This horse is dead, but we’re going to give it one more swift kick.
Turns out, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal don’t really like each other. Who knew? And if you think all the bitterness from those days is gone, you weren’t listening to Italian radio yesterday.
Neither were we, but someone with Sportando was. Kobe is out on a Nike-fueled tour of Italy right now and in a radio interview he was asked what was his issue with Shaq:
“I like players who work out. I used to do that 6-7 hours per day. I cannot stand players who practice for 30 minutes. I need to say something to them”.
We knew that. Kobe has always had the crazy work ethic and Shaq balanced his work and play, leaning more toward the later. Phil Jackson stepped into that and made it hard on Kobe because he had to — that was Shaq’s locker room, Shaq’s team. Side with Kobe and Phil loses Shaq, side with Shaq and Kobe is more motivated. Phil is smart all the way around the block. He knew what to do.
Kobe, however, was not all that forgiving of Shaq. Stunning.
The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.
It didn’t get better afterward.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.