<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Marcin Gortat, Carlos Boozer, Wesley Johnson

Marcin Gortat was dunking at will on Lakers (VIDEOS)

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The Lakers struggled to contain the Wizards’ speed and movement all night Wednesday — John Wall’s quickness was a pressure the Lakers could not handle (which is why the Wizards won comfortably).

Same with Marcin Gortat moving toward the rim — he had 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting on the night, and he was 8-of-8 on shots in the restricted area. Jordan Hill and the Lakers’ defense would slide over to try to contain Wall on the pick-and-roll, there was no good rotation and Gortat had room to get to the rim and throw it down. And I don’t mean once.

Byron Scott thinks Kobe might play beyond this contract if Lakers improve

Kobe Bryant
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Kobe Bryant has said he is done after this two-year contract.

No doubt he means and believes that. Right now. But plenty of people both around Kobe and around the league think it’s not going to be that simple, that the ultra-competitive Kobe, a guy who loves the process and challenge of playing in the NBA at his age, is not just going to be able to flip the switch and turn it off.

Maybe Byron Scott is in that camp. The Lakers’ coach thinks he and Lakers management might be able to persuade Kobe to stick around. Here is what Scott said Wednesday, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

“We’ll talk about that. You guys have watched him play. He has a lot left in that tank,” Scott said before the Lakers (4-13) play the Washington Wizards (11-5) at Verizon Center. “If we put something together that excites him, we’ll have a real good chance of him saying he’ll play another year and give it another shot. That’s what we plan to do.”

He added this (via the AP):

“He’s still hungry. He still loves the game. He still loves the competition. He still loves going against these younger guys now because he was once that younger guy,” Scott said.

Count me among the skeptics that the Lakers can put together a team that will interest Kobe to stick around in the next two years. That’s a hard mountain to climb.

Right now, Kobe believes this is his last contract. He has no doubt he plays this year and next then walks away into the world of business. Maybe he does. But two years is an eternity around the NBA and maybe come the summer of 2016 Kobe will not be able to walk away so easily, he could have a change of heart and think he wants to go one more round, go hard after one more ring. Whether or not he does it in purple and gold.

But right now all of that is just speculation. Including from the Lakers’ coach.

PBT’s Wednesday Night Winners/Losers: Philly is winless no more

Andrew Wiggins, Michael Carter-Williams, Mo Williams
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Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while stealing an ambulance so you could go to a strip club

source:  Philadelphia 76ers. It wasn’t pretty. Nobody with the Sixers cares. This is a team that was on the verge of tying the NBA all-time consecutive losses to start a season record but they got a repreive and picked up a win, 85-77, knocking off a depleted Minnesota team. The Sixers did it despite shooting just 39 percent because Minnesota’s offense was worse, shooting just 35.7 percent (and Minny was 3-of-17 from three). The Sixers scored just nine points in the entire second quarter. The Sixers started 1-of-20 from three (but hit four in a row late). None of that was because of great defense, either. This entire game lived down to expectations. Yet Michael Carter-Williams stepped up with a near triple-double (20 points , 9 rebounds, 9 assists, who cares if it took him 20 shots to get there) and off the bench Robert Covington had 17 points (including three fourth quarter threes). It’s a win. Philadelphia will take it.

source:  Referees in Sixers/Timberwolves. Are you kidding me? They had to replay the first 16 seconds of the Sixers/Timberwolves game because the two teams were shooting at the wrong baskets. Which pretty much summed up this entire game. But while it’s easy to laugh and say “it figures, it’s the Sixers/Wolves” this isn’t on the teams, it’s on the referees for not noticing and fixing it before. They are the cops out there and they were caught thinking about donuts, not doing their job.

source:  Kyle Lowry. The Raptors’ star point guard looked up, saw two Utah rookies had the assignment to cover him, and started to drool. With no DeMar DeRozan for another month or so Toronto needs more nights like this, where Lowry looks to get himself going first. He finished with 39 points (a career high) on 13-of-22 shooting. He got whatever shot he wanted and hit most of them.

source:  Houston Rockets. No Dwight Howard. Or Patrick Beverley. Or Terrence Jones. Or Isaiah Canaan. Yet the Houston Rockets handed the Grizzlies just their third defeat of the season. They did it by getting out and running on Memphis, a team that wants to slow it down and make every game the pace of a playoff game. This game was played at 99 possessions, which is up in Denver Nuggets territory and faster than either team likes to play. The Rockets had 25 fast break points on the night and their pressure wouldn’t let the Grizzlies’ defense get set, and at that pace Memphis had 20 turnovers. Also a good night from Donatas Motiejunas with 15 points and 7 boards, but more importantly really strong defense in the paint as he and the Rockets held Marc Gasol in check (8 points). Houston had 23 offensive rebounds on the night, also.

source:  Monta Ellis. It’s not exactly what you’d call an efficient night for Ellis, who had 23 points but needed 26 shots to get there. Didn’t matter, he got away with it. Just like he got away with a travel on the last shot — no call then he got the difficult shot to fall. Dallas wins.

Orlando rookie Elfrid Payton airballs two free throws in a row (VIDEO)

Milwaukee Bucks v Orlando Magic
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Elfrid Payton has some potential as a young point guard, but he has some things to work on. Like shooting. On the season he is shooting 38 percent overall. Less impressive, he is shooting 49 percent from the free throw line. Fifteen feet away and unguarded, he still hits less than half his shots.

It was worse than that Monday night in Los Angeles, where the Magic’s rookie airballed back-to-back free throws. That’s Shaq/Dwight Howard like. It’s a little disturbing for a point guard to be doing that.

Hat tip to James Herbert of Eye on Basketball.

Bucks’ Ersan Ilyasova out indefinitely with broken nose

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers
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In the second quarter Tuesday night the Bucks’ Ersan Ilyasova took an inadvertent forearm to the face from LeBron James, which ended Ilyasova’s night (he had 9 points in that second quarter and was a key reason the Bucks went on a 13-2 run to take a lead that quarter).

Now it turns out that blow is going to keep Ilyasova out at least a couple more games with a broken nose and concussion symptoms, the team announced Wednesday. From the official press release:

After being examined in the locker room at halftime, he was taken to the Cleveland Clinic where he underwent a CT scan that revealed a nasal fracture. He also displayed symptoms of a mild concussion. Ilyasova was held overnight for observation, released this morning, and is returning to Milwaukee. Ilyasova will not play in tonight’s contest and is not expected to travel on the team’s next trip to Dallas (Dec. 7) and Oklahoma City (Dec. 9).

Ilyasova is averaging 10.1 points a game in almost 19 minutes a night, shooting 50 percent on the season. With him and John Henson (foot) still out, expect to see more minutes for Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo at the four — that should be exciting, but gives me a “be careful what you wish for” feeling.