Lakers add new wrinkle to home court advantage at STAPLES

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Last night’s game between the Lakers and the Raptors was an absolute doozy. Toronto attacked, attacked, and attacked, and the once mighty Laker defense looked absolutely pitiful at times. Jarrett Jack got to the rim at will, Chris Bosh just put a stamp on his typically excellent production, and Andrea Bargnani threw in 21 points based on his ability to both space the floor and drive to the basket.

But it wasn’t enough. After a late Lakers’ rally had L.A. up by three points with just 19 seconds remaining, Chris Bosh hit a long three-pointer to even the score. The conclusion was just as predictable as you’d imagine: the Lakers got the ball to Kobe, who was defended by Antoine Wright. Kobe drove to his right, pulled up near the baseline, fired a high-arcing jumper over the outstretched arm of Wright, boom, bang, swish.

It would have been the fourth straight loss for the Lakers, but it wasn’t. Thanks to Kobe. And thanks to Lapo Elkann, a fan sitting sideline that actually influenced the sequence of a play. Jose Calderon leaped out of bounds to save a loose ball, only to find that it had already been deflected away from him…by Elkann. Watch the clip at the New York Times’ Off the Dribble Blog, and join my disbelief that a play like this even happened.  

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha

Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”