“It still affects him a lot,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said of Bryant, who sat out of Saturday’s practice. “This is not going to go away anytime soon so we’re just going to have to be close to what he’s doing and monitor it a lot. He’ll have a limited amount of practice time and it’s something he’ll have to do. It’s tender to the touch still,” Jackson said of Bryant. “He’s still limping when he walks. It’s a limied amount of improvement.”
Kobe however, responded to media questions with the kind of answer reflective of his toughness:
“I’m fine,” said Bryant, who sprained his ankle in the final minutes of the Lakers’ Game 4 loss to New Orleans and received what he called “around the clock” treatment on his ankle since that time. “I finished off Game 4 fine, played off Game 5 fine and Game 6 fine.”
The Lakers gave themselves – and Kobe’s ankle – a bit of rest by eliminating the Hornets on Thursday evening. The Lakers return to STAPLES Center Monday night for game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals against Dallas.
As the second round is set between the 2x defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, it’s hard to believe this will be the first time the two franchises will meet in the playoffs since 1988. There is no question there is a buzz around this series considering the history between the two teams.
In case you’ve forgotten, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at a few memorable moments.
2002: KOBE’S SPINNING FLOATER CAPS 27 4TH QUARTER COMEBACK
One of the greatest comebacks in NBA history, the Lakers rallied back from 27 points down to defeat the Mavs. The comeback was finished off by, who else, Kobe Bryant on a beautiful spinning floater.
Some basketball fans get irritated that Kobe Bryant is constantly compared to Michael Jordan. However, you can’t dismiss the fact that Kobe has lasted the longest in the “Who’s the next MJ” debate. Many players have been compared to MJ, and failed. It started back in 1996 when Bryant was a rookie, and 15 seasons later, people still feel passionately on both sides.
Phil Jackson, who knows both players better then anybody on the planet, having coached both of them to each of their NBA championship’s, had this to say:
“I wouldn’t compare them,” said Jackson, who coached both. “I think Kobe’s as good as Michael.”
Commissioner David Stern even came out publically this week to talk about the Kobe and Jordan debate:
“If [Kobe] wins another championship they are going to have the same number aren’t they?…MVP’s depend on a bunch of media guys…[Kobe and Jordan belong in the same conversation] “
No matter what Bryant does there will never be a unanimous thought across the basketball world that he is better, or on the same level as Jordan. However, when Kobe retires from the league, don’t be surprised if the debate becomes “Who’s the next Kobe?”
The Lakers eliminated the Hornets in six games, and the Mavericks took care of the Blazers in six, setting up a match-up between each-other in the 2nd round.
Here is the schedule for the Western Conference Semi-Finals. (All Times Pacific)
Game 1 – Mon May 2 Dallas at L.A. Lakers 7:30PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed May 4 Dallas at L.A. Lakers 7:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri May 6 L.A. Lakers at Dallas 6:30PM ESPN
Game 4 – Sun May 8 L.A. Lakers at Dallas 12:30PM ABC/R
Game 5 * Tue May 10 Dallas at L.A. Lakers TBD TBD TNT
Game 6 * Thu May 12 L.A. Lakers at Dallas TBD TBD ESPN
Game 7 * Sun May 15 Dallas at L.A. Lakers 12:30PM 3:30PM ABC *TBD
The Lakers won the season series versus the Mavericks in the regular season 2 games to 1.
In a series that they were pegged to sweep, the Lakers were challenged for five games by a New Orleans Hornets team who played like they had nothing to lose, led by an elite point guard who couldn’t be stopped. No home court advantage? So? A rookie coach? No problem. No David West, the leading scorer on the team? Who cares? They were pesky, energetic and weren’t playing like the team that the defending champs were supposed to run over…until tonight.
Tonight, the Hornets had a chance to force a Game 7 in the comforts of their own home floor, but it was the Lakers who played like Jack Nicholson was sitting courtside. The youngest coach in the NBA, as much credit as he was given for his first year, was no match for the 11-time championship coach’s experience. And the peskiness? It was nowhere to be found as the Hornets were, in fact, the pestered instead.
Join David Brickley and Kevin Figgers as they play you post-game player audio, and give you post-game analysis of the Lakers win against the Hornets in Game 6. The Lakers are moving on to the next round!
They will be taking calls from the Nation, and the Senior Writer from Hoopsword.com Eric Pincus joins the program!
Lakers close out Hornets in New Orleans
Bynum steps up. CP3 shutdown
CALLS from the Nation
POLL QUESTION: Who would you rather play Dallas or Portland
INTERVIEW: Eric Pincus – Hoopsworld.com
Around the NBA
and Much MUCH More
The Los Angeles Lakers led by Kobe Bryant, used balanced scoring and a major impact from their front line to take a 3-2 series lead.
A lot of the talk prior to the game centered on Kobe Bryant’s ankle, one emphatic dunk later all the talk stopped. Kobe, leading by example, made a statement and his teammates got the message.
The formula the Hornets have used to extend this series farther than several expected has been to be physical with the Lakers, force the big players away from deep post position, speed up the tempo and allow Chris Paul to run the show and get the Lakers involved in several screen and roll situations.
Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry have been outstanding for the Hornets and the main reasons why New Orleans won two games. This is a close out game; Phil Jackson’s team has won all four-closeout chances in 2010, including three road games.
Despite a left foot injury that has seen Kobe on crutches in-between games. Phil Jackson has made it clear that he has no problem playing Kobe as many minutes as it takes to close out the Hornets in Game 6.
When asked at Wednesdays practice if he had a set amount of minutes to play Jackson had this to say:
“No…this is a game in which we go all out to win, if [we play him] 40 minutes then we do it.”
According to reports, Bryant spent Wednesday morning rehabilitating his ankle, instead of doing light workouts with the team.
“He’s sore, obviously,” Jackson said. “We’re trying to keep the swelling down again. We’re going through that whole process that he started on Sunday to try and eliminate the swelling and try and get some of the soreness out of that joint.”
In Game 5, Bryant scored 19 points (8-13 from the field) in 29 minutes of action.
With the Lakers off to a poor start, trade rumors have begun to swirl around Kobe Bryant, leading many to speculate if he'll leave for greener pastures. Kobe puts those rumors to rest in his interview with Yahoo Sports.