#Vino Is Out Of The Barrel, Lakers At .500

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Maybe you weren’t listening when Kobe Bryant vowed that the Los Angeles Lakers would not only make the playoffs, but make some noise when they get there.

Bryant was in full Black Mamba mode Sunday night at Staples Center, carving up and then finishing off the Atlanta Hawks late with big play after big play to help the Lakers reach  the .500 mark (30-30), the first time they’ve been there since  Dec. 28, in a 99-98 win.

Kobe scored 11 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter, which also included this not-so-subtle reminder to Hawks forward Josh Smith that he’s still got a few hops left (hey, Magic Johnson, forget about LeBron James. Why not throw that $1 million offer at this Kobe fella for the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest?):

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With four lead changes in the final minute of the final game of a wild Sunday of action, the NBA kicked off its own version of March Madness. The playoff chase is in full swing in both the Eastern and Western Conferences as teams from the top and bottom of the standings continue jockeying for position.

The Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers all scored big wins on the day before Bryant and the Lakers held off the Hawks, they led by 16 early, in the nightcap.

And truth be told, no team will be under more pressure over the next few weeks than the Lakers, who play 10 of their next 14 games on the road (starting with Tuesday night’s tilt in Oklahoma City on TNT).

But Kobe, who high-fived Hollywood star Jeremy Piven after that retro dunk over Smith, remains the most confident man in the room.

“I have plenty left but you guys are free to criticize and say I don’t,” he told reporters after the game. “Go right ahead.”

He said his mission was simple. “I just wanted to attack. Take the game right to them. Be aggressive, be physical.”

The Hawks tried to guard with Smith and other bigs and it backfired when it mattered most. “They switched with the bigs and when they stay home with the shooters,” Kobe said, “it’s my job to cook ‘em”

Did he ever. He went into his vault in the fourth quarter, particularly down the stretch, going right at Smith, Al Horford and anyone else in his path for the game-winning plays.

“That’s pretty incredible,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I don’t know where he’s getting his young legs from. But the last three or four possessions he just went to the rim and made some incredible shots. The last three or four minutes was all him.”

Smith probably has no idea where Kobe’s lift came from either. But he’ll be forced to relive being on the wrong end of that dunk for a while, as it will no doubt be added to Bryant’s season and career highlight reel.

“He’s been doing it for a long time, so you have to respect what he brings to the table,” Smith told reporters after the game. “He’s an assassin. He wants that moment. But from a defensive standpoint, I love taking a challenge like that and try to step up and try to make it tough for him. It was kind of like a tug-of-war match. We were going back and forth, and they made one more play than we did to win the game. I live for moments like this.”

The best line of the night, however, came from Kobe himself. And it had to do with his new nickname (“Vino” … which is Italian for wine) that connects to his roots and his game, which is seemingly getting better with age.

“I was in my coffin a few years ago … Vino is out of the barrel.”

98 Comments

  1. Vino Kulafu y Shuktong pamparegla ni kobe 24 says:

    Hey your VINO cried to the refs… Hey ref Westbrooke touch my arm OUCH!!! oh my God the agony the pain… where is your kobegod now??? kobetards??? Best player in NBA??? or best actor in nba drama… I’m surprised, because your Vino got one last trick on his elbow… He’s now playing his injury card… oh dear,, vino wants a bubu? poor vino… Russlle toch your arm,then you realized it was your elbow… then you can’t run back on D because it suddenly affects your legs too… Oh my poor vino… Next time I’ll talk to KD not to play hard against my poor baby vino…

  2. Vino Kulafu y Shuktong pamparegla ni kobe 24 says:

    Your Vino turned into sour whiny Vinegar… hahahah Here goes the injury excuses…. soon we will here more whines, and fingers pointing again…. even nate robinson or DWADE can do that…

  3. textnot says:

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  4. basketball for life says:

    its so funny how everyone is insisting the lakers will be lucky to get the 8th spot before the end of April. Look at spots 6-8 in the west, there is a 1 game difference between the THREE teams. Lakers keep playing like this there is no doubt they will make the playoffs, they may get into the 6th or 7th seed too. The remaining schedule for both the warriors and rockets are tough, plus they play eachother two or three more times. I also have a funny feeling Utah is gonna fade here shortly, watch!…This will be very exciting

