 30 times and have the Lakers winning. Andrew Bynum cannot get 25 touches. Matt Barnes cannot be the only role player contributor. They have been relying on flawed approaches, yet still winning enough, which shows you the talent on a Lakers team that seemed lost without Lamar Odom. But the Clippers game was different. They knew what they wanted to do, and for the first time this season, they bent their opponent to that will, to that team concept. It was an entirely new type of Lakers win, even if it seemed similar to other slots in the W column. 

It was the first time this season that we saw the Lakers' defense as it is supposed to be constructed. This was the idea. Heavey action for Pau Gasol in the post, as Gasol had a monster game. Andrew Bynum dominating with size. Kobe Bryant being Kobe Bryant (he only took 17 shots!). And a defense that forms a wall around the perimeter and attacks the handle aggressively. It's not pretty. It's not Showtime. And it has a long way to go. But that's how the Laker are supposed to play under Mike Brown. That's how it's supposed to go down.

And the result is very much what Lakers fans have come to expect. A win.
Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:00 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 3:01 pm
 

Forbes: Kobe tops LeBron as NBA's highest earner

Kobe Bryant is the NBA's top earner. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

The Los Angeles Lakers are back on top as the NBA's most valuable franchise and All-Star guard Kobe Bryant retains his crown as the league's top earner.

The latest evaluation from Forbes Magazine estimates that Bryant will earn $53.2 million in salary and endorsements this year, well more than his closest competition. Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James is No. 2 at $49 million.
Bryant’s following has allowed him to amass an endorsement portfolio of global brands including Nike, Smart Car, Panini and Turkish Airlines that pay him $28 million annually. Factor in his league leading $25.2 million salary from the Lakers and Bryant is the NBA’s top-earning athlete at $53.2 million.

Bryant’s Lakers salary is $3 million greater than any other NBA player thanks to the idiosyncrasies of the NBA’s maximum salary rules on individual players. 
Bryant, 33, is a 5-time NBA champion and 13-time All-Star. He is currently leading the NBA in scoring, at 30.5 points per game and is currently the Western Conference's leading vote-getter for the 2012 All-Star Game. Entering this season, Bryant had earned more than $196 million in salary during his career, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

In December, Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife, filed for divorce. She will reportedly receive up to $75 million in the divorce settlement, including three California houses owned by the couple. 

The rest of the top-5 NBA earners, according to Forbes: Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard (28.9 million), Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade (27.7 million) and New York Knicks All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony (26.5 million).
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com