Sunday, December 21, 2014
Blog Page 198

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His determination is amazing. Kobe’s magic has rubbed off onto him.

ESPN: “I’ve played well on the knee for a while and the pain level is the same, it hasn’t increased,” said Bynum, who has averaged 7.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in the eight games since suffering a slight tear of the meniscus of his right knee in Game 6 of the first round against Oklahoma City.

“It’s just a matter of going out there and playing,” Bynum said. “I’m just going to play until I can’t.”

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It looks like the Bulls are reaching out to Phil *gulp*

ESPN: The Chicago Bulls have reached out to Phil Jackson through back channels to gage his interest in returning to the franchise he won six NBA titles with, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation. There has been no direct contact between Bulls officials and Jackson, according to the sources, but people close to both parties have spoken and come away with the belief that Jackson would be open to a potential reunion in Chicago next season.

4

Kobe talks about the Celtics’ success.

CBSSports: For the Lakers, talking about the Celtics is taboo, to say the least. Andrew Bynum tried it, and Phil Jackson accused him of a brain — um — malfunction. Lakers fans chanted, “We want Boston!” during Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference finals at Staples Center, and Kobe Bryant chided them for being “disrespectful to the team that we’re playing.”

But discussing the Celtics’ surprising blitz though the postseason — evicting LeBron James from the second round and getting his coach fired, and now breezing to a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals? That’s fair game.

So Bryant was asked on the practice floor Monday how much Boston’s ruthless dismantling of the Magic has surprised him.

“Honestly? Zero,” Bryant said.

And the Cavs?

“I just thought it was great defense,” Bryant said. “I just wasn’t surprised by it. You give them a series to prepare, and they’re going to be prepared like you wouldn’t believe. They’re going to home in on things that you do and take those things away from you. And if you can’t make adjustments … throughout a series, you’re going to have problems.”

Continue reading ‘Kobe: Celtics’ success no surprise’

9

This is an interesting tidbit.

RealGM: Sam Amico of NBA.com writes that the Lakers are worried about giving coach Phil Jackson a long-term contract because they believe a lockout is looming.

It was reported last week that Jackson would likely have to take a pay cut to remain with Los Angeles.

Amico also writes that the Lakers want to eventually replace Jackson with Brian Shaw.

Lakers want to replace PJ w/Brian Shaw at some point. They’re convinced lockout looms, so don’t want to give PJ a multi-year deal,” Amico wrote on his Twitter page.

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Surgery is the only cure for the injury, sitting out won’t do much.

ESPN L.A.: Andrew Bynum played his worst game of the playoffs since suffering a slight tear of the meniscus in his right knee in Game 6 of the Los Angeles Lakers first-round series against theOklahoma City Thunder and the performance left Lakers coach Phil Jackson wondering if he was going to use his young center moving forward.

Bynum had two points, two rebounds and four fouls in just seven and a half minutes in the Lakers 118-109 loss to thePhoenix Suns in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday.

“I’ll talk to him to see what his suggestion is about it and how he feels about it,” Jackson said. “I think he was ineffective. There were some things that got by him. He had one nice move in the post. Defensively I thought he was a little bit late.

Bynum concurred with Jackson’s assessment of his play on Sunday.

“I was ineffective, that’s obvious,” Bynum said after Suns forward Amare Stoudemire attacked Bynum and the rest of the Lakers frontline to the tune of 42 points, 11 rebounds and 18 foul-shot attempts, racking up fouls on the L.A. big men.

Continue reading ‘Phil considers sitting out ‘ineffective’ Bynum’

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It was the Lakers’ game to lose when Shannon Brown swung an overhead pass to Jordan Farmar for a three-pointer in the second quarter to give the Lakers a 41-35 lead. It was their game to lose when Robin Lopez elbowed Derek Fisher on the head and sent the Lakers co-captain after the young fellow who obviously wasn’t familiar with the “Scola incident”. It was their game to lose when Kobe Bryant hit a three late in the shot clock to get the Lakers within one, 78-79, in the third quarter. It was their game to lose when Lamar Odom hit two free throws in the fourth quarter to give the Lakers a 91-90 edge since they last led in the second quarter. It was their game to lose and that’s just exactly what they did.

Behind a lucky night for Amar’e Stoudemire, who finished with 42 points, and get this, 11 rebounds. The Phoenix Suns have avoided getting. The Lakers, who have ended their 8-game post-season winning streak, stayed within striking distance for the majority of the game, with no Suns lead reaching beyond 10 points. The Suns, however, were clearly the aggressors tonight, attacking the hoop every chance they got (and they got a lot with the Laker defense glaringly ineffective or just plain absent), and were rewarded with 42 free throw attempts to the Lakers’ 20.

“We gave them too many easy shots from the free throw line,” Kobe Bryant said. “We let them attack us.”

“Let them,” as in not doing anything to prevent or defend it. Defense, at its core, is simpler than the skills or instincts of the defender. Like Phil Jackson has said many times before, defense is about effort and the Lakers gave it in small doses when it came to playing on the Suns’ side of the court.

Stoudemire met little resistance on his way to a 42-point game. The player defending his jumpers often didn’t leave the ground for very long, his lay-yups and dunks were mostly uncontested, and even when they were, resulted in free throws — 18 of them of which he converted 14.

Pau Gasol, skillfully sound when he has the ball in his hands, allowed Stoudemire and Robin Lopez, who scored 20 points, to repeatedly slip by his watch. Getting no help from Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, who were both in foul trouble, Gasol received the brunt of the Suns’ rediscovered inside game and he did nothing to even try to prevent it.

