Tag: Kobe Bryant

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard owns fourth quarter against Lakers, including one nasty dunk (VIDEO)


LOS ANGELES — “It’s fun to watch, I just wanted to get some popcorn and grab a seat.”

LaMarcus Aldridge said that of Damian Lillard’s fourth quarter, although being in the game prevented any popcorn munching.

But make no mistake there was a fourth quarter show from Lillard — 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the final frame, taking control of the contest and leading Portland past the Los Angeles Lakers to a 106-94 win. It was the second time this season that the Lakers, playing without Kobe Bryant, hung around and hung around for three quarters against the Blazers, only to have Lillard own the fourth. But the Lakers are not the only victim, Lillard has scored 232 points in the fourth this season, more than any other player in the NBA.

“I just look to attack more,” Lillard said of his big fourth quarters. “For the first three quarters, let (Nicolas Batum) come off pick-and-rolls and make some plays, finding (Wesley Matthews) off pin downs, finding (Aldridge) on pick-and-rolls, and dropping it to him on the block….

“And at the end of the game, that’s just when I feel like it’s time to attack.”

Lillard finished the night with 34 points.

However what everyone was talking about after the game was Lillard’s monster and-1 dunk that was part of his fourth quarter onslaught.

“The time before I had the ball at half court and (Lakers’ point guard Ronnie Price) was pressed up on me, like way up at the half court line, and I saw everybody was flat on the baseline. I got in there the first time and I wanted to see how the bigs would play it, the first time they rotated over and I just threw it to (Chris) Kaman.

“The next time I went to half court and wanted to see if they would press up on me again, and he did, and I got in the lane again and I wanted to see if the big would come over and he just stayed back and by the time I gathered and went up it was basically too late.”

Lillard tried to downplay the dunk a little. Nobody else would. Nor would they downplay his fourth quarters — Lillard has gained a reputation as one of the game’s best closers.

“I think he has a knack for those moments, I think he wants to be great in those moments,” Aldridge said. “I’ve seem him do it over and over again so I’m never surprised by it.”

We may not be surprised by it, but we could use some popcorn so we can sit back and enjoy it.

Portland shows off some Hoosiers like ball movement for three (GIF)

LaMarcus Aldridge, Ronnie Price, Ed Davis


LOS ANGELES — Coach Norman Dale would be proud of that passing.

Well, maybe not the way it started, with LaMarcus Aldridge almost turning the ball over at midcourt, but once he whips it back into play the Blazers have the floor spaced and make some beautiful passes, while the Lakers’ defense scrambled.

Before the game Lakers coach Byron Scott was praising the Blazers spacing and ball movement on offense. He probably was not hoping to see this kind of demonstration, however.

The Lakers hung close with the Blazers for a little more than three quarters on Sunday night, doing it without Kobe Bryant.

Hat tip to Ben Golliver of SI.

Kobe Bryant out again Sunday, coach Scott admits he worked him too hard early in season

Kobe Bryant, Byron Scott

LOS ANGELES — Byron Scott is trying to fall on the sword for Kobe Bryant missing games.

Kobe is going to be out Sunday night for the Lakers as they host the Trail Blazers, meaning Kobe will have been out three of the Lakers last four.

“Just my feeling I wanted to give him another day of rest,” Scott said.

Scott then admitted he wish he’d done that more early in the season. Kobe played heavy minutes — and carried a heavy offensive load — in the Lakers first 27 games of the season. You could see Kobe wear down physically, his lift was gone and his game suffered. Eventually Kobe asked for some time off to rest.

“I thought his workload was too much,” Scott said looking back at those first 27 games. “He had a (minutes) number, my number was higher but his number was right, you know, when I look back at it. We cut those numbers down and I think his efficiency has been so much better, in terms of how he’s been able to play.

“The beginning, us getting on the same page and me getting to know him, what he could take and what he could stand as a minutes standpoint on a night to night basis was something that I had to get used to. We both got a real good feel now and we just got to go from this point on. Overall, he’s proven he’s got a lot left in the tank.”

Scott said he got fooled by his eyes.

“I didn’t take into serious consideration him missing almost a whole year and now getting back and playing,” he said before his Lakers faced Portland. “I should have figured out that would take a little time. But watching his workouts and watching what great shape he was in I think I got a little too confident, expecting that he could handle those type of minutes. And like I said, I was wrong….

“You may think it’s not a lot — if it’s a minute or two or three minutes, it doesn’t make much of a difference — but in the long run it does.”

Part of the issue was that the Lakers offense early on was very Kobe-centric — he was the guy with the ball in his hands nearly every time down, being asked to score and create. Kobe will shoulder that load, but the Lakers have been more dangerous when he facilitates, which is part him and part the other guys on the team not standing around and watching.

From here on out Kobe will be a game time decision most nights and most likely will miss one end of back-to-backs, Scott said.

“I want him to be right not only for this season but next season as well.”

Next season could be Kobe’s farewell tour, and the pressures on him to place certain nights and more nights will only grow.