Posted March 14, 2013

Kobe Bryant’s ankle injury: Everything you need to know

Atlanta Hawks, Ben Golliver, Dahntay Jones, Jalen Rose, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant sprained his left ankle on Wednesday. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant sprained his left ankle on Wednesday. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

Kobe Bryant sustained the “sprained ankle heard ’round the world” on Wednesday night, going down in the closing seconds of a 96-92 loss to the Hawks. The in-game circumstances, playoff implications and basketball ethical dilemmas combined to catapult Bryant’s left ankle to the top of NBA headlines everywhere.

Here’s what you need to about the injury, the debate it sparked, the history it recalled and the impact it will have on the Lakers’ playoff hopes.

How badly is Bryant hurt?

The Lakers announced Wednesday night that Bryant suffered a severely sprained left ankle and, importantly, that an X-ray was negative.

When will he be back?

That much is not yet known. Bryant is officially listed as out “indefinitely,” which at first blush sounds more ominous than “day-to-day.” The severity of an ankle sprain can be difficult to determine until the swelling subsides. A minor sprain does not guarantee that he will miss time; a serious sprain can require weeks to fully heal, even for a professional athlete. (A weary Kobe tweeted Thursday morning about his treatment.)

Can I watch video of the injury and pretend I’m a doctor?

Here it is:

Did Vanessa Bryant happen to post a photo of Bryant’s ankle injury on her Instagram account?

As a matter of fact, she did. A sizable bump on the outside of the ankle is clearly visible.

Kobe Bryant's sprained left ankle. (Vanessa Bryant)

Kobe Bryant’s sprained left ankle. (Vanessa Bryant)

Why would she do that?

Don’t ask questions. Over-analyzing media members and obsessed fans everywhere definitely want to encourage this trend.

How, exactly, did Bryant get hurt?

That’s the subject of a little debate.

First, the facts: With the Hawks leading 94-92 with 15 seconds remaining, Bryant worked one-on-one against Dahntay Jones on the right wing. As the clock hit five seconds, Bryant dribbled to the baseline and pulled up for a fadeaway jumper. The shot rimmed off, and Bryant’s left foot landed on Jones’ right foot, as the Hawks’ guard closely contested the potential game-tying shot. Replays showed that Bryant’s ankle roll over, and he initially remained motionless on the court as the clock stopped with 2.6 seconds to play. Athletic trainer Gary Vitti attended to Bryant, who eventually walked off under his own power. Yahoo! Sports reported that Bryant called the injury his “worst sprain since 2000.”

Now, the intrigue.

Bryant said afterward that Jones was guilty of a “dangerous” play by sliding underneath his feet as he executed a shot, a play that is viewed as a basketball cardinal sin because the injury risk is so high. Jones said Bryant suffered the injury by landing awkwardly as a result of his kickout leg motion, and that, if a foul was to be assessed, it should have been whistled on Bryant for causing the contact.

Hasn’t this type of thing happened to Bryant before?

Yes. In Game 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals, Bryant was undercut by the Pacers’ Jalen Rose while attempting a jumper. He was forced from action, finishing with just two points in nine minutes.  Bryant did not play in Game 3 but returned for the rest of the series, scoring 28 points in Game 4 less than one week after the injury and 26 points in a series-clinching Game 6 victory.

Here’s video of the injury:

Now, Rose recently admitted in a Grantland podcast that he intentionally undercut Bryant, even though he considers avoiding undercutting the “No. 1 unwritten rule” in basketball.

ESPNLA.com reported that Bryant actually referenced this play on Wednesday, saying of Jones, “He Jalen Rose’d me.”

Don’t Bryant and Jones have some personal history of animosity, too?

Oh, definitely. During Game 4 of the 2009 Western Conference finals, then-Nugget Jones tripped Bryant, kicking out his right foot ever so slightly to prevent the Lakers’ guard from receiving the ball on a cut to the hoop. Jones said Wednesday on Twitter that he is “not proud of” that play but that it came during “a heated playoff series with a championship on the line.”

