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Friday, February 06, 2009

No need of Bryant magic to beat Celtics


The extremely popular Kobe Bryant was impressed with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 53-minute effort in last night’s 110-109 overtime victory against the Celtics at TD Banknorth Garden.

The only player missing from Bryant’s glowing flow of accolades was himself.

Indeed, after scoring a Madison Square Garden-record 61 points against the Knicks on Monday and 36 against Toronto on Wednesday, the talented Kobe shot an uninspired 10-of-29 from the floor for 26 points against the Celts. The guard did hit 4-of-6 treys in the fourth quarter to salvage a modicum of self-satisfaction.

“I shot the ball like crap for three-and-a-half quarters,” Bryant noticed. “It’s funny, but that’s how the clash goes. You miss 15-footers all night and suddenly you start knocking down 25-footers. That’s what happened to me. I know at the time I have clashs like this from experience, down the stretch those long shots tend to fall and the easy ones don’t.

“It’s just weird, I don’t know why that happens.”

As we know, the Lakers are now 2-0 against the squad that humiliated them in clash 6 of the NBA Finals to clinch the title last June. Both triumphs were significant because they squelched extended winning streaks by the Celtics. The C’s had won 19 in a row before losing 92-83 at Staples Center on Christmas. The Celts had won 12 straight before last night.

It’s important to say that Bryant understands that besting the Celtics at the Garden on a frigid February night doesn’t make up for last season, but he did realize a small sense of satisfaction.

“Just coming down the same streets and being in the same hotel, it all came back,” Bryant expressed. “I didn’t get to sleep last night until about 6 o’clock this morning because I was up thinking about the clash. I remember being in this position and thinking about my squadmates. How would they respond and would they be ready?

“I was very pleased to see the effort and how much guys wanted it.”

Lakers coach Phil Jackson counts on Bryant to contain Celts point guard Rajon Rondo [stats] in these clashs. The two engaged in a lot of give-and-take that eventually got out of hand at 9:01 of the third quarter. Both players were issued technical fouls at the time it looked like their dispute would grow beyond verbal jabs.

“There was a little talking back and forth, a little bumping and hitting, and it was good,” Bryant expressed. “Bring it on, that’s the statement I wanted to send, and if it was worth me getting a technical foul because of it so be it.”

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Unstoppable Kobe crushes Nicks with 60 personal points

Every body in the stadium know what Kobe can do in a inspired day. That’s why Bryant scored 61 points last night to set a record at the current Madison Square Garden and lead the Lakers over the Knicks, 126-117.

"It's a blessing to do what you love and have moments like this," Bryant expressed.

It's especially gratifying at the time your moment is etched into the history of one of the most famous basketball stages of all time.

Bernard King used to hold the record at the current Garden for most points in an NBA clash with 60, which he scored on Christmas Day 1984 in a losing effort against the Nets. The previous opponents' mark was the memorable "double-nickels" performance by Michael Jordan, wearing No. 45 and his old Air Jordans, in his first clash back at the Garden after his comeback on March 28. 1995. Kobe's pal LeBron scored 50 points at the Garden on March 5, 2008.

Indeed, like Michael Jordan's clash in '95, the sellout crowd of 19,763 fans last night roared for Bryant in the typical way the Garden faithful treats basketball royalty. He also was serenaded with chants of "MVP!" as he walked off the court, finger in the air, with 1:48 left in the clash.

"These are nights at the time Kobe's on fire," Phil Jackson expressed. "He burns hot."

There was something different about this burn. Bryant was all business from his first shot, a pull-up 44 seconds into the clash, and methodically went through Knicks defenders, from Quentin Richardson to Jared Jeffries to Wilson Chandler. And the Knicks could feel it, too. Kobe has had these assassin-like performances before, but he's usually loose.

"First time he stepped on the court, he didn't say nothing," Nate Robinson expressed. "He usually says 'Hi,' but today he was focused, in the zone. So we knew something was up."

The popular and talented Bryant scored 18 points in the first quarter and had 34 by halftime. His 40th point came on a free throw with 5:32 left in the third. The 50th also came on a foul shot with 6:06 left in the clash, which drew a roar from the Garden crowd. The 60th also came from the line with 2:33 left.

He was 20-for-20 from the line and shot 19-for-31 from the floor in the clash, with three assists and one blocked shot for the Lakers (38-9).

It was such an incredible performance that it made Pau Gasol's 31 points and 14 rebounds almost an afterthought. It was one of the most incredible 92-point combinations ever seen at the Garden.

The Knicks (21-26) lost for the first time at home in six clashs. Al Harrington led the way with 24 points and David Lee had 22 points and 12 rebounds for his 36th double-double this season and 11th straight.

As we know, Mike D'Antoni's squad hung in there for most of the first half, but the clash started to slip away late in the third quarter and the Knicks fell behind by as many as 20 points in the fourth.

