A couple of days ago, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested in a radio interview that maybe it was time for the Lakers to consider amnestying Kobe Bryant, given the team’s current position out of the playoff picture and the astronomical payroll and luxury tax bill the franchise would be looking at next season.
Cuban has clarified a couple of times since then that he was speaking hypothetically of course, but make no mistake — his comments were meant to tweak the Lakers, and it worked on multiple levels.
The Lakers issued a statement through their team spokesman in response to Cuban’s comments, which means that Cuban’s mission was accomplished — at least in terms of his remarks reaching people in the organization who matter, and annoying them in the process.
Where this all backfired, however, was Sunday afternoon at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Bryant put in a vintage performance, scoring 38 points including 14 in the fourth quarter to send Cuban’s Mavericks home with a loss. After it was all over, Bryant took to Twitter to eviscerate Cuban with two simple words.
Bryant has always been criticized on the court for his lack of efficiency, but it’s hard to argue that he did anything other than use this medium to perfection in delivering an epic response.
An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.
Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.
But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.
The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.
Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.
The slow-motion replays are absolutely brutal.
I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.
But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.
Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.
The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.
Just an awesome heady play by Paul.