Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks

Kobe Bryant injures ankle, may not play Monday vs. Magic

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It has not been a stellar 60 hours for Kobe Bryant. After going into hero mode versus the Heat, chucking up a few clangers and losing, Bryant then put himself through a grueling post-game workout for over an hour in front of the media, which probably made him feel better about himself, but also was probably hard on the body. Then he puts up a 6-20 performance against the Mavs, but at least he got the win. The real problem, though happened in the third quarter. Bryant landed and severely turned his ankle.

There wasn’t any contact upon landing, the ankle just went out from underneath him. He had been battling an ankle injury this season, which had been an issue before the All-Star break. But this? This was pretty bad. Take a look for yourself.

Surely that would keep him out the rest of the game, right? No way. Bryant actually went to the locker room, had it taped, then returned to play, even hitting a tough bank shot from the corner. Granted, Bryant also went hero mode again and missed several step back jumpers and was blocked at one point by Shawn Marion, but you have to applaud the effort.

Post-game, Bryant told reporters that when the injury first occurred, he thought he had dislocated it:

“I thought I was done, like done. I was praying that when I stood up, my foot was lined up straight,” Bryant said. “I thought I dislocated it.”

via Kobe struggles, still leads Lakers past Mavericks – NBA- NBC Sports.

Bryant said he plans on pushing himself like he usually does so that he doesn’t miss Monday’s game against the Magic.

“I’ll just do what I always do: don’t sleep, get treatment around the clock and I should be fine,” Bryant said.

via Kobe Bryant hurts ankle in Los Angeles Lakers’ game against Dallas Mavericks – ESPN Los Angeles.

But he did acknowledge he didn’t know if he would play, which is a change from his usual dismissal of whether he’ll play or not. Phil Jackson was even more skeptical, saying the sprain was pretty severe. Bryant could obviously use the rest, and while ankle injuries simply don’t heal without extensive rest, just a quick recharge of the batteries might be in order for Bryant.

Bryant definitely deserves credit for playing through the injury, showing once again why he has the best work ethic in the NBA. He could have done more to work in the flow of the offense upon coming back, instead of going into ISO mode for step-back J’s on a bad wheel, but considering his past success in such situations, it’s hard to find fault. After all, if they’d gone in, we’d be talking about what a gutsy performance he put on. And in the end, the Lakers got the win with some help from Andrew Bynum.

The fact remains, Bryant is feeling some wear and tear physically as the season progresses.

 

 

 

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.

Rudy Gay, Vlade Divac clear the air

Rudy Gay
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Rudy Gay expressed displeasure with how the Kings were handling trade rumors. Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac retorted that Gay had his phone number.

Apparently, Gay found it.

Sean Cunningham of ABC 10:

Following those comments, Gay told ABC10 on Thursday afternoon that he had since spoken with Divac.

“I have talked to Vlade,” Gay said from his Nike Skills Academy at Hardwood Palace in Rocklin. “I can’t say since Monday stuff has changed, but I just feel like we have a little bit of time to start changing things.”

Gay, who will be entering his 11th NBA season, has insisted he hasn’t demanded a trade and should he remain a member of the Kings by the time training camp opens in October, he says he’ll report and be ready to go.

“At this point in my career I just want to be happy,” said Gay. “I talked to Vlade and we’re trying to make that happen.”

Even if he hasn’t demanded a trade, it sure sounds like Gay would welcome one. I doubt the Kings would mind moving on, either.

But it takes another team to trade for Gay, and so far, one hasn’t emerged.

In the meantime, tensions appear to be eased. Open communication usually helps.

 

Jimmy Butler: I didn’t move Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah from Bulls

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 30:  Joakim Noah #13, Derrick Rose #1 and Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls react during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 30, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Bulls 99-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Jimmy Butler said of the Derrick Rose trade, “It had to be one of us.”

Butler also says not blame him for the Bulls losing Rose — or Joakim Noah, who’s also headed to the Knicks.

Jimmy Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“That has nothing to do with me, I don’t move guys,” Butler said. “People are gonna think what they’re gonna think. I don’t let it bother me. I know where I stand, I know who I am. It’s one more thing for people to talk about. I don’t pay too much attention to it.”

I can believe Butler didn’t directly urge Chicago to trade Rose, but Butler’s presence matters.

Rose and Butler clearly didn’t ideally mesh on the court, and there might have been off-court issues, too. If it weren’t for Butler, the Bulls might have kept Rose.

Noah is a little different, because it seems he, more than the team, was ready for a breakup. Still, that might have also had to do with Butler.

Butler is trying to grow into a leader, a natural progression for someone who became his team’s best player. But that was awkward with the Bulls’ previous leaders — Rose and Noah — still in the locker room. There’s no simple solution, though moving on without Rose and Noah will clear that cloud.

So — without other information — it’s too much to “blame” Butler for Rose’s and Noah’s departures. But Rose and Noah moving from Chicago to New York can still be ascribed to Butler.

It might not have been something asked for directly. It’s just the reality of the situation.

Dwyane Wade: “It’s Jimmy Butler’s team”

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Dwyane Wade is back in sweet home, Chicago.

Wade met with the media for the first time and talked about the pairing of himself and Rajon Rondo with the Bulls’ existing star in Jimmy Butler — Wade used the term “three alphas” more than once. But he also was clear about whose team this was going to be on the court.

“We’re not going to go through this all year. It’s Jimmy Butler’s team. Myself and Rondo are here to bring what we bring as athletes.”

Wade added that he would not be a Bull if Jimmy Butler had not personally called him and asked him to come.

Wade took that cue from Shaquille O’Neal when he joined Wade’s Heat team — which eventually led to the Heat’s first title in 2006. The Bulls would love for that kind of result here, although it’s much tougher to see this Chicago roster having anywhere near that kind of impact.