Kris Humphries is having a breakout season with the Nets.
He shot 44.1 percent last season and never higher than 47 percent until this season when he shot 52.7 percent. The reason is he took fewer jumpers and started taking more shots at the rim (1.3 more per game) and he finished them much better (67.1 percent this season to 55.8 percent last season). His percentage of rebounds grabbed jumped from 18 percent to 22 percent. He went from being an average player using PER to a solid starter at 17.95. (Stats via Hoopdata.)
“You know, it’s interesting. Just being around her, seeing how hard she works, and everyone in her family and what they do, it’s motivating for me,” Humphries said. “I want to be the best that I can be. I wouldn’t say it’s the only reason I’ve had a great year, but it definitely factors into that.”
When you think about Lamar Odom about to win the Sixth Man of the Year award after marrying Khloe Kardashian, maybe there is something to this effect. Frightening as that is to the rational mind.
Now the Nets want to ride the Kardashian Effect to a most improved player award. Not sure he’s going to win it, but since this award often goes to players who didn’t really improve as opposed to just got more minutes and kept up the level of production they had before, there could be worse choices.
The Nets released a video — Kris Humphries as “The Incredible Hump” — to sell you on what he can do. You can thank me later for getting The Humpty Hump stuck in your head all day.
Report: Allen Iverson had backpack containing $500K of jewelry stolen
Allen Iverson, like the rest of us, has been dealing with the incredible shock of Kobe Bryant dying. Iverson released a statement that includes a story that truly captures both stars:
“Words cannot express how I’m feeling today. The only 2 words that ring in my head — devastated and heartbroken. I cannot seem to shake this feeling no matter what I’ve tried to do since hearing this yesterday.
“People will always remember how we competed against each other in the league, but it goes so much deeper than that for me. The story of us being drafted in arguably the deepest class of its kind ever in the NBA can be debated for many years to come. However, his generosity and respect for the game is something that I witnessed first-hand every time we stepped on the dance floor to compete.
“It’s one memory of him that I can’t stop thinking about. It was our rookie season and my first trip to LA for a game against the Lakers. He came to my hotel, picked me up and took me to a restaurant. When we returned before he left, he asked me, “What are you going to do tonight?” My reply was, “I’m going to the club, what are you going to do?” He said, “I’m going to the gym.” That is who he always was, a true student of the game of basketball and also the game of life. He prepared relentlessly. There is something we can all learn from the “Mamba” mentality and from the way my brother lived his life. He will always have my respect as a competitor, as a friend, as a brother.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Vanessa, their children and the families of all of the victims of yesterday’s tragedy. As a father, I cannot wrap my head around how they must feel.
“We are not okay. But we will find the strength to pull through this together because that’s what Kobe would want us to do.”
Amid his grief, Iverson now has another issue to deal with.
Police are searching for a man accused of stealing a half-million dollars’ worth of jewelry from Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson.
Police said the unidentified man entered the Sofitel Hotel at 120 S. 17th Street Monday around 10:30 a.m. and snatched a backpack containing jewelry valued at approximately $500,000. NBC10 later confirmed with sources that the jewelry belonged to Iverson.
I can’t imagine many people in Philadelphia helping someone get away with stealing from Iverson.
Gordon Hayward: I didn’t step into lane to help Kobe Bryant score 60
Bryant’s final point came on a free throw with 14.8 seconds remaining in the Lakers’ win over the Jazz in 2016. Before Bryant attempted his free throw, Utah forward Gordon Hayward stepped into the paint. A story swirled in the last day that Hayward deliberately committed the violation so Bryant, if necessary, would get an extra free throw to score 60.
Hayward – now with the Celtics – set the record straight:
The past day has been incredibly heartbreaking for me. Kobe is someone that I looked up to and admired and developed a personal relationship with. I have struggled so much with trying to understand the devastating news and like many others I’m still trying to process it.
It has also come to my attention that there is a story going around tonight about an intentional lane violation that I took to ensure Kobe would get his 60th point in his final game and many are applauding me for the gesture. The fact of the matter is that is not true.
That was a night that I will truly never forget as I can remember almost every moment of it and my goal that night was to compete as hard as I possibly could against Kobe because that is what he was all about and I wanted to give him my very best.
He got 60 on me and I didn't give him anything free all night. What happened on the free throw line was not intentional. Kobe would have lost respect for me if I gave him something free. That’s what made him so very special!
Did the Jazz, who were already eliminated from the playoffs, play their absolute tightest defense on Bryant? No. Do players sometimes help opponents – especially a revered star like Bryant – reach milestones in otherwise-insignificant moments? Yes.
But unintentional lane violations happen somewhat frequently (and are often uncalled). There was just a big one last night. It’s not an area where players or referees stringently follow the rules.