"We're not there yet," D'Antoni expressed of his squad, which has two more battles against elite squads this week. The Celtics are in town Friday to complete the week.

Everyone had to start somewhere. Bryant's first-ever clash at the Garden was Nov. 8, 1996. The then-18-year-old prodigy scored just one point.

"I sucked," he expressed. "I remember coming in and being nervous as heck. Wearing 80 pounds soaking wet and having to guard John Wallace . . . My career has somehow progressed from there for sure."

Kobe's career high is 81 points, which he scored against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006. His previous high against the Knicks was 46 points almost six years ago to the day, on Feb. 6, 2003.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Easy trumph for Los Angeles over Seattle

Although we can say Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, handed out 10 assists and got his first ejection of the season, the Lakers 111-91 win over the SuperSonics on Sunday night was really easy for the blue and yellow team.

About the ejection, Kobe said: "I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to comment on the official. I don't want to get fined anymore, watch the replay."

But while Bryant's ban became a secondary chapter, the main focus is the surging L.A. Lakers, who moved back on top of the Western Conference and now have their longest streak since winning 11 straight near the end of the 2003-04 season -- the last time they reached the NBA Finals.

What's more, a lot of this charge has come on the road. Los Angeles won its seventh straight away from home finished a stretch with 12 of 13 on the road an astonishing 11-2.

Indeed, just a month ago, the Lakers led the West for two days. Now, with seven weeks left in the season, should it matter that they're back on top?

"From our standpoint, we have a home schedule that is pretty good," Lakers coach Phil Jackson admitted. "Now we are in a situation where we can control our own destiny and that's what really matters."

Spaniard star Pau Gasol added 22 points, and Lamar Odom had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Bryant didn't get to see his teammates finish this one off after picking up a pair of technicals from Forte with 4 minutes left in the third part and the Lakers leading 88-57.

The popular Kobe was furious after not getting a foul while fighting for an offensive rebound, and appeared to keep jawing at Forte as Seattle raced the other direction, even though Bryant claimed he said absolutely nothing.

We must notice that Seattle's Earl Watson missed a shot, but Mickael Gelabale grabbed the offensive rebound. With a lull in the action, Forte popped Bryant with a technical. Not content to leave it at that, Bryant followed Forte into the backcourt and moments later was given his second technical and his ejection.

It's important to mention that Gelabale led the Sonics with a career-high 21 points, making 10 of 16 shots. He was about the only Sonics player to make anything. Seattle shot just 40 percent, punctuated by newbie Kevin Durant, who missed his first seven shots. A couple of fourth-quarter dunks made Durant's stat line look a little better as he finished with 15 points. Fellow rookie Jeff Green also had 15.

The Sonics played without starting forward Chris Wilcox and newly acquired forward Donyell Marshall, both sick. What's more, reserve Damien Wilkins also didn't play after falling on his wrist Friday night against Portland.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Iverson was magical, but Lakers were victorious

Everybody in the stadium felt like they were nothing more than kindling for three quarters. The popular Allen Iverson torched the Lakers again and again and again Wednesday night.

Iverson darted around the Pepsi Center floor with boundless energy, carrying the Denver Nuggets along with him for what looked like a joyride to a certain victory.

Then the fourth quarter started and Iverson went cold, the Lakers rediscovered their match and pulled away from the Nuggets down the stretch for a 111-107 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 19,155.

Iverson scored 49 of his 51points in the first three quarters, but went 1-for-4 shooting in the fourth. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 25 points, including 12 in the fourth, but was a mere afterthought as Iverson went off in the first three quarters.

In fact, Kobe Bryant sat out almost all of the third quarter because of foul trouble. He also missed much of the second quarter after suffering a bruised left shoulder.

"It's a big confidence boost for us, for everybody to make shots, to make plays with Kobe out," Lamar Odom said after Los Angeles Lakers completed a sweep of their trip to Minnesota and Denver. "It's another boost for him to have confidence in us."

Odom had 17 points, one of four Lakers to score 10 or more points.

And Vladimir Radmanovic added a season high 21 points and Derek Fisher had 20.

However, there was more to the Lakers' game than scoring. Trevor Ariza came off the bench in the second half to help badger Iverson. Andrew Bynum, who did not play Tuesday because of a stomach illness, dominated the paint defensively.

"With Kobe in foul trouble and Iverson with 49 points in three quarter, you'd be looking at a 20-point loss," Odom said. "I guess you could say we took their best punch."

When the encounter got tight in the final minutes, Bryant and Fisher responded as expected.

Bryant scored on a pair of drives to the basket and a midrange jumper down the stretch, helping the Lakers take a 108-104 lead with less than a minute left. Fisher made 3 of 4 free throws in the closing seconds to seal the win.

"We had to absorb a lot of points from Allen Iverson," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I had to sit Kobe out almost the whole third quarter and we survived the quarter and came out of it tied (at 88-all). It was a good victory for us."

It did not come without a few anxious moments, however.

