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Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No thanks Miami: Fisher expected to re-sign with LA Lakers

Derek Fisher received an offer of the veteran's minimum from the Heat over the weekend, but he is likely to re-sign with the Lakers.

Fisher reportedly received a $2.5 million offer for next season from the Lakers. He has been seeking a two-year contract with a starting salary closer to the $5 million he made last season.

 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Thanks, but no thanks.
 
This will likely be Derek Fisher's response to the star-studded Miami Heat putting the full court press on him over the weekend.
 
After all, oil slick GM and soon-to-be coach Pat Riley showered him with praise in their meeting. And LeBron James, in his first act as a member of the Heat, greeted him at the airport.
 
However, there's a problem: Miami has zero cap space. After their recent spending spree, they could only offer Fisher a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum.
 
Of course, the veteran guard has a pretty nice offer in his backpocket. The two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are offering a two-year, $5 million pact.
 
So why would Fisher leave the purple-and-gold and pass on a chance at three-peating? Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade aside, why would Fisher uproot his family from his home in California for less money and term?
 
Throw in Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom, and you get the sense Fisher will soon be re-upping with the Lakers.
 
Frankly, this is the way it should be, the way it should end for the 36 year old combo guard.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Saturday , Jul , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Steve Blake or Derek Fisher?

Steve Blake has agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers, according to a report from John Canzanao.

According to FanHouse, the deal is worth $16 million over four seasons.

Link

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It shouldn't be one or the other, but it is.
 
Word is the Los Angeles Lakers have signed Steve Blake to replace longtime favourite Derek Fisher at point guard.
 
Blake is a solid addition. He's smart, can stretch defenses with his range, and rarely gets beat off the dribble. The classic table-setter has a mean streak, too: legend has it he smashed a chair and brawled with teammates at an infamous Trail Blazer's practice in December of 2007, which helped save Portland's season.
 
So Blake fits. Just not at the expense of Fisher.
 
Sure, 'D-Fish' has weaknesses. The veteran struggles with the grind of the regular season and can't keep point guards in front of him on defense.
 
However, experience matters. Fisher won game four of the 2010 NBA Finals with 16 points in the second half. His 22 points kept the purple-and-gold in game five of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns, setting up Ron Artest to play hero with his last second put-back.
 
Numbers and statistics don't do him justice, though. His greatest strength is leadership. After all, Fisher smoothed over the tension between Coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. And he mentors younger teammates.
 
There's no way to measure his contribution. Unfortunately, the Lakers are doing exactly that, and management is stuck on one number: Fisher's 2010 salary.
 
They'll have Fisher back for 2011, but only if he takes a 50% pay cut on his $5 million per year salary.
 
Coming off a championship, this is a no-no. In fact, it's an insult. And Fisher - a proud person - will interpret it as such.
 
This is unfortunate. The Lakers would best be served with Blake and Fisher, not Blake instead of Fisher.
 
-- Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts?  Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.   
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Tuesday , Jun , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Raptors offering Bosh and Jack to Lakers for Bynum and Odom?

"The Raptors would like to get something in a sign-and-trade for Bosh, but they likely won’t deal him in the East. The Lakers are expected to offer Andrew Bynum, a legitimate low post center, and Lamar Odom, and take back Jarrett Jack, whom the Raptors would like to move."

Link

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: All they can do is make the best of a bad situation.

After all, franchise face Chris Bosh seems destined to leave the Toronto Raptors as a free agent when the market opens July 1st. Executive Bryan Colangelo admitted as much at a recent press conference.

There's no easy way to lose a 26 year old superstar. However, there's an easier way.

For instance, if Chris Bosh joins fellow free agents LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade in Miami or Chicago, he'll likely leave a year and $30 million on the table. And the Raptors will get nothing in return.

If Bosh inks a deal with the Raptors as part of a sign-and-trade, he can get the longest term and most money available. And the club can get something back, which is better than nothing.

Enter the Los Angeles Lakers. The two-time defending champs are offering Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for Bosh and Jarrett Jack.

Such a deal would achieve two things. First, Bynum is a legit five-man. His length, size, and ability to plug the middle would transform the Raptors into a more defensive side. And skilled post Andrea Bargnani could slide to the four-spot, his natural position.

Second, Bosh would be out west. He wouldn't be in the same conference. He wouldn't drop into Air Canada Centre several times a year with his new superstar teammates. He wouldn't win championships with the the Bulls or Heat. And all of this would allow the Raptors to save face.

