LOS ANGELES — This video, via the NBA’s YouTube page, is simply titled, “The Greatness of Kobe Bryant.”
That about sums it up.
The Lakers had no business beating the Raptors the way they defended for most of the night, but Bryant made sure that after his teammates helped close the gap, he would personally dig them out of the rest of that hole himself.
Bryant made three increasingly difficult three-point shots in the final two minutes of regulation, and then drove the lane for the game-winning dunk near the end of the overtime session.
The dunk, with the game hanging in the balance, was particularly impressive. Here’s how Bryant explained it to us afterward.
“[Aaron Gray] was coming out to blitz me,” Bryant said. “I saw him coming, I just had to kind of decoy it a little bit and kind of wait for him to get his top foot and get him close enough to me where I could go around him. When that happens, it kind of becomes a screen for my defender.
“He doesn’t have the speed to really do anything, so I just kind of went around him and he wound up screening my man.”
And Bryant went flying in for the slam to win the game, essentially uncontested.
Watch Pistons C Andre Drummond blow a fancy breakaway dunk (VIDEO)
Andre Drummond had a breakaway on Sunday against the Boston Celtics. Fans in Detroit should have been in for a treat from their franchise center — a former NBA Dunk Contest participant — but instead they got something worth of Shaqtin’ A Fool.
Unfortunately for Drummond, the result of the one man fastbreak was a blown dunk, a ball that went sky high, and a sheepish look from the Pistons center.
Rumor: Andrew Bogut expected to join Cavaliers after 76ers buyout
The Dallas Mavericks traded Andrew Bogut to the Philadelphia 76ers at the deadline for big man Nerlens Noel. Bogut, 32, was never expected to stay in Philly and he should be bought out soon.
There has been some speculation about what contender Bogut might be looking to join, or which might come calling. Due to CBA rules, Bogut could feasibly re-join the Golden State Warriors. Instead, it appears Bogut is expected to head the other direction and sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Two Mavs sources say they expect Andrew Bogut will choose to join the Cavaliers once he receives a buyout from the 76ers.
Bogut has been less effective in limited minutes this season than he has in years past. While Bogut is still a good passer and rebounder, he has not been as productive on offense than prior seasons. That could largely be due to Dallas’ poor start, or because of nagging injuries. He suffered calf, knee, and hamstring injuries this season with Dallas, and it will still be a gamble for Cleveland to rely upon Bogut for a playoff run.
However, the Cavaliers could simply rest Bogut extensively, integrate him into their system, and have him ready for a second championship push through the Eastern Conference.
We’re still waiting for the move to be made official, but it appears as though LeBron James & Co. are bolstering themselves for the postseason.
Jusuf Nurkic lost two teeth after PJ Tucker smacked him in the face (VIDEO)
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was whistled for a foul on Sunday night while trying to grab a rebound over PJ Tucker. That came as a surprise to Nurkic, who had actually lost two teeth on the play and went to point out that fact to officials.
The play came midway through the fourth quarter, with Tucker underneath the basket and Nurkic standing behind him in the paint. Toronto’s Patrick Patterson missed a long 3-pointer, leading to a battle for the ball down low.
Nurkic was called for a push in the back as the two went up, but Tucker threw his arm and hit Nurkic on the left side of his face. That knocked out two of Nurkic’s teeth:
#Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic gets rocked in the mouth, lost 2 teeth, remained in the game
Future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett was known during his playing days for his exceptional conditioning. The athletic power forward was in a full sweat by tip-off, and constantly talking on both offense and defense.
So how did he do it?
According to JJ Redick, Garnett used to sing while running as a method of normalizing talking during a game. The practice was apparently modeled after Beyonce’s ability to dance and sing at the same time.
“One time I saw her working out, and she was doing her dances and she was singing while she was doing her dancing,” Garnett said to Redick. “So then I’m thinking to myself, maybe I should run and sing at the same time. So in the offseason, I would go to Malibu and I would go down to the beach, and when I run on the beach I would be like ‘Lalala lalala lalala,’ while I’m running. So then, when I get on the court and I’m getting back on defense and I’m talking on defense, I don’t get tired.”
That’s ingenious, and the kind of clever tactics you’d expect to come from a HOFer like Garnett.