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Saturday , May , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Grant Hill to Guard Kobe Bryant in WCF

Bryant averaged 27.5 points against Phoenix this season on 54.4 percent shooting and is coming off a Utah sweep in which he scored at least 30 in each game. This is the point last year when he turned dominant, averaging 34.0 points against Denver in the conference finals and 32.4 in the NBA Finals vs. Orlando.

Step right up, Grant Hill. The Suns are expected to again turn to their best defensive player, although guard Jason Richardson defended Bryant the most this season. The decision to put Richardson on Portland's Andre Miller for Game 1 of the first round backfired when Miller dominated and Richardson struggled offensively. Freed of a defensive load, Richardson thrived the remainder of that series and the San Antonio series with Hill taking primary defensive targets Miller and Manu Ginobili.

"You just try to make a guy like that work," Hill, 37, said of Bryant, 31. "You've got to go in ready to compete and not be discouraged. He'll make shots even when there's defense.
 
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Saturday , May , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Phil Jackson: Steve Nash Carries the Ball

When the Los Angeles Lakers clinched a berth in the Western Conference finals on Monday, Lakers coach Phil Jackson had nothing but praise for his team's upcoming opponent, the Phoenix Suns, saying that the Suns are playing their best basketball of the season.

On Friday, Jackson retreated from praise and started posturing when asked if it was difficult to simulate the Suns and their star point guard Steve Nash in practice during the long layoff before Game 1.

"Yeah, because you can't carry the ball like he does in practice," Jackson said, smiling as he moved his arm and turned over his palm, the symbol for an illegal carry in the unofficial sign language of basketball. "You can't pick that ball up and run with it."

The 36-year-old Nash is averaging 17.8 points and 9.0 assists per game in the postseason after averaging 13.8 points and 9.0 assists in four regular-season games against L.A.

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2010 LEBRON Vol. Where does he go?
Friday , May , 14 , 2010 J.N.

2010 LEBRON Vol. Where does he go?

It’s official. LeBron James is a free agent. He’s up for grabs. People were waiting to exhale. Don’t exhale just yet until the first week of July. The Boston Celtics has eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers from the second round in a disastrous series.

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Steve Nash’s Last Shot
Thursday , May , 13 , 2010 J.N.

Steve Nash’s Last Shot

A young kid entered war full of determination, grit, and gung ho. He doesn’t know much about anything since he sports the usual traits of youth – ignorance, naïveté, and innocence. Once this kid endures battle after battle, the fighting spirit gets worn down somewhere. The kid loses yet gets wiser with each step. He makes many mistakes. Some soldiers leave and disappear. The squadron is rebuilt with new warriors who mirror the kid before war. Some of them might be better and some will not.

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The Utah Jazz Just Can’t Beat Kobe’s Lakers
Wednesday , May , 12 , 2010 J.N.

The Utah Jazz Just Can’t Beat Kobe’s Lakers

The Lakers outmuscled Deron Williams’ Jazz into submission by bringing out the brooms for a complete sweep. Laker fans are sitting pretty entering the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns, which the Lakers should not have any problems against. The Jazz, however, are looking down a well that leads to an abyss. What’s next?

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Tuesday , May , 11 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Media Bus Crashed into Carlos Boozer’s Escalade

After a thoroughly unpleasant evening of basketball, Carlos Boozer must have been fairly keen to climb into his ride and get home quickly. Sadly, that wasn't an option for him last night after his Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs by the Lakers in a sweep. Before he could make it to the parking lot from his post-game obligations, this tweet from the LAL media guy showed up:

 And the driver of the media bus just backed into one of the Jazz's Escalades... doin' damage on our way out of SLC!! - @tynowell

Shortly thereafter, this tweet followed:

 And.... it's Carlos Boozer's Escalade. That's an even more unfortunate ending to his evening. - @tynowell

Ugh. Sorry, Carlos.

 

 

 
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Tuesday , May , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Wants Revenge on the Suns

It doesn’t matter to Kobe Bryant that three years have passed and he’s won a championship since then. He has a long memory. And just the mere mention of the Phoenix Suns brings a spark to his eyes.

The Los Angeles Lakers advanced to their third straight Western Conference finals by sweeping the Utah Jazz with a 111-96 victory on Monday night. Next up are the Phoenix Suns, whom the Lakers have beaten seven times in nine games since acquiring Pau Gasol. But that doesn’t matter to Bryant. When asked if he recalled that the Suns knocked the Lakers out of the postseason during their last two meetings in 2006 and ’07, Bryant’s eyes filled with disdain.