Of course, the ball is in Bosh's court. As an unrestricted free agent, he holds most of the cards.

All Colangelo can do is offer a sign-and-trade. Joining Kobe Bryant and the NBA's best team may be enough for Bosh to re-consider his plans to partner with James and Wade, especially if he gets the maximum term and money.

This is the Raptors' only card, so Colangelo better do everything to play it.

Got thoughts?       

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Sunday , Jun , 27 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant to Lionel Messi: ‘You’re the Best’

With a few casual words, spaced between bites of his lunch, Kobe Bryant chalked up an assist in helping modern soccer’s greatest player achieve his full potential.

It was the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Bryant, just a few days short of leading basketball’s Team USA to the gold medal, spotted some members of the Argentina men’s soccer team huddled around a table in an athletes village food court.

“Where’s Messi?” Bryant demanded. “I want to see Lionel Messi.”

Soon enough, the Los Angeles Lakers star was locked in conversation with Messi, then 21 and with the soccer world at his feet, in Spanish.

Bryant was 29 and had long since established himself as a man of the world. Messi, already a superstar in his own sport with both his national team and Spanish club Barcelona, was more shy back then than he is today, even with millions in the bank and the chance to lead Argentina to an Olympic gold medal.

The American did most of the talking. And as he left with a handshake and a wave, Bryant turned over his shoulder and uttered words Messi has carried with him since.

“You’re the man, Messi,” Bryant said. “You’re the best. You’re not just good, you’re the best.”

Link

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:  It seems Kobe Bryant, the world's greatest basketball player, is a pretty fair judge of talent when it comes to soccer.

After all, Lionel Messi is 'the best'. The jitter-bug forward has emerged as the superstar of the 2010 World Cup, dominating for his native Argentina. Before dazzling in South Africa, he led Barcelona to glory in the Champions League tournament in 2009.

Clearly, this is Messi's time.

Of course, this is a basketball website, but HoopsVibe News always recognizes and respects talent, so click the video below to discover what Bryant was talking about. 

Was Bryant right? Is Messi the best?

     

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Wednesday , Jun , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No surprise Kobe Bryant wants Raja Bell on Lakers

Kobe Bryant has become a strong advocate for Bell, a former nemesis. After missing most of the season with surgery to repair ligaments in his non-shooting wrist, Bell is still expected to be a coveted bench player among contending teams.

Link

HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: No surprise here.

Sure, Kobe Bryant and Raja Bell engaged in a bloody war when the Los Angeles Lakers met the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 Western Conference Quarter-Finals. And sure, they exchanged elbows on-court and insults off-court.

However, these two squashed their beef following that memorable playoff. Bryant and Bell use the same agency, so their paths were bound to cross and when it did they discovered they liked each other.

And Bell would be perfect for the purple-and-gold. He can defend. He can knock down three-pointers. And his intensity would ensure complacency does set in.

Best of all, Bell would make the Lakers’ nasty defense nastier. He could come off the bench to form a terrific stopper unit with Ron Artest, Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom.

Expect these former foes to continue their new found friendship as teammates. And the strong, the two-time world champion Lakers, will be even stronger in 2011.

Got thoughts on Bell and Bryant joining forces? 

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Tuesday , Jun , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest: ‘Boston sucks, Boston sucks’

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The inevitable happened at the Los Angeles Lakers' championship parade on Monday.

Ron Artest - who was amazing in the all important game-seven and was even better in a celebratory interview with Doris Burke - got his hands on a microphone.

Of course, Artest, in his role as MC, showed love to teammates Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. And of course, he couldn't resist taking a shot at the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

Watch the clip and get at us with thoughts on Ron-Ron's message for the green-and-white.   

 Got thoughts?

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Saturday , Jun , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Michael Jordan’s son on Kobe Bryant: he’s not close to my Dad

"No One ...  And I mean NO ONE should ever com par kobe Bryant to my dad an say that he is anywhere near close to my dad."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Perhaps, Jordan's son - a member of Florida Central's University basketball team - was feeling sentimental because of Father's Day.

Of course, the younger Jordan is going to have his old man's back. However, he's wrong about not being able to make a comparison between the two greats.

Kobe has five championships, a gold medal, two playoff MVPs and a regular season MVP, while MJ has six championships, a gold medal, and 6 playoff MVPs to go with recognition as the game's best player during the regular season.

Sure, Bryant's numbers aren't superior to Jordan's, but - after the Lakers 2010 NBA Title - you can now have a legitimate conversation about who's better.

