Archive for May 19th, 2012

Kobe Bryant does not seek your approval

kobe bryant

Ball in his hands, season on the line, and failure promised Kobe Bryant a summer of scorn. For everything that comes with the responsibility of greatness, Bryant can live with the cutting criticism, the besmirching of his legacy, the volume rising on those determined to diminish him in the context of his contemporaries. In losing, he could live with it all – except allowing that barrage to barricade him behind a wall of hesitancy and reluctance.

“I don’t give a [expletive] what you say,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports late Friday. “If I go out there and miss game winners, and people say, ‘Kobe choked, or Kobe is seven for whatever in pressure situations.’ Well, [expletive] you.

“Because I don’t play for your [expletive] approval. I play for my own love and enjoyment of the game. And to win. That’s what I play for. Most of the time, when guys feel the pressure, they’re worried about what people might say about them. I don’t have that fear, and it enables me to forget bad plays and to take shots and play my game.”

Deep down, Bryant does care, because the ingesting of the feeding frenzy that comes with his struggles doesn’t so much pollute his air, as it does become oxygen tanks of rage on his back. Eighteen trips to the free-throw line on Friday, and 18 times the ball dropped into the basket. Eight trips to the free throw line in the fourth quarter borne out of a brilliant footwork, an unending array of fakes and, yes, the generosity of a referee’s whistle.

“In the pressure situations, you’ve always got to want to go to the line,” Bryant told Y! Sports. “You can try to avoid contact, because you don’t want to go to the free-throw line in those pressure situations. Me, I enjoy it.”

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

kobe bryant

After the Lakers’ 99-96 win, Bryant and Pau Gasol exchanged a few laughs about that stretch while sitting next to each other on the interview podium.

Gasol was asked by a reporter if he was surprised that Bryant scored so easily on Fisher.

Before Gasol could complete a sentence, Bryant interrupted.

“Surprised,” Bryant said incredulously. He then dropped his head down, laughing.

“Dude, come on, Fish is like 5-2,” Bryant said of the 6-foot-1 guard.

Gasol attempted once again to give a diplomatic response.

“He did a great job scoring on Derek tonight when he had the opportunity to,” Gasol said.

– Reported by Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times

Greg Oden

In an effort to revive his NBA career, Greg Oden recently underwent the controversial knee procedure that superstars Kobe Bryant and New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez say helped prolong their careers, according to sources.

Oden, whose career with the Portland Trail Blazers was derailed by four knee surgeries, had the noninvasive procedure done in New York two weeks ago to accelerate the healing process on his left knee, which was operated on in February.

“Greg had long planned to have this procedure done,” one of the sources said. “He thought he’d wait until his knee was completely healed, but the doctor said Greg would get the greatest benefit by doing it now because it would help his recovery.”

Bryant underwent the procedure, known as Orthokine, in Germany last offseason to relieve pain in his right knee and left ankle and returned to have a historically productive year in this, his 16th NBA season. Under Bryant’s advice, Yankees superstar Rodriguez flew to Dusseldorf to have the procedure done in December. Gilbert Arenas also had the procedure done.

– Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine

brian scalabrine

Paul Pierce glanced across the dressing room before yesterday morning’s shootaround and spotted Brian Scalabrine, microphone in hand, interviewing Greg Stiemsma.

“Smooth transition,” said Pierce. “Smooth transition.”

Scalabrine is still technically a reserve forward for the Chicago Bulls, a designation that will last at least until the end of next month when his contract runs out. And while he still plans to play, it is clear that even after retiring from active duty, we will not have seen the last of the former Celtic.

“I’ll play in the NBA as long as I can,” said Scalabrine, who’s working the Celts playoffs for CSN now that the Bulls have been eliminated. “I’ll get cut one day. That’s just the only way I can really go. To just retire would be like quitting to me. They’ll have to kick me out.”

At 34, he has had ample time to consider his hopes and options. During his five years in Boston, Scalabrine seemed to go back and forth on whether he’d pursue coaching. But that now seems like his direction.

– Reported by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald

The Suns plan to match offers to restricted free agent Robin Lopez in July but would have someone different mentoring the center if he returns next season. After four seasons with the Suns, assistant coach Bill Cartwright’s contract will not be renewed.

Cartwright was hired by then-General Manager Steve Kerr, a former teammate, and then-coach Terry Porter in 2008 to help Amar’e Stoudemire’s defense, rebounding and post-up game.

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

kobe bryant

With their Game 2 collapse still fresh in their minds, the Los Angeles Lakers avoided a sequel with the only game plan they’re confident will work against the younger, faster Oklahoma City Thunder.

They got slow. They got into the paint. And they got to the free-throw line 42 times, incredibly making all but one of those shots.

Kobe Bryant knows it isn’t pretty. He also knows it’s probably the only way the Lakers can pull the high-flying Thunder down to their level.

Bryant scored 14 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers rallied late for a 99-96 victory in Game 3 on Friday night, cutting the Thunder’s second-round series lead to 2-1…

The Lakers were close to a historically insurmountable playoff deficit when the Thunder went ahead 92-87 with 3 minutes left. Instead, they finished on a 12-4 run, scoring six points on free throws in the final 33 seconds and earning the chance to even the series in Game 4 on Saturday night…

”We continued to work, even when they got the lead a couple of times in the fourth quarter,” said Pau Gasol, who had 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists…

Durant scored 31 points before missing his last shot for Oklahoma City, which seemed poised to move to the brink of its second straight trip to the Western Conference finals. Instead, the Thunder lost for the first time in the postseason - but they didn’t exactly appear shaken by their late struggles…

Westbrook and James Harden scored 21 points apiece for the Thunder, who couldn’t match the Lakers’ late-game execution after soundly out-executing the Lakers in Game 2…

Bynum had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who got 12 points apiece from Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake. The Lakers still got uncomfortably close to an 0-3 deficit, which has never been overcome in NBA history.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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