Tag Archives: Orlando Magic

Mavericks Get The Beats By Dre

DeAndre Jordan made it clear at Los Angeles Clippers Media Day that he would not be distracted by the spectacle of playing the Dallas Mavericks.

“They’re just another Western Conference team we have to beat,” said the 7’1 defensive stalwart. “My only motivation is to win a championship, anything else I’m not concerned about.”

The Clippers played their home opener at Staples Center against the spurned Mavericks team and their owner Mark Cuban, who apparently still has hurt feelings after Jordan rejected his offer to join him in Dallas.

“Look, the Clippers are the Clippers,” said Cuban prior to the game. “You can change the players, you can change the owner, but the Clippers are who they’ve been for the last 30 years.”

One can understand Cuban’s incessant aggravation. The very fact that he scheduled a meeting with Jordan caused Tyson Chandler to bolt for the Phoenix Suns. Chandler was the final piece that solidified the 2011 Dallas Mavericks’ championship defense. Cuban gambled on bringing in Jordan, promising that he’d be the franchise player, but in the end lost out on both big men.

Cuban has had bad luck in getting his man in the past. He similarly failed in snagging Marcin Gortat in 2009 after the Orlando Magic matched the five-year, $34-million offer sheet, despite having All-Star center Dwight Howard. The Shark Tank star couldn’t convince an aging Steve Nash to come in, instead choosing to take less money to play with the L.A. Lakers.

The Clippers drew first blood in the new rivalry, easily disposing of the Mavericks 104-88. Jordan had 15 points and 4 blocked shots in less than 30 minutes. He acknowledged the emotion surrounding the game. But not because the Mavericks were in the house.

“It’s definitely an emotional game,” he explained. “The emotions were high obviously because it was our home opener. We wanted to give the fans what they missed.”

He also gave Mark Cuban and the Mavericks plenty of what they missed.

Versus: Kobe v LeBron – Who Had More Help?

As LeBron James enters his sixth NBA Finals competition, the comparisons and contrasts with his superstar peers are made. Kobe Bryant has 5 rings with the Los Angeles Lakers, but many analysts do not credit his first three (2000-2002) as being a part of his individual accomplishments. Still, LeBron clearly joined Dwyane Wade and Chirs Bosh in Miami because he grew weary of trying to win it on his own, and collected back-to-back titles with the Heat.

Here is a statistical breakdown of Kobe’s three trips to the NBA Finals (without Shaq) and LeBron’s first three trips to the Finals along with their supporting casts numbers.

 

Celtics 2008 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (CELTICS 4-2)

Kobe 25.7 4.7reb 5.0asst

Gasol 14.7 10.2reb 3.3asst

Odom 13.5 9.0reb 3.0asst

(Bynum Didn’t participate in series)

 

Lakers 2009 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-1)

Kobe 32.4 5.6reb 7.4asst

Gasol avg 18.6 9.2reb 2.2ast

Odom 13.4, 7.4 reb 0.8ast

Bynum  6pts 4reb 0.6 asst

 

LAKERS 2010 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-3)

Kobe 28.6 8.0reb 3.9asst

Gasol 18.6 11.6reb 3.7asst

Metta World Peace 10.6 4.3reb 1.3 asst

Bynum 7.4 5.1reb


SPURS 2007 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-0)

Bron 22.0 7.0reb 6.8asst
MAVERICKS 2011 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-2)

WADE 26.5 7.0reb 5.2 asst

Bron 17.8 7.2reb 6.8asst

BOSH 18.5 7.3 reb 1.0asst

Chalmers avg 11.8 2.7reb 3.5 asst

HEAT 2012 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-2)

Bron 28.6 10.2reb 7.4asst

Wade 22.6 6.0reb 5.2asst

Bosh 14.6 9.4reb

Battier 11.4

Chalmers 10.4 2.6reb 4.0asst

 

Kobe Bryant still building legacy brick-by-brick

The case against Kobe Bryant officially began with a set of missed field-goal attempts.

The Lakers were eliminated in overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals when Bryant shot an air-ball at the end of regulation, followed by another that would have tied the game in the extra period. He was comforted by his  teammate Shaquille O’Neal who encouraged him to keep shooting the ball. It was advice that would ironically contribute to their division years later.

Kobe Bryant hasn’t stopped shooting. He became the NBA’s all-time leader in missed field-goals during the Lakers 102-107 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. As infamous as it sounds, being known as the player who has missed the most shots means you have been around long enough to take them.
It wasn’t a forgone conclusion that Kobe Bryant would miss the most shots in NBA history. He had a mere 176 attempts during the regular season of his rookie year. To put it in perspective, fellow 96 draft class rookie Antoine Walker hoisted away 1,354 attempts for the Boston Celtics. It took Bryant two seasons and change to become the starting shooting-guard for the Lakers after Eddie Jones was traded to the Charlotte Hornets during the 1999 lockout season.

Kobe has been consistently good for so long that the evolution of his game is taken for granted. Unlike LeBron James, Bryant wasn’t given the green-light as a rookie. He even endured DNP’s under coach Del Harris when he was known as “Showtime” because of his flashy play in practice. But Bryant still had to earn minutes behind Eddie Jones and current Head Coach Byron Scott.

And he kept shooting.