And while Jordan's extra championship and Defensive Player of the Year award gives him a slight edge, Bryant's career is far from over.

Got thoughts on Bryant vs. Jordan?

 

Kobe Bryant’s all time rank after 5th ring
Saturday , Jun , 19 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe Bryant’s all time rank after 5th ring

“If anyone asks you who I am, just stand up tall. Look em in the face and say I'm that STAR. Up in the sky. I'm that mountain way up high. Hey wait a minute, I'm the world's greatest.  Kobe Bryant... The world's greatest ever to play ball in this world.” – written by huge Kobe fan. I don’t know what to say about that. Wow. A poem? Haiku? The hell is this? The world’s greatest? R. Kelly has something to say about that.

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Friday , Jun , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: ‘I got one more than Shaq’

Kobe Bryant: "I got one more (championship) than Shaq. You can take that to the bank."

(Bryant following the Lakers defeating the Celtics in game-seven of the NBA Finals to win their second straight NBA Title.)

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Old wounds haven't healed, especially when dealing with the World Wars between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

No surprise here, though. All playoff Bryant pretended - somewhat convincingly -  he hadn't given much consideration to what a fifth championship would mean for his legacy (O'Neal has four championships).

HoopsVibe News respectfully calls bullsh*t on this.

Bryant isn't the devil most see him as. And he isn't a saint, either. The truth, like most things, lies in the middle.

Bryant, in fact, is probably a somewhat normal person off the court. As such, he experiences normal emotions -like jealousy and anger. So on Thursday evening he couldn't resist taking a shot at his former partner turned rival in O'Neal.

Fair enough.

A word to the wise: critics should be prepared for Bryant to win his sixth championship because it's coming -and soon.

Got thoughts on Kobe's post game attack on Shaq?

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Friday , Jun , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Sweet Repeat: Bryant and Lakers win game seven and defend NBA Title

Beating Boston for the first time in a Game 7, the Lakers came up champions again after trailing in the last quarter of the last game of their season.

Kobe Bryant, the finals MVP, scored 23 points despite 6-of-24 shooting and the Lakers won their 16th NBA championship Thursday night, dramatically rallying to beat the  Boston Celtics 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA finals.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:  In game-seven of the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers showed that defense wins championships.

After all, tonight’s game was supposed to be a dream match-up between the Celtics and Lakers, but – at least on the offensive end – it resembled a bit of nightmare.

Both teams couldn’t execute their offensive sets. Both teams couldn’t hit shots. So both teams dug-in, defended, and battled.

Take the victorious Lakers: Kobe Bryant, the Finals MVP, shot a horrendous 6-for-24 from the floor, but grabbed 15 huge rebounds; Pau Gasol pulled in 18 tough rebounds, which offset his missed chippies and free throws; and Ron Artest – who thanked his psychiatrist in a classic Ron-Ron post-game interview – hit clutch shots, however, his greatest contribution was battling Celtic superstar Paul Pierce.

As a group, the purple-and-gold overcame a 13-point second-half deficit and won their second consecutive championship by getting stops. For instance, they held the Celtics to just 79 points on 40% shooting from the floor.

Lamar Odom sparked the turnaround. The forward entered the game in the third quarter with the Lakers trailing 49-37 and looking desperate.

Odom used his considerable length and versatility to score, rebound, and most importantly, provide energy. And his contribution was far greater than his modest stat line of 7 points and 7 rebounds.   

Boston led for most of the game and looked capable of pulling off the upset to win their second championship in three years.

Their offense went cold for long stretches of the second half. For instance, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the Celtics’ top scorers, were a combined 8-for-29 from the floor.

And the talented bench – which so often provided a lift when the starters struggled – had little impact. Of course, the reserves were short-handed with Rasheed Wallace replacing the injured Kendrick Perkins in the starting-five.

Tonight, Bryant’s Lakers defeated the Celtics for the first time in a game-seven duel, something greats like Jerry West and Magic Johnson failed to accomplish.

Winning back-to-back championships cements this team’s place in history. And their leader and best player, Bryant, keeps solidifying his standing as an all-time great.

And the Lakers, the NBA’s glamour team, achieved this feat with grimy, blue-collar defense.

Got thoughts on the Lakers winning game-seven and consecutive championships?

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Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Game-Seven Prediction: Lakers 95, Celtics 88.

