Reaction from ‘Melo, Lakers players to D’Antoni hiring

15 Comments

And the reactions are pouring in to the Lakers hiring of Mike D’Antoni… except from Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. You know, the two guys you most want to hear from.

Neither of them spoke to the media today. Nash because he got treatment on his injured leg and left the Lakers facilities before media was let into team practice.

But Kobe had a way better excuse — he was using his private helicopter to take Steve Blake to a specialist in Orange County to get an ultrasound on Blake’s strained abdomen. Seriously. Blake was riding shotgun in Kobe’s copter.

So how about some other guys…

Carmelo Anthony — the Knick that was the thorn in D’Antoni’s side — said all the politically correct things about D’Antoni to ESPNNewYork.com.

“I knew he was trying to take some time off and get healthy and things like that,” he said. “I was with him this summer. He didn’t really know what was going to happen as far as getting a job this year or next year.

“Obviously it worked out this summer with him and Kobe. Maybe they had something under the table, I don’t know. But it’ll be fun. I know Kobe’s excited about that, so we’ll see what happens.”

As for the Lakers who did speak to the media it was all puppy dogs and rainbows. Everybody was happy. Not sure what else you expect — if you want minutes you don’t slam the coach on the way in the door.

Dwight Howard addressed the defensive concerns. (via the Lakers twitter account):

“You’ve got guys on this team that love to play D & he’s an offensive coach. We’ll find a balance… it’ll be great.”

Antawn Jamison spoke on the Phil vs. D’Antoni talk.

“You can’t go wrong either way. The fans wanted Phil. But Mike has a good resume, a great offense and he will let us play freely,”

Metta World Peace talked three-pointers (after going 4-of-8 from deep Sunday against the Kings. He also said he’d lock down the defense with Howard.

“I think it’s a great system. Lotta open 3s.”

Finally, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak also released another statement on how the team came to its decision.

“After speaking with several excellent and well-respected coaching candidates, Dr. Buss, Jim and I all agreed that Mike (D’Antoni) was the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward. Knowing his style of play and given the current make-up of our roster, we feel Mike is a great fit, are excited to have him as our next head coach.”

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
1 Comment

CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
1 Comment

Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

1 Comment

LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

4 Comments

For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.