Kobe vs. The World (again)

10.19.08 9 years ago 40 Comments
Kobe BryantKobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

We’re guessing Kobe wouldn’t mind avoiding any team from Spain for the next few years until (maybe) the London 2012 Olympics. First there was the gold medal game in Beijing that — even the biggest Team USA fan has to admit — was touch-and-go up until the end, and then last night the Lakers barely escaped an exhibition game at Staples against FC Barcelona with a win. Just like in the gold medal game, J.C. Navarro was unconscious, hitting L.A. for 34 points (7 threes), six rebounds and seven assists. Andre Barrett started at PG for Barcelona and was pretty quiet, as was the infamous Fran Vasquez. It’s probably a good thing Vasquez didn’t show anything, or else he might’ve been kidnapped by Orlando Magic security and taken to their practice facility. Kobe led the Lakers with 28 points and six steals, while Pau Gasol scored 13 … In an interview posted on the Lakers website, Andrew Bynum was asked if he’d rather star in a movie (not THAT kind of movie) with Jessica Alba or Eva Mendez. “Eva Mendez, definitely,” Bynum said. “I love Hispanic women. I actually talked to Pau about traveling to Spain in the offseason.” This better not lead to a reality show pilot, “Hunting for Little Mexican Girls, starring Andrew Bynum and Karl Malone.” … Now that the Miami Heat resemble an actual NBA franchise again — and a pretty good one, at that — you won’t find too many divisions out there with as much talent as the Southeast, where all the good teams have an established “Big Three” dynamic: D-Wade, Matrix and Beasley in Miami; Dwight Howard, Rashard and Hedo in Orlando; Joe, Josh and Al in Atlanta; and Arenas, Caron and Jamison in Washington. Then there’s the Bobcats. Yeah, it’s only the preseason, but if Larry Brown is supposed to be ushering in a new era, we haven’t seen the changes. One of Charlotte’s problems last year was too much of Ray Felton and J-Rich dominating the ball and not spreading the wealth, and in yesterday’s loss to the Hawks, Felton (16 FGA) and Richardson (17 FGA) combined to take 33 shots while no one else took more than eight … Meanwhile, Dwight and D-Wade were at their best in Orlando’s win over Miami. Dwight went for 26 points, 16 boards and three blocks, while Wade jumped up in the fantasy rankings again with 29 points, seven boards, eight dimes and six steals … Deron Williams went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter against the Bulls after Derrick Rose (unintentionally) Bruce Bowen‘d him on a jump shot. The X-rays turned up negative, but no one from the Jazz would comment on Deron’s condition otherwise. Utah has one more preseason game left before opening the regular season against the Nuggets on the 29th … Antoine Wright better watch out, because Gerald Green is going for his job. G-Money’s been kinda killing it throughout summer league and the preseason, and last night he hung 29 points (4 threes) on the Kings along with the play of the game when he split Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson with a cram over both their heads … Captain Ahab gave Tim Duncan the night off for Spurs/Pacers (and no one in the building was happier than Rasho Nesterovic), but that still left Tony Parker to torture T.J. Ford. Parker scored 19 and handed out eight assists, pretty much getting into the paint whenever he wanted to and dropping in shots over Indy’s bigs. Ford got his numbers (14 pts, 5 asts), but he missed a lot of shots and didn’t do his team any favors defensively … Meanwhile, ex-Pacer Jermaine O’Neal was busy giving the Clippers one of his vintage performances, putting up 20 points, nine boards and five blocks in a Raptors’ win. Chris Bosh added 26 and 11 boards. If those two can do that on a regular basis and the shooters keep spreading the floor, Toronto is gonna be a problem for the rest of the East … During the Oklahoma/Kansas football game, a pile-up after a fumble led to play-by-play man Ron Franklin shouting, “It’s gonna be Kansas basketball!” And did you see what USC did to Washington State? With the Trojans up 41-0 at halftime, one of the announcers said without a hint of sarcasm, “If [WSU] can hold USC below 60, they can walk away with their heads high.” And right after that, the same guy said the Cougars were getting “out-enthusiasmed.” It ended up being 69-0 for SC, the FOURTH time Wazzu has given up 60-plus this year. Imagine an NBA team trotting out Nash, Ridnour, ‘Melo, Boozer and Eddy Curry as its starting five — only they suck at offense too — and you get the idea … NBA TV replayed the 1997 All-Star Game, the one where the NBA’s 50 Greatest were honored at halftime. (Remember the controversy caused when Shaq was chosen?) Glen Rice took MVP of the game, dropping 26 points, including an ASG-record 20 in the third quarter. Injuries took out some of the League’s elite big men that year — namely Ewing, Admiral, Shaq and Barkley — leaving Hakeem Olajuwon to toy with the likes of Christian Laettner, and allowing guys like Tom Gugliotta and Chris Gatling to get some burn. With the guards running the show, Michael Jordan posted a triple-double (14 pts, 11 rebs, 11 asts), Penny Hardaway had 19 points and seven dimes, Latrell Sprewell scored 19, and Gary Payton had 17 points and 10 dimes … The game was in Cleveland, back when the Cavs wore those atrocious unis with the blue paint splash across the chest and the cookie-cutter lettering and Terrell Brandon was their All-Star rep. Celebs in the crowd: Kadeem Hardison, Evander Holyfield, Michael Johnson and Flex Alexander, who would barely count as a celebrity today … At one point Jim Grey was interviewing Cavs’ owner Gordon Gund in the stands, and after telling us that Gund is blind and listens to every game on the radio, Grey actually asked Gund, “Do you get the same emotions during the game? Are you excited when the team wins? Are you unhappy when they lose?” Apparently Jim Grey either thinks blind people are from outer space, or they lose all human emotions once they lose their sight. Why is he still allowed around a microphone again? … We’re out like All-Star Christian Laettner …

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