Kobe Bryant is still going to be Kobe Bryant when the Lakers take the floor Tuesday against the Rockets.
To think that his 6-for-28 shooting night in a loss to Denver Sunday was going to change him was to think that arrests were going to change Lindsay Lohan. Some people are what they are.
In Kobe’s world view, he had open shots so he took them. The fact they were not going in — certainly due in part to a wrist with torn ligaments — misses the point. Kobe is the guy who creates the shots on the perimeter and if he has good looks he should take them. Even coach Mike Brown didn’t think Kobe was taking bad shots. Here is what Kobe said, via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.
“I had shots, I took them,” he said. If I shoot the ball 40 times and have good looks, I take them. That’s what it is,” he said….
“I do what I do. If guys are open, I kick it to them, if not I shoot it,” Bryant said. “I play my game, you know what I mean? It stays consistent.”
There needs to be an evolution of the Lakers offense where more shots and touches are given to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. It’s what Brown has drawn up, it is what is more efficient and hard to defend. What do you say to that, Kobe?
“We always start inside out. If that means I’m going to shoot less, the answer is no. It starts with me, I do what I do. We play off of that,” he said. “That’s not going to change.”
What matters with Kobe are not words but actions. Tuesday night the Lakers face a team with Jordan Hill and Luis Scola as the starting front line (and Samuel Dalembert coming off the bench). The Lakers have an advantage in the paint. Will they pound it in there or live on the perimeter more? We’ll see. If the Lakers are truly going to contend their offense has to evolve. We’ll see if the evolution starts Tuesday.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.