  5. Patrickmarc says:

    As a “nuit st Georges“ kobe is getting better, year after year

  6. shaqtin a fool says:

    that bursting saliva for sure will be in shaqtin a fool this week. lol

  7. Francisco says:

    another media effort to link the real kobe to the fictional black mamba, while kobe had a bad period , he dropped from 49% to 46 , the media was silent, then he put some 50% plus games and he is again in the spot, but stats do not lie, the real kobe goes back to his averages 25, 45%, while the fictional black mamba is compared to an infinite better player like mike, NUMBERS DO NOT LIE

  8. Omg lakers got to .500!!!

  9. Laker fans will see that all this hype they started from getting Howard they will regret it from getting this drama queen he may be the next guy to get another coach fired…lakers are not a good team

  10. I just realized heats win streak of 14 is nearly half the wins the lakers have all season lol lakers won’t even make the playoffs they can thank the rockets for that

  11. Rok says:

    Golden state will be #9 place.
    I am telling u that now and u will say later that i was right. ;)

  12. mxqfft says:

    I think everybody knows that Kobe is on PEDs, and just like baseball, everyone is sticking their fingers in their ears and playing dumb. He is screwed when the new testing policies take place. VINO = PEDs

  13. ClarKnight says:

    Kobe winning another dunk contest? i can live with that

  14. matthew says:

    the lakers are going to the playoffs as a 8th seed and i’m sure the spurs don’t want that. when the mamba gets hot, it’s all over for the spurs

  15. KR450 says:

    I like wine. I don’t like Kobe. So stick to Black Mamba. It’s a better name for a rapist anyway.

  16. big man 7 foot 2 says:

    The only other nickname that is worst is Dwayne wade ‘s WOW ( way of wade ) which is absolutely ridiculous and no one’ s gonna call that clown (wade) that

  17. ko0kie says:

    lakers aren’t going to make the playoffs… it’s a respectable win against a good opponent but houston did win as well.. and they aren’t going anywhere. both teams are still trying to gel but the scary thing for laker fans is, that houston does it with ease and their team not only gets better but also all the players while the lakers just learn to be a better team and the players just getting older..

    and even if they get to the the playoffs.. they cannot matchup with OKC.. steve nash guards westbrook? really? and last time World Peace aka. Ron Artest could stay with Durant was almost 3 years ago when the thunder lost in the first round against the lakers…

    • purpngold says:

      I think the Rockets and Lakers will both make the playoffs, the team that will be left out is going to be the Warriors. And in the playoffs anything is possible, especially when you have Kobe on the team.

  18. jake says:

    Lebron will never be Kobe, doesnt have the mindset, skillset or drive. Kobe’s footwork is only comparable to Jordan, who is better but Kobe is a close 2nd. Yes Lebron is a freak of nature, but give kobe that size and hed be averaging 30,12,12, idiotic to say bron is better, hes not, just bigger and stronger…..and o yea, his hands lighter of rings too

  19. Marco says:

    I am italian. Kobe lived in italy for many years. Kobe answered to a fan, you can easily find his tweet, that VINO STANDS FOR ITALIAN WINE.. It’s easy to understand why: he is getting better like wine gets better with age. I am italian, as I said, and VINO means WINE, and VINO for us is a traditional product as pizza (not so much, but very close).. Probably a serbian portal suggested this nickname, but surely they took it from italian word… Other spanish languages uses vino, but kobe likes italiy, during the lockout he was coming to Virtus Bologna for some match…He speaks italian very well, also with vujacic (who speaks italian because he played here some years) during the matches he spoke italian, when our most famous and sold sport newspaper (gazzetta dello sport) does a video interview with bryant, he always speaks italian. Again, he answered a fan that vino was italian for wine.. IT’S NOT SERBIAN!

  20. Dimifresh says:

    Kobe being Kobe simply the best

  21. Marcus says:

    I been saying it all year. Kobe has and will always be ridiculous. Mark Cuban, and haters is an idiot. You didn’t just step out your lane into the Mamba’s territory you poked him with a retaliation stick and now I feel sorry for Defenders. Im feel sorry for them!! Kobe has always been MJ’s heir apparent Lebron and these new top guys are another breed of Stars altogether. They have their own legacy to make, but you can not dethrone Kobe he will cook and eat us all before that happens.

