Tag:Kobe Bryant
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:32 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 9:39 am
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Report: Lakers considering offensive mutiny

The Lakers are facing serious problems on the road. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The Lakers' loss to the lowly Wizards isn't causing panic. But it's definitely got the Nation of Lakerland in an uproar, inside and out. The Lakers' inability to win on the road where they are now 6-14 on the season is a huge black mark on their championship-caliber record. It makes two losses in two nights to lottery teams, with the Wizards truly one of the league's worst teams. It involved a 21-point blown-lead, a dagger from Nick Young, and Kobe Bryant shooting 31 times. Thirty-one-times for thirty points. 

So in this time of trouble, Mother Laker has of course came to them, speaking words of wisdom: "throw your coach under the bus and try and run the offense you want on your own." From ESPN.com: 
Bynum publicly invited the bulk of the responsibility for the Lakers' second straight loss to a lottery-bound straggler from the Eastern Conference, but sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com this week that there is growing concern among some Lakers players as to whether first-year coach Mike Brown and his staff have the X-and-O wherewithal to fix a Lakers offense that is averaging its lowest per-game point total (94) since before the advent of the 24-second shot clock in 1954-55.

Brown's effect on the Lakers' defense has been undeniable, but sources say the team's ongoing struggles on the road -- with L.A. dropping to 6-14 away from Staples Center following a loss in Detroit and blowing a 21-point lead to the undisciplined Wizards -- have some veterans longing for a return to the trusty Triangle offense preferred by Brown's predecessor, Phil Jackson.
via Sources: Los Angeles Lakers players have concerns over coach Mike Brown's X's and O's - ESPN Los Angeles.

The report goes on to say:  
Sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com that multiple players have continued to meet privately since the initial team meeting to discuss running elements of the Triangle offense again.

"The players want to unify," one source with knowledge of the situation said. "They know how to win, and they want to fix this. I don't know if they can, though. "
via Sources: Los Angeles Lakers players have concerns over coach Mike Brown's X's and O's - ESPN Los Angeles.

Yes, because clearly, when I think about who should be organizing an offense behind their coach's back, I think of Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace, Andrew Bynum, and Steve Blake.

If the report's on target, that's an abject disaster for Brown and Lakers' management. Players considering overthrowing a coach's offense in favor of what they want to do, which happens to be one of the most complex offenses to run? It should be noted that no coach outside of Phil Jackson, with either Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant in his prime, or Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, have been successful with the system. So basically this is a terrible idea.

This kind of talks is what comprises a coach losing his team, so the report's pretty volatile. It's been less than a full season for Brown and with the players unrest showing in both their effort and talks like this, the Lakers' most drama-filled season since Kobe Bryant's trade demand in 2007 is threatening to break apart one of the most dominant teams of the last half-decade.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:11 am
 

Nick Young daggers the Lakers



And that's how the Wizards downed the Lakers, sending them to their second loss in two nights to bottom-feeder lottery teams, after their big win Sunday against Miami. The Wizards were down 21 points in the third quarter, before rallying to close it within one possession by the start of the fourth. 

Kobe Bryant was 9-31 for 30 points in the loss. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol had 19 shots combined. The loss comes a day after Rodney Stuckey crossed over Bryant for a late-game bucket and now Young drains this one. The Lakers looked like one of the elite teams in the league on Sunday. Four days later, they're taking on water again. The trade deadline is one week away. 

For the Wizards, it's their best win of the season, and something for Randy Wittman to hang his hat on. Trevor Booker was the player you need your bigs to be, John Wall managed the offense even on a bad night, and his team got the win. In a long, dark season, it's nice to have nights like this. 
 
