When Kobe Bryant steps on the court Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings, we will know exactly how many points he needs to score to win one of the closest NBA scoring title races ever over Kevin Durant.
Both men say they don’t want it. Both men say all they want is a ring. Both men are also fiery competitive and don’t back down from a challenge. We’ll see if when push comes to shove the next couple days if they can turn that fire down.
As of right now, two-time defending scoring champ Durant is averaging 27.97 points per game to Bryant’s 27.86.
Durant and his Thunder play Wednesday night at home against the Nuggets. The Thunder are locked in at the two seed, the game means nothing to them. The Lakers are locked in to the three seed and Thursday’s game for them is meaningless. The Oklahoman did the math and breaks down who has to score how much to win the title.
But if Durant scores less than 30, Bryant will have to top Durant’s output by at least seven points. If Durant posts more than 30, Bryant must outscore Durant by at least six. The necessary differential would narrow more the more each player scores. The discrepancy is caused by Bryant playing seven fewer games. The scoring title is determined by scoring average.
So if Durant finishes at his average of 28 points, Kobe will have to score 35. On the season, Kobe has averaged 33.5 points per game against the Kings.
The real question is will Kobe go after it? There is no doubt that even if he has to score 40 something he can get it — even if he has to take 40 shots to do it — and if he wants it Mike Brown will leave him in and his teammates will get out of his way.
The question is, will he? Here is what he told ESPNLA.com a few days ago.
“(It’s) not very important,” Bryant said. “San Antonio was playing me single coverage yesterday, if it was important I would have gone for 50 yesterday.”
I have no doubt he means it. But can he turn off that desire to win if he just needs 10 more points midway through the third quarter Thursday?
The Los Angeles Lakers are having a pretty good January.
The team has a losing record overall but is 6-5 in 2018, despite the noise from the Ball family and the need for public confidence for Luke Walton as coach.
Still, I’m not sure they’re having as good a time as the guy who won $100,000 by banking in a halfcourt shot on Sunday.
The fan’s name is apparently Suni Strong, and he’s from Palmdale. He played high school basketball, works at Space-X, and was on a canceled A&E show about bounty hunting.
Via OC Register:
“When I first walked in I said have my check ready,” he said. “I knew I was going to make it. I had to.”
Asked if he called “bank,” Strong replied, “Why would I do that? I called money.”
That’s some serious scratch.
Spencer Dinwiddie was once a member of the Detroit Pistons. They traded him to the Chicago Bulls back in 2016 for Cameron Bairstow, and the Bulls promptly waived him less than a month later. That same day, Bairstow was waived by the Pistons.
On Sunday, Dinwiddie got his revenge on Detroit by ending their matinee matchup with a step-through jumper that two Pistons failed to defend.
The play came with 4.7 seconds left and the Brooklyn Nets trailing, 100-99. Dinwiddie ran across the far side of the floor to receive the ball from the sideline, then to the near elbow before putting on a series of moves to get his shot off.
The play gave Detroit just 0.09 seconds left, and they couldn’t get an attempt off.
Brooklyn beat the Pistons, 101-100.
Meanwhile, Dinwiddie continues to have the best season of his career. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per-game, all career-highs. He’s also boosted his VORP to 1.1, another personal best.
Enes Kanter likes to inject himself in situations he doesn’t belong in.
The New York Knicks forward likes to take aim at the biggest star in the game, LeBron James, and has said in the past that he would fight LeBron if he had to.
Some previous comments from LeBron riled up members of the Knicks organization, and there’s been animosity between the two sides ever since.
So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Kanter had something to say on Twitter about his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, dropping 148 points during a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Heck, even former Cavaliers coach David Blatt jumped in on that one, albeit immediately before his own team got 151 scored on them.
Kanter took to Twitter, using LeBron’s own catchphrase against him:
Of course, that’s probably not the best idea. Kanter is a role player and LeBron is one of the best who ever played. Even if the Cavaliers are stinking it up lately, you can’t go after the King like that. You just might miss.
“One texted [teammate] me just to say — I’m not going to say who — but he texted me ‘You’re about to get 50 dropped on you, boy.'” Kanter said before Sunday’s matinee against the Los Angeles Lakers. “I responded something back, but I’m not going to say what it is.”
Kanter added that he’s just “having fun” and wanting to put “a smile on people’s face” with his constant prodding.
We’ll see if he ends up smiling the next time Cleveland and New York meet on April 9 at MSG.
David Blatt, perhaps sensing his time to pounce as rumors swirl around Tyronn Lue’s departure, decided to troll the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. It did not go so well.
Blatt, who was fired from the head coaching spot in Cleveland in 2015, now heads Darüşşafaka S.K. in the Turkish Super League.
Blatt was also coaching Team Europe vs. Team Asia in the Turkish BSL All-Star Game on Sunday. During the game Blatt joked during a TV interview that he was just hoping his team didn’t give up as many points as the Cavaliers did to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. That game ended with a score of 148-124.
So what happened to Blatt’s Team Europe in the All-Star Game?
According to Erik Gundersen over at LeBron Wire, Team Europe promptly got rolled on with a tally of … 151 points.
The final total in the Turkish All-Star matchup was 151-142 in favor of Team Asia.