Author: Kurt Helin

Kobe Bryant

Kobe’s secret fountain of youth: Chicken bone broth soup

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If you’re a home cook at all you’ve probably made this — use the leftover bones from a roasted chicken (or maybe the turkey from Thanksgiving dinner) and boiled it down to make a broth for soup. Bone broth.

If so, you have partaken in Kobe Bryant’s pre-game meal of choice and dietary staple. What he sees as a healthy fountain of youth.

Bone broth is a favorite of the Paleo diet crowd and is the core of Kobe’s diet, something Baxter Holmes wrote about for ESPN.

Bone broth has quietly but steadily become a daily staple of Bryant’s diet over the past three years. It’s the foundation of his pregame meal at home and on the road, and the Lakers put in long hours to make sure it’s carefully prepared for him at all times.

“I’ve been doing the bone broth for a while now,” Bryant said. “It’s great — energy, inflammation. It’s great.”

The key is cooking down the bones to get the real vitamins and nutrients from them and the cartilage (this is different than the flavored broth you buy at the store). The Lakers chef buys free range chickens, debones them herself then cooks them down for eight hours (with some vegetables) to make the both every day.

The broth is a base for a wide variety of soups: minestrone, beef stew, chicken meatball, chili, a 15-bean soup with kale or what (Lakers team chef Sandra) Padilla said is Bryant’s favorite — chicken tortilla.

Kobe is like a lot of NBA athletes who as they get older become far more careful about what they eat and what goes into their body. Some, like Ray Allen, figure that out early but for most players it’s more like their late 20s where they figure out they can’t just have chicken and waffles, or a Big Mac, before a game and still perform the same way. As they get older players generally become more regimented about what they eat.

As with all things Kobe, he doesn’t just go halfway — once he became serious about his diet he became fanatical about it.

So now he eats more soup than your grandmother in Florida. Because he knows what’s good for him.

Three Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: The Thunder are back to .500 and making their run

Oklahoma City Thunder v Orlando Magic
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If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while having a hippo charge your river boat

1) The Oklahoma City Thunder are .500 and coming on fast. Phoenix is not going to roll over — they still have a three game lead over the Thunder and are making moves to add talent to the roster. But the Thunder are coming on — they reached .500 on Sunday with an emphatic win over Orlando. This game was a blowout from the opening tip — OKC opened on a 13-0 run and took off from there. The Thunder led by as many as 38 before winning by 28, 127-99. Kevin Durant had 21 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists and only played 28 minutes. Russell Westbrook did this.

The Thunder are on an Eastern road swing — Miami, Washington, Atlanta and Cleveland — and if they are going to catch a Suns team that has a home-heavy schedule the rest of the way these are the kinds of games the Thunder need to win most of.

2) Alexis Ajinca isn’t Anthony Davis, but he can pretend to be for a day. The Pelicans went into Toronto and sat Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis (that’s two games out in a row for Davis with a toe injury), but nobody noticed because Ajinca came off the bench for 22 points. Okay, that’s not true, Davis was still missed, but Ajinca had a quality game filling in, scoring 10 of those in the decisive fourth quarter when the Pelicans came from behind to beat the Raptors in dramatic fashion.

3) The Toronto Raptors failed at defending a final shot. The game was tied and with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday sidelined it was obvious what the Pelicans would lean on Evans here here… oh, who are we kidding, Evans would have taken this shot even if Davis was on the court, they ignore AD down the stretch anyway. It’s a nice shot by Evans, but watch the Raptors defend this poorly.

First off, if you know Evans is going to take this then why is Greivis Vasquez guarding him? Especially since James Johnson is actually in the game. Everyone knows Evans wants to get to his much preferred right hand, but Vasquez doesn’t really try to force Evans right at all. Why is Jonas Valanciunas so late on his rotation? Why is Amir Johnson chasing Ajinca out to the three point line?

That is just not how one should defend a final shot.

Tyreke Evans hits game winner over four Raptors (VIDEO)

Tyreke Evans
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Tyreke Evans forces too many isolation plays at the end of Pelicans games. However, with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday out on Sunday, that play makes sense for a final shot in a tie game, which is what the Pelicans faced against the Raptors in Toronto Sunday.

Everyone in the building knew that the last play was going to be an Evans isolation — that includes the Raptors, who ended up with four guys rotating over to him. Didn’t matter. First Greivis Vasquez was guarding him and he’s not the best defender ever. Second, he lets Evans get back to his much-favored right hand.

The result was the high off the glass game winner. The Raptors had come from behind to lead by double digits at one point, but it didn’t matter when it came down to the final shot.

Andrew Wiggins drops career high 31 on Nuggets in Timberwolves win

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets
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Andrew Wiggins is proving to be more than a raw athlete — he can shoot the rock. He was drafted No. 1 because of that freakish athleticism, but scouts that liked him would say he was coachable and worked hard, which is why some thought he could develop into something special. He’s proving them right. Fast. He’s scored at least 20 points in 10 of the Timberwolves last 13 games.

And that includes the 31 he dropped to lead Minnesota past Denver Saturday night.

Wiggins can get to the rim and was 4-of-4 there (he has a good post up game), but he was also 4-of-5 from three — in his last 15 games he’s shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc. He could develop into an elite shooter, which with his athleticism could make him very dangerous in a few years.

He’s going to be the Rookie of the Year. And that may be just the start.

Bucks’ Kendall Marshall done for season with torn ACL

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers
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The Bucks have had more their fair share of injury news this season, but the basketball gods were not done with them.

Backup point guard Kendall Marshall is out for the season, the team announced Saturday.

Ugh. The Bucks had already lost No. 2 pick Jabari Parker for the season due to injury. Plus they have been without Larry Sanders since Christmas and will be for a while longer.

Marshall is a playmaking point guard and had filled that role well for the Bucks off the bench playing just shy of 15 minutes a night. He’s been solid and part of a young, improving, and entraining team.

Hopefully the basketball fates will be done handing the Bucks injuries.