There are two ways to look at Kobe Bryant’s performance Tuesday night, and how you do really speaks more to how you feel about Kobe than anything else.
On one side, there’s the argument that sure he scored 39 points, but it was an inefficient 39 off 37 shots — he was 14-of-37 from the floor for 37.8 percent shooting. He was 7-of-19 in the paint, 4-of-11 from the midrange. He took 42 percent of his team’s total shots. Kobe got his numbers but the Lakers can’t win if the offense isn’t efficient, and by the way they lost to the Suns and now are 0-5 on the season.
On the other side is this argument: Who else on this roster do you want taking more shots besides Kobe? Carlos Boozer? Jordan Hill? Sure you do. I think you can make a case for a little more Jeremy Lin and Ed Davis, but that’s no real answer. There is not other options on this team that opposing defenses fear or have to adjust their game f0r, so Kobe has to work hard and be the bulk of the offense.
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I think what you’re getting out of Kobe right now is all you can reasonably expect from the man at this age coming off these surgeries — his comeback has been impressive. The problem is the Lakers offense often seems to be a two-man game with everyone else standing around — there is little cutting or off the ball movement. It’s not hard to defend, which leads to inefficient offense. Both coach Byron Scott and the players need to change that.
The Lakers defense is abysmal and not going to become good anytime soon. If they are going to get wins they are going to have to out score teams, and to do that they need to be more efficient. Somehow.
Three Things to Know: For better and for worse, ‘Melo was ‘Melo in his Portland debut
LOS ANGELES — Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) For better and for worse, ‘Melo was ‘Melo in his Portland debut. For Carmelo Anthony optimists — watching this game through their special-issue, “Carmelo can do no wrong” glasses — there were positives to point to.
His first bucket of the game was a catch-and-shoot three, providing exactly the kind of floor spacing the Trail Blazers desperately need. Later, he had a drive and vintage mid-range pull-up, the type of play that forces defenses to adjust.
You can see how Melo can help the Blazers here. Blazers run "1 Fist" (their call for zipper action). CJ comes off Whiteside with Melo in the weakside corner. Skip to Melo in the corner who attacks the closeout and it's vintage Melo. pic.twitter.com/lrcPQvHvzi
“It felt great to be back into the flow of the game, be back on the court, be back to where I think I belong at, just be out there with the guys again, more so the routine – the team bus, team lunch… That’s the routine that I’ve been used to for 17 years now… As far as the game goes, it felt great to get back out there,” Anthony said postgame.
Anthony may have felt great, but the reality is ‘Melo looked like ‘Melo. The guy who did not get a contract offer last summer for a reason.
Anthony was 4-of-14 shooting for 10 points, had five turnovers, five fouls, leaned toward isolation offense at points, and had some moments of ugly defense were he looked lost or just had guys blow past him, and ended up a -20 on the night.
Some of that can be chalked up to rust and not having time to practice with his new team. Anthony should improve. Whether he can improve enough to have his NBA career end on his terms may be another question.
No doubt Portland needs the healthy bodies in the frontcourt and can use his offense if he can become a little more efficient. Again, there was undoubtedly rust, but Anthony was never exactly the most efficient player in the league. He has always been more of a volume guy. However, the bigger question is if he can defend well enough to stay on the court and help the Blazers. His lateral movement and ability to defend in space remain big questions, and you can be sure other teams will target him and test that.
There’s a lot of people around the league rooting for Anthony. However, if he’s the same old ‘Melo, this experiment is not going to last long.
2) LeBron James has historic triple-double — he is the first player ever to have a triple-double against all 30 teams. Jason Kidd came close, he got to 28 during his Hall of Fame playing career.
Now a Lakers’ assistant coach, he came up to LeBron James after Tuesday night’s win over Oklahoma City and told LeBron he was bad.
“I had seven turnovers, I was,” LeBron said, adding he agreed with Kidd.
Then Kidd let James know what he had just done: With his 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, LeBron got his first triple-double against the Thunder — making LeBron the first player in NBA history to have a triple-double against every team.
“I don’t know, I really don’t know what to think about it,” LeBron said. “I’ve had some great teammates and coaches who put me in a position to facilitate… and hopefully, though all those triple-doubles, I’ve got a winning record in those games.”
“He’ll say it’s because he’s been in the league so long,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said, guessing wrong but still making his point. “But we all know it’s because he’s remarkable, and for him to be doing it as long as he’s been doing it, that’s how you knock out all 30… I don’t know if that will ever get accomplished again.”
LeBron’s combination of versatility and longevity are unmatched in league history.
Vogel noted when he was coaching in Indiana, the book on LeBron was to play back and force him to shoot over the top of the defense. Now “he’s the best deep shooter on our team,” Vogel said.