It’s totally believable Hayward didn’t have some deeper meaning behind his step into the paint.
I’d take him at his word.
Report: No teams requested Sunday’s games be canceled after Kobe Bryant’s death
The NBA even postponed the Lakers-Clippers game originally scheduled for tonight. That led to the question: Why didn’t the league postpone games Sunday, the day Bryant died? Obviously there should be special consideration in Los Angeles, where Bryant spent his entire career. But nobody – from those involved to onlookers – had their hearts and heads in Sunday’s games.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
No teams that played Sunday requested for games to be canceled, league sources say, but there is obviously no manual for dealing with a tragedy like this. Teams that did play Sunday were allowed to keep locker rooms closed pre-game to delay Kobe questions until after the games https://t.co/I4Rb5PGENl
Postponing games (finding makeup dates, extra travel) or canceling games (refunding tickets, unbalanced schedules) would have created different headaches down the road. Maybe it would’ve been better to deal with those issues than playing. But playing also gave teams an opportunity to honor Bryant, find distraction amid grief and start the process of moving forward.
I wouldn’t get too hung up in the debate of whether the NBA should have canceled games Sunday. Whether or not games were played, Bryant was gone. There was no good solution here.
Three Things to Know: Tributes for Kobe Bryant keep pouring in
Every NBA game on Monday started with a 24-second violation by one team and an 8-second backcourt violation by the other — 24 and 8 celebrating Kobe’s numbers.
In Los Angeles, where Kobe played for 20 years and became part of the image and fabric of the city — the man even won an Oscar — the grief from the loss has been particularly acute. Monday night you could feel the city’s love when an impromptu crowd filled the area around Staples Center — where a memorial has sprung up — as well as the L.A. Live plaza across the street to watch an outdoor, big-screen replay of Kobe’s finale (shown outside the West Coast ESPN offices) — a 60-point game that was the perfect ending to his career. Laker fans showed up and chanted his name.
There will not be a Lakers’ game in Los Angeles for a few days, however. The Clippers/Lakers game for Tuesday was postponed (likely until April). The Lakers’ first game back will be home Friday against the Trail Blazers.
The tributes were not limited to Los Angeles. There was Madison Square Garden, home to some of Kobe’s biggest nights.
Kobe tributes poured in from around the globe, including in the Philippines.
This is the famed Tenement basketball court in Manila, where work continues Monday night on a tribute mural to Kobe and Gigi. The hand-painted court is surrounded by candles and personal tributes written on surrounding walls. Amazing work by @IamMikeSwift and his team. pic.twitter.com/po5UG4zbOZ
Back in the NBA, Gregg Popovich summed up how Kobe seemed to impact everyone.
Before tonight's game, Pop summed up reach of Kobe's impact this way: "Young kids on your team idolized him and looked up to him. The older ones knew him, and talked to him and had relationships with him. No matter which one of those groups you belong to, it was a tragic shock."
The Jazz entered the night the hottest team in the NBA having won 14-of-15. The Rockets came in sitting guys who account for 62.1 points per game in Harden (thigh bruise) and Westbrook (rest), or 51.6 percent of their points.
So Eric Gordon — who has battled injury much of the season himself — just took over and dominated, dropping 50.
Houston won 126-117. Danuel House Jr. scored 21 with 11 rebounds, while Austin Rivers also had 21 points. Utah lost at home for the first time since Dec. 9.
3) Kings come from 27 down — 17 in the final three minutes — to beat the Timberwolves in overtime. Welcome to “the comeback of the year” or the “most painful of our 10 straight losses,” depending on how you want to look at this one.
Minnesota had this one. They were about to snap a nine-game losing streak, Andrew Wiggins had just nailed a three with 2:49 left to put the Timberwolves up 17. It’s empty the bench and ice the knees time… except the Kings close the game on a wild 21-4 run that is capped off by De’Aaron Fox, down 2 with 4.7 seconds left, intentionally missing a free throw off the front of the rim, getting his own rebound and tying the game.
Boxing out people. It’s not just a 1950s skill. (It will be interesting to see if the Last Two Minute Report says that should have been a lane violation on Fox; still you got to seal him off there.)
That sent the game to overtime and the Kings got the win.
Buddy Hield, who grew up idolizing Kobe (as many of his generation did), came off the bench to drop 42 — he has found a spark as a sixth man for the Kings.
Here is your Hield/Kobe stat of the night to tie everything together.
Buddy Hield scored 20 points on 6-6 shooting in the 4th quarter tonight.
He joined Kobe Bryant (Dec. 6, 2002 vs Mavericks) as the only players in the last 20 seasons with a 20-point, 100% shooting 4th quarter in a game where his team overcame a 25-point deficit to win.