Tag: Kobe Bryant

Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers

David Blatt takes Cavaliers bowling instead of to practice, result is two straight wins in Los Angeles


The Cavaliers put together two straight wins on back-to-back nights at the Staples Center, the first coming in an entertaining contest against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, and the second coming in a shootout against a pretty good team in the L.A. Clippers.

The team’s much-maligned head coach, David Blatt, may have had something to do with that.

Cleveland has been under plenty of scrutiny lately, and came into this trip one game under .500 in the standings, essentially at the halfway point of the season. The pressure was mounting, so Blatt decided to relieve some of it by skipping a recent practice.

From Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

The Cleveland Cavaliers were of the understanding that they were on their way to practice on the campus of UCLA on Wednesday afternoon.

The team was reeling, coming off of losing its sixth straight game and a grueling practice was the anticipation. But what should have been a six-minute bus ride from their Beverly Hills hotel to the campus turned into 10, then 15, then a 20-minute ride. …

Head coach David Blatt had something up his sleeve. When the bus finally stopped, it was in front of a bowling establishment in Hollywood. To their shock, they learned practice was never in the plans. It was about getting away from basketball and bonding as a team. …

“I think it was a surprise for most guys,” Kevin Love said. “It just helped so much. We all needed a break from it all.”

Part of being a head coach at the professional level, maybe one of the biggest parts, has nothing to do with Xs and Os. It’s about managing player egos, and knowing what buttons to push to maximize the output you can get from your guys on a somewhat consistent basis.

It’s what Phil Jackson did best during his coaching days, and it’s why he was able to win 11 championships.

Blatt has a long way to go in that regard, but this latest move shows that at the very least, he knows what he’s doing more than some observers believed, and after two straight road victories, he may be on the right track.

If Lakers want to shut him down, Kobe Bryant says he’d accept it

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

Byron Scott has acknowledged the Lakers could shut down Kobe Bryant if* the Lakers are out of playoff contention in March.

*”If”… hahahaha.

For now, Kobe is still playing – and sometimes still playing well. He even occasionally has new tricks up his sleeve.

But if it reaches the point the Lakers want to shut him down?

Kobe, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

“Seriously, I understand,” Bryant said. “I understand. It’s my responsibility to be ready every single night and when I step out there on the floor to give it my all. If they want to shut me down, if they decide to sit me out, I will do what’s asked of me. It’s that simple.”

“I will do what they ask of me, but it’s very, very hard for me to miss one game,” Bryant said Thursday after the Lakers’ 109-102 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center. “I’m not going to be here much longer, so the games that I play, I want to make sure that I’m playing and enjoying it and appreciating it.”

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Kobe is a proud player who seems to genuinely care about putting on good display every time he plays. I’m sure this is not how he envisioned the latter stages of his career going.

But after Scott had him on unsustainable minutes plan to star the season, this is reality.

We haven’t seen much of the defiant Kobe lately, and if he won’t put up a fight over the simplest issue – playing – it’s hard to see what would cause him to put his foot down. With retirement coming sooner than later, I’m not sure we’ll see that Kobe again.

Watch Kobe Bryant set career high with 17 assists

Kobe Bryant, Tristan Thompson, LeBron James

The myth is Kobe Bryant is a ball hog who will not pass. Like most myths while there may be a little truth in the story it has gotten wildly blown out of proportion. Kobe is a willing passer if he trusts his teammates — there are times he doesn’t trust anyone more than he trusts himself, even if he is double-covered and 25 feet from the basket. But when teammates earn his trust Kobe is a smart passer anticipating the defense.

Kobe has started to trust his teammates more as this season has moved on — he’s had to. His body won’t let him carry the same load it used to.

Thursday night against the Cavaliers Kobe’s teammates rewarded that trust by knocking down seeming everything. Kobe finished with a career high 17 points and looked good doing it.

It just wasn’t enough to beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers.