Lakers may give Kobe Bryant some nights off to rest. If he wants them.

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Kobe Bryant is fatigued. He admitted as much after a 3-of-15 shooting performance against the Thunder Friday night.

“Yea, didn’t have my legs,” Kobe said when asked if he was physically fatigued Friday. “It’s pretty frustrating. Got to figure it out.”

He hadn’t figured it out by Sunday, when Kobe was 8-of-30 shooting for 25 points in the Lakers loss to the Kings. Kobe is now 11-of-45 (24.4 percent) shooting over his last two games and 33-of-113 (29.2 percent) in his last five games. He’s clearly exhausted, you can see it in his lift on shots. With that coach Byron Scott is thinking of giving him the night off soon, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

Scott, whose Lakers fell to 8-19 and who begin a three-games-in-four-nights stretch against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, said he’ll meet with Bryant on Monday to discuss the matter.

“When I get on the plane and get home, (he will) think about it a little more and then go from there,” Scott said…. “The biggest thing is I’ve got to take the basketball part out of it, to be honest with you. Because I think at times he does look exhausted, and I know he’s trying to do so much, so like I said I’ve got to talk to him and I’m going to take what he says with a grain of salt. … I know him, and I know he wants to play, but I’ve got to think about him as well. Maybe it is a game or two (that he rests). I don’t know yet.”

He knows. Kobe at age 36 and coming off two major surgeries has played 957 minutes this season (10th highest in the league), is averaging 35.4 minutes per game (15th highest in the league) and he has a usage rate of 36.4 percent (he uses that percentage of possessions when on the court), which is the highest in the league. Nobody is carrying the load he is on a team.

And it shows.

But for Byron Scott to tell Kobe to sit implies Scott has the power in this relationship. He does not. It’s all Kobe. There hasn’t been a Lakers’ coach since Phil Jackson who could actually tell Kobe what to do and he’d follow through whether he wanted to or not.

Case in point: after going 3-of-14 against the Thunder Friday, the Lakers had a chance for a game-winning shot — and Scott drew up an isolation play for Bryant. Scott said after the game Kobe’s history — “he’s got 32,000 points” — was the reason, and that may have played into it. But the fact is if Kobe wants the ball on this team he gets the ball. And with this Lakers roster he doesn’t trust anyone but himself to really take charge.

Scott’s plan up to this point was to rest Kobe in practices and play him big minutes in games. But Kobe practiced last week, going hard in a scrimmage, and around that he continues to look fatigued on the court, with those tired legs betraying his jump shot.

“It’s a balancing act, just figuring out when to do it (practice hard to push teammates) and when not,” Bryant said of the idea of skipping practice and getting rest after Friday’s game. “We’re just trying to figure out proper rest and that stuff.”

Maybe after Sunday he’ll be open to missing a game or two. Maybe. But it will be his call.

And you can bet if Kobe does miss a game it will not be Thursday’s nationally televised game against the Bulls. Not on Christmas day.

Watch Jamal Murray hit insane hand-switching layup around LeBron

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Are. You. Kidding. Me.

You are not going to see a better layup these playoffs than this one by Denver’s Jamal Murray, going around LeBron James near the end of the first half of Game 4.

Murray went up thinking dunk, had to change his mind because of LeBron, brought it down, went around him, and spun it in off the glass. Insane. It had some people on Twitter referencing the legendary Michael Jordan hand-switching shot. Not sure I’m willing to compare this Murray shot to a layup that helped launch a dynasty, but it’s close.

Murray had 16 in the first half but the Nuggets trailed at the break 60-55 in a high scoring first half. Anthony Davis had 19 to lead the Lakers.

Former Louisville star Donovan Mitchell “sad, angry, disgusted” with Breonna Taylor decision

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NBA players — like large swaths of the United States — are shaking their heads at the decision not to prosecute the police sho shot Breonna Taylor in her home. That includes LeBron James, who said the walls of Taylor’s neighbors got more justice than she did.

Now former Louisville star Donovan Mitchell has spoken out on the issue.

View this post on Instagram

We’re Sorry Breonna😔🤦🏾‍♂️

A post shared by Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) on

The hate and racism in too many of the responses to that Instagram post highlight the injustice and additional hurdles Black people in America have to clear every day.

Louisville has faced a night of protests and backlash to the decision by the grand jury, which included the two police officers getting shot (they both survived).

 

Report: Bulls paying Billy Donovan $6 million-plus annual salary

New Bulls coach and former Thunder coach Billy Donovan
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
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Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf just spent the NBA hiatus – at least if you looked beyond “The Last Dance” itself – getting dragged for not spending enough to give Michael Jordan another year of title contention in Chicago.

Paying to hire Billy Donovan is a way for Reinsdorf and the Bulls to repair their reputations.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

I’d be surprised if all four years are fully guaranteed. Coaching contracts of this length usually contain a team option or two.

But that’s still a hefty salary. Especially in these times. Especially considering it was believed the Bulls would keep Jim Boylen for financial reasons.

Donovan left the Thunder despite them offering him a new contract. He likely knew he could get more elsewhere.

Credit Chicago for being the team to spend. The Bulls needed a solid coach after Boylen and Fred Hoiberg.

Donovan won’t solve all Chicago’s problems, but he should help on multiple fronts. This upgrade costs nothing but Reinsdorf’s money, which every Chicago fan is perfectly willing to spend.

NBA playoff schedule 2020: Date, time, matchup for every game

NBA playoff schedule 2020
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And there were four.

The NBA is down to the conference finals — and the bubble has provided us with upsets galore. There are some unexpected teams in the NBA’s Final Four, but of course LeBron James is still there. The Lakers are the heavy favorites at this point.

Here are a few notes on the NBA playoffs schedule 2020:

• The NBA is continuing to push the pace with games every other day — except in the East, when ESPN wants a break not to clash with the NFL, and to let the West catch up. The fast pace of games will return with the NBA Finals.
Families for the players, and with the final four now the coaches, are in the bubble.
• The NBA has released an NBA Finals schedule to teams and their target is still a Sept. 30 Game 1. If either conference finals goes seven games that date will need to be pushed back.

Here is the NBA playoffs schedule 2020 (all times are Eastern):

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Miami Heat

Game 1: Heat 117, Celtics 114, OT
Game 2: Heat 106, Celtics 101
Game 3: Celtics 117, Heat 106
Game 4: Heat 112, Celtics 109 (Miami leads series 3-1)
Game 5: Sept. 25, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 6: Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)*
Game 7: TBD (ESPN)*
*If necessary

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets

Game 1: Lakers 126, Nuggets 114
Game 2: Lakers 105, Nuggets 103
Game 3: Nuggets 114, Lakers 106 (Lakers lead series 2-1)
Game 4: Sept. 24, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5: Sept. 26, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 6: Sept. 28, TBD (TNT)*
Game 7: Sept. 30, TBD (TNT)*
*If necessary

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Second Round results

Eastern Conference

No. 3 Boston beat No. 2 Toronto 4-3

No. 5 Miami beat No. 1 Milwaukee 4-1

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat Houston 4-1

No. 3 Denver beat No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: First Round results

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat No. 8 Portland 4-1

No. 2 L.A. Clippers beat No. 7 Dallas 4-2

No. 3 Denver beat No. 6 Utah 4-3

No. 4 Houston beat No. 5 Oklahoma City 4-3

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Milwaukee beat No. 8 Orlando 4-1

No. 2 Toronto beat No. 7 Brooklyn 4-0

No. 3 Boston beat No. 6 Philadelphia 4-0

No. 5 Miami beat No. 4 Indiana 4-0