Archive for the 'All-Star 2012' Category

Bynum Ready to Play Wednesday

After receiving a routine Synvisc injection in his right knee as part of normal and continuing treatment to maintain the knee’s health on Friday, Andrew Bynum did not participate in Saturday’s Western Conference All-Star practice, and played only 5:31 in the first quarter of Sunday’s All-Star game.

“It was planned this way,” Bynum told the Orange County Register’s Janis Carr. “I decided to play just a little bit to experience it … If I waited to do it (rest) Monday, (the knee) would have been an issue.”

Bynum did manage three rebounds, a steal, an assist and a block with his 0-for-3 FG’s in the five minutes he played, but was more concerned about being healthy for Wednesday’s Lakers game against Minnesota at Staples Center.

Kobe Breaks His Nose … then MJ’s Record

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Kobe Bryant was as red hot as his Western Conference uniform to start the All-Star game, making six of his first seven shots (including two three-pointers), and when his two-handed slam went through the rim with 4:56 left in the third quarter he had surpassed Michael Jordan’s all-time record for points in the game of stars.

And oh, by the way, he did so with a broken nose for most of the second half.

The physicality started to increase early in the third quarter, with Bryant stealing the ball from East/Heat guard Dwyane Wade with 10:27 left, resulting in an alley-oop dunk for the West on the other end. About two minutes later, with 8:48 on the clock, Bryant spun around Wade to the baseline, creating a clear path to the hoop. Wade turned to swing both arms in No. 24′s direction, catching Bryant directly in the nose with his right arm. A 30-second official’s time out was called on the court to stop the bleeding.

TO VIEW 61 PHOTOS OF BRYANT & BYNUM AT THE ALL-STAR GAME, CLICK HERE.

Wade told reporters that he tried to take a foul but obviously not draw blood, and that Kobe had fouled him on two previous plays.

We wouldn’t learn that Bryant’s nose was broken until just after 10:30 Pacific time, 1:30 a.m. in Orlando, when physicians who treated Bryant communicated back to Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti and VP of Public Relations John Black, who subsequently informed Lakers.com.

Yet, as soon as the blood stopped running, Bryant hit both free throws to reach 18 points in the game, matching Jordan’s record of 262 All-Star points. Without saying a word to Thunder/All-Star coach Scott Brooks about coming out, Bryant continued to play through pain as he always does. About four minutes after the blow to his nose, he sprinted out in transition after Kevin Durant stole the ball from LeBron James, caught Durant’s pass with Wade a step behind him, got to the rim in one dribble, took off and passed Jordan before his feet touched the ground.

Bryant added two more free throws and a layup before the third quarter ended to reach 24 points, having made eight of his 13 shots (61.5 percent). He’d finish with 1-of-4 makes in the fourth quarter plus 1-of-2 free throws in the final minute to finish at 9-of-17 (52.9 percent), good for 27 points. The league’s leading scorer in the first half of the season (28.4 points per game) mixed in a typical motley crew of buckets, including a 17-foot pull up, a 19-foot fadeaway, some layups, turnaround jumpers, dunks and 7-of-8 free throws, in the process making the all-time scoring list look like this:

271 – Kobe Bryant
262 – Michael Jordan
251 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
246 – Oscar Robertson

Bryant’s legs looked rather fresh after three days rest from four Lakers games in five nights before the break, and he’ll get two more to rest from the 35 minutes he played – second only to Durant’s 37 – before L.A.’s Wednesday evening game vs. Minnesota.

No. 24 returned to Los Angeles on Monday to get his nose re-evaluated by ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. John Rehm; perhaps the nose hurts just a little bit less now that he’s the most prolific scorer in the history of an All-Star game he’d been apart of since 1997-98, his second season in the NBA.

Bryant & Bynum: All-Star Starters

Kobe Bryant has now been named a Western Conference All Star starter more times (14) than Phil Jackson has accepted championship rings as a player and a coach (13), and far more times than the rest of his fellow Western All Stars combined (8).

Bryant led all Western players in fan votes, which is nothing new, as he’s been elected a starter in the game every year except for his rookie season (1996-97), and in 1999 when the lockout prevented the game. But for the first time, one of Bryant’s fellow starters will be teammate Andrew Bynum, who led all Western centers in votes.

“I can’t wait to go, it’s going to be exciting, and I’m looking forward to it,” said Bynum. “The fans are pushing you, and it’s not left up to someone else. That’s great.”