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:22 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 1:32 am
 

Report Card 3.6.12: Underdogs rule Tuesday

Posted by Ben Golliver  

The Bobcats enjoyed a rare win on Tuesday, over the Magic no less. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Charlotte Bobcats When you only win about once every two weeks and your first win since Feb. 17 comes against the No. 3 seed Orlando Magic, in convincing fashion, it's time to celebrate. That was the case for the Bobcats, who relentlessly pounded Orlando's defense and held the Magic offense to one-and-done looks possession after possession down the stretch, to dance their way to a 100-84 victory. Rookie Bismack Biyombo had his best game as a professional, going toe-to-toe with Dwight Howard to score 10 points, grab 15 rebounds and block an astounding 7 shots. He could barely contain his glee by the end, gesturing to the crowd in animated fashion as Charlotte walked off with the win.
Rodney Stuckey The Detroit Pistons guard outshot and outscored Kobe Bryant in a dramatic overtime win at the Palace. Stuckey scored Detroit's final seven points in regulation and tacked on another six in overtime, pushing the Pistons to an 88-85 upset win. He also put Bryant on skates with a vicious stepback crossover. He didn't do much else besides score, but that was more than enough.
Miami Heat Unlike the Magic and the Lakers, the Heat easily took care of business against lesser competition, stomping the New Jersey Nets, 108-78. Miami also enjoyed a nice soft launch in re-integrating Chris Bosh after he missed some time due to a death in the family. So why a "B"? Well, simple: irreplaceable guard Dwyane Wade suffered an apparently minor foot injury that kept him on the bench late. The good news: the Sun-Sentinel reports indicate he'll be fine and expects to start on Wednesday against the Hawks.
New York Knicks Dallas is now 15-7 at home, so expectations had to be somewhat tempered for the Knicks on the road. But a troubling 2-for-12 from Carmelo Anthony plus a decidedly not-superhuman performance from Jeremy Lin -- 14 points on 13 shots, 1-for-5 from deep, 7 assists and 2 turnovers, mixed in with long stretches of passive play -- make this a tough one. It was also New York's third loss in four games, with San Antonio on Wednesday. The next few weeks are critical if New York hopes to be better than the No. 8 seed.
Kobe Bryant He was due for an off night after three big scoring games in a row following the All-Star break, but Bryant's 8-for-26 shooting was a major reason the Lakers let what should have been an easy win slip away. While he nailed a pretty buzzer-beater to push the game to overtime, his performance and decision-making in the extra period was erratic. A forced deep three that didn't even come close on the final possession was Bryant at his worst.
Orlando Magic This was a hot mess of a loss to the Bobcats. Orlando scored just 13 points in the fourth and couldn't mange a single point in the final 2:47, conceding an 8-0 run to close the game. On the other end, Charlotte, the NBA's worst offense, seemingly scored at will, with Corey Maggette getting to the foul line 11 times and Gerald Henderson tossing in 16 points, including some big late buckets. Do the Magic even care? This was a lacking performance in virtually every area.


E FOR EFFORT
Dirk Nowitzki (28 points on 18 shots, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, in 34 minutes)
Kevin Garnett (13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks in 38 minutes)
Bismack Biyombo (10 points, 15 rebounds, 7 blocks, 6-for-10 free throw shooting to overcome Hack-a-Biyombo down the stretch)
Posted on: March 6, 2012 7:34 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 7:53 pm
 

Kobe Bryant wears new black face mask

Posted by Ben Golliver  

Kobe Bryant will don this black mask. (Lakers.com)

Cue the Batman jokes, I guess.

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant will switch up his mask game on Tuesday night, replacing his old clear model with the smaller, all-black style shown above, via Lakers.com. Bryant will debut the new mask when the Lakers travel to The Palace of Auburn Hills to face the Detroit Pistons.

Bryant has been rocking the head gear because Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade hard-fouled him during the 2012 All-Star Game in Orlando. Bryant kept playing in the game and didn't miss any time, even though he suffered a "nasal fracture" and, according to one report, a "mild concussion."

Lakers.com offers the following details.
Bryant actually had three new masks made in Detroit — by the maker of Richard Hamilton’s masks — that he tried on at the team’s shootaround on Tuesday morning, and the black one was simply the most comfortable of the five (including the two he already had), according to athletic trainer Gary Vitti.
Update: Here's a few looks at Bryant's new mask from different angles during Tuesday's game.

Kobe Bryant wearing his new black mask against the Pistonsdon this black mask. (FSPistons broadcast)

In L.A.'s three games since the All-Star break, all Lakers wins, Bryant wore the clear mask, which reportedly kept heating up, causing him discomfort. He's topped 31 points in all three games -- wins over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat -- so it can't be bothering him that much.
Posted on: March 6, 2012 7:03 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 7:12 pm
 

Report: Kobe fined for skipping All-Star events

Kobe Bryant took a hit in the pocketbook for not doing this. (CBSSports.com)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

23 of the 24 2012 NBA All-Stars showed up for a mandatory Friday morning media availability in Orlando. The one absentee -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant -- called in sick. That proved to be a costly decision.

