Saturday, December 20, 2014
Blog Page 170

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Nation, who’s buying tickets? The raffle sale will be held on Christmas day when the Lakers host the Heat.

ESPN: With his longheld NBA title goal met, Lakers forward Ron Artest is putting a lasting piece of it on sale for the public, raffling his championship ring online at www.ronartest.com. Tickets are $2 a piece with a minimum purchase of five tickets.

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So LeBron’s best friend (stats) are turning against him.

ESPN: Earlier in the month, Kobe Bryant raised eyebrows by predicting himself the obvious winner in a theoretical game of one-on-one with LeBron James. To some, the claim felt like Kobe simply exuding confidence and making a certainly believable case while recognizing Lebron’s all-around game. To others, it felt like an alpha male dog dismissive of the pup closest to assuming his dominance in the pack. (A pup who also happens to be ridiculously strong, huge and fast, by the way.)

To the stats folks, however, the claim like an excuse to bust out old game footage, some paper and a pencil. ESPN researcher Alok Pattani, through an assist from Synergy Sports Tech’s video tracking, examined every possession over the last six seasons where The Mamba and The King guarded each other on ball in “isolation” situations, the closest an NBA game offers to a “one-on-one” contest. There have been seven total meetings where this scenario has presented itself.

And here are the numbers: Kobe has scored 20 points (free throws included) on 27 isolation plays when guarded on-ball by LeBron, while LeBron has scored seven points on 13 isolation plays when guarded by Kobe. Bryant shot 9-for-28 from the field with two turnovers, while James was two-for-eight with just one gaffe. Finally, on a points-per-play basis, Kobe is ahead .74 to .54.

Continue reading ‘Kobe vs. LeBron: Stats backing Kobe’

14

This is all the motivation Kobe needs.

L.A. Times: He said the Heat had the potential to be “great,” but he wasn’t entirely motivated by Miami’s new look, even though Las Vegas oddsmakers have made the Heat, not the Lakers, as the favorite to win the NBA championship.

“I don’t need it,” Bryant said of the added incentive.

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There is no one more dedicated than the Black Mamba.

The Press-Enterprise: Kobe Bryant remained on the court well after the Lakers’ practice Thursday, shooting. And shooting. And shooting.

Bryant was 2 for 10 from the field in Wednesday’s 98-95 exhibition win over Sacramento in Las Vegas, and is 4 for 28 — a .143 shooting percentage — in the three exhibitions. But that wasn’t what prompted the extra shooting work.

“I’ve been doing it,” Bryant said. “I normally do it before practice, here three and a half, four hours before practice. Today I wanted to make sure my legs were fresh for the scrimmage, so we did it after practice instead.”

As he works his way back into form after offseason arthroscopic surgery to clean up a troublesome right knee, Bryant said he’s not frustrated by his shooting to date.

“I don’t think it’s ever been frustrating,” he said. “I understand it’s a process. I’ve been through it before. It’s all natural to me.”

Coach Phil Jackson couldn’t recall having a star player struggle to a similar extent in a previous training camp, be it with the Bulls or Lakers, but seemed unconcerned.

“He’s playing without being quite ready,” Jackson said. “He’s trying to get some of it in game situations without having the ability to practice and do all the things that lead up to that.”

Continue reading ‘Kobe works on his shot after practice’

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Sorry LeBron, you can’t blame Ron for telling the truth.

L.A. Times: “I think Kobe’s got five rings, six-game winners [last season], 23 straight points in the playoffs, mostly jump shots, couple attacks, big-shot maker,” Artest said. “So that said, Durant’s second-best player in the NBA.”

When a reporter asked, “Where does LeBron fall?” Artest ignored the question and said, “I luckily had the chance to guard the second-best player in the NBA.”

“Where is LeBron James on your list?” another reporter asked. “You got to ask him,” said Artest. Follow-up question: What about on your list? “I only count to two,” Artest replied. “I’ve been out of school for 10 years. I only count to two.”

5

We hope Sasha gets better!

Laker Basketblog: Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic suffered a concussion after being inadvertently struck in the face, just below the left eye, by an errant elbow from Lamar Odom in Thursday’s practice. Vujacic will be monitored closely and re-evaluated on Friday, but for now is considered out indefinitely from basketball activity.