Well, whose interpretation is correct? Bryant’s or Jones’?

That’s a tough one. It must first be said that there is validity, in theory, to what both players are saying.

Sliding under a shooter is absolutely dangerous, as Bryant claims, and referees should penalize egregious undercutting. The NBA uses “unnecessary and excessive” as its standard for assessing a flagrant foul 2, which mandates an immediate ejection. Blatant undercutting would surely fit both criteria and, in a perfect world, would be the type of action that could be reviewed and subject to flagrant designation. Unintentional undercutting? That’s a different story. Closing out on shooters is a mandatory aspect of good defense that can result in accidental injuries. That requires a degree of leeway.

Leg kicking, as Jones contends, is against the rules. In October, the NBA announced that the so-called “Reggie Miller Rule” would be a point of emphasis for officials this season. This is pretty cut and dried: Kicking out the legs and initiating contact with the hope of drawing a defensive foul would be ruled an offensive foul. What’s more, a player who kicked out his leg to draw a foul and then over-exaggerated the contact could theoretically be subject to an offensive foul and a flopping violation.

So neither Bryant nor Jones is nuts. Clearly, neither player is coming at this from an unbiased perspective and, as a result, the truth would seem to be somewhere in the middle, and significantly less sensational than it first seemed in the immediate aftermath.

First, Bryant’s shooting motion looks natural, especially for a fadeaway, and he doesn’t seem to be seeking an unearned defensive foul in the slightest.

Second, Jones’ defense looks natural, too, as he contests the shot in fairly textbook fashion after initially being back on his heels defending Bryant’s move off the dribble. His momentum carries him toward Bryant, natural considering those circumstances, and his attention is on Kobe’s release and the shot’s arc. His right foot comes forward into landing zone, but it’s difficult to say definitively that he did so intentionally and with malice. (Jones stated clearly that he “would never try to intentionally hurt” Bryant.)

Third, Jones’ positioning certainly affected Bryant’s awkward landing. If Bryant shoots the same shot in an empty gym, he doesn’t land as he did without the presence of a defender. Jones’ claim that Bryant turned his ankle on the floor can be tossed out of the discussion.

Fourth, Bryant can’t be blamed if the only thing he associated Jones with is the trip from 2009. Jones has a million things to think about when the idea of Bryant is brought up; the opposite just isn’t true. For Bryant to jump straight to the worst-case assessment of this play, given their history, makes sense. That Bryant would do so knowing how much is at stake for the Lakers, and with the memory of Rose’s play in his mind, makes it all the more understandable. “I can’t get my mind past the fact that I’ve got to wait a year to get revenge,” Bryant said, according to Yahoo! Sports. You can’t deny him those feelings.

With all of those factors on the table, I tend to side with the referees’ ruling on the court. This was an unfortunate injury that occurred in the natural course of a very competitive moment in a close game that didn’t obviously deserve either a defensive foul or offensive foul. Letting Bryant’s shot — rather than a referee’s whistle – dictate the outcome of the play is the preferable result in a vast majority of late-game sequences.

What does this injury mean for the Lakers’ playoff hopes?

The Lakers (34-32) lead the Jazz by a half-game for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The good news for Lakers fans: L.A. has made considerable progress since we last looked at the Lakers’ playoff chances in late February. Just two weeks ago, computer simulations gave the Lakers roughly a 30 percent chance to make the postseason. Now, Basketball-Reference gives the Lakers a 72 percent chance and ESPN.com’s model gives the Lakers a 65 percent chance.

That’s no small swing, and just about everything went perfectly from the Lakers’ standpoint to make it happen. One month ago, the Jazz looked to be the team most likely to fall out of the playoff picture if the Lakers were to squeeze in. That’s exactly what has happened and the reversal unfolded very quickly. L.A. is 9-3 in its last 12 games while Utah has nosedived to a 2-8 record in its last 10 games. What’s more, the Jazz have a noticeably tougher road down the stretch, including their next four games against teams that are tracking toward the playoffs, and their only wins in the last three-and-a-half weeks came against bottom-feeders Charlotte and Detroit.