“What do you think? You already know,” Bryant said, staring through his questioner.
 
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Tuesday , May , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant Cracks Jokes about Cleveland, LeBron’s Lefty FT

He was amused by one line of questioning revolving around why LeBron James' sore right elbow was receiving so much attention when Bryant's whole body was banged up.

"[Because] it's Cleveland," Bryant cracked. "We have a couple more things to talk about in L.A."

Bryant elaborated his thoughts on the NBA's current back-to-back MVP.

"I've been injured pretty much the entire season, so I think everybody just kind of got used to me playing that way," Bryant said. "He hasn't really had any injury all year long, so this was really like his first injury of the year and it comes at the moment of the playoffs when it's crucial for them so I think there's a lot of attention around it."

It's known around the team that Bryant has been engaged in a left-handed shooting competition with Pau Gasol all season long, so he was asked about the southpaw free-throw attempt that James took in the first round against Chicago.

"It looked nasty," Bryant said. "My form's more like Chris Mullin ... I would have called a timeout [if my shooting elbow was hurting me]." 

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Monday , May , 10 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest and Phil Jackson Make up after Twitter Incident

After the game, Kobe Bryant was questioned about the "situation" between Artest and Jackson and responded, "What situation? Is that a joke? Seriously?"

"We all found it kind of funny," Bryant said. "It's not a big deal at all. Not even a whisper. It's entertaining."

The minor incident has not affected the relationship between Jackson and Artest.

"I can't describe him in words, that's for sure," Jackson said with a smile. "I've often said he's very naïve. He's a babe in the woods so to speak in a lot of terms as far as taking things literally, understanding the situation. But we hold him dear to our hearts."

On Friday after the story was reported, Artest wrote on his Twitter feed @RONARTESTCOM again, however.

The first Tweet read: "So many media tried to blow up the comments. Lol Me and Phil are it's just healthier being direct to me rather than media first." He posted several other times before wrapping up his thoughts on the subject with a two-part Tweet.

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Friday , May , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe, Lamar: Ron Should Have Been in All-Defensive Team

Artest's teammates came to the support of the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2003-04.

Bryant said he was "extremely" surprised when Artest's name wasn't announced, and there was "no question" the Lakers starting small forward in his first season with L.A. should have received the defensive honor.

"Total bull----, plain and simple," Bryant said.

Lamar Odom, who has seen Artest lock up opponents since they played AAU basketball as children in Queens, New York, said Artest should be an automatic honoree when it comes to defense.

"I'm always surprised when he's not on it," Odom said. "He should be put on it every year. He's one guy you should kind of stamp down for that. I don't know who plays better defense, especially at the forward position. ... I wish the players picked." 

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Thursday , May , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh Hints at Leaving Raptors via Twitter…Again

Oh dear. Slowly but surely, Bosh is giving Toronto the kiss-off, and causing a minor Twitterquake in the process.

The Raptors’ all-star forward — at least, that’s his designation until July 1, when the NBA declares open season on players out of contract — changed his location from Toronto to “Everywhere” on his Twitter account, and removed a biography section that noted his status as Raptors captain. Meantime, his website was listed as down for maintenance on Tuesday morning.

As for that appearance courtside at the Staples Centre on Tuesday night, as the Lakers and Jazz met in an NBA playoff game, Bosh tweeted: “Sitting here watching the games wishing I was playing. I wonder if that MVP trophy is heavy?”

Could it be any plainer? Bosh is a technologically savvy fellow whose gift for self-promotion and attention-grabbing on the web has been as deliberate and well-orchestrated as his rise in basketball. Short of offering to wax Bryant’s Bentley with a balled-up Raptors jersey, it looks like a dead giveaway.

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Wednesday , May , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

NBA All-Defensive Team Announced

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, winner of the 2009-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Kia Motors, and guard Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics headline the NBA All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced Wednesday.

By totaling 57 points overall, including 28 First Team votes, Howard edged Rondo (50 points overall and 23 First Team votes) as the leading vote-getter.

Also selected to the All-Defensive First Team are forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers (45 points), Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (34 points) and Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace (30 points).
 
