Shocking news: Matt Bonner more considerate than Kobe Bryant

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Kobe Bryant is the fiercest competitor in the NBA, and a relentless offensive force. It’s that drive that makes him one of if not the best player in the NBA, and that force which drove him to hang out for over an hour shooting baskets in American Airlines Arena following the Lakers’ loss to the Heat.

Which, when you think about it, was kind of a jerk thing to do.

I mean, beyond the fact that it reveals Bryant’s relentless devotion to the game, his tireless desire to get better (if by better we mean focusing on trying harder to make shots which are low percentage, poorly decided and squander the endless potential of the Lakers’ offense), and his unequaled work ethic. Bryant held up staff having to watch him hoist jumpers after that game. Sure, the media was more than happy to bask in the dramatics of watching a 33-year-old man go through a shootaround at 11 p.m. at night, but there were also security guards, facility maintenance, league officials, team officials, arena officials, and other people waiting to go home. People who aren’t wrapped up in the story of the Lakers’ drive for a sixth championship with Bryant, and for whom Thursday was just another day at the office.

This is going to come off as nitpicking Byrant, so I’m going to go all boldy to make this clear.

A. It’s not a big deal.

B. This would have been a jerk move had it been LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, Darko Milicic, Eddy Curry, Kevin Durant, or the cast and crew of “Juwanna Mann.”

The ball boys who got to feed Bryant got a great story. The media got a great story. But the officials at the arena probably just had a longer night and lost more time to themselves. I don’t know about you, but time’s a pretty important commodity to me. Bryant took it because he was feeling bad about himself. Anyway, not a big deal, but another way to look at it. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Take the word of a shooting expert. From the San Antonio Express-News:

Bonner said he was frustrated enough to shoot like Bryant after a game only once in his competitive career. It came after a struggling performance when he was in college at Florida and it was after a home game.

“I’ve had times when I was disappointed and I would come back to the training facility and shot the same night,” Bonner said. “But not on the road and make everybody wait.”

“It was a poor shooting night and it was frustrating,” Bonner said. “When I did  it, it wasn’t to get my shot back. It was more therapeutic mentally, to feel good about myself again.”

via Spurs Nation » Bonner knows why Kobe was shooting so late last night.

So that’s a well-balanced approach. Bonner admits that he’d do the same, while also pointing out he wouldn’t do it on the road, because, well, that’s just inconsiderate and rude. Two things Bryant has never really cared about being portrayed as. Also, similarly, Bonner wouldn’t work on what he actually needed to, in his case defending power forwards, particularly on the baseline, while Bryant’s case should have been, oh, I don’t know, passing to one of the seven footers with considerable matchup advantages who were shooting over 50% for the night. Just to take a guess.

But hey, it’s over, and it made a great story.

 

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

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A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

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The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!