Now, the bad news for the Lakers. In Pau Gasol’s absence, coach Mike D’Antoni has stuck to a tight eight-man rotation, including four guards in Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks. There’s just no replacing Bryant’s offensive production in that rotation or on this roster as a whole. (Gasol, by the way, said Wednesday that returning next week is a “possibility.” He’s been out since early February with a foot injury.) Bryant is, far and away, the team’s leading scorer (he is second in the league with 27.5 points), and he takes nearly double the number of shots of anyone else. The Lakers compensate for a slightly below-average defense with their eighth-ranked offense, which is primarily powered by Bryant, who ranks 11th in Player Efficiency Rating. The dependable Bryant also is seventh in the NBA in minutes at 38.3, and he hasn’t missed a game this season.

Just to hammer home his importance beyond the shadow of a doubt: According to NBA.com, the Lakers score 107.3 points per 100 possessions when Bryant is on the court, a top-five mark if Los Angeles always played at that level. When Bryant sits, that figure slips to 99.1 points per 100 possessions, equivalent to a bottom-five ranking. That’s a monster drop-off that should confirm initial fears about what the Lakers might look like without him. The Lakers don’t function well without him and, perhaps more important, they haven’t been put in a position where they’ve needed to for more than short stretches within a game. Gulp.

With just 16 games left, the clock is clearly ticking here. If Bryant is able to return after a short absence, as he did during the 2000 Finals, the playoff implications of this injury should be minimal, thanks in large part to the Lakers’ strong work over the last two-plus weeks. Hypothetically, if he were to sit out the next three games, Bryant could enjoy a full week of rest because L.A. has three consecutive off days next week.

Anything longer than that, and the losses could start to add up in a compromising manner. In February, we warned of this exact possibility. The Western Conference race is so tight and the competition has been fairly consistent — Utah’s recent slide standing out as a notable exception — that something as simple as a three-game losing streak carries major repercussions.

The biggest impact, if Bryant does miss time or is unable to return to 100 percent within a week, would be a lowering of the Lakers’ ceiling. L.A. is only 1½ games behind the Rockets’ for the No. 7 seed. Though Houston’s schedule is more favorable down the stretch, catching the Rockets was far from out of the question. Making that pass gets significantly more difficult without Bryant.

Is it time for Lakers fans to panic?

As difficult as it might be to stay calm, panic shouldn’t set in for at least a week. If it takes longer than that for Bryant to return and/or the Lakers drop three games in a row without him, things will look different. But, even then, if Utah goes 1-3 against the Grizzlies, Knicks, Rockets and Spurs over the next 10 days, the Lakers aren’t likely to lose meaningful ground. The Lakers’ threshold for success this season after a poor start has been qualifying for the playoffs, and that remains a very realistic possibility after this injury and it will remain a very realistic possibility no matter what happens over the next week.

Bryant’s pain tolerance is legendary. The diagnosis could have been a lot worse. And Bryant has experienced this type of injury before, removing many of the unknowns. The takeaway here: At least let the swelling on Bryant’s ankle lessen before sounding the alarm.

65 comments
Cherrie
Cherrie

Kobe is the most selfish player I've ever seen on court. All he cares about is his ambition to top Michael Jordan then, and now LeBron James. Every time he is on court, every thing is about him, about his stat, about his ambition, and in the process completely ignoring his teammates feelings. Almost all of his teammates, except Shaq, looked stupid playing with him. Despite helping him win several championships, Pau Gasol has alwalys been portrayed as the reason for the team's woes... and now it is Dwight's time to take the blame. When is Kobe Bryant ever going to learn to show some love for his teammates?

