Around the World (Wide Web): Kobe’s Ankle; Bynum’s Performance

Phillip Barnett —  March 14, 2011

From Broderick Turner, LA Times: Kobe Bryant, who sprained his left ankle Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks, has been listed as a game-time decision for Monday night’s game against the Orlando Magic at Staples Center, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. Bryant, who arrived late to the team’s training facility in El Segundo, didn’t practice Sunday, preferring to get treatment instead. “We hope he’ll be able to play,” Jackson said. Bryant declined to talk to the media. Bryant had said after the injury occurred late in the third quarter that it was the scariest ankle sprain of his career.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kobe Bryant managed to walk slowly out of American Airlines Center, his sprained left ankle taped tightly with what Bryant described as “a baseball” growing on the outside of it from the swelling. Nevertheless, Bryant said of the ankle: “The strength is pretty good.” He said with around-the-clock treatment he would be “fine” — even though Lakers coach Phil Jackson cast some doubt on Bryant’s availability Monday night vs. Orlando when saying Bryant’s injury was “severe.” Bryant also said it felt like the worst ankle sprain he has ever had. Bryant was able to play the last 6:30 of the Lakers’ victory in Dallas on Saturday night after an awkward landing with 2:02 left in the third quarter as he tried to recover a ball in the air. Bryant said of that moment: “I thought I was done … like, done. I was just praying my foot was lined up (when looking at it.)”

From Wondahbap, Silver Screen and Roll: Psssht! Like you didn’t know? Bynum is smashing, the Lakers are rolling, and all of a sudden, the Western Conference looks mighty easy again. His defense and rebounding continue to be the rock that the Lakers have pounded their supposed Western Conference challengers into submission with. The Spurs? Bynum ate up whatever Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili cooked up, he made you think Tim Duncan retired during the game, and the Lakers rolled. They might as well have told San Antonio they can take home-court Advantage and shove it. The Mavs? So much for that length they added. Big Drew beasted for 22 points and 15 rebounds and was clearly the best player on the floor. Think about that. In a game with Kobe, Pau and Dirk Nowitzki, it was Bynum who looked like the unstoppable one?

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Phil Jackson used the words “full strength.” No ambiguity about the context, either. “He’s at full strength now,” the Lakers’ coach said about Andrew Bynum. That’s throwing out quite a bone when it comes to the project the Lakers have grown far more accustomed to being nicked in the knees than giving opponents consistent paddywhacks. Even more than Jackson saying flat-out, “Drew is coming into his own now,” that declaration that Bynum is operating at full power by the coach perennially dissatisfied by his starting center’s energy and stamina (and health) was jarring. Yet that’s how this young man came rolling home Saturday night, acknowledging that his confidence is swelling after having had the road trip of his career:

From ESPN Stats and Info, via TrueHoop: With just six points and 12 rebounds, Kevin Love’s streak of 53 double-doubles came to an end Sunday night in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to the Golden State Warriors. It was the first time since Nov. 19 against the Lakers that Love didn’t reach double figures in both points and rebounds. With the streak coming to an end, here’s a look back at what he accomplished: Love put together the longest single-season double-double streak since the NBA/ABA merger (1976-77). He fell just two games shy of tying Elvin Hayes for the longest such streak over the past 40 seasons. Over the 53-game stretch Love averaged 21.8 points per game to go along with 16.3 rebounds per game. He had three games in which he scored at least 30 points and recorded at least 20 rebounds. Only one other player in the past 10 seasons has had even three such games in a single season, and that was Kevin Garnett, also with the Timberwolves, in 2002-03. (Note: Love had one such game before the streak began, giving him four total this season)

From Ethan Sherwood-Strauss, Hoops Speak: Bryant’s gifts are his own, the media did not spawn this multi-faceted arsenal. Only the genius from within could become that artist who flings shots, without warning, from all angles—in the way a tornado hurls cows. The media can however, influence Bryant’s brand, how we see him, and how he strives to be seen. I couldn’t help but suspect our imprint upon reading coverage of Kobe’s postgame workout. Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register tweeted: “In more than a decade covering Kobe, I haven’t seen him do this before.” So the action is abnormal, even if it is agenda-free.

