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.

 

Rockets owner appears to leave seat, yell at refs during matchup with Thunder (VIDEO)

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The Houston Rockets are in control of their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and were up 3-1 heading into Tuesday night’s Game 5 in Texas.

That did not stop what appeared to be Rockets owner Leslie Alexander from complaining to NBA referees. During gameplay. While standing directly next to an official, some 20 feet from his courtside seat.

Via Twitter:

Congratulations are in order to Bill Kennedy, the official in question, for keeping his cool. Or perhaps he just was so surprised by some dude yelling in his ear from right next to him he didn’t know how to react.

Brandon Jennings no fan of the NBA’s new Awards Ceremony event

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Come June 26, Drake will be on stage in New York City, handing out the NBA’s awards — Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and so on. (We need to set an under/over on the number of players Drake hugs that night.)

The NFL does it. The NHL does it. And the NBA has decided to follow suit with a broadcast awards ceremony where everything — except the All-NBA Team — will be announced that night. It’s happening because the broadcast partners want it.

Brandon Jennings is not a fan. Here is what the Wizards’ point guard Tweeted:

Jennings took down a Tweet that said if he had won the award he would have wanted to get it with the organization and his teammates around him. (And no, he knows he’s not winning the award. If you were going to put that in the comments be more creative.)

There’s something to what Jennings is saying. The NBA award roll out was awkward at times in previous years, but it gave the fans a chance to celebrate the awards with their favorite player. Now, everyone will watch it unfold on television from a ballroom in NYC. That feels a little colder. Also, we will get to see the reaction of those who don’t win (particularly this season, where several players can make a strong case for MVP).

It will be interesting to see how this first year goes, and how the league tweaks it going forward. The more than two month gap between the end of the regular season and the awards could feel a bit awkward. But we’re not going to knock the idea until we’ve seen it in action.

Portland GM makes it official, Festus Ezeli will not be back with team next season

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This season the Portland Trail Blazers found their center of the future (and the present) in Jusuf Nurkic.

Which makes the next step fairly obvious: Portland will not pick up the option on Festus Ezeli for next season, GM Neil Olshay confirmed at the team exit meetings Tuesday.

Portland signed Ezeli on what they thought was a great contract (one-year, $7.4 million, with a team option for the second year) because he was coming off knee surgery last summer. However, Ezeli was never healthy, needed a second surgery, and never got on the court. After taking it slow over last summer he practiced with the team twice in mid-October, there was more swelling, so he pulled back.

This summer Ezeli will not draw any guaranteed money from teams, but some teams may take a look at him. Athletic bigs get a lot of chances in the NBA.

Gordon Hayward will play for Jazz in Game 5 without minutes restriction

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Gordon Hayward has averaged 20.5 points a game in these playoffs — and that includes a 40 point outburst in Game 3 — but what has been more impressive is he has done it efficiently, with a true shooting percentage of 61.1. While Joe Johnson and others have stepped up, Utah will need Hayward’s shot creation if they are going to win this series.

They will have it Tuesday night in Game 5.

After missing the second half of Game 4 due to food poisoning (he tried to play but was ineffective in the first half), he is back and ready to go this time around.

So is Rudy Gobert. The Jazz will be at full health, while the Clippers remain without Blake Griffin for the remainder of the playoffs.

Having those two back is a boost for the Jazz, they need to score more consistently against the Clippers, but the bigger key will be defensively trying to deal with Chris Paul on the pick-and-roll. He has been masterful this series, and the Jazz need to keep him in check to give their offense a chance.