It was the conventional wisdom at the time that if the Lakers had won the 2004 NBA title — they lost in the finals to the Detroit Pistons and their stifling defense — that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal would have stuck it out together to chase more titles. The “winning cures all ills” theory.
Kobe says not so fast.
Speaking with Yahoo’s Graham Bensinger in a must-watch interview for Kobe fans, the star said it was over when he heard chatter out of Shaq’s camp that Kobe couldn’t win without Shaq.
“It just wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t in the cards,” Bryant said. “There’s things that I wanted to do with my career and take my career to another level, that I was just incapable of doing as long as we were playing together….
“It just wasn’t going to work, so no matter what happened, even if we had won that championship, me being a free agent, there was just no way.”
Kobe took — and in some quarters still takes — some grief for breaking up those Lakers. But the fact is what Kobe did because he had the hammer of free agency was exactly what Shaq would have done if he had that hammer. They were done with it. Phil Jackson couldn’t keep them together. So Buss made the only logical choice and traded Shaq, convincing Kobe to re-sign. You always choose the younger player with the better work ethic and who took better physical care of himself.
Kobe also sounded sympathetic to the place Jackson was in with that three-peat team.
“The relationship between me and Shaq,” Kobe said. “Him having to deal with that relationship and kind of keeping me at arm’s distance so that, in turn, it can bring him closer to Shaq. And he was dealing with a young racehorse that wanted to get to an elite level very fast… we all three are very stubborn. “”
Kobe said his relationship with Jackson needed to be repaired when Phil came back to the Lakers. It was a matter of communication styles.
“I said, ‘Phil, if you want me to do something, just tell me.’” Kobe said. “He kind of likes subtly slipping messages in there. Where, for me, it’s like just tell me what it is you want. Don’t insult my intelligence by trying to backdoor in there.”
Andrew Bogut left just 10 minutes into Dallas’ eventual loss to Charlotte Monday with what looked to be a hyperextended knee. After the game, coach Rick Carlisle said an MRI was coming, but they expected Bogut to miss time.
Looks like it will be a couple of weeks at least, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Mavericks are 8.6 points per 100 possessions better when Bogut is on the court, all because their defense is vastly superior when he is on the court.
With Bogut out, look for Dwight Powell to get more run.
Bogut’s name has come up in trade rumors, this kind of injury isn’t going to change that.
Meyers Leonard grew up in Illinois. He played at the University of Illinois.
So, last night’s Trail Blazers-Bulls game in Chicago was a bit of a homecoming for him.
That’s probably why he was particular perturbed the Bulls’ PA announcer kept calling him Myles. So, the Portland big man issued a stern correction:
For anyone in the Midwest, I trimmed this into a handy Vine you can use in case anyone asks which grocery store you’re headed to:
Warriors guard Klay Thompson possessed the ball for 1:28 last night.
Teammate Ian Clark had it for 2:05.
Obviously, Thompson made a little more of his opportunities.
Thompson scored an insane 60 points in 29 minutes in Golden State’s win over the Pacers.
Remarkably, he didn’t hijack the offense to produce those eye-popping numbers. Thompson shot a cool 21-of-33 from the field, and 20 of his baskets were assisted. In addition to Clark, Stephen Curry,Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston all possessed the ball longer than Thompson.
In fact, nobody has come close to scoring so much while having the ball so little.
Here are the highest scoring games since the NBA began publishing possession time in 2013-14, marking points in time of possession:
The the second-lowest time of possession on that leaderboard was also by Thompson. He scored 52 points in 2:40 of possession against the Kings in 2015.
But even that game required more than a minute of extra touch time.
Who has scored the most points in a game while possessing the ball for fewer than two minutes? Again, Thompson litters the list – with last night blowing the rest out of the water:
- Klay Thompson (GSW-IND 12-5-16):60 in 1:28
- Klay Thompson (GSW-DAL 1-27-16):45 in 1:40
- Bojan Bogdanovic (BRK-PHI 3-15-16):44 points in 1:53
- Klay Thompson (GSW-PHO 12-16-15):43 in 1:17
- Anthony Davis (NOP-UTA 11-22-14):43 points in 1:36
Maybe Thompson knew what he was talking about when he said he wasn’t sacrificing for Durant. Even with his usage rate down slightly, Thompson has still found ways to flourish. He gets hot in a hurry.
It does take him a while to cool down, though.
Ever been so excited you didn’t know to react?
That was Stephen Curry as Klay Thompson worked his way toward 60 points in 29 minutes, running from the bench toward midcourt then doubling back and heading right into the tunnel.
Eventually, Curry found his senses and tried to put out the fire.