The Quick Hit: It was supposed to be case of master versus student. It has become a case of student challenging master.
Quite simply, the Los Angeles Lakers, with all their star power and glitz, were expected to handle the talented but inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder. After all, the Lakers had that Larry O’Brien swagger; the Thunder were unproven upstarts.
I'll be taking quick notes as I watch the game here. Feel free to drop in your comments below. They update in real time.
- What is Andrew Bynum drinking? A pre-game shot shows him chugging a foaming red liquid from a water bottle.
- OKC tosses the ball to Durant for the first play. He dribbles around for a few seconds before tossing up an awkward brick. Bad opening.
- Pau connects on a shot with so much arc the ball came down with snow on it.
- That red stuff is obviously working for Bynum, who connects on his first attempt.
- Durant botches an open layup. Let's hope that's a fumble and not a sign of the pressure getting to him.Read More
The Quick Hit: For the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Orlando Magic, it’s all or nothing.
The all is having Commissioner David Stern hand over the Larry O’Brien trophy in two months and pronounce them world champions in a champagne soaked ceremony.
Only the all will do. Only the all will satisfy their demanding fan base. Only the all will satisfy their demanding owners, who have taken on multi-million dollar luxury tax payments for this precise moment.
While nothing, or falling short of an NBA Title, will force Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Orlando to make wholesale changes this off-season. Right or wrong, fair or not, these are the stakes when playing for a contender.
Bryant's shot could certainly use a little sharpening. Bryant shot just 8-for-23 on Sunday after sitting out the Lakers last two games in hopes of getting back the lift in his legs that was lacking and affecting the trajectory of his attempts. Bryant's shot total in the last three games he's played in is an alarming 21-for-70 (30 percent).
While his final line didn't reflect it, Bryant said the time off made a difference, in his limbs at least, but straddled the line when rest leads to rust.
"It feels pretty good," Bryant said. "It's a little rusty, a little stiff from not playing, not being active. I'll be fine. That's why it's important to get out there and play a little bit, loosen up the joints a little bit . . . It's OK. It feels strong."
You wouldn't believe the number of inky abominations etched into the pelts of pro ballers. I'd originally planned a simple list of the league's ten worst tats, but when my dishonourable mention section hit double digits I realised I'd need to expand the scope of the project a little. Even when I elongated the list to twenty-five terrible tattoos, I still found that I had to exclude some real atrocities. In the end it took a full fifty spots to showcase the shittiest skin art in the L.
If you're finding this feature for the first time, you might want to check out the previous parts to warm up. We don't want you straining an eyeball.
The NBA's Worst Tattoos: 10-1
10. Kobe Bryant's "Vanessa" Tattoo
So, to recap, Kobe's biceps is adorned with a crown, butterflies, angel wings, Vanessa's hair and Vanessa's name. I can't help but feel he could have saved some space by simply stamping the word "Sorry!" on his arm and calling it quits.Read More
Gregg Popovich, the brutally honest and sometimes abrasive coach of the San Antonio Spurs, summed up what every team in the Western Conference was thinking when he told us all that no one wanted to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. In doing so, he broke one of the unwritten rules of sports: Never let your opponent know you're afraid of them. You can be afraid and they can know you're afraid, but you can't actually say it. Once you do, they have an advantage over you. They don't only know that they're better than you, they know that you know they're better than you. And at that point, they're free to impose their will upon you and send you home in four or five games.
"We're all kind of fighting to try get our position or move up and nobody is giving any ground to anybody else," he said.
The Quick Hit: There are many theories on the Los Angeles Lakers' recent struggles.
Perhaps, they’re bored having all but locked up first in the Western Conference standings. Perhaps, players are distracted by the trappings of Hollywood. Perhaps, they miss injured giant Andrew Bynum more than they care to acknowledge. Perhaps, Kobe Bryant’s on-going contract negotiations and unknown future was unsettling. And perhaps, tension exists between Bryant and Pau Gasol over shots and touches.Read More
Why leave a championship contender for an organization years away from contending?
This is the question Kobe Bryant and LeBron James will face if either leaves the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers as an unrestricted free agent this summer to sign with the dysfunctional New York Knicks.
"I tell our guys, 'You want to be great?' That's how you become great," Gentry said.
"Jellybean's" coaching career took him all over....from an assistant at his alma mater, Lasalle University to head coach of the WNBA’s L.A. sparks.