Archive for the 'Kobe Bryant' Category

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Kobe Becomes Lakers Steals King

With a third quarter interception of a Clippers’ pass on Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant became the all-time franchise leader in steals for the Lakers, surpassing Magic Johnson’s 1,724 in his Hall of Fame career.

Magic twice led the NBA in steals (1980-81 and 81-82) and posted the third highest single-season steals average in history in 80-81 at 3.43 per game. He now ranks 15th on the NBA’s all-time list, one spot behind Kobe, with Isiah Thomas (1,861) and Derek Harper (1,957) up next.

Bryant turned that second steal into a layup on the other end as part of his 40-point evening, though the Lakers lost 105-95 to fall to 0-3 on the season.

“It Makes You Unstoppable.”

Kobe Preaches Patience

Despite an 0-2 start to begin the season, Kobe Bryant maintains there is no reason to panic given the new offensive system the team is still trying to incorporate.

The Lakers co-captain, though, looks like his usual self despite playing through continued pain in his right foot.

After the season opener against Dallas, Kobe estimated he played at “probably 80, 85 percent,” although he still notched 22 points on 11 for 14 shooting. In the second game of a back-to-back in Portland, he scored 30 points on 10 for 20 shooting, including 4 for 9 on 3-pointers. Through two contests, he is averaging 26 points on almost a 62 percent clip from the field.

The 17-year veteran did not practice Thursday, and is listed as “day-to-day,” but will play on Friday against the Clippers.

Post practice, Kobe took some time to talk about the team’s offense through two games, cautioning critics and fans to be understanding of the new system and Mike Brown.

Below is a transcription of the interview:

Q: On if the team can win while the team adjust to the new offense:
Kobe: Offensively, it hasn’t looked as pretty as it will be, but we’re scoring a lot of points efficiently. That’s not where we’re hanging our hats on right now in in terms of how we’re losing games. We’re not executing defensively, which has a lot to do with guys being on the same page and working together.

Q: On if he’s surprised at how the team has started:
Kobe: I’m always surprised when I lose, but at the same time, it’s pretty entertaining to me. Nobody wants to win here more than I do. Nobody, nobody. I’m not panicking or jumping off a bridge because we’re 0-2. It is a process, but we have to approach the process with a sense of urgency. Just because we have this talented roster, we want it to happen. But we have to push for it to happen.

Q: On learning the new offense and understanding it’s a process:
Kobe: We have to have a sense of urgency to get things right and not rely on the fact that things take time. We can’t rely on that; we have to push and play with a sense of urgency and get things done now.

Q: On the critics asking for Mike Brown to abandon the Princeton offense:
Kobe: I don’t understand. (The city) has seen us win multiple championships here, playing an offense that is tough to learn, that had a sequence of options and took five guys being on the same page working together. They know how that stuff works, so for them to be so stupid now and say: ‘Well, let Steve (Nash) dribble the ball around and create opportunities for everybody, let Dwight (Howard) post up or let me (isolate) … it’s not idiotic but it’s close.’

Q: On how the criticism is different back with Phil Jackson compared to Mike Brown:
Kobe: The message changes according to who’s giving it. The sequence of options, the equal opportunity offense – in essence – it’s the same thing. The only thing that changes is you have Mike Brown telling everybody to be patient but back then, you had Phil (Jackson) telling everybody to shut up.

Q: On whether criticism is fair or not:
Kobe: I think the critics are more likely to take runs at him than they would at Phil Jackson. It’s fair because Phil obviously won and Mike hasn’t won yet. Look at the philosophies; they’re the same type of philosophies. It’s kind of funny to me to sit back and see that and hear the arguments.

Q: On his response to people criticizing Mike Brown:
Kobe: I can say it because I’ve won. It might be tough for (Mike Brown) to say it, but I’ll say it for him: ‘Everybody, shut up.’ Let us work and at the end of the day, you’ll be happy with the results like they normally are.

Q: On if he believes in the offense:
Kobe: You have to be stubborn about the approach. The essence of the offense is everybody sharing the spotlight, everybody being able to read and react and working as one, and that takes time to do especially if you have guys as individually talented as we are.

Q: On if his teammates have bought into the system:
Kobe: The reality is that when you have talented players that are willing to sacrifice their games and play within the structure, to go along with talent they have individually, it makes you unstoppable.

