Kobe Bryant sick of riding bike, not happy to be out three more weeks

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Kobe Bryant didn’t want to play in the All-Star Game, but this is not why.

Kobe will be out at least three more weeks, the team announced Tuesday night. He has a fractured lateral tibial plateau — the top of the shin bone where it connects to the knee — and this is not something where he can just play through the pain (like he did with a broken finger), the bone has to heal before he can run. That means no All-Star Game for Bryant.

All he can do is ride the stationary bike, and as you might expect he’s pretty sick of it, he told the Los Angeles Times.

“I’m ready to throw the bike in the damn pool right about now.” he said, “But you do what you got to do.”

He admitted this injury has him out of sorts.

“[I’m] down about it,” Bryant said following the team’s 104-92 loss to the Pacers….

“It’s like an internal swelling,” he said. “It’s different. It’s not something that’s kind of on the surface where you can pinpoint and feel the swelling around. It’s deep in there.”

There will be calls for Kobe to shut it down for the season, even from a Lakers fan base where a portion of it has come around to the idea the team should tank the rest of this season and get a high draft pick in what is expected to be the best draft in a decade (as of today the Lakers would be the sixth pick, before the lottery).

That’s not how Kobe is wired. He will fight to get back on the court this season.

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But that’s going to be a while. Kobe will be re-evaluated in three weeks, but even if cleared to resume some level of basketball activity he will have conditioning and other training before he is back on the court.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.