In 18 starts after missing the first four games due to a suspension, Bynum has averaged 16.5 points on team-best 54.8 percent shooting, while leading the Lakers with 12.1 rebounds and 1.89 blocks per game in 34.3 minutes a night. He ranks third in the NBA in rebounding, sixth in field goal percentage and 10th in blocks.

“I’m in a good system, I’m getting the ball a lot more, and without (Lamar) Odom here, I’m getting more minutes,” he explained. Yes, Bynum’s minutes are way up. Last season, he played only 27.8 per game, a difference of 6.8 an evening, improving the average for his career to 24.8.

Speaking of minutes played … despite being in his 16th NBA season, and having already played more playoff minutes than any basketball player ever, Bryant ranked second in minutes per game until Tuesday’s blowout win over Charlotte allowed him to sit for the fourth quarter. He now ranks fourth at 38.0 per night behind relative youngsters Kevin Love, Marc Gasol and Monta Ellis.

And he’s making the most of the increased court time. In those 38 minutes, Bryant is leading the NBA in scoring 30.0 points per game, the most he’s posted since 2006-07, along with 6.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists (both his most since 2007-08).

“It’s ridiculous, but obviously, he’s the best player in the game, so he’s going to make it every year,” said Bynum, reflecting on how well Bryant’s playing this season and all of his All Star trips. Indeed, while Bryant expects to be there, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the record with 18 appearances), the first one is always the most special.

“It feels great,” Bynum continued. “I want to continue to progress, and let my game expand. It makes me a lot more confident – definitely feel a lot more confident.”

This will be the first time that Bynum has ever even attended All-Star weekend since entering the league in 2005. In the past, he’s done things as random as gone to an Air Force base, where he looked into the cockpit but decided not to get in since “the eject thing was live.” Fair enough. While we’re not so sure his 7-foot, 285-pound frame would fit in the plane, Bynum said he wouldn’t be too worried about potential danger.

“If you can’t trust the Navy, who can you trust?”

The only remaining question in Los Angeles about the All Star game is whether or not Pau Gasol will make his fourth consecutive trip, and fifth of his career. Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin have claimed the starting forward slots, leaving Gasol — an All-NBA second teamer last season — looking for a vote from the coaches, just like Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki or Tim Duncan, and guys having excellent years LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and Paul Millsap.

Bynum said that there’s absolutely no question that Gasol (16.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.23 blocks) deserves to go, but that L.A.’s win total might make it tough to have three Lakers in the mix.

Either way, there will be two Lakers in the starting line up for the first time since Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal in 2004.

All-Star 2012 Second Returns

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NEW YORK, Jan. 19, 2012 – Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls top the Eastern Conference, while Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the Western Conference after the second returns of 2012 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by Sprint. Howard, who leads the NBA in rebounding (15.6 rpg), is the overall leader with 1,161,797 votes.

The 2012 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages, will be played at Amway Center in Orlando on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012.

Howard paces centers in the East, followed by the Bulls’ Joakim Noah (141,683). LeBron James of the Miami Heat leads Eastern Conference forwards with 972,580 votes, followed by Carmelo Anthony (779,945) of the New York Knicks. Rose leads Eastern Conference guards with 1,040,210 votes, followed by Miami’s Dwyane Wade (972,015).

Bryant’s 1,110,379 votes leads Western Conference guards, with the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul placing second (835,026). Durant’s 973,152 votes leads forwards in the West, with Blake Griffin of the Clippers next in line with 619,913 votes. The Lakers’ Andrew Bynum paces Western Conference centers with 777,365 votes, followed by the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan (214,883).

The NBA All-Star ballot lists 120 players – 60 each from the Eastern and Western conferences – with 24 guards, 24 forwards, and 12 centers from each conference comprising the list. Voters select two guards, two forwards and one center from each conference. The 120 players on the ballot were selected by a panel of media who regularly cover the NBA: Bill Simmons (Grantland), Sekou Smith (NBA.com), Doug Smith (Toronto Star/PBWA), and Ian Thomsen (Sports Illustrated).

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 973,152; Blake Griffin (LAC) 619,913; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 354,434; Pau Gasol (LAL) 327,596; Kevin Love (Min) 232,656; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 188,829; Tim Duncan (SA) 133,575; Lamar Odom (Dal) 96,080; Metta World Peace (LAL) 63,055; Danilo Gallinari (Den) 59,646.

Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,110,379; Chris Paul (LAC) 835,026; Ricky Rubio (Min) 248,423; Steve Nash (Pho) 188,537; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 167,996; Kyle Lowry (Hou) 132,972; Monta Ellis (GS) 105,926; Manu Ginobili (SA) 79,821; Jason Kidd (Dal) 79,783; Chauncey Billups (LAC) 73,429.

Centers: Andrew Bynum (LAL) 777,365; DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 214,883; Marc Gasol (Mem) 182,992; Nenê (Den) 144,066; Marcin Gortat (Pho) 92,511; Kendrick Perkins (OKC) 66,380.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 972,580; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 779,945; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 281,617; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 268,980; Chris Bosh (Mia) 209,640; Luol Deng (Chi) 166,671; Paul Pierce (Bos) 145,077; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 101,612; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 93,456; Hedo Turkoglu (Orl) 80,694.

Guards: Derrick Rose (Chi) 1,040,210; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 972,015; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 394,672; Ray Allen (Bos) 274,233; Deron Williams (NJN) 143,941; Jose Calderon (Tor) 84,881; Richard Hamilton (Chi) 64,757; John Wall (Was) 61,160; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 53,300; Joe Johnson (Atl) 40,718.

Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,161,797; Joakim Noah (Chi) 141,683; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 107,735; Joel Anthony (Mia) 67,210; JaVale McGee (Was) 41,249; Al Horford (Atl) 35,860.

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All-Star 2012 First Returns

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NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2012 – Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and LeBron James of the Miami Heat top the Eastern Conference, while Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the Western Conference after the first returns of 2012 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by Sprint. Howard, the Kia Defensive Player of the Year each of the past three seasons, is the overall leader with 754,737 votes.

The 2012 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages, will be played at Amway Center in Orlando – on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012.

Howard paces centers in the East, followed by the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah (75,038). James leads Eastern Conference forwards with 640,789 votes, followed by Carmelo Anthony (496,351) of the New York Knicks. Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls leads Eastern Conference guards with 640,476 votes, followed by Miami’s Dwyane Wade (637,912).

Bryant’s 690,613 votes leads Western Conference guards, with the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul placing second (540,173). Durant’s 633,538 votes lead forwards in the West, with Blake Griffin of the Clippers next in line with 394,264 votes. The Lakers’ Andrew Bynum paces Western Conference centers with 496,597 votes, followed by the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan (134,961).

2012 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY SPRINT
WESTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 633,538; Blake Griffin (LAC) 394,264; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 231,832; Pau Gasol (LAL) 185,428; Kevin Love (Min) 143,814; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 118,268; Tim Duncan (SA) 81,783; Lamar Odom (Dal) 59,686; Metta World Peace (LAL) 39,006; Danilo Gallinari (Den) 34,438.

Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 690,613; Chris Paul (LAC) 540,173; Ricky Rubio (Min) 133,520; Steve Nash (Pho) 118,922; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 107,197; Kyle Lowry (Hou) 90,725; Monta Ellis (GS) 63,696; Manu Ginobili (SA) 50,765; Jason Kidd (Dal) 49,596; Chauncey Billups (LAC) 42,657.

Centers: Andrew Bynum (LAL) 496,597; DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 134,961; Marc Gasol (Mem) 102,116; Nenê (Den) 94,167; Marcin Gortat (Pho) 62,631; Kendrick Perkins (OKC) 41,579.

2012 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY SPRINT
EASTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 640,789; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 496,351; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 178,797; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 173,161; Chris Bosh (Mia) 140,601; Paul Pierce (Bos) 94,071; Luol Deng (Chi) 85,086; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 54,739; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 53,477; Hedo Turkoglu (Orl) 43,154.

Guards: Derrick Rose (Chi) 640,476; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 637,912; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 253,969; Ray Allen (Bos) 174,934; Deron Williams (NJN) 89,128; Jose Calderon (Tor) 42,929; John Wall (Was) 38,025; Richard Hamilton (Chi) 36,418; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 27,713; Joe Johnson (Atl) 23,384.

Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 754,737; Joakim Noah (Chi) 75,038; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 61,774; Joel Anthony (Mia) 41,832; JaVale McGee (Was) 24,713; Al Horford (Atl) 23,546.

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