6

David Stern had some high praise for Pau! Here is an excerpt from Spanish Marca magaizine.

Stern: Without any doubt. I think he´s one of the 10 best players. No. One of the best 5 players. He has carried an extraordinary career in which he hasn´t stopped of improving himself and he´s an example for all the beginners.

22

Happy Ron Artest Day!

That should’ve been the official greeting in Las Vegas today after the guest of honor received a key to the city. Apparently, that key opens up more than just casino doors. That key to Sin City seemed to open up the hoop as well because four out of the five times Ron Artest shot from behind the arc, the ball saw nothing but the bottom of the net, and the Lakers saw their first pre-season victory against the young Sacramento Kings.

While Phil Jackson went almost shoeless from the sidelines (wearing socks with sandals), Kobe Bryant went sleeveless at the knee and for good reason. Bryant moved with ease tonight. He ran after loose balls; one that led to hockey assists galore, and ending in one of Artest’s four three-pointers of the evening. Bryant also guarded Omri Casspi into a 1-6 kind of night. He even dictated a fast break resulting in Matt Barnes’ layup. Bryant only shot 2-10 from the field, collecting seven points in all, but he admittedly, is still not100%. The fact that he didn’t appear to experience any pain was a huge upside.

Another upside of the game? Ball movement. The Lakers collected 26 assists on 37 made field goals compared to the Kings’ 15 assists of 29. From Derek Fisher’s fake 3-point attempt pass to Artest for three, to Lamar Odom’s long cross-court pass over Sacramento’s defense for a signature Shannon Brown dunk; from Bryant’s long pass to a sprinting Matt Barnes for a layup, to Steve Blake’s set-up for a Pau Gasol jumper, the importance and effectiveness of sharing the ball in the Laker offense is obvious. The 26-18 assist to turnover ratio could use some work, however.

4

This should be a great experience for the rookies and newcomers.

Twitter: Heading to Lakers practice tomorrow to connect with the Black Mamba and the Zen Master! Oh and let’s not forget my other boys D-fish & LO!

15

There’s nothing better than hearing the Celtics talk about how tough it was for them after Finals loss to the Lakers. This should brighten the day year for Laker fans, knowing the Lakers left the Celtics in an emotional wreck.

Sports Radio Interviews: How long does it take a competitive person like you to get over a seventh-game loss in the NBA (finals)? A week? A month? Ever?

Paul Pierce: “I still haven’t gotten over it. It’s tough. Because you envision back, and say, ‘if we could have done this different, that different in the game, it would have been a different outcome.’ So, it’s hard. You think about the what ifs and all of that. I don’t think you ever forget it.”

7

Great news for Laker fans. Bad news for the rest of the league.

ESPN: With exactly two weeks remaining until the start of the NBA regular season, the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers still have a lot of work to do.

So much so that head coach Phil Jackson said Tuesday he hasn’t thought about the curtain coming up against the Houston Rockets on Oct. 26.

“We’re aware of it, but it’s out there at some distance,” Jackson said. “I think next weekend, at 10 days or so, I’ll be ready to think about it.”

Jackson’s thoughts about star player Kobe Bryant’s right knee were put somewhat at ease after the 15-year veteran joined the team midway through practice and impressed after going through full shooting and weight workouts on his own in the morning before the team’s session started.

“I think he looked OK, actually,” Jackson said. “He had gone through a full regimen before he took the floor so I think that affected him a little bit, but I think he looked better than he’s looked so far.”

Bryant shot 2-for-18 while playing 31 total minutes in the Lakers’ 0-2 start to the preseason in Europe last week. Jackson said Monday that he would limit Bryant to 16-18 minutes in the Lakers’ third preseason game Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas, but softened on that stance after seeing Bryant play on Tuesday.

“I’m going to play him eight-minute segments, probably first and second half,” Jackson said. “If he feels up to it and he comes to me and talks to me about it, I’ll see what it looks like at the end of the game.”

Continue reading ‘Kobe looks good in practice; impresses Phil’

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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.