Kobe Bryant wants you to keep on doubting him

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Six years ago, if Kobe Bryant dropped 48 points in a game, we called it Tuesday. It seemed like nothing out of the ordinary. There were a couple highlights on SportsCenter, his fantasy owners patted themselves on the back, and then we pretty much moved on because we saw this all the time.

But in 2012, Kobe’s wrist is supposed to hurt too much, he’s too old, and his Lakers trying to evolve the offense away from him toward Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Lakers are no longer the favorites to represent the West in the NBA finals. They are on the downslope, their leader no longer capable of carrying them to the promised land.

Kobe eats that stuff up.

He dropped 48 on the Suns and it’s news now. No guy in the league for 16 years has ever scored that many points. For Kobe it’s just another chance to prove you wrong. Check out his post-game quote, via friend of this site Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times Lakers Blog.

“Not bad for the seventh best player in the league,” Bryant said in a shot at the ranking a panel of ESPN writers gave him this offseason.

Maybe Michael Jordan was the only other player who could take a perceived slight — like only being the seventh best player in the NBA or a playoff loss from six years ago to the Suns — and have it fuel him for a Tuesday night regular season game in January. Kobe remembers everything.

With that comes nights like Tuesday. He came out hot — 17 first quarter points on 8-of-11 shooting — and at that point coaches and teammates just get out of the way because when he is hot there are few like him. His confidence and belief in himself can still fuel monster games.

With it also comes nights like last week’s 6-for-28 shooting games. He was clearly ice cold and yet his confidence and belief in himself is such that he keeps shooting through the slump because he is sure next one will fall. There are no mid-game adjustments to pull back and feed the rock to others. It’s not how he is wired.

Like a character out of a classic Greek tragedy, Kobe’s greatest strength is also his weakness. Always has been, it’s just that before the injuries and miles piled up on his body, the downside didn’t show as much.

But go ahead and believe that he can’t keep up this 29.5 points per game scoring average while shooting 46 percent. Keep thinking he can’t carry the Lakers deep into the playoffs like he used to. That’s just more fuel to the fire for him.

NBA rallies for Gordon Hayward on social media after broken ankle

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Everyone has been waiting for the start of the NBA season, but nobody wanted it to start this way.

During Tuesday’s opening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific injury after cutting back door.

Hayward suffered a broken left ankle according to the team. Meanwhile, if you want to see video of the injury, you can do so here.

Of course, everyone was waiting in anticipation for Tuesday, including players and not hooping. There was immediate reaction by other NBA players on social media wishing Hayward a speedy recovery.

Via Twitter:

Gordon Hayward breaks left ankle against Cavs in first game with Celtics

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The Boston Celtics season has taken a turn for the worse.

During Tuesday’s opening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, new Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward broke his left ankle after landing following a leaping back cut to the basket.

It became immediately apparent to those in the arena, and the broadcast angle of the left leg injury was not pretty.

Just be warned here, the resulting photo and media is pretty disgusting. I let out a big yell when I saw it live, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

Via TNT:

This is just the most awful way to start the NBA season, for all of us. Get well soon, Gordon.

Kings’ rookie De’Aaron Fox commits California mortal sin, slams In-N-Out

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We Californians take a few things seriously. Surf reports, for one. Winemaking/tasting. Tech toys. Coming up with potential blockbuster movie franchise ideas, getting a star to buy in, then maybe or maybe not worrying about getting a decent script.

Also, In-N-Out Burger. If there is one thing all Californians can agree on, it’s that In-N-Out is the best burger chain in the world. It’s not up for debate.

Apparently Kings’ rookie De'Aaron Fox did not get that memo. He did a Q&A with Rolling Stone’s Seerat Sohi and crossed a sacred line.

“All I gotta say, you can tell everybody that lives in the state of California this: In-N-Out is not good.”

What’s your beef with In-N-Out Burger?
“Their burgers are overrated. They’re OK.”

Even Animal Style?
“Yes. People always say, you haven’t tried this. You haven’t tried that. I’m like, “Yeah, I looked up the secret menu. I’ve tried it all. It’s just not good.”

That’s controversial. What’s the best fast food spot then?
“Honestly, for me, I don’t count Chick-fil-A, because it’s way too good to be considered fast food. So I’m gonna say Wendy’s. Fat Burger in L.A. is better than In-N-Out.”

It’s this simple: Fox is flat-out wrong.

First off, Chick-fil-A is wildly overrated, so we know the taste of the 19-year-old point guard is off. Fat Burger is legit. But Wendy’s? Come on now, that’s just average.

If Fox had tried to argue Five Guys, I would have let it slide — I don’t think they’re as good, but I will admit a California bias. But Wendy’s? You lose the entire argument right there. It’s like saying Pixels was the best movie ever.

In-N-Out is the best. Fox needs to get on board with this.

Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic hospitalized after practice fight with Bobby Portis

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It was going to be a difficult season in Chicago if everything went right — and two days before the first game of the season things have gone horribly wrong.

Bulls’ starting forward Nikola Mirotic got into a shoving match with Bobby Portis, and Portis turned and sucker-punched him, according to multiple reports.

The Bulls have confirmed the fight and have announced Mirotic suffered a concussion and maxillary fractures in his face — the upper jaw and nasal cavity area — which likely will require surgery. He is going to miss weeks of time.

Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had more details.

Mirotic was taken to the hospital Tuesday after their shoving altercation during practice ended with an alleged cheap shot from Portis to Mirotic’s face, league sources told The Vertical. Mirotic is undergoing tests, but is expected to be out for the foreseeable future, league sources said.

Mirotic will miss weeks, according to a source, and you can be sure severe discipline from the team is coming down for Portis.

In the short term, this likely means more run for rookie Lauri Markkanen as well as just re-signed Cristiano Felicio.