Bryant tumbled to the floor in the closing seconds of the first quarter, stumbling over the left foot of Denver's Eduardo Najera and crash-landing on his left shoulder after attempting to dribble through traffic near midcourt.

Kobe Bryant lay face-first on the floor for several moments before heading to the bench. He suffered nothing worse than a bruised left shoulder and returned to the game midway through the second quarter to help lead the Lakers to a 62-58 lead by halftime.

He left again early in the third quarter, but not because of an injury. The reason was just as hurtful for the Lakers, however. He picked up his fourth foul less than a minute into the second half, trudging to the bench as Sasha Vujacic replaced him.

Neither Bryant's injury nor his foul trouble was the story of the first half, however.

Bryant scored 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting in the first half to lead the Lakers, but Iverson's scoring cast a long shadow over other events.

Bryant could only watch as Iverson shredded the rest of the Lakers.

Iverson shed defenders with a dizzying array of stop-and-go moves that had the Lakers grasping at air as he raced past them. He had 15 points by the end of the first quarter, 33 by halftime and 49 by the end of three quarters.

The Lakers countered with superb shooting from behind the 3-point arc, with Radmanovic making 5 of 6 en route to 17 points by halftime. He finished 6 for 9 on 3s and was 7 for 12 overall.

"I'm not a one-on-one type of player," Radmanovic admitted. "I'm more of a guy who if he gets open shots will take them. I got a lot of wide open shots and they paid for it."

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great Kobe was too fast for the Sonics

The Seattle SuperSonics fought hard but yet couldn't find a way to counter Kobe Bryant, who scored 35 points in Los Angeles Lakers' 106-99 victory.

Indeed, the Sonics have now lost 11 of their 13 games this season, including their last five. The Lakers used Seattle's futility to break their own three-match losing streak.

IT's good to say that Lamar Odom added 20 points for Los Angeles, while Andrew Bynum chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Derek Fisher had 14 points and eight assists.

As we know, Seattle got 25 points from Kevin Durant and 18 from Chris Wilcox. Kurt Thomas grabbed 13 rebounds to go with his seven points, while Earl Watson came off the bench to net 16 more.

And after a closely contested first quarter that saw six ties and seven lead changes, the Lakers edged ahead 30-25 going into the second period. Despite the situation, Seattle battled back to tie it at 54-54 at the half.

Los Angeles Lakers used a 9-2 run in the third quarter to take a double-digit lead but the Sonics pulled back to within 68-64. But they faded and the yellow team led 85-73 going into the fourth quarter and kept them at bay the rest of the way. This result will help Kobe's team a lot in order to find tranquility.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Kobe's 31 points were not enough against Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant were face to find looking forward to get the victory. And in the end, Kidd had 15 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds leading the Nets to a 102-100 win over the Lakers and over Kobe, who had 31 points.

During New Jersey's recent six-metch losing streak, Kidd was quoted in New York papers as saying that the Nets have a habit of "letting go of the rope," and playing with a "glass jaw."

And we can see that his teammates got the message. They've won three straight.

Also Jefferson had 27 points, Vince Carter had 19 in a reserve role and Bostjan Nachbar scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.

As for Kobe Bryant, he made 15 straight free throws before missing a clutch foul shot with 6.1 seconds to go. The two-time defending NBA scoring champ started out 3-for-16 from the field, going the entire second and third quarters without a basket. His next one came on a layup with 6:13 to play. But during his drought, the Nicks had turned a 14-point deficit into an 85-72 lead with a 16-3 run.

"They were on Kobe really well and they made it difficult for him," Lakers coach Phil Jackson admitted. "I thought that most of his shots were challenged. They stayed down on his pump fakes and he didn't get any rhythm in his shots."

Both squads blew double-digit leads. Carter triggered the Nets' pivotal rally, hitting a three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in the third quarter to tie it 72-all.

Indeed, the Nets took their first lead of the game 24 seconds into the fourth on Nachbar's layup, and Jefferson capped the run on a layup that gave New Jersey an 84-74 lead with 8:39 remaining.

"The first half was a little bit lackadaisical, and there were probably just a couple of guys playing at a higher speed," expressed Kidd, who had eight turnovers. "But in the second half, I think everyone pitched in. Defensively is where I thought we turned the game around."

And Kobe Bryant made a three-point play and a pair of three-point baskets, all in a 55-second span, and Sasha Vujacic followed with another three-pointer - his only points of the game - to give the Lakers a 96-94 edge with 1:28 left. However, the Nets still managed to come out with the win.

"We didn't execute properly at the start of the fourth quarter," Bryant admitted. "They jumped out to a huge lead on us, and it was an uphill battle for that point on."

The Nets had a three-point lead when Bryant was fouled by Kidd behind the three-point line on an inbounds play. He sank the first two free throws, and despite it, they missed the third and Nachbar got the rebound. He made one of two at the other end after getting fouled immediately by Luke Walton, and Vladimir Radmanovic missed an attempted tying three-point shot at the buzzer.

