It takes a certain confidence for an opposing player to snipe at the indisputable Western Conference favorite Los Angeles Lakers, and something between arrogance and complete stupidity for an opposing player to take a shot at Kobe Bryant. If that’s not a cue for the Nuggets’ J.R. Smith, then I don’t know what is. Here’s what Smith had to say about Kobe on Twitter (via the OC Register):
“Dont get me wrong kobe is great but not when he play me”
Not only is Kobe one of the best players in the league, but he’s competitive beyond belief and just about the last guy on the planet that you’d want to give bulletin board material to. Considering the Nuggets and Lakers could very well have a date in the Western Conference Finals, I wouldn’t say it’s the smartest thing in the world to give Bryant extra motivation…especially considering Smith’s fleeting interest in defense.
And for the record, Kobe is averaging 26 points (46.2% FG, 45.5% 3FG), six rebounds, and an assist against Denver. That’s technically a notch below his season averages of 28.0 points (46.5% FG, 35.5% 3FG), 5.4 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game, though Bryant is averaging three less shot attempts per game against the Nuggets.
The two teams — plus Smith and Bryant — meet in a nationally televised game Sunday.
So far, the only substantive accounts of the Matt Barnes-Derek Fisher altercation have come from anonymous sources.
The Knicks coach has deflected questions.
But Barnes is giving his account, at least of the lead-up.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
It’s completely understandable that Barnes would act to ensure his children’s welfare.
And let’s say everything he said is true. It still leaves important questions unanswered.
Did Barnes – as he reportedly texted a friend he did – beat up Fisher and spit on his estranged wife, Gloria Govan? If so, why did Barnes deem that necessary to protect kids?
Gregg Popovich said he wouldn’t coach in July.
Apparently, he’s taking off part of October, too.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
It’s not that surprising to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw staying home. Veterans miss preseason games all the time just to rest. With the Spurs, it happens even in the regular season.
But it’s still a little strange to see the head coach sit out, even though Popovich also did it last year.
It makes sense, though. Who cares about this preseason game? If travelling less helps the 66-year-old Popovich stay fresh in the years ahead, that’s well worth it. Plus, it gets Messina a little extra experience. Some day, he might be the head coach.