DaveCarpenter
DaveCarpenter

People that have played any significant amount of basketball all know Dahntay's movement was NOT natural. Watch thousands of defense on jumpers and see how many defenders happen to stick out there foot at the last second. Hell, go to a gym and try it (not on a person) and see if it feels "natural" or not. 

Duker
Duker

Kobe keeps saying he undercut me on a fadeaway.....Kobe shot a normal jumper and missed.  If he faded, he faded about six inches.  He's such a baby.

kenc29
kenc29

I agree with Golliver's analysis, except for the part about Jones unintentionally drifting into Kobe. If you play sports, you know where your body is, and you know it would be so easy to let yourself drift innocently into a shooter. The question is whether it was avoidable, or inevitable. And, the answer is that Jones could have played the same defense and avoided the contact, but he didn't.

StevenKeys
StevenKeys

Your poll result is pretty telling, Ben (3/15, noon: Kobe 46%, Dahntay 41%, 13% UD).  If I'm Mr. Jones I'm cool with the count, considering the Ass'n weighed-in on Mr. Bryant's side in rendering a 'wide berth' ruling, and given Kobe's / Lakers great popularity.  Winning is always nice but sometimes that's simply impossible.

suga slim
suga slim

who gives a sh@t. put some ice on it and play. anyone whos played the game knows ankle injuries are part of the game. cmon kobe youve come back from bigger setbacks than this

KaileeHanlon24
KaileeHanlon24

First of all.. I obviously am a huge Kobe fan.. but besides the point, im really hoping he has a speedy recovery, because they definetly need him considering hes averaging anywhere from 35 to 40 points a game. Hoping like crazy they can make the playoffs. But definetly going to need all of their players to have a chance.

carjax1202
carjax1202

Who fricken cares....we don't need to know any of this B.S.....pathetic story.  Saw the game...not a dirty play...good defense...Kobe kicks his leg out... comes down on Jone's foot...end of story.  Next time Kobe, go straight up, you might come down on both feet at the same time...just sayin.

R C1
R C1

Hard to say if it was on purpose or not.  I think you can definitively say that if Kobe hadn't have kicked out, then he would have had two feet to land on instead of putting all his weight on one foot, and therefore he either wouldn't be injured or it would be less severe.  No sympathy for Kobe on this one, he was sticking his body parts where they didn't need to go.

dinohealth
dinohealth

Bull! Kobe was up and shooting a fadeaway jumpshot. Jones did not have a prayer of stopping it; in fact, he jumps as far as Kobe's chest while contesting the shot. Giving Jones the benefit of doubt, I do not think he did it on purpose, but, he does move into Kobe after Kobe releases the shot, and, under him, as he is coming down. Kobe falls on Jones' foot, hence the dangerous undercut claim. Kobe's leg movement was natural leg movement for any fadeaway shot, and, what Kobe always does. I also believe Kobe when he says he is always consciously avoiding that when playing defense. Of course, Jones does not have either the skill sets, or, Kobe's presence of mind. It kinda reminds me of playing foks in the park that do not know how to play. Chances are, you will get hurt. Kobe is totally right, and, Jones is smoking funny ones. He should have apologized for his dumb play. Fact is, this may have cost the Lakers a playoff spot, and, all because of a dumb play by Jones. He should be apologizing to the entire Laker team.

Mark4
Mark4

Manu's broken nose from your flailing arm flop says "hello", Kobe.  You're in NO position to throw "dirty play" stones, Mr. Bryant.

OK
OK

Maybe somebody ought to send a little cheese to Da Alleged Rapist to go along with all his WHINE????

balo030869
balo030869

A Dirty and classless player like Kobe got what he deserved

Sami
Sami

Reason nr. 1345 why I no longer follow this terrible excuse for a basketball league: sport "journalist" finds time to write a really long article about a play which combines terrible shot selection with a defender in the shooter's face. What was he suppose to do? Let him walk through the lane for a dunk? They do that for 40+ mins per game, so nice to see someone play D.