UPDATE: From Matt Moore, Pro Basketball Talk: This game can be used as a seminal moment for the Lakers, snapping back from a disappointing loss in Miami, proving that they still have the Mavs’ number after some regular season struggles, and showing they are still on track to reach the Finals. It can be used to illustrate that although Dallas is talented and experienced, and blessed with tremendous depth down low, it may not be enough thanks to the talent gap in the paint.

But really, if you want to know what this game meant? It’s “the moment” for Andrew Bynum. There have been flashes along the way. Signs. Huge games, bigger than this one. Moments where Bynum was the difference maker, the extra piece, the X-factor, other cliches. This wasn’t the biggest game of Bynum’s career, far from it. But the other games for him were proof of what he could do, what he was capable of, what was possible with him.

Phillip Barnett

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17 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Kobe’s Ankle; Bynum’s Performance

  1. The injury to #24 poses a very interesting question. Would you rather have a 100% healthy Kobe in the playoffs and a 80% healthy Bynum or Bynum at 100% and Kobe at 80% when the playoffs begin? Who is the biggest x factor as the season is coming to an end with the Spurs at the top of the west and Dallas only a half game up on LA for the second spot.

  2. I hope Kobe sits out.

  3. I hope Kobe sits until Portland game on Sunday. I also hope that by sitting, he’ll get to look at the offense again and reminds himself how much more effective he and the team can be with ball movement. Kobe seems to come back more effective when he gets these reminders once in a while.

  4. How about homecourt advantage guys? If Kobe sits out against the Magic tonight we lose, plain and simple. I mean if he plays tonight, even lesser minutes I think it would be fine, I am willing to risk it. Then he has 4 days until fridays game against the T wolves, and that is a game he can even sit out if he needs to and wait until Sunday’s game. It is very possible 1 game could be the deciding factor between us and the Mavs. As well as we are playing we have a tough schedule closing out the season. If Kobe is hurt severly where he would hurt the team, ok then he should not play But if he can even though he is not a 100 percent, he can play through pain better than anyone in the NBA. I mean is Kobe playing this 1 game going to really put him at 80 percent in the playoffs instead of 100? Come on, I think you guys are overreacting a bit.

  5. This is on an unrelated topic, but is anyone else sick of Rose already being coronated the MVP? What has he done to deserve that, exactly? I understand he has improved dramatically since last year. He also has a phenomenal head coach that has turned the Bulls into a defensive juggernaut across the roster. His actual stats are inferior to Kobe’s in most categories, even though he plays 5 mins more per game – better FG% (Kobe’s “shortcoming”), more points, more steals, fewer TOs on a higher usage %, and more rebounds (although this last one is probably related to position). Rose is better in 3P% and FT% by a small amount, and has 3 more assists per game. This is less impressive when you factor in that Kobe a) is a shooting guard who supposedly hogs the ball, and b) plays in the triangle, which distributes assists among multiple players, unlike the Bulls offense. But, boring old Kobe is not even in the conversation, despite getting screwed at least once already for MVP. Never mind that Kobe is above his career averages in multiple stats (including points, FG%, rebounds, and assists) despite being “too old” to play ball at an elite level anymore.

    This is why I hate the media. Is the story really that important? Reward the best player for once. At least Rose plays a little defense, unlike the last PG who racked up MVPs.

  6. @6 that’s what I’ve been saying all year. Kobe was never included in the MVP discussion, which is incredible disrespectful considering:

    1. He is the best player on a 2 time defending champion

    2. He has only one MVP

    3. Everyone is desperate NOT to give it to LeBron because he hasn’t performed in the postseason the last 2 years.

    4. Derrick Rose, who I love as a player, is NOT the reason that team made a big jump. He is great, and huge, but he’s just the NEW SHINY TOY everyone wants to play with.

    5. Have u seen the standings today? Lakers a 1 game behind Chicago, 1.5 games behind Boston. So the Lakers’ record is comparable almost exactly to the Bulls/Boston.

