|Kobe plays Keyshawn: ‘Give me the damn ball’||01.31.10 at 8:26 pm ET|
Bad left ankle or not, injured right index finger or not, Kobe Bryant channeled Keyshawn Johnson on Sunday and made the Celtics pay in the end.
“I didn’t say, ‘Give me one more chance.’ I said, ‘Give me the damn ball.’ I didn’t really give [my team] much of a choice,” Bryant said of the moments in the huddle before his game-winner with 7.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“All we talked about was the execution of [the play], where I was going to catch the ball. That was the only difference. Throughout the course of the game, I was pretty much a decoy because of all the traps they run, but if I catch it at the top of the floor, it’s a different story.”
Then there are Celtics fans, who had a slightly different perspective — one that had Bryant clearly pushing off of Ray Allen to create space for the game-winner.
“I just tried to create space and get to a spot where I could elevate and knock it down,” Bryant explained.
Speaking of pushing off, Bryant said his left ankle was so sore he couldn’t elevate, leading to this tidy little jab at Allen.
“Oh yeah, I couldn’t push off,” Bryant said. “Ray’s athletic, but my elevator goes to the 12th floor, his stays at the seventh. But I couldn’t get to the 12th floor today, so it was hurting.
“Special for me, personally, because I had opportunity to win the game last year and I didn’t do it. I didn’t get the shot I wanted, so I wanted to make sure I redeemed myself today.”
Mr. Zenmaster himself, Phil Jackson — who tied Pat Riley for all-time wins by a Lakers coach on Sunday with his 733rd — said nothing feels better than putting the game in Bryant’s hands.
“He had a couple of looks before that that were good looks in that area and we were mystified he couldn’t put it in. He told me the next one he got out there he would drop it in and so we went with it,” Jackson said.
|Doc on Lakers: ‘Better than last year’||at 3:51 pm ET|
BOSTON – Doc Rivers knows how tough it is to repeat. The Celtics won the title in 2008 and won 66 games.
Last year, the Celtics won 62 but lost in seven games to the Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals when being without Kevin Garnett proved to be just too much to overcome.
Instead of a repeat, the Lakers won the title. And before Sunday’s game, Rivers sounded just a tad envious because instead of losing two key players like Boston lost in James Posey and P.J. Brown, the Lakers added Ron Artest, Shannon Brown and a healthy Andrew Bynum.
“I think having won the title, having the same title back , adding Artest, that continuity and health I think those have been three pretty good things for them,” Rivers said. “Gasol has been in and out for them, which hurt them early in the year, too. It’s rare when you get a championship team that adds to their team and they did. You don’t see that very often. People are taking away from championship teams. It’s rare that they come back better and they’re better than last year.
“I thought we took away from it. Losing Posey hurt us, losing P.J. Brown hurt us. But I think we’ve addressed that. Bringing in Marquis this year, bringing in Rasheed this year.”
[Click here to listen to Rivers compare his 2009 Celtics to the 2010 Lakers, teams attempting to defend a title.]
|Red Claws name assistant coaches||09.07.09 at 9:20 pm ET|
On Monday the Maine Red Claws named Randy Livingston and Mike Procopio assistant coaches for the upcoming inaugural season. Procopio, 34, has deep ties to the Boston Celtics organization. He spent four years as a scout for the Cs before working as an assistant at Boston Amateur Basketball Club under Leo Papile, the Celtics Assistant Executive Director of Basketball Operations. He developed a reputation as one of the top development coaches nationwide as Director of Basketball Operations for Attack Athletics in Chicago and has trained players including Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade.
“Along with having four years of NBA front office experience, Mike Procopio regularly works out some of the best players in the NBA,” Red Claws head coach Austin Ainge said in a team statement. “His experience and ability to develop players should make our team a desirable place for every player looking to make a jump to the next level. As soon as I got this job, Mike was one of the first calls I made because of his experience teaching the game.”
Livingston, a 12-year NBA veteran, led the Idaho Stampede to the 2008 NBDL Championship. He retired from playing after his title-winning season to become the Stampede’s associate head coach. Livingston, 34, helped coach the team to a second place finish in the West Division (31-19) in his first season on the sidelines.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have a coach of Randy Livingston’s caliber to help me,” Ainge said. “Randy knows the game, knows our league, and has experience at every level of basketball. I trust Randy’s instincts and basketball IQ implicitly and will rely heavily on his opinion.”
|Bird’s favorite player is a Laker?||06.04.09 at 10:33 pm ET|
During halftime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, ABC aired an interview between Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant in which Johnson revealed Larry Bird considers Bryant his favorite player. Turns out Bryant has a one-sided love-hate relationship with Bird.
Johnson: Larry Bird told me that Kobe Bryant is his favorite player. How do you respond to that?
Bryant: You know what? That makes me feel, that makes me feel great. You know, I hated Larry growing up. I did, I hated his guts. But I loved him as a player and his work ethic and his intensity, his tenacity and I wanted to be that way. And the funny thing is, I’ve never actually met Larry Bird.
|An answer to Kobe vs. LeBron||at 11:42 am ET|
Even while the Boston Celtics were defending their championship, advertising during the playoffs was dominated by Kobe vs. LeBron messages. Now that the NBA Finals match up is LA Lakers vs. Orlando Magic, what will happen to all the commercials? Dwight Howard has an answer. Check out vitaminwater’s newest ad, produced and directed by Howard, which will debut tonight during Game 1.
|No avoiding Kobe vs. LeBron||04.24.09 at 5:21 pm ET|
Even though NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke out against the NBA’s inclination toward a Cleveland Cavaliers-Los Angeles Lakers Finals, there is no ignoring the Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James chatter during the playoffs. This weekend vitaminwater is launching an ad on ESPN hypothesizing about a match up between the two All-Stars. Fans can weigh in on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vitaminwater.
|Nike All-Star Kicks||02.10.09 at 8:33 pm ET|
Nike is rolling out a special line of sneakers for the 2009 NBA All-Star Game, including a pair for Paul Pierce. The shoes will be red and blue to match the Eastern and Western Conference uniforms. There will also be artwork to represent the host city of Phoenix, Arizona. Check out the shoes and a list the players who will be wearing them, from NiceKicks.com.
Eastern Conference: Chris Bosh (Nike Huarache 09), Danny Granger (Nike Zoom Phenom, not pictured), LeBron James (Nike Zoom LeBron VI), Rashard Lewis (Nike Hyperdunk), Paul Pierce (Nike MAX P2 V, not pictured)
Western Conference: Kobe Bryant (Nike Zoom Kobe IV), Pau Gasol (Nike Hyperdunk), Dirk Nowitzki (Nike MAX Spot Up), Brandon Roy (Nike Zoom Phenom), Tony Parker (Nike Huarache 09), Amare Stoudemire (Nike Foamposite Lite), David West (Nike Foamposite Lite)