 

Injuries are unfortunate, but this article is a joke. Let me answer the "Is it time for Lakers fans to panic?" question. That time came and went in november. Lakers are associated with winning, and I assume the fans think the same way. So are the Lakers really expecting to walk into the playoffs as the 8th seed and win the title, when their superstar player has maybe one or two playoff career wins as a road team? And I think one of them was Sacramento, which was a travesty in officiating. It doesn't matter if they make the playoffs because they have no chance of winning anything. So thank you for overanalyzing a forced fadeaway where the defender did his job.

cint
cint

going back to the Chamberlin/West/Baylor/Robertson days don't ever remember any of them cry nearly as much as these pampered players. hopefully the nba doesn't care about the crying simply letting them deal with it on the court.

steven19
steven19

Jones obviously wanted to take Kobe down. If you think otherwise then you don't know basketball. Also what kind of A hole walks around getting high fives for hurting somebody. That's messed up regardless how much of an egotistic DB Kobe can be. If a Laker did this to anyone of your favorite sports players or favorite figures you like to watch or listen to etc. . . you'd be in here crying like a biotch.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

My cat deliberately tripped me this morning because I was late feeding her. It was a dirty play and I want foul shots.

OK
OK

What Benny Gullible and the Sports Illustrated Answer to Jim Gray, Ian Thomsen, refused to tell readers about Da Alleged Rapist in Laker Land.

 

It's all right there on da score sheet and in da win column.

 

Da Alleged Rapist scores 40 or more points in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 3-4.

 

Da Alleged Rapist scores 35-39 points in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 1-5.

 

Da Alleged Rapist scores 30-34 points in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 9-7.

 

Da Alleged Rapist scores 25-29 points in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 4-10.

 

Da Alleged Rapist scores 20-24 points in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 6-4.

 

Da Alleged Rapist scores 10-19 points in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 10-2.

 

Da Alleged Rapist scores nine points or less in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 1-0.

 

In all, Da Alleged Rapist scores 24 points or less in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 17-6.

 

Da Alleged Rapist scores 25 points or more in 2012-13.

Da Lakers be 17-26.

 

Why Benny Gullible and Ian "Spin Doctor' Thomsen be hidin' da facts about Da Alleged Rapist from Lakers fans?

2013brett
2013brett

I've lost a lot of respect for Kobe this season due to the endless mouthing off, whining and overall unpleasant attitude.  The endless hordes of lakers fans all over the country might somehow call that a dirty play, but no reasonable basketball fan can watch that and say it was dirty.  

 

Kobe is just desperate because of his playoff promise and advancing age.  His career has nowhere to go but down from this point on, and he's clearly showing that.  

McGibblets
McGibblets

Another thing: If this were Rudy Gay or Evan Turner or LaMarcus Aldridge - all stars in their own right, but nowhere near the superstar level of Kobe or Durant or LeBron - taking this shot and hurting their ankle there wouldn't even be a story here.

 

It's all because it's Kobe Bryant and he whined after the game, and then later on Twitter, and then his wife posted a photo to Instagram.........

 

Kobe's ego makes me sick.  Wow, you sprained your ankle on your 33rd shot of the game.  Get over it.

yeah_right
yeah_right

What????  66% of the people in the poll either think it is a dirty play or too hard to tell?  It's called defense folks.  He stuck his arms up and moved toward the shooter.  It was actually "too hard to tell" if it should have even been called a foul or not.  A "dirty" play?  Absolutely not.

steven19
steven19

 @carjax1202

 Also he didn't land on Jones foot either. It is considered dirty when you take a guys legs out from under him when he's airbourne. Jones tripped Kobe last year intentionally like a punk, and ummm how about all of laker nation cares. Who cares about Boston. . .

dinohealth
dinohealth

@carjax1202 Get some glasses, and look at the video, again. Kobe was fading, Jones moved into, and, under him.

steven19
steven19

 @R C1

 How can you say Kobe shouldn't have kicked his leg out when 1. It's a fade away 2. It's a Kobe signature move. That's like telling Shaq not to dunk with two hands and kick his legs out when he played.

