Kobe Bryant played through a sprained ankle aggravated during the Lakers thumping of the Dallas Mavericks Saturday, but now that the ankle has had a couple days to really swell up and get sore, he is a game-time decision for Monday night’s big game against the Orlando Magic. So said Phil Jackson, and we trust him. Kind of.
This is Kobe, so if they can hold his ankle together with some duct tape and spit he’ll hobble out there and play. Whether that is good for the team or not.
Kobe told reporters that he thought it was a lot worse, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“I thought I was done, like done,” Bryant said after the Dallas game. “I was just praying that when I stood up my foot was lined up straight. … That scared the s— out of me. I thought I dislocated it.
“We were all pretty scared … to be honest with you because it looked horrible and it felt worse.”
Note to the Magic: These Lakers are not the Phoenix Suns.
Sunday Orlando thumped a Steve Nash-less Suns team, now they could get the Lakers without Kobe. But don’t mistake the rest of the Lakers roster for the rest of the Suns roster. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol will prove a bigger challenge for Dwight Howard, and the Lakers have guys like Gasol and Lamar Odom that can still light up the scoreboard.
That said, the Magic are having the injury breaks fall their way.
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).