The Lakers held their annual media day to open training camp on Saturday, and before the team could move forward to the business of the upcoming season, a question forced Kobe Bryant to take one final look at the one that just passed.
Asked about his surprise level when Dwight Howard chose to leave L.A. for Houston in free agency, Bryant was clearly ready to move on.
“Honestly, man, I don’t really give a s—,” he told reporters. “If he would have come back, it would have been great. If he didn’t … It is what it is.”
That sums up pretty succinctly how most Lakers fans feel about Howard’s departure, as well.
Despite losing out on one of the most talented free agents on the market, along with questions of health and how all the new pieces will fit together, Bryant isn’t ready to back away from his annual goal of winning a title just yet.
“Our expectations are always the same going into every single season: It’s to improve every day with the goal in mind of winning a championship,” Bryant said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles. “It doesn’t matter what anybody else is saying, that’s the goal that we have.”
As for what the others are saying — namely, those that are predicting the Lakers will finish the year without making the playoffs — Bryant would like to remind you about how the predictions for his team turned out last season.
“Those people have been wrong before,” Bryant said, in an interview with Time Warner Cable. “They picked us to win a championship last year, and they were dead-ass wrong about that.”
Carmelo Anthony isn’t young anymore, but he had the bounce to go get this one.
These were your two best players for the Knicks in their win over Miami Tuesday. Kyle O'Quinn was forced into action earlier than expected when Joakim Noah went on a fouling spree in the third quarter, but O’Quinn played well in the role. ‘Melo dropped 35 on 27 shots — he’s not as efficient as he once was, but he can still get some buckets.
The Knicks picked up a needed win, because they play a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a ticked-off LeBron James (New York will pay the price for Phil Jackson’s “posse” comments with a motivated LeBron Wednesday).
Just like coach David Fizdale drew it up.
The shot of Tuesday night went to Troy Williams, the starting Memphis guard who didn’t have a great night in the Grizzlies win over the Sixers but did hit this stumbling, falling, one-handed shot.
By the way, the Grizzlies are now 4-1 since Mike Conley‘s injury with this win. Didn’t see that coming.
Zach Randolph was away from the Memphis Grizzlies and its fans for seven games to deal with the passing of his mother, Mae. When he returned to the floor, something special was waiting for him.
During Z-Bo’s arrival against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, fans at FedEx Forum gave Randolph a standing ovation in support of his difficult time.
From ESPN NBA:
Randolph dropped 12 points, collected 14 rebounds, and added an assist as the Grizzlies beat the Sixers, 96-91, in a game that went down to the wire.
Teammates of Randolph — like Marc Gasol — were glad to have him back and let Randolph know he was being thought about during his absence.
Gasol even took to Twitter after the game in a heartwarming gesture:
CLEVELAND (AP) Cavaliers starting shooting guard J.R. Smith will miss at least one game – and probably more – with a hyperextended left knee.
The Cavs said an MRI taken on Smith’s knee on Tuesday did not reveal any structural damage, but he will sit out Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks. Smith got hurt in the first quarter of Cleveland’s win in Toronto on Monday night.
While his teammates flew to New York, Smith returned to Cleveland to undergo tests. The team said he is day to day while he receives additional treatment.
Smith’s knee buckled after he dropped a short shot in the lane in a 116-112 win over the Raptors. He had been bothered by soreness in his knee for the past week, and that may have contributed to his slow start this season.
Smith, who did not report to training camp before signing a four-year, $57 million contract before the opener, is averaging just 7.8 points and shooting a career-worst 31 percent from the floor. He’s shooting only 19 percent (8 of 42) in his last six games.
It’s not clear who will take Smith’s spot while he’s out. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has several options, including veterans Mike Dunleavy and Richard Jefferson. On Monday, Lue gave more playing time to DeAndre Liggins, who scored five points as the Cavs beat the Raptors for the third time this season.