Morning shootaround — Dec. 1


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Nov. 30

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Kobe’s fire still burning | Free speech in New York | Pistons fading fast | KG tries to take a bite out of Noah

No. 1: Lakers get triple-double from Koke, beat Raptors — The showcase is not over for Kobe Bryant and perhaps the Los Angeles Lakers. That was clear in Sunday’s win over the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors, who saw Kobe school them for a triple-double (which including his career 6,00th assist). Even after all of these years, Kobe can still dial up a performance for the ages. Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times explains:

His game was nearly flawless, his numbers showed a triple-double and he became the first player in NBA history with 30,000 career points and 6,000 assists, gliding over the latter plateau with a third-quarter pass to Wesley Johnson that led to a successful 12-footer.

“It’s a huge honor. It means I pass more than people say,” Bryant said after accumulating 31 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds at Staples Center.

The most important number could not be overlooked amid the backdrop: 36 years old.

Bryant shoved the momentum firmly toward the Lakers with a three-point play, making a 15-footer while moving left and getting fouled by James Johnson with 2:23 left in overtime.

Before shooting the free throw, Bryant took a long walk toward the other basket and pounded his chest with his right fist before heading back to the free-throw line.

“It’s crazy,” said Wesley Johnson, who had 13 points. “Especially seeing how he’s doing it. He’s still going at it. It’s not like he’s slow-footed or he still can’t get to the rim. He’s starting to play like his old self. This is definitely going to be something to tell my kids.”


VIDEO: Kobe Bryant drops a triple-double on the Raptors

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No. 2: Fisher fine with Stoudemire speaking his mind — Derek Fisher has more important things to worry about than the opinions of his players. The New York Knicks’ rookie coach has a season to worry about, a career even. Plus, he’s clearly a patriot and a believer in the freedom of all people to speak their mind, and that includes the sanctity of the locker room. That’s why Amar’e Stoudemire is free to weigh in on things in New York without retribution. Barbara Barker of Newsday has more:

“I think it shows some leadership from Amar’e, that he’s expressing how he feels about the team and his teammates and where we are as a group,” Fisher said. “I think it’s correct in terms of the assessment. And guys sometimes do that.

“It’s their locker room, so it’s more about how they feel than about how I feel about it. As long as guys continue to do the best they can, which I think Amar’e is trying to do, then sometimes you know some things may need to be said.”

Stoudemire ripped the Knicks after scoring a season-high 20 points against OKC. The problem was that no one else on the team scored more than 11 as the Knicks made only 38.7 percent of their shots in a 105-78 defeat.

“They played like they wanted it more,” Stoudemire said of the Thunder. “At this point, I don’t see how a team wants it more than we do. It’s unacceptable. We should be in desperation mode. We’re a team that’s fighting for a win. Right now, we got to have a higher sense of urgency and more enthused and mentally involved.”

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No. 3: Warriors hand reeling Pistons eighth straight loss — The alarm in Detroit should have gone off by now. The reeling Pistons have lost eight straight games under Stan Van Gundy, the franchise honcho and the coach. This team is worse than its immediate predecessor, meaning whatever changes Stan Van was going to implement have yet to take hold. How bad is it? Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News tries to make sense of it all:

With his young center playing lifelessly and picking up his fourth foul early moments of the third quarter, Stan Van Gundy was incredulous, yelling “Fight! Fight!”, as the game predictably slipped away.

One has to wonder if it was then, or at any point in the game where Van Gundy’s thoughts drifted to what could have been, had he taken over the team he watched give the Pistons (3-14) their eighth straight loss and 11th and 12, the Golden State Warriors.

But the Warriors (14-2) weren’t offering Van Gundy total control this past offseason, and now he has total responsibility to fix this mess, one displayed on a Sunday afternoon for all to observe at The Palace, a 104-93 loss to perhaps the best team in the Western Conference.

Of all the control he has, Van Gundy can’t control the Pistons going 16 of 53 inside the paint, as they made seven of 27 in that range in the first half. As a whole, the Pistons shot 36 percent, a season low.

For the sixth time this season, they scored 40 or less before halftime — and for the umpteenth time, getting back on defense became a chore they were unable to finish.

“When you shoot 30 percent from the paint…if you look at the stats, three feet and in, we’re third in attempts,” Van Gundy said. “And last in field goal percentage. We barely finish over 50 percent of our shots, we’ve got a real problem.”

Whether it was because the hot shooting Warriors can beat you from the perimeter or an indication of his long-term plan, Greg Monroe went to the bench in favor of Kyle Singler. But aside from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope catching fire, scoring 23 while going 12-of-22 from the field, he still hasn’t found the right mix of players or the right scheme to turn this anemic offense around.

“If we had an answer, we’d change it,” said Monroe of the team failing to convert inside. “It’s really no other answer when you’re talking about layups and shots in the paint. I’m probably the culprit of it all.”