Derek Fisher, who made 20 points, helped Los Angeles build a 49-37 halftime lead by going 5-for-5 from the field - with all of his shots coming from at least 18 feet out with Kidd guarding him. The Lakers took their greatest lead, 47-33, on Lamar Odom's three-pointer with 3:14 left in the 2nd quarter.

Finally, the Nets finished 3-1 on the road trip, only the third time in the franchise's NBA history that they had a winning record on their annual Thanksgiving trip. They were 3-2 in 1998-99 and 3-1 in 1992-93. Since Jason Kidd's arrival in 2001-02, they have gone a combined 11-21 during their Thanksgiving trips, including 0-4 last season. Good for them.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bryant lead stunning win over the Hawks

Kobe Bryant was the main atraction of the game. The crowd made it clear. And the applause for him continued after the game - in the Hawks' locker room. Bryant, mostly quiet through three quarters, scored nine straight fourth-quarter points to lead Los Angeles to a 90-83 win over Atlanta on Monday night. "You've got to give it to him," said Atlanta's Joe Johnson, who matched Bryant's 27 points but couldn't equal his fourth-quarter impact.

"I have to say that he made some great shots down the stretch, and I was draped all over him for some of them," Johnson honestly admitted.

Indeed, eleven of Bryant's 27 points came in the final period.

"He's a very good player; he's one of the best players who has played our game," said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson. "When he makes a 27-footer, falling away in the corner, you've got to come back on the other end and execute your offence."

As we know, the Hawks were only 4-of-9 from the free throw line in the final part.

And Kobe Bryant said he didn't look at the game as a scoring contest with Joe Johnson.

"To me individually it doesn't mean much at this stage of my career; I've played in so many of those individual battles," Bryant stated. "It's more just, 'What can I do to help us win the match?'

"Maybe some years ago I would have tried to end up with 25 points in the fourth quarter. Now it's not what's important. Once I got on a roll, saw they were double and triple-teaming, I was able to use myself as a decoy."

Furthermore, we must mention that Smush Parker hit a three-pointer after Bryant's nine straight points, and Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom combined for 28 rebounds.

"I think it's a big difference in our team, and that's the understanding of when enough is enough," Lakers coach Phil Jackson admitted. "And when they started throwing extra bodies at people, there was open opportunities for other players."

Kobe wagged his index finger at Atlanta fans after his fourth straight jumper in his hot streak, which left the Lakers with a 77-71 lead. In fact, Bryant didn't need to tease; it seemed most of the 19,600 fans in Atlanta's sixth sellout of the season were cheering for him, anyway.

We must remember that the Lakers, who beat Atlanta 106-95 at home on Dec. 8, completed their first season sweep of the Hawks since the 1999-00 season. Even in recent seasons, when the Hawks bottomed out with 13-and 26-triumph totals, the Lakers managed no better than a split of the two encounters.

ACtually Jackson announced before the game: "This game is a little space in time. I'm always concerned about Atlanta. We don't play well here."

The Lakers didn't play their best early but still led almost from the start. Smith opened the game with a reverse jam - his first of four flashy slam dunks in the match - but the Lakers quickly pulled even on a tip by Bynum and never again trailed.

Kobe Bryant was held to nine points on 3-for-8 shooting in the first part, but the Lakers led 40-31 as Johnson was only 4-for-13 from the field for 10 points.

Los Angeles Lakers, who held a big lead of 11 points late in the first half, led 55-45 in the third quarter before the Hawks responded to that with eight straight points, including a three-pointer by Josh Childress.

And Kobe Bryant hit a three late in the quarter as the Lakers led 62-57 entering the final period. A really good move that decided the match.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Grizzlies were 10 points better

In an unexpected result, Mike Miller scored 14 of his 25 points during a 46-point third quarter Tuesday as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 128-118.

This loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Lakers team, which was coming off a 101-98 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, who have the league's best record. And the Grizzlies came into Tuesday's game with the NBA's worst percentage.

In fact, those 46 points were the most the Grizzlies have ever scored in a quarter. Memphis outscored the Lakers by 24 points over the 12 minutes.

Spanish star Pau Gasol also tallied 25 points, leading seven Grizzlies in double figures. Gasol also had 13 rebounds.

As for our star, Kobe Bryant had 25 points for the Lakers, who had a four-game winning streak end.

Lakers boss Phil Jackson had warned his squad not to let down against the lowly Grizzlies, who have a rejuvenated offense and are 3-3 under interim coach Tony Barone.

"I think that we outplay the better teams right now, but we're getting outplayed by the teams that aren't as good," Lakers forward Luke Walton said. "Sometimes, we end up winning at the end, but this is too good of a league and too long of a season to get a high playoff seed if we keep playing like that."

Friday, December 29, 2006

Parker leads Lakers victory

It was an interesting thing to see on the court. Parker, a former Piston, helped the Lakers clearly defeat the Orlando Magic 106-93 Wednesday night. The player scored a season-high 20 -- 18 in the third quarter -- and Bryant had 27 points and seven assists to complete the perfect game .

We must mention that the Lakers picked up their third victory on a tough six-game road swing that ends at Charlotte on Friday. Furthermore, Andrew Bynum also had 13 points in 13 minutes against Orlando Magic.

"It's just that my team can't be giving the Smush Parkers of the league quarters like that," Magic coach Brian Hill admitted. "If it's Kobe it's different."

We can apreciate that former Piston Grant Hill had 20 points for Orlando, which has lost three straight. Also Jameer Nelson added 15 points and seven assists, and Dwight Howard had 12 points and eight rebounds.

It's not so strange to see that after scoring 15 in the first half, Bryant virtually disappeared in the third quarter. In fact, he hit three free throws but missed all three field-goal attempts and didn't make a second-half shot from the field until a 3-pointer 1:17 into the last quarter.

And fans must admit that Los Angeles didn't need him. Parker scored nine during a 14-3 run in the third quarter, and Brian Cook made a 3-pointer just before the period ended to give Los Angeles a 79-73 lead.

"I think that we just ran our offense," Parker expressed. "We executed our offense and I got open looks."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bulls tamed Bryant to beat Lakers

Lakers fall to Chicago Bulls, and there are many conclusions after the match. The latest triumph by the Bulls was different from their recent victories.

as we saw, Chicago spent the previous three weeks picking on teams with losing records, most from the Eastern Conference, but they took out one of the best in the West on Tuesday, staring the talented Kobe Bryant and his team in a 94-89 win.

“It’s a great feeling to get a win against a team like that,” Chicago’s Ben Gordon said after the Bulls’ 12th win in 13 clashes.

We must consider that Luol Deng scored 23 points and tied a season-high with 12 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls.

It's fair to mention that Gordon hit two free throws to close out the win with 10.9 seconds left, after Smush Parker cut the Bulls’ lead to three with a foul shot and a dunk in the final 40 seconds. In fact, Deng hit 9 of 16 shots, and Gordon finished with 22 points as Chicago won its fifth straight.

Now, Kobe Bryant was a non-factor after scoring a combined 98 in the previous two games. He was content to defer and finished with 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting before fouling out for the first time since Dec. 1, 2005, in the final minute.

“I think that their defense had a lot to do with it,” Bryant said. “They made me work for positions. They fronted me in the post, and they just did an amazing job.”

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Impressive performance against Houston Rockets

Kobe Bryant proved that he is at the top of his career as he scored 53 points in 54 minutes. This way, the Lakers pulled out a 112-101 double-overtime victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

Los Angeles Lakers started with a nightmarish 10-point first quarter and finished both regulation and the first overtime with Bryant missing potential winning jumpers.

However, Kobe Bryant opened the second overtime still with the hops to shimmy-shake Yao Ming then execute a twisting dunk.

In fact, the Lakers' star scored seven points to Houston's two in the second overtime. And when the Rockets missed its final shot, it was Bryant soaring above everyone to own the rebound.

"We really had to go to Kobe tonight to get accomplished what we had to do to get a win," said Lakers boss Phil Jackson, who as early as the start of the second quarter moved Bryant to the scoring wing spot and ditched the triangle offense before halftime to run repeated pick-and-rolls for Kobe.

And Bryant expressed: "That confirmed for me that my legs are back to be able to dunk like that in the second overtime. You're happy but tired after a game like that. It might be funny, but even when we were down 20, I felt the game was ours."

It's important to notice that Bryant's efforts more than offset the best effort of Yao, who had 35 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high eight blocks in 49 minutes.

However, Yao Ming saw his last shot of the game in the second overtime cleanly blocked by Lakers center Kwame Brown.

The Rockets definitely tired after halftime, when they led by 18 points. They had played to the wire in Oakland the night before, losing on a Baron Davis three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left against Golden State.

The chinese player has been notorious for his poor conditioning in his career, but has improved it.

Both Yao and Bryant found the strength to hit key shots late in the first overtime. However, whereas Yao ruled the game right from the start - blocking Vladimir Radmanovic's layup just moments after tipoff - Bryant had the greater perseverance.

"At some point," Jackson admitted, "he's going to find a way."

We must consider that Bryant shot 17 of 38 from the field, 5 of 8 from three-point range and 14 of 16 from the foul line. He also had 10 rebounds, eight assists and five turnovers. It was awesome.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Kobe's ankle makes everybody sad

Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant sat out Friday night's 106-95 triumph over the Atlanta Hawks with a sprained right ankle.

As we know, Kobe Bryant suffered the injury in Monday night's 101-87 victory over the Indiana Pacers. He played through the injury Wednesday night, when the Lakers fell to the Hornets, 105-89.

Now Lakers must learn to play and win without their most important player.

