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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 Hoopsvibe

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."
 
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"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.

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Tuesday , Apr , 20 , 2010 Marija Kero, The Knicks Chick

The Knicks Chick on Why the Celtics Are Going Home and the First-Round Match-ups

HoopsVibe is proud to welcome Marija Kero, better known to many of you as The Knicks Chick, to the team. Marija will be checking in with videoblogs covering everything from her beloved Knicks to Ron Artest's latest hair-related mishap. In her first piece, Marija shares her thoughts on Boston's bad temper, the surging Mavs and the ghosts of NYK past appearing in the postseason. 

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Monday , Apr , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Derek Fisher Doesn’t Plan to Retire Yet

Derek Fisher is 35 and doesn't have a contract beyond this season with the Lakers.

Fisher's thoughts are on helping the Lakers win consecutive championships, on playing his best to help the cause.

"I put aside as far as me thinking this could be it in terms of my last postseason playing basketball," Fisher said. "I know for sure that's not true.

"This is the last year on my contract. I know I want to play basketball after this. I will play basketball as long as somebody is willing to offer me a job. But that doesn't mean that it's going to be on a team that can win a championship.

"So, from that perspective now is the only thing that matters. You can't think about next year. You can't think about the past. It's just about right now."
 
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Monday , Apr , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant: The Playoffs Don’t Feel Different

After Oklahoma City's 87-79 loss to the Lakers on Sunday in Game 1, I asked Kevin Durant what felt different about being out there during his first experience in the playoffs.

"Nothing really to be honest," said Durant. "A lot of people say it would be different, but it felt the same as the regular season and it was just fun and exciting to be out there. I wish we came out on the other side of the 'W', but it’s a long series."

Scott Brooks stressed multiple times that he didn't feel his team suffered from nervousness.

"There were stretches during the game where he was pressing," said Brooks of Durant. Brooks expressed liking that part of his performance, as well as what he did defensively.
 
Liveblogging Game 1 of LAL-OKC
Sunday , Apr , 18 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Liveblogging Game 1 of LAL-OKC

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.

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[pic] Sasha Vujacic’s Ankle Matches the LAL Road Jersey
Sunday , Apr , 18 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

[pic] Sasha Vujacic’s Ankle Matches the LAL Road Jersey

 Yikes. I saw something similar when I tore a ligament in my ankle, only the purple-and-black cloud eventually ended up eclipsing two-thirds of my foot, with the upper extremity of the bruise creeping out of my sock. The discolouration itself wasn't painful to the touch, but it was still disconcerting to see that my ankle looked like an eggplant. Still, the fact that it dissipated quite quickly encouraged me during the early stages of my rehab, and it should do the same for Machine.  Credit to Lakers.com for the image of Sasha Vujacic's unsightly ankle after his recent injury.

 

All or nothing: Cavaliers, Lakers, and Magic must win NBA Title or face major changes
Saturday , Apr , 17 , 2010 Oly Sandor

All or nothing: Cavaliers, Lakers, and Magic must win NBA Title or face major changes

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.

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Thursday , Apr , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Phil Jackson Fined $35K for Comments about Refs

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has been fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing game officials, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Jackson was fined for comments made to the media on April 13.