  22. WOW says:

    The fact that the Lakers get talked about when they are .500 is testament enough to their potential. If the Lakers were in the East they would be far above .500 so record doesn’t matter come playoffs. Spurs usually have th ebest record in the west and they can’t reach the finals for a while now. So what if the Lakers had a bad first season, IF they make playoffs they have a GOOOOOD chance to do damage

  23. naser says:

    too much celebration Laker’s fan for 0.500 ..that’s cute :) what a legacy

  24. wakenbake says:

    so lakers are a .500 team.. impressive

  25. Comrade24 says:

    I think the Lakers will make the playoffs. They’re playing much better basketball right now and are finally finding some chemistry. They’ll most likely face OKC in the first round. If they can push it to 6 or 7 games I think it will do a lot for their confidence for next season. Now, if they somehow manage to upset the Thunder, the rest of the league should be very afraid. Going forward in the offseason, i see the Lakers aggressively going after Josh Smith, and trading Gasol elsewhere for Depth (Minnesota, Toronto perhaps). Josh Smith fits the D’Antoni system perfectly and is a longtime friend of Howard. The Lakers need a deeper bench just to be the best team in their own city, much less compete with OKC and San Antonio next year. I think next year the Lakers will live up to their original expectations of being a top team in the West and contender for a championship.

    • ko0kiE says:

      hahah… good joke.. they lakers can push it to 4 games max. :D how guards westbrook? and who guards durant?! Metta World Peace is rusty and can’t stay in front of those young guys anymore.

  26. ranfan says:

    That’s not slob. It’s venom!

  27. BostonLou says:

    #Vino

    #PED

    #HGH

    what’s the difference??

  28. BJ says:

    Well lets see what the Lakers can do in this last stretch. They’ve been playing well I will give them that. Lets see if they can get the 8th spot and try to make it in the 1st round.

  29. dj rgm9 says:

    Watch out with chanting too early at this moment in the season,in the beginning of this season they where also on the 500mark position.Close after the 500 mark they tumbled deep down,with bad luck injury’s&poorly chemistry,poor coaching and so forth.
    Let’s not forget until the Rockets,Utah continue to play on winning mode even than the play-offs is still a big montain the climb until the top!Let’s hope the Lakers staying without injury’s especialy mr”vino”mamba,what the hell… the complete Laker roster need to stay healty until they are realy officialy placed for the play-off bracket!!!Mamba i hope you left some of the best”vino” left also for the play-offs! Some of the best unknowed”chianti vino” for the play-offs is certainly a must for the mamba!!!D’ont finnish it to quick mr Bean, buon salute!

  30. fromLA says:

    Why are you laker haters even here ? lol .. you come to a laker article just to hate ya mad we’re gonna make the playoffs and shock the world .

  31. amazing says:

    Kobe shooting form is pure legendary.

  32. diddy says:

    ”They switched with the bigs and when they stay home with the shooters,” Kobe said, “it’s my job to cook ‘em”

    – LMAO

  33. silver says:

    i’m a celtics fan, but i have to say that kobe is the best player not just now he is the best in history

  34. NHbleedsGREEN says:

    Last night was def.vintage kobe,
    he missed more shots (14)
    than he made (13)
    in a game vs. a weak team.

    • Jerry Baylor says:

      Atlanta”s not a weak team…Kobe shot almost 50%……sound like a blind Kobe hater….but i guess haters only hate great players

  35. Mike says:

    “Vino” fino, aka Black Mamba, aka Kobe “Bean” is carrying the team by himself and taking them to the playoffs this year! Hopefully Utah falls off so Houston can make it too.

  36. NBA FAN says:

    Its so funny to read Kobe haters comments. why would u hate to that point
    im not a laker fan. but you have to respect this Man’s work and accomplishment and if you dont, shut up
    why compare Kobe and Lebron in the first place. Kobe is flat out the best in the game. not because he is better than lebron but he has more accomplishments and still doing it at his age. Please stop that non sense. Lebron needs to tell people to zip it.
    Please compare lebron to Durant not Kobe
    Kobe gets to be compared to Jordan and thats his equal.
    With the prob lakers has faced this year, i totally understand why they are having this kinda season. Anyone would

    • Truth says:

      THANK YOU!! finally someone who states the facts lol

    • Game Time says:

      Kobe has more accomplishments than Lebron? So we are strictly talking about rings and scoring then right? Way to have a one-sided view of the situation. Lebron has records Kobe will never get as well. Even if we are talking about rings James has time left to catch Kobe, whereas Kobe will never get another MVP. Seems kind of fraudulent to be the best player ever and have far less MVPs than all the greats before him.

    • iCFakers says:

      Kobe is the flat out best. One MVP, barely has his team at .500 and still a possibility of them not making playoffs. Do you watch basketball outside of Laker games?