JoshuaGreenfarb
JoshuaGreenfarb

 @dinohealth  Bull corn!  Say what you want about Jones, but he made a great defensive play.  Partially because Bryant is so out-of-shape that he can't even fade away or shoot over Dahntay Jones.

 

That's a point I tried to make.  If Bryant wasn't so tired at the end of the game, he would've faded away from Jones much more.  Maybe if Bryant was in tip-top physical conditioning/shape, he would've had the lift in his legs to jump higher and farther from the defender; thus, he "should" have been far enough so Jones would have no chance to get under him.  That's the whole purpose of a fadeaway jumpshot -- to elude the defender, NOT to barely jump in the air resulting in feet/leg collision like that.

 

Maybe Bryant tried to draw a foul -- can't really tell.  But, I think Bryant gets tired too easily in NBA games -- he's not in good cardio shape.  If he was in great shape, this injury never would've happened in the first place.  He would've had the energy to finish strong, to create more space between him and the defense.  I mean -- come on -- Kobe looked like he was jumping off wet cement or something.  That was a weak fadeaway attempt!

JoshuaGreenfarb
JoshuaGreenfarb

 @dinohealth  Did Kobe Bryant apologize for accidentally injuring Ricky Rubio seriously last season?

 

You want Jones to apologize for this accident?  Respect is a 2-way deal.  Bryant needs to apologize FIRST.  Precedence.

Mark4
Mark4

 @dinohealth If the Lakers miss the playoffs, it was because of the Grand Canyon sized hole they dug themselves.  It's one hundred percent their own fault for waiting so long to pull their heads out of their behinds and zero percent based on one play in March.

lacslyer
lacslyer

 @Sami He can contest him all he wants, but if he puts his legs underneath Kobe as he's coming down what the hell do you expect Kobe to do? Any player taking the shot in that situation falls like that and gets injured. If you can't see that as an issue I don't know what to tell you. His defense was perfectly fine until he went underneath Kobe as he took the shot. It may have been unintentional, but he still did it. It's plain as day in the video.

mjlein
mjlein

 @Sami Wierd that you would even read this article if you don't follow the league.  It seems that you really do, right?

 

Knicks got to the finals as an 8th seed before.  It can happen.

joshua33nelson
joshua33nelson

 @steven19 You're being ridiculous.  Why wait til the last play of the game after the last shot?  If he really wanted to hurt him do it in the first quarter.  

EricSanchez
EricSanchez

 @steven19 He was celebrating his great defensive play, not the supposed injury.

JoshuaGreenfarb
JoshuaGreenfarb

 @OK  It's like what the heck is the Laker team going to do if Bryant has to sit out a game or more?

 

They're gonna get confused.  They were so used to watching Kobe Bryant back up a defender starting from the half-court line ... continually posting him up at the wing area ... continuing to post up toward the paint.  (Surprised Bryant never gets called for the very rare 5-second violation). 

JoshuaGreenfarb
JoshuaGreenfarb

 @McGibblets  Only chumps excessively use Twitter (I'll never use Twitter).  Twitter can be a lame social networking tool.  Figured sentence-fragments and whining go well with Twitter and ppl like Bryant.

lacslyer
lacslyer

 @yeah_right Unintentional or not he put his leg under Kobe as he came down. I'm not sure how you don't think that's dirty as the offensive player taking a shot has no way to react when coming down with someone in the way. Just because it's unintentional doesn't make it not dirty, and considering the type of play is accepted as 'cardinal sin' by the players in the league I'm surprised you defend it. The reason it's dirty is because of exactly what happened to Kobe would have happened to anyone taking that shot, and regardless of whether Jones purposely did it or not he committed a dirty play.

mjlein
mjlein

If it was intentional, the play would have looked exactly the same, or very nearly the same.  You can't tell for sure.  The fact is that a player could potentially injure another player by intentionally doing exactly what Jones did.  