USA Today reports that the NBA fined Bryant $40,000 for multiple All-Star Weekend absences.
The NBA fined the Los Angeles Lakers guard $40,000 for missing a news conference and a mandated charity appearance for NBA Cares during All-Star weekend in Orlando.

In addition, the NBA fined Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce and guard Rajon Rondo $20,000 each for missing their charity appearances.
Reporters stood around for the better part of an hour on Friday, waiting for Bryant to show up. Eventually, a league spokesman informed the crowd that Bryant would not be attending due to an illness.

Bryant did attend events later on Friday and eventually met with reporters before a Saturday practice session. There, he immediately brought up his absence when asked a question he didn't like.

"What type of question is that to ask me? Are you kidding me?" Bryant said. "Man, I was sick the other day so I didn't have to hear this."

According to StoryTellersContracts.com, Bryant's 2011-2012 salary with the Lakers is $25.2 million, tops in the league. The $40,000 fine represents roughly 1/630 of his salary. The equivalent fine for someone making $50,000 a year would be roughly $79.

Bryant's West team defeated the East, 152-149. Bryant finished with 27 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 2 steals in 34 minutes. He also suffered a broken nose when he was fouled by Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:39 pm
 

Baseline Awards: Lakers on the hunt

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are playing their best ball of the season (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


The Baseline Awards celebrate the week that was and give you a track of where the awards are at throughout the NBA season. Some are serious, some are not, but all took way longer than necessary to compile. 

Eastern Conference Player of the Week: Rajon Rondo

Three guys have had a triple-double like the one Rajon Rondo had Sunday against the Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, and Rondo. That's the list. Rondo's 18-point, 17-rebound, 20-assist 3D is the stuff of legend. It's enough for him to win outright this week. We're a league absolutely obsessed with the pull-up mid-range jumpshot. We make a big deal about dunks, and we talk a big game about team defense, but really, what we care about is rising up and hitting a mid-range jumper with a hand in the face. That's what Jordan did, and many of us are colored one way or another by the Jordan era. What Rondo does is so phenomenally different in its style than anyone else's approach, it almost makes Sunday's game more impressive.

The Celtics need so much every night and Rondo continues to provide it. He wasn't even offensively efficient on Sunday. But he creates so much action on a per-minute basis that you're left wondering if he's the entire Celtics team, in reality. These trade rumors are nonsense, barring an unbelievable offer. Rondo's one of the best in the game.


Western Conference Player of the Week: Kobe Bryant


There's a perception that those that look at advanced metrics and efficiency "have it out" for Kobe Bryant. Or "are haterzzzz" or whatever. But as a guy who's a big fan of analytics and efficiency, I'm telling you right now, Kobe Bryant is playing his best ball of the season. Yes, better than the 40-point stretch. He's working in the flow of the offense, finding good shots, hitting them at a great clip, getting to the line, everything. He's been simply brilliant. He's creating for his teammates, he's playing better than usual defense (and his defense is usually above-average). These are the stretches for Bryant where you understand the constant calls for him as the best player in the world. That those are usually based on inconsistent and flawed data regarding "ringz" and "clutch" are irrelevant. The Black Mamba is striking everything right now.


The Puzzling Enigma Award: Strangest week from player or team


Phoenix Suns

How have they won three in a row? How? How is this possible? Schedule advantages aside, they knocked off a near-playoff team in Minnesota, a playoff team in the Clippers, and a feisty Kings team. All at home, sure. But that's three games in a row and they're within spitting distance of .500 and throwing distance of the 8th seed. Steve Nash is still doing this at his age. It's incredible. I have zero understanding of how they are even out of the basement.


The Horde Award: Team you should fear


Los Angeles Lakers

There are a lot of teams on impressive runs right now. But the Lakers are playing their best ball of the season. They're just tearing through teams right now. Sunday's win over the Heat was a statement game. The fact remains that if this team gets home court advantage they're going to be a killer out in the playoffs. With their size and wing defenders starting to play well, their only real deficit is at point guard and they're getting by. They're not the invincible Lakers of years past, but they're exceptionally good.


