Kobe Bryant

Don’t expect Kobe back for Lakers vs. Spurs Tuesday

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Normally, this kind of game — the two seed Spurs vs. the three seed Lakers — is the kind of contest where we try to gain clues about what would happen if they met in the second round of the playoffs.

But this time, the game may be hard to read. For one, Kobe Bryant is likely to miss another game, tweets Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

Kobe Bryant did some light shooting today but isn’t expected to play tomorrow vs. San Antonio. It would be his 6th game missed (sore shin).

On the other bench, the Spurs will be in the middle of a back-to-back-to-back, which is often when Gregg Popovich will rest one or more of his big three. If you think he cares that they are playing the Lakers on national television, or that they are one game back of Oklahoma city for the best record in the West, you have not been watching him for the last decade.

Kobe or not the game will matter to the Lakers, who are trying to stay ahead of the Clippers and with the Pacific Division (and be the three seed). Memphis will likely be the five seed in the west and both Los Angeles teams would ideally like to avoid them in the first round.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.