Watch Derrick Rose’s game winner, Pistons beat Pelicans 105-103

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NEW ORLEANS — Derrick Rose is 31 and his body has taken a beating, but the 2011 NBA MVP showed once again he can still take over a game and knock down the decisive shot.

Rose hit a 14-foot jumper in the lane with 0.3 seconds left and scored 17 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Detroit Pistons over the skidding New Orleans Pelicans 105-103 on Monday night.

It was Rose’s second consecutive strong fourth-quarter performance for the Pistons, who have won four of five. New Orleans lost its ninth straight.

“I don’t talk or boast or brag about it, but I still have goals,” said Rose, who has endured a series of physical setbacks, including an ACL tear, that have resulted in him playing for five teams over the past five years.

“I know overall where I’m at as a player and as a person, and I believe in myself,” Rose added. “That’s where it all starts – with me believing in myself – and going to an organization and playing for a team that believes in me, too. I believe this is the start.”

With the game tied at 103, Detroit worked an isolation play for Rose, who dribbled the ball out top against Jrue Holiday, one of the best defenders in the league.

Rose drove into the lane, spun to the right and hit his jumper over Holiday’s outstretched arms.

“He has everything,” Holiday said. “I think it was a good play on his part. I’m not going to take anything from him. He’s a great player and the shot that he made was a tough shot. There was nothing I could do about it.”

Pistons coach Dwane Casey said Rose is not completely recovered from a strained right hamstring that forced him to miss five games last month. But his leg must be improving. In a 108-101 victory over Indiana on Saturday, Rose had 10 fourth-quarter points – including four in the final 1:14 and a floater in the lane with 18.4 seconds left that iced the game.

“This man has done it,” Casey said. “His timing and his rhythm – I still don’t think he’s back 100%, but it’s coming. We’ve just got to make sure we play high IQ basketball.”

Rose went 7 of 8 from the field and drained both 3-point attempts during his fourth-quarter flurry.

After his go-ahead basket, New Orleans inbounded the ball from halfcourt toward Jaxson Hayes, but the rookie center could not get the tying tip-in.

Brandon Ingram‘s 18-foot turnaround gave New Orleans a 103-101 lead with 1:11 to go, but Rose hit a spinning layup to tie it at 103 with 38.7 seconds remaining. Ingram then missed a tough-angle jumper from the left baseline over Blake Griffin, who switched over to guard him in the final 90 seconds.

Ingram led the Pelicans with 31 points but scored only four in the fourth quarter.

“We knew Blake couldn’t guard Ingram for long periods of time, but for one possession or two possessions, we wanted him to use his physicality (on Ingram), and he used it,” Casey said. “He did a great job on him.”

Detroit had three players in double figures besides Rose: Langston Galloway (16 points), Luke Kennard (14) and Andre Drummond (13). Drummond also grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Pelicans missed their first 10 3-point attempts in the third quarter and Detroit erased a six-point deficit to take a 67-61 lead.

 

Nick Kyrgios warms up for Australian Open in Kobe Bryant jersey (video)

Nick Kyrgios in Kobe Bryant jersey and Rafael Nadal
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Kobe Bryant was a great basketball player. His sport-specific skills – shooting, dribbling, positioning – were incredible.

But his competitiveness and work ethic transcended basketball. Those traits earned him admirers far and wide.

Tennis star Nick Kyrgios wore a Bryant jersey to warm up for the Australian Open:

CJ Fogler:

After his fourth-round loss to Rafael Nadal, Kyrgios – wearing a different Kobe jersey – shared his perspective on Bryant:

Kyrgios:

Basketball is practically my life, and I watch it every day, and I’ve been following it for as long as I can remember.

If anything, it motivated me. If you look at the things he stood for and what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight.

I’m a Celtics fan, and so when I saw Kobe do what he does and break the hearts of so many Celtics fans, it was tough to see. But I don’t think they make them like him anymore. He was different. The way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played was special. It’s just sad.

Reports: Kobe Bryant’s helicopter was in holding pattern, advised of flying too low

Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site
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Kobe Bryant’s shocking death has left millions trying to cope.

For some, questions turn to the technical: How? How did Bryant’s helicopter crash?

RadarOnline.com:

“Hold outside Burbank, I have an aircraft,” the recording revealed the tower employee advising Bryant’s helicopter during the communication.

“He’s been holding for about 15 minutes,” a flight tower employee said about Bryant’s helicopter around 9:30 a.m.

Emma Parry and Chris Spargo of The U.S. Sun:

The pilot, Ara Zobayan, was told he was flying too close to the ground.

Per audio from before the crash, Zobayan said: “OK, we’ll continue holding.”

RadarOnline.com:

As the flight towers try to assist in the helicopter landing, they are cautioned about the “overcast” weather and their low flight level, meaning they were dangerously close to the ground.

“You’re still too low level for flight following at this time,” the flight toward warned the pilot on the audio.

Bryant’s helicopter was reportedly traveling north along the 118 freeway, turned west and followed the 101 freeway. After hitting heavy fog around 9:40 a.m., the helicopter turned south and made a steep climb from 1200 feet to 2000 feet.

Moments later they reportedly flew into the mountain at 1700 feet and the vehicle was traveling at 161 knots.

There’s still more to learn, including whether the helicopter had mechanical issues. Perhaps, we’ll never get that answer. If we do, it won’t change anything.

Still, it feels natural to search for greater understanding of this inexplicable tragedy.

In Europe, Kobe Bryant recalled for his “Italian qualities”

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ROME (AP) — In Europe, where Kobe Bryant grew up, the retired NBA star was being remembered for his “Italian qualities.”

“All of the NBA players are important, because they’re legends, but he’s particularly important to us because he knew Italy so well, having lived in several cities here,” Italian basketball federation president Giovanni Petrucci told The Associated Press. “He had a lot of Italian qualities.”

“He spoke Italian very well. He even knew the local slang,” Petrucci added.

Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died Sunday in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California. He was 41.

Bryant lived in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13 while his father, Joe Bryant, played for several teams in the country before returning to Pennsylvania for high school. Kobe Bryant spoke fluent Italian and often said it would be a “dream” to play in the country.

The dream almost came true when Bryant nearly joined Virtus Bologna in 2011 during an NBA lockout, only for the deal to fall apart.

“He was a supernatural,” Italian coach Ettore Messina, who worked with Bryant as an assistant for the Lakers, told the AP via text message while traveling with his current club, Olimpia Milano.

“To hear him speak and joke in our language and to remember when his father played here and he was a kid drew a lot of people to the NBA,” Messina said. “He was also always very attentive to help Italian kids arriving in the NBA and to help them enter such a tough and competitive world. He also did that with me when I arrived at the Lakers and I’m still very grateful to him for that. It’s very sad that his family has been devastated like this.”

Dating from his time in Italy, Bryant was a lifelong soccer fan.

AC Milan, one of the clubs that Bryant supported, tweeted: “We have no words to express how shocked we are to hear of the tragic passing of one of the greatest sportsmen of all time and Rossonero fan, Kobe Bryant. All our thoughts are with the families of those affected by this tragic accident. You will forever be missed, Kobe.”

The International Olympic Committee noted in a tweet that Bryant was a two-time gold medalist, adding: “Rest In Peace #KobeBryant You will always stay in our hearts.”

 

Miami’s Dion Waiters accepts responsibility for issues that led to suspensions

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MIAMI (AP) — Dion Waiters spoke about his issues for the first time in months Sunday, accepting responsibility for the matters that led him to being suspended by the Miami Heat on three separate occasions already this season.

Waiters didn’t specifically address any incidents, including his decision to take cannabis-infused gummies on the team plane and needing emergency medical attention when that flight landed in Los Angeles. That led to a 10-game suspension in November; his other banishments were for the season opener after complaining about playing time, then a two-week one in December for continued violations of team policy.

“I’m a grown man. I don’t point fingers. I’m could easily say this and that, but at the end of the day, it’s me,” Waiters said. “I made immature decisions. So, you know, I take full responsibility.”

Waiters finally made his season debut for Miami on Friday, scoring 14 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Miami plays again Monday against Orlando and Tuesday against Boston, and with several players — including perimeter players Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn all dealing with injuries — there still could be a spot for Waiters in Miami’s rotation.

“There’s so many moving parts right now,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You just want everybody to put in the time behind the scenes and get into a healthy head space where you can contribute when your number is called and he did that. He still has a ways to go with his conditioning, particularly game conditioning. That’s to be expected. But he’s a gamer.”

Waiters’ suspensions have cost him about $1.4 million in salary this season. That doesn’t include a $1.1 million bonus that he could have earned by appearing in 70 games, a level that has been mathematically out of reach for months already.

“I’m happy for him. I’m very happy for him,” Heat teammate Jimmy Butler said. “He’s working. He was ready to go out there and hoop and that’s all we were saying, just say ready. Now it’s all about trying to stack up however many good days you can.”

Waiters said he relied on family to get him through the suspensions and not playing, saying he would not let going through it all break him.

“I’m not going to lie to you, man. My kids. My kids, my family, my support system is so strong,” Waiters said. “I’ve got a lot of good people in my life. You find that out when you go through them times. This is the first time I’ve been through something like this in my life. … I don’t feel like I lost anything, besides my money.”

Waiters had a simple answer on whether he expects to keep playing.

“Hopefully,” he said.