It's important to consider that Bryant is averaging 25.9 points per game this season.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kobe netted 52 to beat Jazz

Kobe Bryant had a very effective performance, as he scored a season-high 52 points, including 30 in the third quarter. With this help, Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 132-102 Thursday.

It's important to notice that the 30-point quarter tied Bryant's own Lakers record set last season when he finished with 81 points against Toronto. George Gervin had 33 in a quarter for San Antonio in 1978.

Kobe Bryant topped the 50-point plateau for the 12th time in his career and finished 19-of-26 from the floor and 12-of-15 from the line in his highest scoring match since he had 81 against the Raptors on 22 January last season.

The talented player led the Los Angeles Lakers against the first place Utah Jazz on Thursday night.

We must consider that Bryant got Los Angeles going in the first quarter. He moved inside on Deron Williams and went underneath the basket to get loose, then put his hand out and laid the ball in for two points.

What's more, the Lakers were trailing by two later in the quarter when Smush Parker tried to feed Bryant. Ronnie Brewer picked off the pass, ran the length of the court and slammed the ball in to put Utah Jazz up 21-17.

Los Angeles Lakers were back up two in the second quarter when the Jazz showed how they moved to the top of the standings. They got rebound after rebound before Matt Harpring finally found Carlos Boozer who slammed it down to tie things at 36.

And Utah just could not keep control. Parker stole the ball from Andrei Kirilenko, took it down court and underhanded it to Bryant, who went in at Kirilenko and sank an up and under lay up off of the glass to give his team a 10 point lead.

We must remember that time was ticking down in the quarter when Luke Walton handed Bryant the ball. Bryant ran downcourt, called for a pick and when he got it he went hard to the basket, dunking through Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko.

And that was not it. Bryant scored 12 second-quarter points and was just getting started.

He got things going in the second half. Los Angeles moved the ball around until Lamar Odom found Bryant in the paint. He again went to the rim and emphatically slammed the ball down.

Bryant kept putting on a show for the hometown fans. He put on a dribbling exhibition before hitting a jump shot over Kirilenko to make it 69-56 Lakers.

Bryant didn't even bother putting the rubber ball on the floor three minutes later when he simply pulled up and hit a three pointer, giving Los Angeles a 19 point lead.

Bryant hit the last of his 30 points in the third quarter with just over a minute left. He made room between himself and Gordan Giricek before pulling up and smoothly sinking the long jumper.

Finally, Kobe Bryant made all nine of his shots in the third quarter to set a Lakers record that he had set last season. He finished with 52 as Los Angeles ran all over the Utah Jazz 132-102.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Los Angeles Lakers beat NewJersey Nets

Los Angeles proved to be ready to shine this season. Lamar Odom poured in 21 points and Kobe Bryant chipped in with 19 to power the Los Angeles Lakers to a 99-93 triumph over the New Jersey Nets yesterday.

We can say that Kobe Bryant had an off-night from the floor hitting just 8-of-24 shots, and the Lakers all-star made other contributions dishing out a season-high 10 assists and pulling down six rebounds as Los Angeles recorded their fifth win in six encounters.

It's also important to mention that Kwame Brown and Smush Parker each added 13 points to the Los Angeles cause as the Lakers had six players in double figures.

In the other side, Vince Carter paced New Jersey with 21 points and 11 boards, while Nenad Krstic added 20 and Jason Kidd handed out 16 assists and pulled down eight rebounds but it was not enough to keep the struggling Nets from slipping to their fifth straight defeat.

The New Jersey Nets jumped out to a 33-24 first quarter lead and took a 48-43 advantage into the intermission, but the Lakers seized control in the third outscoring the Nets 30-18 and would never trail the rest of the way.

Friday, November 17, 2006

LAkers vs. Raptors: Bryant wants to make history again

There's an important game ahead, and we must remember that the last time the Toronto Raptors played against the Lakers, Kobe Bryant made history.

Maybe tha t's why fans are eager to see another sensational performance from Bryant when they host the Raptors on Friday.

In fact, the reigning league scoring champion, Bryant delivered an unforgettable performance in Los Angeles' 122-104 win over Toronto here on January 22, scoring a mind-boggling 81 points - the second-highest total in NBA history.

It was the NBA's best individual offensive performance aside from Chamberlain's landmark 100-point game against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. Kobe Bryant finished 28-of-46 from the floor and 18-of-20 from the line, joining Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, David Thompson and David Robinson as the only players to reach the 70-point plateau.

And after scoring 26 points in the first half, Bryant exploded for 55 after the break - four shy of Chamberlain's record for points in a half. He outscored the Raptors by 14 points after halftime.

Despita those facts, Bryant has struggled to rediscover last season's explosiveness after undergoing offseason knee surgery. Despite shooting nearly 52 percent from the floor this season, he is averaging just 21.2 points over his first six matches.