    • ko0kiE says:

      what a huge hypocrit you are… talkin about not comparing them and then you still do.
      if u do.. don’t compare team vs. invidual accomplishments because there is no way that robert horry > mj, lbj or even kobe..

      imo. there’s no fair way to compare these guys right now because of the age discrepancy and the stage of their career.. let’s talk again in 10 years.

  37. markymark says:

    kobe is still the best player on the planet. he has the drive intensity, competitiveness, and will to take over a game that no one can match

  38. Ssssssssss says:

    Many languages have the word Vino in their dictionary, which stands for wine, don’t lie that the word is sewwbian.

  39. Ssssssssss says:

    I can’t believe my eyes, Sekou actually wrote an article on someone else other than the Heat! I am at a loss of words…

  40. BeatHoustonGuy says:

    As long the mamba enters playoffs..fakers will be there..beat em up kobe…

  41. Goranovic says:

    It’s not Italian for wine, It’s Serbian,because the nickname came frome a Serbian portal that posted it on Bryant’s tweeter profile. Kobe liked it,and accepted it

  42. JPA says:

    Kobe for MVP !

  43. Even if the Lakers make the playoffs, they won’t get past the 1st round. Spus and OKC are too deep, and they have home court advantage.

  44. boon says:

    based on some of the comments on these blogs, we should just cancel the playoffs and just watch the the east and west favorites go at it in a best-of-101 then go directly to the 2014 season after… why are they playing basketball again?

  45. NBALogics says:

    22 Games left in the season how much games are they gonna have to win to knock the rockets out the play offs ? I hope Kobe is not playing all those 22 either . Either way respect to Kobe dude is beasting like 06 Kobe the rest of the team just needs to follow his example and pick up the slack.

  46. jeward says:

    the best!!! Keep it up.. and please rise into the top again..!

  47. kob says:

    the best

  48. iSHAQ or SHAQTOLOGY says:

    #1 – SPURS
    #8 – LAKERS

    L.A. will upset the Spurs…. haha

    • Jerry Baylor says:

      Spurs may not wind up in the #1 spot with Tony Parker out for a month

    • Game Time says:

      Spurs without Parker are likely to drop a spot….meaning dunt dun duh, Lakers vs OKC. Lakers better bring their cups if they want to beat Ibaka Da Nutcraka.

  49. Ronald says:

    Vino, Kobe, Black Mamba,,, He is simply the best!
    Hands down…

  50. remo says:

    Simple the best to ever played the game

  51. flip says:

    KOOOOOOOOOOOOOBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  52. LALA says:

    Kobe’s not the problem. Last 3 games I watched, Lakers have been beaten up when they had this lineup:
    Blake
    Meeeks
    Metta
    Jamison
    Dwight

    The entire offence relies on Dwight post ups which never work out well and with Blake running the show, only shots apart from that were 3’s and let’s face it. Metta needs to work on his stroke…a lot. Only after Nash checked back in this game did the Lakers gain some traction. Bottom line, we aren’t going anywhere without Pau anchoring the bench and facilitating to cutting AJ/spotting up Meeks or just doing a post up which he can still do much better than Dwight.
    Just to finish this rant, I was incredibly disappointed with the second last defensive possession, That was weak stuff. Props to Metta and Blake on the last one though.

  53. Kobe says:

    he is the only one in Lakers still got the spirit

  54. Rishabh says:

    Go lakers and Kobe, Coz, when u get to the playoffs, its a new challenge there. A fresh start. Lets go and demolish……

  55. oh-oh, the fakers are making some noise in the west-lol.

  56. GREGORY BROWN says:

    Kobe was also fouled by Josh Smith. The refs would have called a foul if it was Kevin Durant.

  57. GREGORY BROWN says:

    People forget that Kobe has made his living dunking on people. Lebrons spectacular dunks are usually not on people. Just ask Dwight Howard, who Kobe posterized. Josh Smith should have smiled for the poster.

    • Reality says:

      Youtube LeBrons top ten posterization dunks …. You’ll see what he has done to people..smh

      Kobe does have some insane ones to but T-mac On Shawn Bradley still my Favourite.. Man that was Sick!