Kobe Bryant Will Start

In Kobe’s words, from his Facebook page:

Feeling good enough to play tonight! I’ll use my strong midsoles for added cushion on the foot for more protection.
Looking forward to this journey as I’m sure you are.
It’s Go Time.
Mamba out

Despite not practicing for more than a week, Lakers coach Mike Brown believes his co-captain will be ready for tonight’s season opener.

“He’s been doing this thing a long time,” explained Brown. “I think he’ll be fine, but it’s tough to predict what anybody will do at any time. I think he’ll be fine, though.”

According to Brown, there is no concern about Kobe further re-injuring his foot from playing tonight.

“From my understanding, there’s no risk,” he said. “Obviously, if it bothers him or something like that, we’ll pull him out. From my understanding, he’s good enough to go and there’s no risk with him going that he will damage it further.”

Bryant “85%” Likely To Face Dallas

Kobe Bryant, who went through on-court activities at Tuesday morning’s shootaround for the first time since injuring his right foot on Oct. 21, said he has an 85 percent chance of playing in Tuesday evening’s season opener.

This appears to be good news for the Lakers, but they won’t know No. 24′s status until seeing how Bryant’s foot reacts to a good deal of running and pressure at shootaround. We’ll likely get confirmation during coach Mike Brown’s pregame session with the media at around 6 p.m.

“It’s just a matter of how sore it gets from now until I get to Staples (Center),” explained Bryant. “I’m not going to play with an injury that will get progressively worse and limp through the season. I worked too hard for that.”

In other words, if his foot doesn’t respond positively to the morning session, he’s not going to push it by playing in back-to-back games to start the season. The Lakers leave for Portland immediately following tonight’s game against Dallas.

Bryant credited head athletic trainer Gary Vitti and head physical therapist Dr. Judy Seto for working hard throughout the last eight days to get him back as soon as possible without risking further damage to what was a painful injury. He initially collided the foot and ankle at an awkward angle on a Kings player in a preseason loss to the Kings.

“(It) just bruised like crazy,” Bryant described. “All the swelling trickled down to the tendon … it was painful to walk on.”

But after staying off the foot throughout the week and getting constant treatment, Bryant turned a corner on Monday night.

“Since last night, I’ve had substanitally less pain, and the strength has gotten better,” he said. “That’s very encouraging.”

Bryant’s trying to determine if it’s an injury that can improve while playing through it, or one that gets worse the more he’s on it. Before concluding his session with the media, Bryant was asked if there’s a silver lining in the injury, which allowed him to get some rest for legs that have been working through the offseason in part due to the 2012 Olympics.

“I look at it as a blessing in disguise to give me some rest, because when I’m out there I’m going I go 110 percent, I don’t know anything else,” he replied. “(That) probably takes a little bit from my legs, so it’s probably a blessing in disguise that I got (eight) days to relax.”

Injury Update: Kobe’s Foot

With Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill returning from respective back injuries, the only question mark heading into Tuesday’s regular season opener was Kobe Bryant’s right foot.

Bryant initially strained the foot in last Sunday’s preseason loss to Sacramento, and called it “painful” when addressing the media on Tuesday. He has not practiced all week, and again sat out Saturday’s session to get treatment from L.A.’s training staff.

That said, there was some optimism surrounding the team that Bryant will be able to play in the season opener against Dallas in three days.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he did play,” said coach Mike Brown. “But we’ll see.”

Head trainer Gary Vitti and Bryant himself will play a decisive role in whether or not No. 24 is ready, but nobody is going to count out the player NBA GM’s recently voted the league’s toughest.

Injury Update: Kobe’s Foot

Kobe Bryant, who hurt his foot in the third quarter of L.A.’s Sunday preseason loss to Sacramento, will not play in either of the team’s final two preseason games on Wednesday and Thursday.

After missing Tuesday’s practice, Bryant called the foot “painful,” and said he would probably not play against the Clippers on Wednesday even if it were a regular season game.

Bryant strained the foot when accidentally making contact with a Kings opponent, as opposed to being kicked.

Kobe added that it wasn’t the worst thing that it happened at this particular time, since he’d been going so hard in preseason every day his body could perhaps use a bit of rest.