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No. 4: Bite-gate is latest dust-up for KG and Noah — For once the Chicago Bulls can talk about something other than Derrick Rose after a game. Kevin Garnett made sure of it with the latest and perhaps strangest move of his colorful career. Apparently KG didn’t get enough of those Thanksgiving leftovers. He was busy trying to get a bite of Joakim Noah‘s hand during the Bulls’ win over the Nets Sunday. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, it’s the craziest thing Noah has seen in his colorful career, too:

Joakim Noah just smiled and shook his head in disbelief.

“Kevin Garnett tried to bite me. That’s crazy man. It’s unbelievable,” Noah said. “I don’t even know what to say.”

But then Noah said more about the incident, which rapidly circulated via social media following the Bulls’ victory over the Nets.

“I’m happy he didn’t connect,” Noah said. “If somebody tries to bite you, I think it’s a little bit more than trying to get in your head. It’s pretty amazing.”

The two players share a colorful and intense rivalry. Noah has alternated between praising Garnett’s intensity and admitting he respects him to bewilderment.

“I have fun playing against him when we win,” Noah said. “We’ve been doing some winning against him lately.I know how competitive he is and I know it drives him crazy to lose like that. I’m not worried about Kevin Garnett. I’m just worried about us, staying healthy and getting better. That’s really all I care about.”

Garnett laughed when questioned about the incident.

“I know how to bite somebody,” he said. “Obviously I was messing around in that moment. If I wanted to bite him, I’d have just … shout out to Mike Tyson …”


VIDEO: Kevin Garnett appeared to bite at Joakim Noah during Sunday’s game

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SOME RANDOM LINKS: Slimmer and fitter Marc Gasol pushes the Memphis Grizzlies to the top …  The New Orleans Pelicans are taking a look at Dante Cunningham …  Steve Nash and Byron Scott have yet to discuss the Lakers’ situation and that’s apparently fine with Scott … Don’t forget about Dwyane Wade

25 Comments

  1. Jose says:

    I think Amare does not enjoy of playing triangle offense… or maybe could not perform this system well… he needs more time to learn … he needs to talk to Phil table to table

  2. "Smart" NBA fan says:

    Kobe has more records than i have fingers and toes. his bank account has more hundreds than i have pennies. he has alot of haters but thats just bc your all jealous of his success. do i care what you stupid haters say? not really i just hope he dont read all of your people BS opinion that have no truth behind it. Kobe earned everything he has and hes the anchor and the main reason the Lakers remain relevant to any good teams. Kobe is priceless player and when he finally leaves he cant be replaced by anyone. i will surely miss him.

  3. Koke says:

    KOKE BRYANT FTW!

  4. TD21 says:

    Garnett needs to learn how to have a fundamental bite to have a legendary career. He should consider playing in a Spurs uniform with the immortal Old Man Riverwalk to win his second championship. Or retire basketball and spar with Iron Mike using their mouths.

  5. "Smart" NBA fan says:

    leave KG alone. hes had a career almost as good as Tim Duncan. give him credit cmon people….

  6. joseph says:

    K.g.he’s not a real bull.

  7. jiggsm says:

    KG was once a Minnesota “TimberWOLF” no wonder 😀

  8. dustydreamnz says:

    The Pistons blame should be on the players, this bunch haven’t performed for a few coaches now. Their attitude needs to change as they certainly have the talent in the starting 5 to compete.

  9. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    The Knicks and Detroit basketball are garbage the Lakers are better then these two teams. KG is one of my favorite players of all time but it’s time to hang up the kicks bro.

  10. Another Cavs Fan says:

    #SHAQTIN

  11. KG says:

    Garnett was just screwing around, stop making fake news.

  12. Squash says:

    Go for it dude

  13. Game Time says:

    Great game. He still has his team well below 500 with five other horrible shooting performances so this really doesn’t wipe the slate clean for the season, but if you’re a Kobe fan it pretty much jump started the delusion that the Lakers will be fine further into the season.

  14. Jared says:

    Sounds like Gundy is losing the locker room already according to the comment that Greg Monroe just made…

    • bballE says:

      It’s a little early but it does seem that way.. Also in a recent interview dwight howard said the same thing about how van gundy lost the locker room in orlando.

  15. harriethehawk says:

    The New York Knickerbonkers are a complete mess. Is Fisher to he blamed? The players? They have such a bad attitude. I originally understood why Carmello remained in New York. But now I wonder if even he has had second thoughts. Stousemire is a bum.

  16. T gas TT ako says:

    KOBE just showed us,, that no matter what or how many jab we throw to him,, it just doesnt really matter,, he will just keep on doing what hedoes best,, which is to PLAY great BSKETBALL,,, KUDOS

  17. John says:

    It did not appear at all to be an actual attempt at biting.Seems that KG wanted to feign biting after he got pushed on the nose by Noah and nothing more .Take it easy folks.

  18. Evan says:

    Yeah, that was a great game by “Koke.”

  19. Arran says:

    The Lakers never waived Nash and he didn’t say he would never play again. The article is wrong.

  20. Hernan Rojas says:

    “Lakers get triple-double from Koke”… Who the heck is that?!