And after dropping two straight, the Lakers bounced back with a 91-81 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

It0s good to know that Bryant scored 21 points while Lamar Odom added 20 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists for Los Angeles, which limited Memphis to just 38 percent (28-of-73) shooting.

The Toronto Raptors, who are just 4-16 all-time against the Lakers, aim to snap a three-game skid.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Lakers fall to Sonics despite previous triumphs

Everything was good for he Lakers, who took advantage of their familiarity with the Suns from the playoffs and preseason to win the opening game.

And then they beat a Golden State Warriors team that either wasn't ready to play or distracted in its home opener.

what's more, they "got away with one the other night" against the Seattle SuperSonics at Staples Center, winning a tough match that was tied with 1 & l/2 minutes to play. That was coach Phil Jackson's evaluation, at least, before his squad faced its first "real test" Sunday.

Despite the previous games, they failed that test, with the Sonics blitzing them for 95 points in three quarters while building a 26-point lead, in a 117-101 loss at Key Arena. So went the Lakers' hopes of opening 4-0 for only the fifth time in the past 20 years.

"They were the aggressor tonight," Jackson admitted, "and usually things happen for the aggressor team."

It's fair to mention that Lamar Odom, who finished with 11 points after coming into the game averaging 28, expressed: "The two E's, the effort and energy, were just bad."

In fact, the Sonics drilled the Lakers at the start of the second and third quarters, hit 12 3-pointers and scored 31 points off the Lakers' 22 turnovers. Ray Allen (32 points), Rashard Lewis (25) and Luke Ridnour (22) did the most damage for Seattle.

At least, Kobe Bryant is back and scoring, with 15 points and he made 4 of 10 shots. This was his second game back from knee surgery. It was fewer points than Bryant scored in 79 of 80games last season, when he led the NBA in scoring at 35.4 points per game.

"It's just kind of getting the flow of the game down a little bit," Bryant claims. "I haven't played in a long, long time. So it's just kind of getting that rhythm back. It felt like my passes were a little bit more sharp than they were the other game.

"And then going forward, it's just working within the offense and getting good looks and things like that. It's step by step."

Los Angeles Lakers trailed 57-49 at halftime, a lead the Sonics doubled in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Bryant tried to assert himself in taking threejumpers, but the Lakers struggled to cover Lewis, who connected on two 3-pointers.

We all saw that Jackson sat Luke Walton and Andrew Bynum in favor of Vladimir Radmanovic and Ronny Turiaf, but the Sonics kept surging out of the timeout and netted 38 points in the quarter.

Allen ran Bryant off a screen, blew past him after catching the ball and scored as part of three-point play. At the other end, Radmanovic drove the baseline, just to lose the ball out of bounds. Lewis buried another 3-pointer, and the Sonics had a 75-55 lead.

Then Jackson chosed to play a lineup without Bryant or Odom at the start of the second quarter. The results were disastrous. The unit of Brian Cook, Maurice Evans, Smush Parker, Radmanovic and Walton gave up 11 straight points in only three minutes.

We msut admit that all Bryant needed to do at the start of the game was pass the ball. He drew the Sonics defense around the lane before dropping passes to Bynum for dunks and finding open shooters for 3-pointers.

In the end, Kobe Bryant had five assists in the first six minutes and was the last of the Lakers starting five to score. The Lakers made their first seven shots and led by as many as 10 points of what started out as an easy night.

Kobe finished with nineassists against three turnovers. Bynum had 13 points but played only three minutes in the second half. Odom knocked down two early 3-pointers and despite that turned down almost all the shots the rest of the match, Jackson expressed.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Kobe might play in season opener against Suns

Kobe Bryant was ahving a hard time trying to heal his knee during the World Championship. And he wouldn’t say yesterday if he’ll play in the Lakers season opener against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, even when coach Phil Jackson said Bryant has told him he will be available.

The Lakers were on a practice yesterday at Staples Center and Bryant participated in much of the session. Kobe has been recovering from right knee surgery and didn’t play in any of the Lakers’ exhibition matches.

“The player says he’s going to play on Tuesday,” Jackson announced. “There’s a disclaimer that he’s doubtful. I’m sure that he’ll make the correct decision. He came off the floor and he was sore, but he was on the court for a good hour and a half before he came off.”

The last two days the Lakers had said that Kobe Bryant was “questionable to doubtful” for the first encounter of the new season.

In fact, Bryant didn’t give any indication after practice on his plans.

“I don’t know,” Bryant admitted. “I just take it day by day. It’s kind of frustrating, cause every day kind of varies. Today it’s a little sore.”

Coach Jackson said Bryant didn’t go full tilt in practice, but did many of the skill drills. Jackson said the Lakers are prepared whether Bryant plays or not. Maurice Evans is the likely starter if Bryant stays out.

It's important to say that Jackson, who underwent right hip-replacement surgery earlier this month, said he would coach the opener on Tuesday. He missed all the team’s exhibition matches.