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Wednesday , May , 05 , 2010 Andrew Flint

Phil Jackson: There’s a 90% Chance I’ll Coach Lakers Next Year

Phil Jackson says he hopes to return as the Los Angeles Lakers coach next season and can't envision coaching anywhere else next year.
Maybe. Probably. Like 90 percent.
"I'd say it's 90 percent that if I'm coaching it'll be here," Jackson cautiously mused before the Lakers game against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.
Jackson's contract expires at the end of this season. The uncertainty over whether he'll sign an extension escalated last week when team vice president and Jackson's long-term girlfriend Jeanie Buss said that she thinks Jackson, 64, will coach next season, but wasn't sure that it would be with the Lakers. She said her father, Lakers owner Jerry Buss, doesn't want to continue paying Jackson at his current $12 million a season rate.
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Friday , Apr , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Derek Fisher Denies Reports of Waffle House Altercation

Lakers guard Derek Fisher strongly denied reports that he was involved in an altercation with a man at a Waffle House in Oklahoma City last week, when the Lakers were in town playing the Thunder in Games 3 and 4 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

"It has been brought to my attention that media in Oklahoma City is reporting I was in an altercation with a man last week while the team was in town for the playoffs. These reports are false," Fisher said. "I was not involved in any altercation and would have hoped that the media would check their sources and facts before reporting or insinuating that I was in any way violent."
 
[...]
 
"To be clear, over a year ago, I was a witness to an altercation at a Waffle House in Oklahoma City after a regular season game," Fisher said. "The police were called after a fight broke out between two patrons. I reported what I had seen, was thanked by the police for my assistance and returned to my hotel. I was an innocent bystander and simply assisted police that evening. I will not be making any further comment on the matter."
 
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Thursday , Apr , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Asked to Guard Russell Westbrook

It was Kobe Bryant's idea to swap defensive assignments for Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bryant guarded Russell Westbrook instead of Thabo Sefolosha. Derek Fisher checked Sefolosha. Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Bryant approached him and said, "I'd like to guard Westbrook." Jackson added: "It takes a much higher activity level (to guard Westbrook). It's every play. There's no time off on defense. It told me what his determination was, whether his knee was better or not (I don't know)." Bryant has been troubled for months by injuries to his right index finger, left ankle and right knee.

Westbrook scored 15 points on 4-for-13 shooting in Game 5.

"I enjoy the challenge," Bryant said of checking Westbrook. "He's been playing sensational, and if we're going to be eliminated I don't want to go into the summer thinking I could've done something about it, so i accepted the challenge." 

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Thursday , Apr , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Sells More Jerseys than LeBron in ’09-’10

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant once again tops the NBA’s list of most popular jerseys, where he has reigned as No. 1 since the start of the 2008-09 season. The list is based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and on NBAStore.com since the start of the 2009-10 NBA season through April 2010. Both stores are having record sales years with a combined increase of 20 percent over last year.

Thirteen players competing in the 2010 Playoffs appear on this year’s list. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James remains No. 2 and the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett climbed one spot from last year to No. 3. Chicago Bulls sophomore Derrick Rose continues to make a name for himself, coming in at No. 4, while the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard rounds out the top 5. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant debuts in the top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 9, while the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony moves from No. 15 to No. 10.
 
Can Oklahoma City Thunder really upset Kobe Bryant and L.A. Lakers?
Saturday , Apr , 24 , 2010 Oly Sandor

Can Oklahoma City Thunder really upset Kobe Bryant and L.A. Lakers?

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.

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Wednesday , Apr , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant: I Had to Respond to Phil Jackson

Thunder forward Kevin Durant is tired of answering questions about Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

Durant, typically easy-going, got riled up when asked about his reaction to Jackson's comments about the referee's treatment of the forward last week.

"Do you think I overreacted?" Durant asked.

"Nah, I didn't overreact. Why, because I'm a third-year player I can't say nothing back to Phil Jackson? I'm standing up for myself and what I believe in. I really don't say nothing to too many people in this league who say stuff about me and our team and how I play and how we play. But I felt I had to say something back.

"I'm always quiet. I'm always nice and (respectful) to other people, not just on the basketball floor but off the basketball floor, like you guys. But I felt at that time I had to take up for myself. It is what it is. It's over with. It had nothing to do with this series."
 

 

Ron Artest’s Latest Rodmanesque ‘Do
Wednesday , Apr , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest’s Latest Rodmanesque ‘Do

In the tradition of his spiritual predecessor Dennis Rodman, Ron Artest has been getting a little creative with his hair of late. Working on a lurid blond base that nearly matches the LAL uniform, Ron has been toying with different designs, from his homage to defense to the gingerish 'do he sported for game one of the Lakers-Thunder series.

Tonight he came out with something a little different, and we've got the photos for you. Check out the images below and let us know what you think of Ron Artest's latest hair experiment.