Kobe Bryant revealed today he’s more troubled by a strained tendon on the outside of his left ankle than by sprained ligaments. He said he was unsure whether he could play against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night at Staples Center. “Right now it’s a no,” he said. “If I wake up tomorrow and I feel drastically different, then I’ll play, but I doubt it.” Bryant suffered what the team has called a sprained ankle Jan. 29 against the Philadelphia 76ers. He played in the next two games, including the Lakers’ victory Jan. 31 over the Celtics in Boston, but then skipped the next four games, plus the All-Star game Sunday in Dallas.
Shannon Brown started in place of an injured Kobe Bryant and delivered career-bests of 27 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double in the NBA. Andrew Bynum returned from a two-game absence because of a bruised right hip and scored 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Ron Artest had 15 points, Pau Gasol had 14 and Derek Fisher scored 11. Lamar Odom scored nine points in a reserve role and grabbed a team-leading 18 rebounds. Oh, and the Lakers won their fourth in a row without Bryant, who has a sprained left ankle.
Next: the Boston Celtics visit Staples Center on Thursday.
Will Bryant be ready to play by then?
“I’m sure he wants to be,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “I’m sure he’s making every attempt to be. He’s doing therapy. He’s almost doing therapy too much in the process of trying to get this thing better. I think he’ll give it a try and we’ll see how it is Thursday.”
Andrew Bynum scored 15 points on 6-for-6 shooting and Shannon Brown had 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the first half tonight. The Lakers, playing for the fourth straight game without Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle), led by as many as 14 points in the first half. The Warriors rallied just before halftime. Anthony Morrow led Golden State with 15 points. Two Lakers struggled in the first half. Ron Artest had only two points on 1-for-7 shooting and Pau Gasol had four points on 2-for-9 shooting.
Kobe Bryant won’t play tonight against the Golden State Warriors, sitting out his fourth game because of a sprained left ankle. He practiced Monday, but wasn’t going at anything close to full speed and had no strength in his ankle. Andrew Bynum will return to the active roster after sitting out two games because of a bruised right hip. He wasn’t expected to be anywhere near 100 percent tonight. The Lakers were 3-0 without Bryant.
Kobe Bryant won’t be playing in the All-Star game because of a sprained left ankle, but Pau Gasol will represent the Lakers on Sunday. Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks has replaced Bryant on the Western Conference roster, and word on the street is Dirk Nowitzki will take his place as a starter. Gasol is a reserve. Shannon Brown will compete in the dunk contest. Derek Fisher will attend union meetings starting today in his role as the players’ association president. A few other players might be headed to Dallas, too, including Jordan Farmar, Ron Artest and DJ Mbenga (as Brown’s assistant in the dunk contest). Lakers VP Jeanie Buss will represent the team in Dallas, but Coach Phil Jackson will stay home and do laundry and feed the dog, as he put it the other day. Pretty much everyone else plans to get some rest and relaxation over the next few days, yours truly included.
In a move that is certain to make Lakers fans cheer, Kobe Bryant has decided not to play in the All-Star game Sunday in Arlington, Tex., because of a sprained left ankle. Bryant did not play in the Lakers’ final three games before the break, including Wednesday’s victory over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. David Stern, NBA commish, named Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks to replace Bryant in the game. It will be up to Denver’s George Karl, coach of the Western Conference All-Star team, to decide who starts in place of Bryant. Sitting out the last three games probably made it easier for Bryant to beg off the game. Stern can get cranky when his All-Stars decide to skip the event in favor of rest. Clearly, Bryant needs time off to mend his ankle, which he originally hurt Dec. 29 against Philadelphia.
SALT LAKE CITY — Kobe Bryant didn’t play tonight for the third consecutive game, which was probably the right move in the long run. His sprained left ankle might also keep him out of the All-Star game Sunday, which also might not be such a bad thing for the Lakers. It might bum out the 100,000 or so fans who are expected to attend the game at the Dallas Cowboys new stadium in Arlington, Tex., and it might disappoint TV viewers. But it should make Lakers fans happy to know Bryant is resting his ankle and not hurting it further.
The Lakers showed they could win without him in hostile territory, beating the Trail Blazers on Saturday and ending their nine-game losing streak in Portland. They also cooled off the Utah Jazz on their home court, ending their nine-game wining streak. They did it with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom guiding them with monster games. Gasol had 22 points, 19 rebounds, four assists and five blocks. Odom had 25 points and 11 rebounds. Jordan Farmar added 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting in a reserve role.
“We decided we weren’t going to complain or lose our focus,” Odom said. “We kind of stayed poised. … This is a good team no matter who’s in or who’s out of the lineup. We have a lot of guys who can play. Sometimes when you lose a guy or two, your focus is there as a team. In this building, it’s kind of easy to get embarrassed and run out of the here. We just wanted to finish the right way right before the break.”
SALT LAKE CITY — Lamar Odom had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting and seven rebounds in the first half tonight as the Lakers tried to go 3-0 without Kobe Bryant. Pau Gasol scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Jordan Farmar had 10 points in a reserve role. The Lakers led by as many as 17 points. Bryant sat out for the third consecutive game because of a sprained left ankle. Andrew Bynum did not play for the second straight game because of a bruised right hip. Carlos Boozer led Utah with 11 points in the first half.
SALT LAKE CITY — Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom, two former Olympians, made the cut today for USA Basketball’s expanded roster for the world championships this summer and the 2012 London Games. Andrew Bynum also was selected, but declined the invite. Bryant played on the gold medal-winning team at the 2008 Beijing Games. Odom played in the 2004 Athens Games. Twenty-seven players were selected today. The world championship and Olympic teams will be picked from that large pool.
Others chosen from the Beijing roster included: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.
Newcomers to the national team included: Minnesota’s Al Jefferson and Kevin Love (UCLA); Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo of Memphis (USC); Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala; Boston’s Kendrick Perkins; Indiana’s Danny Granger; New York’s David Lee; New Jersey center Brook Lopez; Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook (UCLA); Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace; and Clippers guard Eric Gordon.
Kobe Bryant didn’t practice today. Neither did Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom also sat out in order to have tests done on his sore right foot. All three traveled with the team to Salt Lake City for Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz, the Lakers’ final contest before the All-Star break. Bryant and Bynum might not play because of ankle and hip injuries, respectively. Odom was listed as probably.
Question: Should any of them play or should they take the game off and get a jump on the All-Star break?