Bryant will be re-evaluated over the weekend to check his status in advance of Tuesday evening’s season opener against Dallas.

VIDEO: Kobe talks after Tuesday’s practice.

Dwight Howard Update:
Expect Howard to sit out of Wednesday’s game just to rest, but play in Thursday’s contest in San Diego. He came through his first preseason game quite well on Sunday, but the team decided not to have him play in games on back-to-back nights.

Quote Round Up: Kobe Post Practice

Here are some thoughts from Kobe Bryant after practice. Full video is above.

Q: On how his foot feels:
Kobe: It’s alright. It’s pretty sore.

Q: On if he sees this as a setback for the team:
Kobe: Not really. It’s probably pretty good that it happened. It slowed me down a bit. I’ve been going full bore pretty much every day.

Q: On if he’d play tomorrow:
Kobe: Probably not.

Q: On if he’d play if it was a regular season game:
Kobe: Probably not.

Q: On level of pain:
Kobe: Pretty high.

Q: On what he’s looking for from teammates without him:
Kobe: Just looking for our second unit to establish an identity, an aggressive tone, a physicality that they’ve played with that can alter games – that’s what I’m looking for. Our first unit, we know what we’re going to do, we know how we’re going to execute, we know what our identity is, so we’re looking for our second group to establish themselves.

Q: On if he was impressed with Dwight’s play in his first game:
Kobe: Yeah, but he’s been in practice running like a deer; he’s been up and down the whole time. I knew he was going to go out there and perform well … my biggest concern was the day after; he was pretty sore the next day. He hasn’t played in awhile and it doesn’t matter what kind of conditioning you do. When you get back out there, you get up and down a little bit, it’s always a big difference.

Q: On how he feels about his injury considering how well he takes care of his body:
Kobe: It’s always frustrating – freak accidents. It always upsets me.

Q: On his advice to Dwight regarding injuries:
Kobe: Be patient, be smart and listen to your body. That’s the biggest thing – listening to your body and not trying to get too far ahead of yourself. Just listen to your body and get your treatments, even when you feel like you’re 100 percent and just make sure you’re doing your physical therapy.

Q: On how he admires Grant Hill and how he’s been able to maintain his health:
Kobe: There’s a certain mutual respect that goes along with that. I know what goes into the preparation and the daily grind … the fact that he’s been able to do it for a long period of time is remarkable.

Building Team Chemistry

(all photos by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Kobe the Teammate

How Kobe Bryant treats his teammates has been an NBA talking point for years.

Last week, an interaction between Bryant and former teammate Smush Parker made headlines, words having been exchanged in various mediums. Bryant discussed his philosophy on leadership in a Facebook post that seemed to at least indirectly address the issue.

It’s no secret that Bryant has repeatedly ripped Parker and that he is demanding of his teammates, but he remains close to many, past and present.

Most recently, in an extensive Q&A, camp signee/three-year veteran Chris Douglas-Roberts offered his thoughts on Bryant as a teammate:

Kobe is my man. He’s been great to me. I don’t know about Smush, but Kobe’s been great with me from day one. He’s a lunatic out here on the court, but I am too. He’s one of the greatest to ever play this game … and I’ve seen a guy who comes in here every day and treats practice like a game. I’ve seen a guy that will do anything to win. I’ve seen a guy who’s extremely competitive in each part of his day. I figured out that Kobe talks trash to keep you at a certain level. It’s about the alpha. This is what he does, and if you run with your tail between your legs, he sees this and he’s going to act on this. I have no problem with that. I like that. (Lakers head coach) Mike Brown assigned him as my 1-on-1 partner on my first day, and it got real. It got physical, some elbows were thrown, there was trash talking both ways, but it was all in the competitive nature. We were going at it. And I guess that’s why he respects me. He looks at me and he sees some characteristics in himself. I’m out there trying to kill you out there. Point blank, period. We can hang after practice, but I don’t see any faces while we’re on the court. I just see an opponent. If it’s Kobe that day, we gotta go at it, man! He’s extremely talented and skilled, so he’s going to win most of the time – but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to compete … And the bottom line is just that he’ll do anything to win. That’s it. That’s what I love the most. People used to try and make me feel bad for that, but that’s what he’s all about.