    • Game Time says:

      Shut up! Why do you have to put this about Lebron vs Kobe? I hate Kobe, but that was an awsome dunk last night. Let’s leave it at that. Fact is the only reason Kobe fans bring Lebron into the conversation is because they have to try to compare Kobe to what James does with all the attention he’s getting. GET OVER IT! Likewise there are things Kobe has done (mainly if not only) with scoring that James will never do. Two different players, both great, but comparing the two is like putting up a top of the line sports car vs a luxary SUV.

      • GREGORY BROWN says:

        shut up! You hate Kobe, but you love Lebron. I believe Lebron already has a girlfriend. but i agree that they are two of the greatest of all time. no comparison is necessary.

  58. jerikobe says:

    it started when he posterizes cp3, wallace,hump, wolves center,crawfordd,jaysmove

  59. KB24 says:

    Stunning Kobe!

  60. Eaglos says:

    If Bryant wants to carry the team on his shoulder he must shoot more accurately.
    40-50% will not do and is nowhere close to the “black mamba” level.

  61. slob says:

    yeah he had his juice drippin out his mouth at half time … game face mode on

  62. Pegasus says:

    Bob M : Westbrook yeah i’ll give you that one, but please for god sake dont compare Martin to Kobe, please be realistic =)

  63. reyvenb says:

    I watched the game on TV and still got my “ooohs!”. He’s still one of the best closure player in NBA.

  64. boon says:

    wow. the nba sure loves being dramatic

  65. Adam says:

    It is a fact. While Kobe Bryant is still in the NBA, Lebron James and Keving Durant will still be overshadowed by his career accomplishments. While James and Durant are thrilling their fans with their respective performances, Kobe steals the limelight from them by doing impressive ones too. Both James and Durant will be honored greats one day, but while Kobe’s here, not yet. He’s still the man.

    • sick says:

      He’s still the man?? you made me laugh.. Lol
      how? when his team ain’t gonna make the playoff…. :)

    • Game Time says:

      LMAO maybe you don’t read the basketball news much but it’s pretty much all Lebron right now.

    • purpngold says:

      True that! As long as Kobe is playing the rest of the league will play second fiddle. I’d rather watch Kobe play over any other star player. Kober has his second wind, watchout when playoffs start.

  66. MJ0824 says:

    Damn that dunk look like a Afro-Kobe #8
    Kobe will retire as a Jordan with plenty gas on his Tank

    • JUICE says:

      Definitely looked liked afro kobe. I literally jumped off my seat when he slammed it down. Good stuff!

  67. Black Mama Worm 24 says:

    Should We All Vow down because the lakers Got .500 mark??? I don’t think so… lakers won game that makes them .500 but the Rockets won too…. They need to win 5 straight games to tie for the 8th place… and they are going to play against the THUNDERS… With their Star studded roster they should battling for the top spot NOT crawling like a worm to make a playoffs spot… You guys forgot already about BREAKING 72-10 record and many laker fans crowned them already as the 2013 champs before the start of the season… 22 games left… as the reg season nearing it’s end their championship hopes getting slimmer too…. lakers making it to playoffs means nothing… They will get swept again on 1st round… with no bench, poor coaching and so on… What a waste of MONEY……

    • ranfan says:

      Lol no bench? There bench is decent and probably better than the bench of the previous year. What lebron mainly has on Kobe is what, size and strength, and in his prime? As far as skill goes, Kobe probably has most of the league beat. Of course people would jump to conclusions when they see a bunch of good players come together. No one wasn’t thinking about team chemistry at the time. Making it to the playoffs would mean something to them, as it would be a milestone. Poor coaching doesn’t have anything to do with lackluster defense ans insane turnovers.

    • lq says:

      give that guy a brain lol, they’re playing against huston so (if they win) they need only 3 more wins .

  68. The kid says:

    Kobe tha best ever simple as that

  69. Bob M says:

    No doubt!! He has some juice still left in the battery. I just want to see him chase around Westbrook and Martin for 7 games.

    • travnjenn says:

      Me too! Not because I think he could keep up but because that’d mean LA actually made the playoffs and even better must be playing well to take OKC 7.

      • LOL the only problem is…you aren’t gonna see that if the Rockets, Warriors and Jazz play stellar basketball games the rest of the season…everyone seems to be forgetting that the Lakers are still 2 and a half games behind the playoff spot

      • Vino says:

        i’d say neither the Jazz or Rockets will be out of the playoffs. But the Lakers will also be in the playoffs as the No.8 seed, taking the Warriors spot. W/o A. Bogut, the Warriors will soon lose all the games and miss the playoffs. MARK MY WORDS.