LeBron’s assist numbers have been up this season with him playing more of a point guard role, he leads the league with 11.1 per game (Luka Doncic is second at 9.3). However, with the recent return of the one pure point guard on the roster in Rajon Rondo, would that cut into LeBron’s opportunities to rack up dimes? So far, no. Plus, LeBron is finishing a few assists for Rondo, too.
With the win 112-107 win against a scrappy Thunder team, the Lakers improve to a league-best 12-2 on the season.
Oklahoma City continues to be tough to play against — and unlucky. The Thunder have a 0.0, flat even net rating, which should translate to a .500 record, but instead they are 5-9 as the Thunder just keep losing close games.
3) The best shooter on an NBA floor Tuesday night? That would be 10-year-old Max. One of the Lakers’ regular in-game promotions is to bring out a young baller and let them try to win a free trip to the Lakers’ youth basketball camp the next summer by making enough baskets.
Forget that — the Lakers need to sign Max here to a contract.
There is nothing more iconic in Philadelphia than the Liberty Bell.
(Well, maybe the Philly Cheesesteak, but that’s a lot messier to turn into a jersey.)
Tuesday night, the 76ers unveiled their new city jerseys at the “76ers Crossover: Art Exhibition, presented by Reebok.” It’s a sharp new look.
“It’s important to our organization to pay tribute to Philadelphia’s rich history, culture and landmarks as frequently and authentically as we can,” Philadelphia 76ers President Chris Heck said. “In partnership with StubHub, we designed the City Edition jersey to celebrate the Liberty Bell, a Philadelphia icon that transcends time and brings to life a powerful symbol that unites us all. We look forward to enjoying many special moments with our fans wearing these uniforms throughout the remainder of the season.”
Here is how the press release describes the City Edition jerseys (which fans can buy beginning Nov. 27 online at www.SixersShop.com and at in-arena stores):
The parchment color uniform features blue “Philadelphia” cursive script and predominantly displays the crack in the Liberty Bell down the side of the uniform. On the front hem, the jersey features the embroidered phrase “Pass and Stow,” inscribed on the front of the Liberty Bell. The two names are derived from Philadelphia foundry workers, John Pass and John Stow, who recast the original bell in 1753.
Philadelphia will wear these for five games this season, the first on Nov. 30 against Indiana.
LeBron James finishes Rajon Rondo alley-oop to close out half (VIDEO)
One of the reasons LeBron James leads the league in assists — other than the fact he can do anything on the basketball court he wants — is that he was the Lakers’ only quality playmaker to start the season. He had to set guys up.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) —Jrue Holiday had 22 points and 10 assists, Brandon Ingram added 21 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans spoiled Carmelo Anthony’s Portland debut with a 115-104 victory over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
Anthony finished with 10 points while Portland leading scorer and four-time All-Star Damian Lillard missed his first game of the season with back spasms.
Starting at forward and playing across the street from where he led Syracuse to the 2003 NCAA championship over Kansas, Anthony scored the Blazers’ first points of the game on a 3-pointer from 26 feet out. However, he wound up missing 10 of 14 shots in what was the first game of his 17th NBA season.
J.J. Redick hit 4 of 9 3-pointers and scored 14 points for New Orleans, which has won two straight and three of four. Kenrich Williams, who got the start at forward, filled the stat sheet with hustle plays, grabbing 14 rebounds to go with three steals and a blocked shot. He also scored eight points.
Holiday highlighted his night with a spinning dribble around Nassir Little for a driving dunk. In the second half, he scored on an unusual play in which he remained under his own basket, re-tying his shoes while his team advanced 4-on-5 into the offensive end. Holiday then came sprinting down court, took a handoff from Nicolo Melli near the 3-point line and exploded toward the rim for a layup.
Anthony wasted no time getting his first shot off. His miss from 20 feet came within the opening 30 seconds and was Portland’s first shot of the game. Anthony also took Portland’s second shot, hitting his first of two made 3s.
But when Anthony tried to rise for a two-handed dunk in the first half, he was met with resistance by a member of the NBA’s rookie class when eighth overall draft pick Jaxson Hayes rejected the attempt.
Hayes closed out the half with his third block, swatting away a driving floater by Anfernee Simons to keep Portland’s lead at 54-53.
New Orleans seized momentum in the third quarter, going up by 13 on a sequence that began when Melli hit a 3 and then got the ball right back in a largely vacated Portland back court after Nickeil Alexander-Walker dove to swipe the ball away from McCollum. Melli went straight in for a dunk that made it 83-70.
Portland responded with three quick 3s — two by Kent Bazemore — during a 9-2 run that trimmed New Orleans’ lead to six before Alexander-Walker, who had hit 11 3s in his previous two games, ended the period by banking in a straightaway 3 to make it 88-79.