There are some players everyone believes in , and other players whose teammates believe in them. And then there are those players who completely believe in themselves – even when others might not.
Third Star: Kobe Bryant (35 points, 8 rebounds)
Arguably, no player believes in himself more than Kobe, who shot 11-for-27 against the Warriors and extended his lead in games with at least that many shots. His teammates shot an even worse percentage than he did Tuesday, and you could use that stat to defend Kobe’s volume or argue Kobe’s teammates suffered because he stagnated the offense. I suspect Kobe wouldn’t be interested in having that discussion. He – and only he – is capable of leading the Lakers to wins, even if he didn’t do that tonight.
Second Star: LeBron James (24 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds)
The Magic led Miami most of the second quarter, but the Heat’s 27th straight win never seemed seriously in doubt – and it shouldn’t have. As long as they have LeBron, everyone believes the Heat have a chance to win. Once the NBA’s top player turned it on, Orlando was toast.
First Star: John Wall (47 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds)
Before Wall began his season in January, the Wizards were 1-13 when Nene was also out injured, including suffering the final three losses by 26, 30 and 32 points. It was almost like the Wizards knew they were overmatched. But with Wall, they believe again, and why shouldn’t they believe in someone scoring like this? With Nene out, Wall upped his game in a way the Wizards were either unable or unwilling to do earlier in the season. Only Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have scored more in a game than Wall this year.
Report: Cavaliers nearly traded Richard Jefferson last year when he revealed championship rings on Snapchat
Then he was nearly traded the summer after the championship because he revealed what the Cavs’ rings looked like on his Snapchat account before the team was ready to release them to the public. Then-GM David Griffin was so ticked that he was ready to ship him out of town, sources told ESPN, before eventually calming down and accepting Jefferson’s apology.
Thankfully for Jefferson – at least if he wanted to stay in Cleveland – he revealed the ring design in September. As a newly signed player, he couldn’t be traded until Dec. 15. That gave Griffin time to cool down.
Carmelo Anthony: Phil Jackson was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips”
The delay to find a workable trade, in Anthony’s view, stemmed from the fact that Jackson was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips,” while Scott Perry, who became the Knicks’ new general manager after Jackson’s departure, took a harder line in trade talks with Houston and Cleveland that eventually fizzled.
“They went from asking for peanuts to asking for steak,” Anthony said with a laugh.
‘Melo can laugh, he landed in a good spot with Oklahoma City. He’s on a potential contender.
As for his feelings on Jackson and leaving the organization? Still some hard feelings there.
“There was no support from the organization,” he said. “When you feel like you’re on your own and then on top of that you feel like you’re being pushed out …”
Kobe Bryant sends inspirational recovery message to Gordon Hayward
Kobe Bryant has been there. He tore his Achilles at an age most players would have said: “that’s it, I’m out.” Not Kobe. He fought through it, came back, and was able to leave the game on his terms — and with a 60-point night.
So when Kobe sends an Instagram recovery message to Gordon Hayward, he knows of what he speaks.
What’s next for Boston now? Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports get into that with this latest PBT Podcast.
They also discuss the opening night game between the Celtics and Cavaliers and what we can take away from it, same with the Houston Rockets upset of the Golden State Warriors. The pair also gets into the Nikola Mirotic/Bobby Portis incident in Chicago (this was recorded just before the Portis suspension came down), the LaMarcus Aldridge extension with the Spurs, and if Joel Embiid should be ticked about being on a minutes limit to start the season.