Mike D'Antoni, Kobe Bryant

Report: Kobe didn’t tell Mike D’Antoni he was leaving the country for medical treatment

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The news broke a few days ago that Kobe Bryant was once again heading to Germany to receive a special treatment on his knee in order to help him be as right as possible whenever his rehab from a torn Achilles allows him to return to the court at some point this season.

Bryant’s every move is scrutinized, and this latest one is no exception. But a report about the details surrounding his departure is likely to raise more eyebrows than usual.

From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

Still recovering from his torn Achilles last April, Bryant has yet to be cleared to run or jump by the Lakers. His return date to the team for game action is unknown. The team said he went to Germany for treatment unrelated to the Achilles injury. Interestingly, he didn’t tell Mike D’Antoni that he was leaving, choosing to notify the team’s long-time trainer, Gary Vitti, instead.

“Kobe not telling Mike D’Antoni tells you something about what Kobe thinks of coaches, and also Mike’s status,’’ said one NBA head coach. “Now if that were Phil Jackson, I would think Kobe would have told him he was going.’’

It was well-chronicled last season how D’Antoni couldn’t control Bryant’s wish to play heavy minutes late in the year, and this latest report would seem to further the speculation that Kobe will do whatever he wants, with or without D’Antoni’s permission.

But quite honestly, none of us have any idea about the inner workings of the Lakers franchise, or how frequently Kobe and D’Antoni communicate outside of scheduled practices or games, if at all.

This could very well be standard operating procedure as far as Kobe and the Lakers go, but those who want to read drama into a situation where none exists will choose to do so, no matter the circumstances.

Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)

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The game itself went about how you’d expect one between a title contender and a high lottery team to go — the Cavaliers 120-111 win over the Lakers was never really in doubt.

But the fans in Cleveland wanted to see some vintage Kobe Bryant, and they got it late when he spun around LeBron James and hit the reverse lay-up.

LeBron had 29 points on the night, and Kyrie Irving had 35. Kobe finished with 17 and got a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.