Kobe Bryant

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where Andrew Bogut’s one arm is better than the Lakers

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What you missed while watching the Jib Jab year in review video

Bucks 98, Lakers 79: The Milwaukee Bucks came into this game averaging 100.2 points per 100 possessions — the worst offense in the NBA. They were without Brandon Jennings, Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden. They were on the second night of a back-to-back. They had to play a Laker team whose defense has gotten better since Andrew Bynum’s return.

So can you explain that score to me? For one night the Bucks offensive rating was 119.5 points per 100 possessions.

Kobe Bryant was so frustrated he got ejected late (I think he can afford the coming fines). There are a litany of excuses the Lakers could use — looking ahead to the Heat, first game back after a long road trip, it’s been raining for days in Los Angeles and that throws everybody in the city off — but they just didn’t care.

And credit to the Bucks who did. They fought for rebounds and grabbed the offensive board on 39.4 percent of this missed shots. Earl Boykins dropped 22 and was a force in the fourth. Boykins provided some of the shot creation (mostly for himself, not others) and outside shooting the Bucks will miss with Jennings out. At least for one night.

Dallas 105, Magic 99: Entertaining game as both teams were on fire for stretches — Dallas a little more so shooting 46 percent from three on the night. And that’s what happened most of the night, Dallas was just a little bit better at most things.  When did Caron Butler learn to hit the three like that? He is shooting 43 percent on the season from beyond the arc, quite the jump from 29 percent last season or 32 percent for his career.

Stan Van Gundy is still experimenting — Hedo Turkoglu started and Brandon Bass came off the bench — but JJ Redick seems to thrive with this new look and find more space to shoot (he had 21). Dwight Howard played fantastically — he has had 20 or more rebounds in three straight — but overall the Mavs were just a little better.

Thunder 99, Bobcats 81: Two teams headed in opposite directions. If you haven’t noticed over the last 10 days to two weeks, Kevin Durant has his swagger back. He is an efficient scoring machine again. Proof? He had 32 points on 8-of-13 shooting and was 14-of-16 at the free throw line Tuesday.

Meanwhile, how desperate is Larry Brown in Charlotte? Kwame Brown started.

Nets 101, Grizzlies 94: Sometimes the box score can’t really tell you what happened in a game. And sometimes it tells you the Nets shot 52.6 percent, the Grizzlies 39.8 percent, and that is all you really need to know. Sasha Vujacic had 16 on 6 of 8 shooting.

Bulls 121, Sixers 76: When Kurt Thomas has 12 points and 5 blocks, you know it’s a thumping. This is the fourth game in a row the Bulls have won by as much as 17 points. This time it was against a Sixers team that had been playing pretty well of late but they took Tuesday off to finish their Christmas shopping, apparently. Sixers coach Doug Collins pretty much gave up on his guys in the fourth. The Bulls are 8-3 since Carlos Boozer returned.

Warriors 117, Kings 109 (OT): Oh, the Kings were so close to a win. The Kings were up 16 with 9 minutes to go and yet a Warriors team on the second night of a back-to-back went on an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter and a 5-0 run to close out the game and send it to overtime. Vladimir Radmanovic had the open catch-and-shoot three to send the game to extra time. NBA teams need to find a new level of execution late in games and the Kings get worse when pressured that way. They turned the ball over or missed good looks. They twice fouled guys taking threes late in the game. Just bad execution.

Kobe Bryant basks in All-Star Spotlight one final time

Kobe Bryant All-Star
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TORONTO — Kobe Bryant is the center of attention one last time.

To get to his final All-Star Game in his final season in the NBA, Kobe received more fan votes than Stephen Curry or LeBron James. Now that he’s at the 2016 All-Star Game, more people want a piece of his time. More media were crowded around him on Friday than any other player at the NBA’s equivalent of media day. Even the other All-Stars could count on getting peppered with Kobe questions (to their annoyance at times).

Kobe is at peace with his decision to walk away from the game. This weekend he wants bask in the All-Star spotlight one last time.

“I’m happy,” Kobe said. “This is pretty cool. I’m looking around the room and seeing guys that I’m playing with that are tearing the league up that were like four during my first All-Star Game. It’s true. I mean, how many players can say they’ve played 20 years and actually have seen the game go through three, four generations, you know what I mean? It’s not sad at all. I mean, I’m really happy and honored to be here and see this.”

Does that mean Kobe has plans to chase the All-Star MVP one last time?

“Zero…” Kobe said. “But, no, I’m really just enjoying this whole thing, being around these players and talking to them one more time, going out and practicing and enjoying that moment in the game and enjoying that moment. So competitiveness in terms of me trying to establish something or prove something, that’s gone.”

What is Kobe’s best All-Star memory?