He used a cane at the last practice and said he has a ways to go to be mobile and active. In fact, Jackson said it’s possible that he might not make the trip to Golden State on Wednesday for the Lakers’ second clash.

Friday, October 06, 2006

New ball tested

Many NBA players, from Steve Nash to Shaquille O'Neal, are criticizing the new synthetic Spalding ball designed for this season. Lakers Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom aren't thrilled either, though they aren't complaining as loudly or passionately. O'Neal's analysis of the switch from leather to synthetic for reporters in Miami: "It's like touching an exotic dancer and then going and touching a plastic, blow-up doll."

Indeed, Kobe Bryant admitted: "I'm old school, so I love the old-school ball."

Odom added: "By the second or third quarter in the NBA game, guys perspire a lot, and once that (new) ball gets wet, it just kind of slips out of your hand. I guarantee you in the beginning of the season you'll see a match probably lost just by a simple pass or a guy trying to catch the ball or going up for a layup by himself the ball will slip out of his hand."

The NBA made the change in search of uniformity with a ball that doesn't need to be broken in. Players have stated the grip is very different.

Kwame Brown, who made 54.4 percent of his foul shots last season, has complained that the new ball is harder to shoot. And Odom, although he also has rust from limited play over the summer, has looked as sloppy as ever finishing shots around the basket with the new ball in training camp.

But Bryant and Odom said they've played with all sorts of balls in their lifetimes. Odom talked about playing with a handball or a tennis ball; Bryant said he played with balled-up tape or a sock.

"I played with a sock; I think I can play with this," Bryant expressed. "I don't really think it's that big a deal."

Kobe Bryant on his surgically repaired right knee holding him out of practices: "We don't want to rush it. We're just taking our time, getting stronger with it and letting the scar tissue heal."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Japanese Tour has begun

Kobe Bryant is busy with a promotional tour in Asia. On Monday, he arrived in Tokyo, Japan. The Kobe 81 Tour, named after his record 81 points that he scored in a single game last season, will move to Beijing, China later this week.

And soon after his arrival, Kobe got down to doing what he knows best - playing basketball.

Indeed, a coaching clinic was arranged, and more than one hundred children waited for their star at Yoyogi Park, near downtown Tokyo.

About thirty lucky youngsters were picked for the clinic where Kobe gave an exhibition of his supreme skills that has helped him create many a record in his NBA career so far.

The LA Lakers star started off with a simple message for the kids.

"Have fun first of all, have fun and just enjoy it by playing basketball. I play this because I love to play. It's fun for me. And just on top of that just being creative.": Kobe Bryant.

Kobe's skills were sorely missed by the USA team in the recent World Championship that concluded in Japan on the weekend. A knee injury forced Bryant to skip the tournament and the US 'Dream Team' could only finish with a bronze medal.

Fans however made use of their time with Kobe.

They were eager to find out his favourite move, hoping there would be a secret weapon to the 28-year old's success.

"Normally I don't have a favourite one. I try practicing all of them. So, during the game there is one move I have to use and I need to feel comfortable to use. I do not have any particular one I favour. I just practice it and make it comfortable.": Kobe Bryant.

Bryant will continue on his Kobe 81 tour to Beijing, China later this week.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Kobe in PlayStation game

In a very good announcement, Kobe Bryant and his new, No. 24 Lakers jersey will be the starring attraction for NBA 07, the new PlayStation 2 video game that will be released this fall, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. said Friday.

In fact, the agreement, announced in front of a crowd of youngsters in the gymnasium of the Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club in Los Angeles, means the first new major sports marketing deal for Bryant since sexual-assault charges were brought against him in July 2003, although the charges were dropped in September 2004.

However, financial terms of the sponsorship deal were not released.

Bryant's image will be featured on packaging for the video game, and he will be in television and print ads.

"Kobe was our option from the start, no question," said Sharon Shapiro, Sony Computer Entertainment's senior director of promotions and sports product marketing. Bryant said that the Sony contract "just naturally made sense because we're both trying to have a strong impact on our fields."

The Lakers player said that he is in regular contact with Shapiro to discuss advertising and marketing plans for the game that also will be produced for Sony's portable video game player and the PlayStation3 line to be introduced in November.

It's important to mention that Phoenix Suns star Amare Stoudemire was the featured player in the NBA 06 video game. That game was the ninth biggest seller in the $10.5-billion video games category during 2005, according to NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm.

Video game fans — males between the ages of 14 and 34 buy most of the games — aren't likely to balk at buying a game because of Bryant's high-profile legal problems.

"I'd guess that 81 points speaks a lot louder," said David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, in reference to the Lakers star's single-game performance last season. "The video gamer is much more concerned with his on-the-court performance."

Sports marketers also said that Bryant, who will turn 28 next week, could be an effective spokesman for Sony even though the NBA has steadily added younger stars. Those include LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, three of the top five NBA draftees in 2003 who were named as tri-captains for the USA Basketball team.