Kobe Bryant looked Kobe Bryant in the opener — early on he was getting touches at the rim and was moving well, later in the game he drained a rainbow contested long two he never should have taken. He looked a little slower trying to defend O.J.Mayo off the ball as the game wore on, but he wasn’t the Lakers problem in their loss.
And while it is possible his foot responds poorly to a night of exertion, I’d expect to see him playing Wednesday night when the Lakers take on the Trail Blazers in Portland.
He had his foot soaking in ice after the game, reports Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Daily News. Is he concerned he couldn’t go in the back-to-back?
“A little bit,” Bryant said. “We’ll have to see how it feels.”
Granted, Bryant said his foot felt “80-85%”. Even if Bryant’s known to play through injuries, the Lakers’ star vowed beforehand not to take the floor if the pain would worsen. Bryant sounded well aware that he didn’t want to squander all of his offseason work in strengthening his body just for the sake of appearing in the Lakers’ season opener.
“I’m not going to play with an injury that will get progressively worse and limp through the season,” Bryant said. “I worked too hard for that.”
Kobe said he would play in the opener so long as he learned he couldn’t make the injury worse, and that’s the case according to the Orange County Register.
“From my understanding, there’s no risk,” (Lakers coach Mike) Brown said before the game. “Obviously if it bothers him or something like that, we pull him out. But from my understanding, he’s good enough to go and there’s no risk in going that he would damage it further.”
It just a matter of pain management, Kobe will play. Actually, Kobe will probably play either way. This is Kobe after an ugly loss we are talking about.
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.