steven19
steven19

Well to me it looked like he landed just off to the side, but I can't get a clear view

luke775
luke775

@JoshuaGreenfarb @dinohealth GMAFB. Kobe's the best conditioned athlete over thirty in the league. His workout routine and dedication to his craft are legendary. He works at both ends of the court for 40 minutes a game. Find me any player in the NBA that is comparable? Waiting.......

dinohealth
dinohealth

@Mark4 @dinohealth Not so. Kobe is averaging over 30 points, and shooting nearly 50% since the All Star break in an effort to get a depleted, aging, coach-a-changing Laker team into the playoffs. As promised, he had them in the 8th playoff spot, on a win streak, and would have won this one, also, if the refs had done their job. Kobe was squeezing everything possible out of his teammates, gave up on a sure scoring title, and spoonfeeding them buckets. Kobe was not responsible for the hole the Lakers were in, nor, is it fair for him and his team to miss the playoffs because of a dangerous defensive play by a far-less-skilled ballplayer, and, a missed call. Unfortunately, that is the way the ball bounced last night....

Mark4
Mark4

 @mjlein  @Sami Weak Eastern conference, 1999 lockout year.  Not a typical path to the finals at all.  If Kobe had stayed healthy, and you leap frogged Houston, too, you might have surprised the 3 or 4 seed, but there is no way that a team with as hideous a defense as the Lakers are going to beat SA or OKC in a 7 game series.

Sami
Sami

 @mjlein I used to watch 50+ games a year. Haven't seen one since Dallas vs Miami Finals. Watched one quarter of Cavs vs somebody, season opener. That was enough thank you very much. Unless you count occasionally looking at box scores "following".

 

Knicks got in the year when there was a strike, in a terrible conference and with all the luck in the world. West is a great conference with solid teams. I can also win the lottery tomorrow, so "it can happen" works for that too. My odds of winning the lottery are pretty much the same as Lakers winning the title.

mjlein
mjlein

 @joshua33nelson  @steven19 Perhaps this was his first chance of the game?  They do have  a history.  With that said, I don't understand how anyone could be completely convinced either way.

steven19
steven19

 @joshua33nelson  

Jones intentionally tripped Kobe not too long ago because Kobe was going to run right past him. These two have a history, and anyone who plays basketball knows it's a jerk move to run into somebodies leg while they're in the air. Also he was celebrating the defense, but clearly when he turned around and saw Kobe down he kept high fiving and chest bumping his team mates. When someone is in the air like that and you are looking at there leg and walk into it then take a step into them in the air it's not only a foul, but a dangerous defensive play. Should all players walk into anyone taking a fade away. Lucky for Jones he didn't do this to MWP or else he would've been hit with a right hook to the chin. I wouldn't say he wanted to hurt Kobe, but he intentionally wanted to knock him down at least. If Kobe didn't complain so much he would've got the call, but like I said he is a egotistic cry baby most of the time.

OK
OK

 @JoshuaGreenfarb  

Fact is, when Da Alleged Rapist scores 25 points or more, Da Lakers be 17-26.

 

When Da Alleged Rapist scores 24 points or less, Da Lakers be 17-6.

 

Da Alleged Rapist's Selfishness and Demand for Points be doomin' Da Lakers dis season.

rukiddingme
rukiddingme

 @yeah_right I was with you until you said that a play can be unintentional and still be dirty.  By definition, it cannot.  And even though I haven't actually seen the play, it sounds like Jones was playing tight defense in the late stages of a tight game.  You can't really expect Jones to let Kobe drive the lane in that situation just because he's Kobe.  It doesn't sound like it was done intentionally and it appears that it was just something that happens, forgive the cliche, in the heat of battle.  There's no doubt there's some history there and there's no doubt Kobe was injured but there's also no doubt that Kobe is a prima-donna.  Sounds like a good no-call and a bummer for Kobe and the Lakers.   