    6. Derrick Rose plays no defense. We all know this.

    7. In 20 years, the NBA writers should be embarrassed if Steve Nash had 2 MVPs and Kobe had 1.

    8. Kobe is playing 5 fewer minutes a game and still driving the train effectively.

    I love Rose. But can we make him do it 2 or 3 years in a row before crowning his ass?

  7. I agree with Joe. We are fighting for playoff seeding, this isn’t some scenario where we’re like the Spurs and have the #1 seed and we just need to coast to the finish line. And regardless of Kobe’s poor shooting this past two games, he is critical to what we do on offense. I absolutely love what Drew is doing right now with the defense and rebounding, but having Kobe out there to spread the floor and draw attention is critical to our success. Let’s not forget that.

  8. 5. Joe

    I dont believe Kobe playing 1 game will effect his health for the playoffs. Hopefully come playoff time Mr. Bean will be well rested and injury free. My question was if either Kobe or Bynum was less than 100% percent come playoff time, which player would have the most impact on the teams chances of winning it all in June.

  9. I don’t know if any of you saw this, but Phil Jackson briefly talks about the comparisons between Kobe and Jordan.

    http://www.foxsportswest.com/msn/03/13/11/Stop-comparing-Bryant-to-Jordan-Lakers-c/landing_lakers.html?blockID=440081&feedID=3687

    He goes on to say how unfair they are and slides in a subtle dig about the shooting percentage between the two. Knowing Jackson, it sounds like his way of motivating Kobe to select his shots more carefully if he wants to be as great or even greater than MJ one day.

    Full article here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-simers-phil-jackson-20110313,0,4441456.column

  10. “I dont believe Kobe playing 1 game will effect his health for the playoffs”

    That depends on whether playing at this point increases the likelihood of greater injury to the ankle versus waiting until it has healed somewhat. I would rather err on the side of caution.

  11. @1 a 100% Bynum is better than all centers not named Dwight and he’s actually a lot closer than most people give him credit, and likewise an 80% Kobe is better than most 2 guards. I’d take a 100% Bynum. Put it this way, 80% Kobe can still dominate most guys 80% Bynum can’t.

  12. I think it depends on how hurt his ankle really is. There seems to be mixed reports on it. I mean if it is hurt really bad where there is a good chance of more injury, yes, he should sit out. But I doubt it is that bad. He actually came in and finished the Mavs game. I want this game tonight. The heat are the only team in the league to beat us in a season series this year, as far as I know. Lets not make Magic number 2.

  13. The Lakers staff seems to know how to manage injuries and I suspect Kobe knows his own body better than most.

    Therefore, I’m planning to let them handle this w/o my assistance.

  14. DrewPauKobe,
    You must be a relatively new Lakers fan. Those of us oldtimers have seen the media and Kobe go separate ways many years ago. Early in his career he was spending all his time perfecting his game – hummm, has that changed? – and he didn’t have time or personality for the media members. Like with Barry Bonds, the media doesn’t forget and they would take any excuse to bring Kobe down. They didn’t succeed – obviously – but two results are: 1) the schizophrenic attitude the general public has toward him – this is a direct result of media coverage, not Kobe’s unlikableness and 2) the single MVP award he got.

    The only reason Kobe has even one MVP is that the media backed themselves into a corner with their Kobe / Paul comparisons and, when Kobe’s team beat out the Hornets, the media had no option but to give Kobe the award.

    All this stuff is not new and won’t change. Besides, Kobe is certainly not the shiny new toy any more – see the number of Coach of the Year awards Phil Jackson has.

    …and people wonder why I refer to the media as “talking heads”, have very little use for most of them, and don’t believe they should be involved in Hall of Fame selections.

    P.S. Kobe is certainly no saint and he has an ego the size of Mt Everest, but that is no different than the rest of our sports heroes.

  15. Of course Kobe should rest this game, but of course he will not. He prides himself on going all 82 and has a shot to do so this year….odds are he plays.