Feb 7, 2013, 11:27 AM EDT
Kobe Bryant is done with the injury excuse.
No doubt injuries have set the Lakers back this season, they’ve been part of the reason they have never really coalesced as a team. But the best teams step up when players are injured. The Chicago Bulls are 29-19 and haven’t had Derrick Rose all season. The Pacers are 31-16 without their leading scorer Danny Granger. Even recently, the Lakers opponent Thursday night — the Boston Celtics — have gone 5-0 since Rajon Rondo went down.
For Kobe it is past time for injuries to be an excuse — for Lakers fans it was past time like a month ago, but that’s another post. The Lakers have won six of seven games and if they are going to make a playoff push the time is now.
The Lakers were dealt a blow with Pau Gasol being out at least six weeks and all the pressure of that falls on Dwight Howard’s achy shoulders. The Lakers need the Dwight Howard they expected this summer and they need him now, Kobe said speaking to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com.
“We don’t have time for (Howard’s shoulder) to heal,” Bryant said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan. “We need some urgency….
“Dwight worries too much about what people think,” Bryant told MacMullan. “I told him, ‘You can’t worry about that. It’s holding you back.’ He says, ‘OK, OK, OK,’ but it’s always hovering around him. He just wants people to like him. He doesn’t want to let anyone down, and that gets him away from what he should be doing.”
The question isn’t “is Kobe right?” The question that matters becomes “is this how you motivate Dwight Howard? Or does this push him away?”
When Howard was traded to Los Angeles following the Dwightmare we noted what we had learned from Kobe and LeBron James — the only thing that swings public opinion back in your favor after a PR disaster is winning. Playing well and winning because of it. Kobe isn’t loved but he is respected. LeBron isn’t on the least liked athletes lists anymore after a gold medal and a title last season.
Howard isn’t on those lists yet either, but only winning will change his reputation that has taken a beating among sports fan. A reputation further hurt by his play this season — no doubt injuries have hampered that play, but fans in Los Angeles don’t want to hear it anymore. They know the winning needs to start right now if the Lakers are going to win enough to even make the playoffs this season. They know Howard is the key to that.
Howard will be a game-time call for the Lakers on Thursday. For the next six weeks, fair or not, the Lakers success will be on his shoulders. We’ll see if he can carry that.
Mar 15, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Kenneth Faried’s energy, along with his 24 points and 10 rebounds, helped send the Heat to their fifth loss in six games.
Mar 15, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Ultimately Thomas Wolfe will be proven right, you can’t go home again. Not even Phil Jackson. It’s easy to sit back and list the reasons Jackson’s return to the team that drafted him, taking over basketball operations of the New York Knicks will not work: James Dolan; Jackson has never had any front office experience…
Mar 15, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Evan Turner wasn’t initially that fond of the Sixers new GM, but he may have changed his mind on his way out of town.
Mar 15, 2014, 12:46 AM EDT
I wouldn’t say Utah’s Enes Kanter dunks on the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan because that implied Jordan got in his way. Jordan went for the block but kind of tried to swipe it as Kanter went by. Didn’t work, big dunk for the Jazz. The Clippers went on to win the game 96-97, their 10th consecutive…
Mar 14, 2014, 11:02 PM EDT
Tony Wroten of the Sixers became the latest player to experience a shoe malfunction.
Mar 14, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT
Pau Gasol believes that Kobe had every right to demand the Lakers put together a team capable of winning immediately.
Mar 14, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT
Paul Pierce continues to play up his hatred of the Knicks.
Jermaine O’Neal explains his reasoning for confronting Blake Griffin outside locker room following loss to Clippers
Mar 14, 2014, 6:36 PM EDT
Blake Griffin apparently did something on the court that, at least in Jermaine O’Neal’s eyes, crossed the line.
Mar 14, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT
After a disaster of a season in New York, Knicks owner James Dolan has made his bold move to save face. Now we will see if it actually turns the franchise around. The Knicks have announced they will “hold a press conference on Tuesday, March 18 to make a major announcement.” That would be the…
Mar 14, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT
For the big Thursday night game where the Bulls showed up ready to play and the Rockets just showed up, TNT mic’d up Carlos Boozer for the game. And he talked. And talked. And yelled “and one” at the top of his lungs. And talked. Tomike Shengelia doesn’t want to listen and Boozer keeps talking.…
Mar 14, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT
By the time Phil Jackson signs with the Knicks it feels like Ted Mosby will have met the mother of his children. Finally. Pretty much every source in the universe says a deal is close, that includes Ramona Shelburne and Chris Broussard of ESPN. Todd Musburger, Jackson’s Chicago-based agent, is in Los Angeles to finalize…
Mar 14, 2014, 2:58 PM EDT
Mike Woodson knows what is coming. It is expected that some time in the next 72 hours Phil Jackson will put pen to paper and become the president of basketball operations for the Knicks. When the season ends he’s going to clean house (CAA is not going to enjoy the experience), bringing in his people…
Mar 14, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
Jimmy Fallon has been looking into buying a truck, this is the one he needs. Tim Duncan teamed up with Gunn Chevrolet in the San Antonio area to customize a 2014 Silverado for a giveaway. If you didn’t know, Duncan is a bit of a car nut and owns Blackjack Speed Shop, a customizing shop…
Mar 14, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT
Phoenix has to turn things around. Fast. The team is 3-7 in their last 10 and in the deep Western Conference that spells trouble — they have tumbled out of the playoffs and now are two games back of Memphis and Dallas in trying to get the last ticket to the postseason dance. Jeff Hornacek…
Mar 14, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT
The Boston Celtics and Rajon Rondo have had better days behind them. In front of them too, they hope. Boston will miss the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons, and Rondo missed the All-Star Game for the first time in four years. To avoid repeating either outcome, Rondo must get fully healthy. That’s…
Mar 14, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT
This is what makes Inside the NBA on TNT great. You can be sure some star almost fell asleep on the set of a Sunday morning football show this year, but they got him some coffee and kept it off the air. Not Inside the NBA. They show Charles Barkley nodding off and the guys…
Mar 14, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Terrence Ross has won a Dunk Contest. He scored 51 points in a game. He starts for the Eastern Conference’s third-best team. But he still has to take out the trash when he goes to his mom’s house. Raptors.com interviewed Ross with his mom, Marcine Ross, when Toronto played in his hometown of Portland last…
Mar 14, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
Michael Jordan is commonly accepted as the best NBA player of all time, though occasionally someone else believes a different player belongs No. 1. Consider Kevin Durant among those dissenters. At least partially Durant on Kobe Bryant, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (hat tip: Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball): “He’s…
Mar 14, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
In ESPN’s Fab Five documentary, Jalen Rose discussed how he felt about Duke while playing at Michigan. Rose: I hated Duke, and I hated everything I felt Duke stood for. Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms. To many, that’s still the…
Mar 14, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
Royce White, the former first-round pick whose anxiety issues have kept him from playing in the NBA, is one step closer to making his NBA debut. The Sacramento Kings signed White to a 10-day contract, immediately assigning him to the D-League. After posting 8.8 points on 37 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5…
- Phil Jackson to Knicks could work. It probably won’t, but it could. 8
- Pau Gasol says Kobe was right to rip Lakers front office 29
- It’s confirmed: Phil Jackson returns to Knicks to head up front office, revive franchise 28
- Kevin Durant: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are greatest of all time 64
- LeBron James becomes Obamacare pitchman 39