JoshuaGreenfarb
JoshuaGreenfarb

 @luke775    Hi luke775.

 

Sorry for this delayed reply (I don't check my email every day).  Ha.

 

Now, I admit there really aren't a whole lot of players over 30 playing at a high level, to begin with.

 

But come to think of it, there are a few or so that are in similar or better physical conditioning than that Kobe Bryant mark.

 

Let's see ...  Dwayne Wade.  Ray Allen.  Tim Duncan.  Kevin Garnett.  Paul Pierce.  Vince Carter.  Tayshun Prince.  Joe Johnson (I think he's over 30?). 

 

There you go.  Bryant is NOT in better physical shape than any of these veterans.  PERIOD.  A little ankle-sprain and Bryant is out indefinitely???

 

One could actually blame D'antoni for playing Bryant so many minutes (when he should be minimizing his playing time to 30 minutes a game).  But Bryant is at-fault here, too.  He wants to play "hero basketball" and wants to pad his inflated stats.  He refuses to play if it will lower his PPG.  He went scoreless recently against Indiana.  He refuses to play if he can't ball-hug and score 20+ PPG to pad his stats.  Awwwww, a little itty bitty ankle-sprain and now Bryant can't play anymore.  Pfft.  You get no sympathy from me, Bryant.

 

And by the way, I cannot believe Indiana lost to the Lakers.  What in the blue hell is going on?  WHAT AN UPSET!!!  Oh sure, I believe Indiana's last 2 games were blowout wins.  But they lost previously to the lowly Lakers??  Unbelievable.  Unless, of course, the Lakers cheated.  Ha!

 

ALSO, I cannot believe the surging Sacramento Kings recently lost to the Lakers.  Unbelievable.  OHHHHHHHHH, but today, the Kings defeated the Clippers rather convincingly.  What in the blue hell is going on?  How many of the Lakers' wins this season were because the LA Lakers CHEATED??? 

 

I'm glad the Phoenix Suns, at least, played for real and destroyed the lowly Lakers.  Look, if all 30 NBA teams "play for real" for the rest of the way, there's no way in heck the lowly Lakers can get into the playoffs.  No way.

luke775
luke775

@JoshuaGreenfarb @Mark4 Utah got no O. D and hustle by itself won't get it done.

JoshuaGreenfarb
JoshuaGreenfarb

 @Mark4    That's a big "if."  No way I see Lakers leap-frogging Houston or Golden State.  It's been talked about that Golden State has lots of home games toward the end ... and Houston has one of the "easiest" schedules left.  If they get in, it will be an 8 seed.  That's another big "if."  Yah, I do credit the Lakers for playing well (for the most part) since the All Star break, but some of that was luck and whatnot and some of it was due to certain individual performances that can't be done on a nightly basis.  Bryant trying so hard to take over games, making him injury-prone in the first place.  If they get in as an 8th seed, they'll be riddled with injuries or injury-prone players ... they'll likely run out of gas and get swept out of the first round. 

 

The Lakers should lose this Friday at Indiana (a team Kobe obviously wants no part of).  But, I forsee them losing to Washington as well.  The Wizards have a poor record but have been playing well as of late and John Wall looks to finally be back at 100%.  So if those 2 games are losses (probably) ... wow.  If LA goes back under .500, it's like they're back where they started.  They'll run out of time.  Plus, Utah holds the tie-break and could take back the 8 seed.  I don't know if Dallas or Portland can make a run here, but it appears the 8th seed is Utah's to keep or lose.

JoshuaGreenfarb
JoshuaGreenfarb

 @steven19   I partially blame Bryant for being so tired that he had little lift in his legs to take a pathetic-looking "fadeaway" attempt.  Jones was probably surprised in reaction that he was able to get that close to Bryant, expecting Bryant to fade away farther or at least jump a lot higher than THAT.

 

Jones wasn't about to intentionally foul Bryant, with his team only up 2 points.