He quickly earned the reputation as an introvert by choosing not to be a part of the Hollywood club scene with known playboys like Shaq and Rick Fox. His competitive nature and aggressiveness got around the league quickly, and the elder statesman started laying the wood as a right of passage. It all culminated with a fight with Chris Childs against the New York Knicks during the Lakers 2000 championship run. The nationally televised game between the two most popular teams in the NBA was the graduation of Kobe Bryant into superstar status.

His longevity has masked the fact that he’s played in seven seasons of 70 games or less. It took him five years before he completed an 80 game NBA season.

Bryant hasn’t ceased firing away, continuing to add bricks to the foundation he’s set. He has the chance to join Michael Jordan as the only players to lead the league in scoring at 36-years old. He has displayed that athleticism is still very much a part of his game, and although they won’t admit it, many analyst privately expressed that Bryant would no longer be an all-star after the layoff.

Kobe said he would rather go 0-30 instead of 0-9. He’s missed the most shots because he’s had the drive to make the most.

 

Kobe Bryant experiencing Michael Jordan’s mid-90’s crisis

Chris Rock hosted Saturday Night Live the night Klay Thompson went off on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers for 41 points. It made me have nostalgic memories of the Little Penny era of Nike commercials voiced by the comedian.

Rock played a puppet-sized version of Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway in a collection of popular ads for the NBA star’s shoes. It was director Spike Lee and Michael Jordan who took the Kicks campaigns to a new level with ‘It’s Got Be The Shoes’ in the 80’s, and Hardaway along with the new crop of talent had seemingly taken the torch from his Airness.

After retiring to play baseball and having a lackluster comeback that ended with being eliminated by the Orlando Magic, it was apparent by the commercials on television and the new young talent on the court that Michael Jordan had gotten too old.

There were visuals like Nick Anderson ripping him in the 95 playoffs, Allen Iverson crossing him up- moments where the old guy in the gym gets embarrassed by the young punk he’d just been schooling about the fundamentals of the game.

The 90’s ushered in a new era of guards like Temple’s Eddie Jones and Connecticut’s Ray Allen who grew up watching Jordan, modeled facets of their games after him, and now were in line to challenge the Master.

#AirJordan was no longer “trending.” Grant Hill’s Fila’s were hot and Shaq was breaking backboards. We had gotten over MJ.

But rumors of his demise were were greatly exaggerated. It was as if the ascension of the new young talent in the league was predicated on the decentralization of Jordan’s game.

18-years removed being drafted into the NBA, Kobe Bryant is now being offered his golden parachute to make room for the new guys in the office.

Bryant averaged 26 points 6 assists and 5 rebounds on 46% shooting from the field through 78 games prior to the Achilles’s injury. But it’s not simply health or age that are making a growing amount of people get over Kobe. It’s the influx of talent similar to the 90’s.

James Harden, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, John Wall and Russell Westbrook are lighting up the league and are changing the cultural paradigm in the process.

It was Jordan that entered the Association with baggy shorts and cool sneakers that made the NBA recognize hip-hop and it’s marketing value. Now we have The Splash Brothers, Harden’s beard, and the social-media posturing that creates the images which heavily influence today’s perception.

Iverson was dropping bars with Jadakiss in his shoe commercials while Jordan was on the green playing golf. It’s these type of connections that new generation is making that is aiding the call for Bryant to start drawing Social Security payments.

But Money Mike wasn’t quite finished. He bounced back from the debacle against Orlando to average 30 points a game and went on to win three more championships. Kobe has displayed early in the season that he still has some athleticism left, and still possess the ability to score at a high level.

Phil Jackson has confirmed that Bryant’s training is on a much higher plain than was Jordan’s, and the six-time champion himself has confirmed that Bryant shares his killer instinct and prowess.

The next generation has definitely turned a corner, but that doesn’t mean Bryant is ready to turn down.

What’s Beef? Kobe Tried To Squash Dwight/Shaq Fued

The last days of Shaquille O’Neal included some classic public quarreling that The Big Aristotle was known for. Most of the drama was simply Shaq being a shameless self-promoter mixed with the media salivating for a story.

Enter Dwight Howard, who was now parading around the Orlando calling himself Superman. Not only was Howard copying Shaq’s nickname, but he seemed to be emulating his ‘Maybe I’m Too Big For The Orlando Maigc’ style prior to his pending free agency. Shaq set the record straight in a Sports Illustrated interview:

Doesn’t bother me. I can’t be impressed by something I invented in ’92. I mean, you look at what he is doing, I’ve been there and done that. Every street he is driving down in Orlando, I have been on that street. Every nightclub, every restaurant. … I have been there and done that. Until he wins three, four championships, then we can talk about him. But right now, he is just like every other big guy: ‘You can run and jump, but you haven’t won yet.

A recent story quoting numerous anonymous sources painted Kobe Bryant as a pariah who has ex-communicated the Lakers organization due to his nefarious reputation. Dwight Howard has since come out and denied that Bryant was a deterrent in him returning to Los Angeles.

During the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend, Kobe and Shaq were set to meet for dinner. Dwight Howard caught up with Bryant and was sure to explain to him that he had no beef with Shaq. Bryant, widely thought as an O’Neal nemesis, assured Howard that he’d talk to O’Neal on his behalf.

That’s right- Kobe played peacemaker between Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal.