From Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times: Somewhere amid the drear and drizzle of a fall afternoon in England were two more recovery timetables that shifted again. Andrew Bynum now might be sidelined until December while rehabilitating his knee, and Kobe Bryant will definitely suit up for the Oct. 26 season opener but probably need two more weeks after that to regain full strength, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. Bynum said a week ago he would be back in late November, a timetable that disappointed most Lakers followers, but even that prediction might have been optimistic.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: Free agent signee and backup center Theo Ratliff isn’t holding anything back when he goes up body to body with three-time All-Star Pau Gasol in practice. Ratliff and Gasol were matched up against each other at various times during Saturday’s scrimmage, with the 37-year-old Ratliff causing the 30-year-old Gasol to fall to the floor at one point while the two battled for positioning near the basket. “I’m sure that’s something that [the coaching staff] told him to do, because that’s something that I’m going to get all year long,” Gasol said. “It’s part of the job that he does that during practice [to] get me right, get me ready for the games.” Ratliff said he received no such orders.
From NBA.com: Kobe Bryant is determined to put on a good show and take care of his surgically repaired right knee at the same time. Bryant got some rehab work in while the Los Angeles Lakers scrimmaged during practice Sunday, training separately in the weight room. The guard is working his way back after the offseason knee operation but is planning to play in Monday’s preseason opener against Minnesota Timberwolves, hoping to please a London crowd eager to see one of basketball’s biggest stars. “You feel a sense of responsibility, which adds to you wanting to go out there and play,” Bryant said after practice, wearing large ice bags taped to both knees. “You have the opportunity to play in front of fans who have never seen you play in person. I never get that chance with this particular club.”
From Land O’ Lakers: Ever since Kobe Bryant was a little kid growing up in Italy, he dreamed of doing what he and a handful of his Lakers teammates did Sunday. ??“I used to go to Serie A games all the time and I wanted to go watch a Premier League game and my mother never let me go,” Bryant said. “At the time I wanted to watch Liverpool and teams like that and she was like, ‘No.’ So now, to finally have the opportunity, 20-something years later, to go watch a Premier match is exciting.” ??Bryant and his teammates sat in the Millennium Suites at Stamford Bridge stadium to see Chelsea beat their longtime London rival Arsenal, 2-0, thanks to goals by Didier Drogba and Alex for the Blues. ??It was arranged for the Lakers to meet up with the Chelsea players after the game. It is unknown whether Bryant boasted to Drogba about beating his close friend, Kevin Garnett, in the NBA Finals.
From Land O’ Lakers (with video): The Lakers are in London this week to play the Minnesota Timberwolves, and our colleague Dave McMenamin is there. He caught up with Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis. The former Lakers assistant offered some thoughts on Kobe Bryant.
Lastly, here are all of the previews from the Central Division:
Pacers: Indy Cornrows
Recaps: All Previews
UPDATE: Maybe you’ve seen this already but if not, below is a clip of Kobe declaring that he’d beat Lebron in a game of one on one. And while some might think I’m biased, I agree with Kobe. Lebron is a physical wonder whose all around game is still growing. But as Kobe implies in the clip, Lebron’s true greatness lies more in his play making ability (ala Magic Johnson) more so than in his ability to score (though he’s quite gifted at putting the ball in the basket). Meanwhile, Kobe is one of the purest scorers ever. I could go on and on about the variety in Kobe’s offensive game, but said simply: Kobe is the premier shot maker in the league right now. And in a game of one on one, making shots is what matters most (stopping the other guy matters too, but Kobe’s pretty good on D too). Anyways, here’s the clip (h/t to hoopfix.com for sending us this clip):
UPDATE #2: I always love a good highlight reel. What can I say? I don’t care if it never shows the misses or the turnovers or any of the other negative parts of a players’ game. I just love seeing players play at their peak potential if even only for a minute of spliced together clips. I bring this up because of this video. Yes indeed, Kobe Bryant – Depth of Intensity. (h/t to Henry at TrueHoop)