The Lakers have the best player, but Boston's depth of big-time playmakers will prevail in a game like this. I count eight Celtics -- the four current or former All-Stars in their starting lineup, plus Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Nate Robinson’s and little-used Michael Finley, a three-point shooter with the potential to become this game's Steve Kerr -- who have it in them to make the big shot. The absence of Kendrick Perkins may create more offense for the Celtics, and they'll make up for his rebounding with a team effort led by Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Anticipate nothing less than a tightly wound classic played to a tempo that suits Boston.

Click here for Ian Thomsen's official game seven prediction and more analysis from the CNNSI crew.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call:
The Boston Celtics are deserving of respect.

Consider their road to the NBA Finals. First, they took out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat -despite some questionable tactics from Kevin Garnett. They made the Cleveland Cavaliers – the NBA’s best team in the regular season – implode, which, unfortunately, gave us an extra month of The LeBron Watch. They then coolly took out the Orlando Magic, the reigning Eastern Conference champions, in six games.

This was a most improbable run for a club that was supposedly dead, gone, and over at mid-season. Clearly, they saved their best for last, though.

The green-and-white have now pushed the defending champion and heavily favoured Lakers to the limit. The secret to Boston’s success: inspired team play on the defensive end.

Look at the NBA Finals: they’ve mostly contained Ron Artest and Lamar Odom; they’ve battled superstar Pau Gasol; and they’ve made the immortal Kobe Bryant look surprisingly mortal.

Doc Rivers’ crew is an all-time great defensive team. They can hang with any of Phil Jackson’s Chicago teams that had notable defenders like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman. And they hold their own against Detroit’s Bad Boys and any of Pat Riley’s squads in Los Angeles or New York.

Offensively, somebody different carries the load each night. For instance, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo have all had moments.

Of course, reserves Glen Davis and Nate Robinson – also known as Shrek and Donkey - won game four of the NBA Finals. And the defending Sprite Slam Dunk Champion went off in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, too.

That said, the Lakers have the edge in the decisive game-seven. Here’s why:

1) Home-court matters: The purple-and-gold is a different team at home. They’re confident. They’re nasty. And they’re arrogant.     

2) No Perk’: The Celtics will miss Kendrick Perkins. They lack the size to win the paint, and contain Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

3) Kobe Bryant: He’s the best player on either team. He’s the best player in the NBA. And he understands tonight is a legacy game.

Bryant – if he wants to be considered an all-time great – can’t afford a loss. After all, five championships are far better than four. And two losses to the arch rival Celtics in the NBA Finals would be devastating.

Expect Bryant to drop a Jordan-like effort. And HoopsVibe News expects the Lakers to win.

Prediction for game-seven of the 2010 NBA Finals: Lakers 95, Boston 88.

Got thoughts? What is your prediction for game-seven of the NBA Finals?  

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6
Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6

What happened? The game was over when Kendrick Perkins got injured. The Lakers took their hearts. After Kobe questioned his teammates’ hearts, they proved that they had more than enough for game 6 in Los Angeles. Pau Gasol finished with a near triple double: 17 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks. Derek Fisher didn’t need to do much. Kendrick Perkins is done. Rajon Rondo took a vicious elbow from Ron Artest that required stitches. The Lakers got this and Kobe got his 5th ring.

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shannon Brown ‘Getting On Up’ in Game-SIx of the NBA Finals

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Lamar Odom is grabbing rebounds and bouncing a little when dribbling up-court. Ron Artest doesn't resemble a lost tourist in the triangle. Pau Gasol asserts his will in the paint. Instead of pacing the sideline and dropping quotes about collecting oneself, Phil Jackson is laying back in his throne -also known as The Ergonomically Correct Chair. Kobe Braynt is 'facilitating' rather than scoring. Sasha Vujacic, the self proclaimed machine, is knocking down three-pointers, alienating opponents, and styling his straight-outta-Slovenia do. And those celebs' rocking courtside seats at Staples Center are flashing their Hollywood smiles for ABC.

If you haven't guessed it, these are signs the Los Angeles Lakers are winning. However, there is a notable omission: Shannon Brown's highlight reel jams.

The purple-and-gold always seems to win when the 2010 Sprite Slam Dunk Gets On Up like Jodeci and rocks the rim for two points.

(Yes, HoopsVibe News is referencing the classically cheesy R&B group from the 1990s. And sadly, HoopsVibe News is old enough to legitimately do so.) 

Consider game-six of the NBA Finals. First Brown rammed home a one-handed breakaway jam and then he rubbed his man off an Odom back-pick, grabbed an alley-oop toss and converted an amazing jam.

Both dunks inspired teammates and fans. Not surprisingly, the Lakers won game-six of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

And they're hoping -at least in California - that Brown repeats his aerial antics in game-seven, even if it's got that Jodeci thing going on.   

Got thoughts? Did Brown Get On Up like Jodeci.

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Wednesday , Jun , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Do-or-Die: Bryant and Lakers ‘man up’ to force game-seven against Celtics

Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers emphatically extended the NBA finals to a decisive seventh game with a 89-67 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 on Tuesday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Two days ago, Kobe Bryant demanded his teammates 'man up and play'. Well, the Los Angeles Lakers - both individually and collectively - fulfilled his request on Tuesday evening.

The purple-and-gold dominated every aspect of game six, building an early lead through tough defense, infectious hustle, and inspired play. The Celtics never mounted a serious challenge and the Lakers cruised through the second half to an easy win.

The difference between games five and six was obvious: Bryant had help. Loads of it.

For instance, co-star Pau Gasol had a double-double, but - best of all - the Spaniard imposed his will down-low; Ron Artest hit shots; Lamar Odom stopped complaining about the flu and got active; and Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic provided energy off the bench.

Two specific plays stand out. First, Artest was so confident he over-dribbled and still sank an improbable fall-back shot. Second, Farmar out-hustled Celtic Rajon Rondo for a loose ball by sacrificing his body and diving on the floor.

Bryant aside, no Laker looked confident or sacrificed in game-five.

As a group, L.A. played superb defense. They challenged every shot. They provided helped. They got stops. They won the battle of the boards. And they held the Celtics to 67 points, the second lowest total in NBA Finals history.

Meanwhile, Boston resembled a team with a one game cushion. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo were outplayed by the Lakers' big guns. The bench - which had been so effective earlier in the series - looked awestruck.

Of course, Kendrick Perkins' injury didn't help. The rough and tumble post sprained his knee early in the first quarter and never returned. His status for game-seven is unknown.

With or without Perkins, the green-and-white must re-establish their presence in the paint and show greater urgency on Thursday.

In fact, the Celtics should consider Bryant's advice and 'man up'. Or the Lakers will win what has become a one game, do-or-die NBA Finals and will hoist the Larry O'Brien championship trophy.

Got thoughts on game six? And what's your prediction for Thursday's game-seven?             

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Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 Andrew Flint

Lakers need Lamar Odom to ‘man up’

"I haven't been sick all season … now I'm sick in the Finals," said Odom after the Lakers' 92-86 loss to the Celtics here in Game 5. "Had to put my hard hat on just to get out of bed. It was tough. "We get to go home and I'll be in my own bed in my own house," he said. "And get to see my wife." Link HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Perhaps, Lamar Odom missed the press conference where Kobe Bryant told his Laker teammates to 'man up and play'. Complaining about the flu, wanting your own bed, and needing to see your wife doesn't exactly qualify as manning up. In fact, it's copping out. This, however, is typical Odom. At his best, he's a wonderful talent, capable of playing all five positions and stuffing every category in the box sheet. At his worst, he's a passenger, disappearing in the clutch and sometimes for entire games. So Odom is a enigma, which is unfortunate for the Lakers because he's their barometer. When he plays well, they rarely lose. When he struggles, they become vulnerable. And what Odom shows for game-six and seven will determine if the Lakers can come back against the Celtics. Got thoughts on this? 
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Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant to the Lakers: ‘man up and play’

We’ve regressed since Game 1,” Bryant confessed to Yahoo! Sports. “Our defense belongs on milk cartons in the last two games.”

“Just man up and play,” Bryant sniffed. “What’s the big deal? If I have to say something to them, then we don’t deserve to be champions.”

“Listen, if you told me at the beginning of the year that we’ve got two games at home to win a championship, yeah, I’ll take that [bleep].”

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Kobe Bryant’s outburst a ploy to motivate teammates or is he legitimately feeling the pressure of the NBA Finals?

On the one hand, Bryant is the game’s greatest competitor. Losing isn’t acceptable. And he’s never had issue challenging his fellow Los Angeles Lakers.

On the other hand, the superstar knows the stakes are high. If his heavily favoured Lakers lose the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, his standing as an all-time great player and with the purple-and-gold will forever be altered.

Whatever his motivation, whatever his reason, Bryant is clearly desperate. He needs someone, anyone to step up in game-six and seven.