Cub Scout Troop Award: Team you should not fear


Portland Trail Blazers

It's a train wreck. The players are divided in the locker room by all accounts, there's rampant talk of Nate McMillan getting fired, and they're losing games along with the soul of their team. There isn't a more mentally weak opponent right now


Searching For Bobby Fischer Award for Stratagem:


Tom Thibodeau's late-game adjustments to San Antonio. Thibodeau recognized the damage perimeter penetration was creating and packed the lane against the Spurs, daring them to beat them on rushed shots from the outside against a super-long lineup. It worked, Tony Parker was stymied, and the Bulls got a big win over the Spurs.


Awkward Water Cooler Conversation Award for Coaching Struggle:


Doug Collins late-game scoring options

The Sixers need to seize on the wonderful season Andre Iguodala is having and put the ball in his hands late in games. He doesn't have to shoot it all the time, but Lou Williams is trying to go NBA Jam every time and opponents know it. They need to be able to close and even if Iguodala isn't a superstar he can play one for thirty seconds. Against the Bulls and Thunder the Sixers blew opportunities to get their daggers in by squandering possessions. Rare criticism for the presumptive Coach of the Year.


Blog of the Week: SilverScreenAndRoll.com

The Lakers have a pretty nutso fanbase, I'm going to be honest. All fans are nuts. Lakers fans think they can trade Luke Walton for Chris Paul and Matt Barnes for Andre Iguodala. To be fair, they've been on the receiving end of some of the most lopsided trades in history. But they take it far. Which is why it's great SilverScreenAndRoll.com exists. It's a site that clearly shows the Laker side of history but gives hones and open criticism, has a sense of humor about itself, and doens't stray into too much cheerleading or moping. It gives great insight into multiple ways to approach the game and should be essential reading for you.


MVP rankings:

1. LeBron James: Yup, even still. Sorry, I'm not going to throw out being the most dominant force on the planet for 45 minutes because he passes to an open man in the 48th. His legacy is compromised, his MVP resume is not.
2. Kevin Durant: Started chucking a bit against Atlanta, and falls back to the pack a bit. If James falls out because of the clutch nonsense or because they rest him, it's going to be a fight down the stretch between Durant and the two behind him.
3. Derrick Rose: Oh, hey Derrick. Good to see you back. What's that, you want to destroy all of us in a fire of impossible floaters? OK.
4. Kobe Bryant: If he does what he does and doesn't need as many bad shots to do it, this is the best pound-for-pound offensive player on the planet Earth.
5. Chris Paul: Hard to get the kind of assist numbers he should have when none of is guys can hit a shot right now.
6. Tony Parker: I'm one of the few who believes there's a big gap between Parker and the top five based on his perimeter defense. Parker ballhawks but too often is caught out of position. Which would be a problem if he hadn't been insanely brilliant this year.
7. Andre Iguodala: If I'm willing to say he's the DPOY (and I am), he should get a shot here.

(Honestly, this completes the list at this point.)


ROY Rankings:


1. Kyrie Irving: That Anderson Varejao injury may have cost us the chance to see Irving put the Fear of God in someone in the first round of the playoffs, Rose '09 style.
2. Ricky Rubio: If Rubio bounced a pass off his nose like a seal for an assist, would you be surprised? Me either.
3. Isaiah Thomas: Mr. Irrelvant is doing some special things in Sacramento, if you can bear to watch.
4. Kemba Walker: I was impressed with Walker's control during the Nets game, improving more than I thought he would.
5. MarShon Brooks: The re-emergence of Brook Lopez is giving him some issues in terms of flow. Just 20 points total in his last three games.


DPOY Rankings
1. Andre Iguodala: Night and night out the most versatile defender in the NBA.
2. Luol Deng: When Deng sticks you it's like getting snuggied by an anaconda.
3. Dwight Howard: He's so good his effort level is way down this season and he's still third.
4. LeBron James: Same deal as Howard.
5. Tony Allen: Dwane Casey called him "a pitbull." Here was his response.

Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:49 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 7:23 pm
 

Mamba strikes for revenge as Lakers top Heat

Kobe Bryant took it to Dwyane Wade and the Heat Sunday. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore


Maybe all he needed was a reason to make it personal. Kobe Bryant has struggled against LeBron James over the past four years as James has risen to become one of, if not the best players in the NBA. Bryant's Lakers lost games to James' Cavaliers and both matches with the Heat last year, and one earlier this season. But after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade in the All-Star game gave him a concussion and broken nose which required him to wear a mask Sunday against the Heat, things changed. Despite Bryant saying that he didn't take offense to the foul, he certainly looked like a man possessed. 

Bryant scored 33 points on 23 shots, a model of efficieny as the Lakers downed the Heat 93-83 to improve to 3-0 since the All-Star Break. He hurt the Heat from every angle with every type of shot. He worked in the flow of the offense, something he's struggled with this season and which has hurt the Lakers' offense repeatedly. Bryant would never admit that Wade's foul on him during the All-Star game had an effect, but it was clear that Bryant was zoned in to win this game. 

It may not have been a revenge game, but it sure looked like it.

In the bigger picture, the Lakers bullied the Heat defensively Sunday, and that was the real difference maker. They shut off their transition opportunities and in the halfcourt bodied, shook, jarred and shoved them around. It was a physical contest and yet the Lakers were the more aggressive team overall. That tough defense only drew 15 free throws on 17 personal fouls versus the Lakers' 29 free throws on 23 personal fouls.

Most impressive may have been Metta World Peace, who has struggled the past two seasons, but had 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals, hitting 2-4 from the thraee-point line and a series of dagger turnarounds. Basically, if the world ended Sunday night you couldn't be all that surprised. MWP was everywhere defensively, badgering James and making steals and saves to dirsupt the Heat offense.

The size advantage for Miami was huge, especially with Chris Bosh missing another game due to personal reasons. The Heat had no way to stop or deter Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and the twin towers pounded them on the offensive glass. Let me put it this way. In the fourth quarter, LeBron James was trying to wrap-around passes to Juwan Howard for finishes in traffic. You can imagine how that worked out.

The Lakers are playing the best ball of their season right now, the Heat on the third game of a West Coast road trip without Bosh. But it was a statement game for L.A. all the same, and one they needed.

The worst of the night has to go to Dwyane Wade, who shot 7-17 for 16 points and fouled out with five fouls, including one late useless bump on Kobe Bryant. Wade was frustrated with the physical play by L.A. all afternoon (Wade only shot two free throws), and seemed bothered by the intensity of the game and Bryant in particular. 

Turns out it's never wise to make a snake angry.
Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:58 am
 

Report Card 2.29.12: Rose takes over

Russell Westbrook worked the Sixers on the glass Wednesday night. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Chicago Bulls Even without Manu, that's a statement win. On the road against an elite team with a few matchup advantages and several Hall of Famers, the Bulls took care of business in an efficient and rambunxious way. They held off several runs by the Spurs and in the end, it was Derrick Rose making plays with an off-glass floater, a pull-up jumper, and pass out of the double to kickstart a rotation for the Luol Deng dagger that sealed it. They attacked the glass, they challenged the Spurs at every turn, and they made big shots. Great win for the Bulls.
OKC offensive rebounding They only pull in a B because the Sixers simply don't have a good team to control the glass with, especially against the athletic riot the Thunder employ, but Russell Westbrook did some downright incredible things in tracking down misses, both his and others'. The Thunder ground the Sixers into dirt late in this game when the Sixers were in a great position to steal it. It's the kind of game they would have lost last year, albeit only by a handful of points. This time they won it in emphatic fashion, and their ability to create extra possessions and frustrate the Sixers was a big reason why.
Cleveland Cavaliers Back-to-back road losses without Varejao are usually pretty acceptable. The Cavaliers played well enough in the first half to set themselves up to roll out but let the Knicks back in it in the third, then watched them fly by. They played well enough in the first half and more importantly, gave Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson minutes, which may be more important than how they played.
Charlotte Bobcats You lose to Detroit by double digits, you get an F. The end.


E FOR EFFORT
Kobe Bryant (31 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, one concussion played through, one mask used)
Russell Westbrook (22 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, monster board work)
Greg Monroe (19 points, 20 rebounds)
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com