5

Make no mistake, the playoffs don’t lie; the four best teams in the NBA are battling. The cream does rise to the top. It’s no mystery what two teams are on a collision course to meet in the Finals. A match-up the Lakers Nation has waited two years for.

The Los Angeles Lakers are in Phoenix, Arizona to take care of some unfinished business.

The Purple and Gold completely dominated the first two games of the series. This outcome is exactly what the Lakers Nation expected. The Lakers impressively dismantled the Suns by scoring 252 points, Kobe Bryant destroying them in every way possible, and their bigs (Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom) shooting a highly efficient 66.6 (!!!) percent from the field.

Despite the known fact of the Lakers size advantage, the team’s performance has been nothing short of outstanding. This isn’t the time for the Lakers to get complacent. They held the homecourt advantage in the first two games. However, I believe that they will play with more intensity and a heightened sense of urgency more than enough to end this series early.

The Suns have literally hit the wall or should I say the trees and are out of options. They are like a boxer whose taken way too many blows and is being battered on the ropes with the outcome already decided. They aren’t going to wave the white flag in surrender even though it is in order.

If this series were an episode of the video game Mortal Kombat, the Lakers would hear the ‘FINISH THEM!’ command right about now. They have the momentum right now and are prepared to win tonight and take total control of this series. In several cases, the outcome of playoff series come down to match up’s and adjustments.

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This Kobe Bryant guy may not be as good as the self-proclaimed “best player in the game, “Paul Peirce, but he is making his mark in the history of the game. In fact, Kobe needs 51 points to become the 4th leading scorer in Play-Off History. Check out the full list here.

1. Michael Jordan – 5987
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 5762
3. Shaquille O’Neal – 5248
4. Karl Malone – 4761
5. Kobe Bryant – 4711

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SLAM Magazine is the best in the business and they are releasing a new special edition. It has all the cover stories Slam has wrote on Kobe and Lebron over the years. Check out the cover right here.

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A cool article on the insight into Kobe’s legacy and his close pursuit of ring #5.

Bleacher Report: Kobe Bryant is the single most polarizing NBA player of this generation.

He is both globally loved and loathed.  Laker fans jump to his defense when they hear any disparaging word, while his detractors relish in every single one of his failures.

Bryant is either a fierce warrior who drives his team to victory or a selfish dictator who saps the confidence from his teammates. It just depends who you ask.

He is either a rapist who should be incarcerated or the victim of a fame-hungry floozy in search of money.  It just depends who you ask.

Kobe is either a soulless, derivative force that succeeds in spite of himself or a misunderstood superstar on a never-ending search to be loved.  It just depends on who you ask.

Despite the vigor with which people show their emotions toward him and despite the awards and championships he has won, there has been only one constant in Kobe Bryant’s career:  It has been plagued by a massive shadow of doubt.

Continue reading ‘How Six More Wins Can Cement Kobe Bryant’s Legacy’

10

It looks like Phil and his staff are already preparing for the Celtics, who, with a 3-0 lead over the Magic,  most anticipate to meet the Lakers in the finals.

ESPN: “[We look for] everything,” Jackson said about the scouting process when his coaching staff has a viewing party. “First of all, you look for the officials, who’s officiating the games. It’s what you do, you just look at it. Then you watch what the demeanor of the game is going to be, how it’s going to start out, who is going to run what plays to start the game and go from there.”

2

Don’t question Bynum’s toughness…

ESPN: …”Ummm, I mean, I’m good enough to play,” Bynum said after practice Saturday as the Lakers prepared to fly to Phoenix for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

“I don’t know the exact number, but I’m good enough.”

Bynum has been good enough to play 23 minutes per game since injuring the knee while providing a presence with his 7-foot, 285-pound frame, allowing the Lakers to function at as close to 100 percent as they have all season. The Lakers have reeled off eight straight wins heading into Sunday, seven of them with a balky Bynum in there.

“Andrew is giving us all he’s got, and he’s playing with soreness and with a tough injury, so when he’s effective and he’s productive for us in the short amount of time he’s out there, it’s a big plus,” Pau Gasol said. The Spaniard knows full well the opportunities that Bynum’s sheer size — and the attention that opposing defenses have to grant him — create for the power forward.

Continue reading ‘Bynum puts team above health’

9

Yahoo recently ranked the top 10 players of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, check out who ranked #1 (Pau), followed by Kobe at #3. Here is what they had to say about Pau Gasol.

Yahoo: It might surprise some to note that I don’t consider Kobe Bryant(notes) to even be the best Laker on his own team so far this postseason, but all-around production matters, and in spite of Kobe Bryant’s brilliant scoring exploits, Pau Gasol’s in-his-prime versatility vaults him to the top of this list.

Fifty-eight percent shooting, over 21 points per game, 12 rebounds a contest, 3.6 assists, two blocks a game, and just 2.2 turnovers per night. On top of that, Gasol’s continually improving defense has been a huge asset to a Laker attack that looks primed to repeat.

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Andrew Bynum had some comments regarding the Celtics. I have to say, it’s WAY to early to start discussing the Celtics when we are still in the middle of a very tough Suns series.

ESPN: “Man, it’s going to be amazing to play against those guys again, especially having lost,” Bynum said. “We’re going to have a lot of fuel, a lot of ammo to go at those guys,” he added. “They’re definitely a great team, they got great veterans on their squad and we know that. So we’re already getting prepared. The first step is closing out Game 3 and after that, we’ll be focusing on Boston, looking at them play, watching how they’re playing Orlando and just trying to pick up as much as we can.”

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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.