“My first one in Cleveland was pretty special because you had all the top 50 players,” Bryant said. “I think in ’98 (it was), it was pretty special too, being in my first All-Star Game and being in the locker room with greats, like [John] Stockton and [Clyde] Drexler and all those guys, that was pretty cool too.”

Kobe has a hectic schedule for his final weekend, but much as he has since he announced his retirement he is trying to soak in and fully enjoy this last go around in the NBA. He understands that the life he has known for two decades is about to change. He hasn’t given much thought to his first day of retirement.

“I’ll probably wake up and have some coffee and go back to sleep,” Bryant said.

I don’t think he understands why you drink coffee, but he’s got all of his retirement to figure that out. For now, he just wants to bask in the spotlight one last time.

Zach LaVine wins MVP, Kristaps Porzingis puts on show in Rising Stars Challenge

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TORONTO — Canada’s own Andrew Wiggins was the rock star of the night. “An-drew-Wi-gins” chants broke out in the Air Canada Center as Canada’s native son put on a show with 29 points (and a few dunks) leading a World Team comeback against the USA in the Rising Stars Challenge.

“An-drew-Wi-gins” chants broke out in the Air Canada Center as Canada’s native son put on a show with 29 points (and a few huge dunks), sparking a World Team comeback against the USA in the Rising Stars Challenge.

His Minnesota teammate Karl-Anthony Towns was going to have none of that.

“I gotta see Andrew Wiggins for a long time and I want to rub this in,” Towns said.

He got his wish, the USA beat the World Team 157-154.

It was a glorified pickup game for three quarters, and the level of defensive intensity will make Sunday’s All-Star game look like Tom Thibodeau teams are playing. That led to a lot of high scorers.

Zach LaVine — the other teammate of Wiggins and Towns — led the USA with 30 points and was named the game’s MVP, and said he wanted to steal Wiggins’ thunder at home.

“That’s what I was going for,” LaVine said.

Also from the USA, Jordan Clarkson (Lakers) had 25, Devon Booker (Suns) had 23 and was 5-of-8 from three, D'Angelo Russell (Lakers) had 22, and Towns chipped in 18 points and 7 boards.

Knicks sensation Kristaps Porzingis was the second most popular player in the building, and he had 30 for the World team.

“Not great defense, but it’s about having fun, I guess,” Porzingis said. “And I think we had fun out there. In the second half we got more competitive, as both teams wanted to get the win, and we fell a little short.”

Also for the World Emmanuel Mudiay (Nuggets) had 30 points, Wiggins had 29, and Mario Hezonja (Magic) had 19.

The intensity and defense did pick up in the end, although one wouldn’t call it a thing of beauty. What matters is the crowd in the Air Canada Centre enjoyed it, even if their team didn’t win. It’s an exhibition, and they got a show.

Report: Celtics, Cavaliers talking Kevin Love trade; could include Knicks, ‘Melo

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love holds the ball away from Boston Celtics' Amir Johnson during the second quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Associated Press
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The Celtics are looking for an elite player to improve their deep cast of role players. The Cavaliers are looking for depth. And Carmelo Anthony may just be looking to win.

All of that has talks between the Cavaliers and Celtics on a potential Love deal progressing, with the possibility of the Knicks as a third team also in the mix, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

The Daily News has learned that the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered around Kevin Love. There were very preliminary discussions about expanding the deal to include the Knicks and Anthony, who would have to waive his no-trade clause in order to facilitate a deal to the Cavs.

The Knicks would receive draft picks and players in return. One of those players is believed to be Timofey Mozgov, who five years ago was traded by the Knicks to Denver in the Anthony deal.

This is a longshot, but the report has some legs.

It’s not clear how far along these talks are. The trade deadline is Feb. 18 (next Thursday) and conversations tend to move past the theoretical/value judging phase and get real come All-Star Weekend, when many GMs and decision makers are in one place (and nobody can go outside because it is too cold in Toronto). This trade works for the Cavaliers if they get a quality stretch four in return — Kelly Olynyk? — plus some depth and a quality pick. The question for the Cavs is simply how much can they get back — this is a win-now team and Love helps that, so how does a trade make them better?

Would Danny Ainge move the unprotected Brooklyn Nets pick to get Love? Jae Crowder? How much would Boston surrender to get an elite star, especially one under a reasonable, long contract?

Carmelo Anthony wants a ring, if he could end up playing with LeBron and be much closer to it than he is now, he would waive his no-trade clause.

That said, this trade sounds like a longshot. At least at the deadline. Next Summer… who knows?

Watch Kevin Hart be Kevin Hart at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

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Kevin Hart has a movie to promote decided to come out of retirement to play in the NBA All-Star Friday Night Celebrity Game.

And, he did what Kevin Hart does.

Well, except win MVP of the game, that went to Win Butler (the Canadian lead singer of Arcade Fire). Butler led Canada to a 74-63 win over Hart and the USA.