Got thoughts on Kobe Bean’s comments?

Kobe Bryant brought heart and fire. Can’t do it alone! Vol. 2010 Game 5 NBA Finals
Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe Bryant brought heart and fire. Can’t do it alone! Vol. 2010 Game 5 NBA Finals

This is another episode in the long series called, “Can anybody other than Kobe score?” In the game 5 episode called, “The one where Kobe gets hot in the 3rd quarter,” Pau Gasol still has not shed the “soft” label. Ron Artest’s offense is crappy. People will make excuses for him not being familiar with the triangle offense. That is crap. Man up. This is the Finals. Boston’s defense is just that good to make him look dazed and confused.

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Monday , Jun , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The Big Four Deliver: Allen, Garnett, Pierce, and Rondo lead Boston to game-five win

It's looking a lot like 2008 again, with Paul Pierce carrying the Boston Celtics to victory in the NBA finals and leading them to the brink of yet another title.

Pierce scored 27 points -- his best performance of this year's finals -- and the Celtics withstood 38 points from Kobe Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 92-86 on Sunday night and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: On Friday, Kobe Bryant told reporters he was miserable because of his poor play. Tonight, he'll be miserable for a different reason.

The Los Angeles Lakers' superstar raised his play, even scoring an astounding 19 points in the third quarter; however, his co-stars all had poor nights, which was the reason for the game-five loss.

For instance, Ron Artest struggled on both ends of the floor; Pau Gasol's 12 points and 12 rebounds won't cut it in the NBA Finals; Andrew Bynum - wonky knee or not - should've been better than 6 points and 1 rebound; and Lamar Odom was a non-factor.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics won with balance. The Big Four delivered: Paul Pierce found his touch and had a team-high 27 points; Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo combined for 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists; and Ray Allen had an efficient 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

While the bench didn't repeat their game four heroics, they still contributed. Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, and Rasheed Wallace hit some shots, played tough defense, and, best of all, brought energy.

And this was the difference in game five. As a group, the Celtics seemed determined. Other than Bryant, the Lakers seemed flustered.

In the second half, Tony Allen gave the Celtics a surge with his tremendous weak side block on Pau Gasol. Then, in the closing moments, the 6-3 Rondo leaped the 6-10 Odom for an improbable tip-in basket to seal the win.

With the exception of Bryant, no Laker had a momentum changing moment or timely play. The purple-and-gold had too many passengers on this night.

Despite trailing in the series, the Lakers still have home-court advantage with game-six and seven at Staples Center.

The Lakers must improve, though. Or the Celtics will win the NBA championship and Bryant will be more than miserable.

Got thoughts on game five? Get at us in the comment box below.            

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Saturday , Jun , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Good, Not Great: Kobe Bryant’s play in the NBA Finals

Bryant has averaged 28.3 points on 40.9 percent shooting in the four games. His points haven’t come easily, and in Thursday’s Game 4 loss he also committed seven turnovers, matching his most of the postseason. "That's just me playing like crap," Bryant said. 

Link

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Good, but not great.

This is the best way to describe Kobe Bryant's play in the NBA Finals. He turned in solid performances through the first three games; however, he struggled down the stretch in Thursday's game four loss.

Bryant - who is his own harshest critic - will be the first to admit that good doesn't cut it in June.

To be fair, the Boston Celtics are an excellent defensive club. As a group, they're all about getting stops. And Tony Allen is making his bones as a lockdown defender in the NBA Finals against Bryant, successfully forcing the future Hall of Famer left and making him work especially hard for each and every point.

With the NBA Finals now a best-of-three affair, Bryant will step up. He understands his legacy at stake. Two losses in the NBA Finals to the Celtics would impact his standing both as an all-time great Laker and player.

Expect Bryant to be great, not good, for game 5, 6, and, if necessary, 7.

Got thought on Kobe's play so far?   

 

   

2010 NBA Finals Game 4 – Pierce punches ref’s face and Big Baby is good.
Saturday , Jun , 12 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 4 – Pierce punches ref’s face and Big Baby is good.

Come on Los Angeles. You’re better than this. Shout outs to Shrek and Donkey AKA Big Baby Glen Davis and Nate Robinson.  They stepped up when it mattered. Davis added 18 points and Nasty Nate provided 12 points. Lamar Odom disappeared as usual with 10 points in nearly 40 minutes of game time. Andrew Bynum could not get his game going, which resulted in Phil Jackson yanking him out early. The nagging injury is really affecting him.

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