Brandon Bass signed with the Lakers last summer to a two-year, $6.1 million deal after playing four seasons with the Celtics. Hans Gutknecht — Staff Photographer
BOSTON — The man faces his former NBA team with the same fanfare that many would describe Brandon Bass himself.
He remains under the radar with both his personality, game and presence. It appears he wants it that way. But with all the focus on Kobe Bryant playing his last game on Wednesday at the Garden, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has credited Bass role in rebuilding the Celtics during his four years here (2011-2015).
“It’s just my presence being around and the way I go about things and the way I gave myself up for the team in different ways and my work ethic and how I carry myself,” Bass said following morning shootaround on Wednesday at the Garden. “But I can’t say I have done so much for the Celtics. The Celtics have done so much for me. I’m grateful for the city of Boston and the fans and the organization. The Celtics have been awesome to me.”
Bass played an evolving role with the Celtics as a starter and reserve both for contending and rebuilding teams. In 2014, Bass won 2014 Red Auerbach award as a player who best represents what it means to be a Celtic.
Yet, Bass signed a two-year deal worth $6.1 million with the Lakers. Since then, Bass has averaged 5.6 points on 57.7 percent shooting in 16 minutes off the bench.
While he said the Celtics are “doing some great things” after making the NBA playoffs last season as a seventh seed, Bass is playing for the Western Conference’s worst team.
“But it’s been a cool experience,” Bass said. “I feel like my experience here with the Celtics prepared me for my current situation mentally. I’m able to deal with everything a lot better.” Continue reading →
During Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s last game at The Garden in the 1988-89 season, Celtics President Red Red Auerbach presented Abdul-Jabbar with a mounted framed slab of the Garden’s parquet floor.((AP Photo/Danny Moloshok,File)”
BOSTON — The crowd rose to their feet at his presence. The Boston Celtics presented the Lakers’ star player with a gift and praised his greatness. For at least a moment, all the hatred between the Celtics and Lakers went away.
Will this mark the reception Kobe Bryant receives when the Lakers (5-27) visit the Boston Celtics (18-13) on Wednesday for what will represent his last game at the Garden? Perhaps. But it certainly described the setting for Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his last game here on Dec. 16, 1988.
Then, the Celtics fans gave Abdul-Jabbar a 95-second standing ovation. Celtics president Red Auerbach then presented Abdul-Jabbar with a mounted framed slab of the Garden’s parquet floor.
“How can I get mad at him now?” Auerbach said. “I’ve always said Boston fans were the greatest in the world. And I’m going to repeat it, because he’s the enemy. And yet, what he’s done for the game is unparalleled.”
Nearly 27 years later, it resonates with Lakers coach and former Showtime teammate Byron Scott how the Celtics fans appreciated Jabbar for winning six NBA championships and becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer.
“I thought it was great,” Scott said following morning shootaround on Wednesday at the Garden. “For me going through that with Kareem and knowing how the fans were every time we came here, I was a little surprised they showed that type of love. But after all the years of being here and playing in this league and knowing how knowledgeable they are about the game of basketball, it didn’t surprise me.” Continue reading →
Charlotte, N.C. — The changes started with the superficial. Jeremy Lin sported a teal Charlotte Hornets jersey instead of a purple and gold Lakers uniform. Lin also wore a giant mohawk filled with endless hair gel as opposed to, well, a normal haircut.
“Just something different,” said Lin, who’s wearing the look with a few family members and friends. “Right now, I’m the only one who has to deal with the public critique.”
Lin no longer has to deal with as much public scrutiny in Charlotte (17-13) as he did last season with the Lakers (5-27). Then, Lin lost his starting spot 20 games into the season amid Byron Scott’s frustration with his consistency. But Scott said Lin is “playing pretty well” after signing with Charlotte this offseason to a two-year, $4.3 million deal.
Lin continued that during the Lakers’ 108-98 loss to the Hornets on Monday at Time Warner Cable Arena. He posted 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting and four assists in 34 minutes off the bench. Lin appeared equally aggressive both with attacking the basket and on defense, two areas that Hornets coach Steve Clifford raved about regarding Lin all season.
“We’re in the playoff hunt. Obviously it’s good to be back on the winning side of things,” said Lin, who has averaged 11.8 points on 42.8 percent shooting and 3.2 assists in 25.5 minutes per game, which nearly mirrors his career averages through 5 NBA seasons. “I want to keep growing as a player. I’ve learned a lot here already, just under [Clifford’s] system and his defense stuff. He’s really good.”
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant gives a thumbs up before an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Charlotte, N.C. — The color disgusted former Lakers player and general manager Jerry West so much that he refused to wear it. The color has also made several Lakers feel nauseous.
The color ‘green’ might represent wealth, describe inexperience or suggest renewal and rebirth. But that only means one thing to the Lakers: the hated Boston Celtics that have won a league-leading 17 NBA championships and beat them in nine out of 12 NBA Finals. Yet, for some reason, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant claimed that green has always been his favorite color.
Kobe Bryant was greeted with a video tribute by Hornets owner Michael Jordan prior to Monday’s game against Charlotte. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The words sounded powerful as they blared through the loudspeaker. They also became powerful for Kobe Bryant, whose competitiveness, skills and mannerisms partly stemmed from the man who delivered a passionate tribute.
“Kobe, sorry I couldn’t be here tonight,” Charlotte owner and former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan said in a taped video tribute before the Lakers played the Hornets on Monday at Time Warner Cable Arena. “But I wanted to congratulate you on an unbelievable career.”
Bryant’s career speaks for itself, his five NBA championships and third place on the league’s all-time scoring list ensuring a positive fan reception during both home and road games in his 20th and final NBA season. But Jordan’s words conveyed more meaning since the two became forever linked because of their familiar games and personalities.
“When I look back when we went up against each other, I saw the competitor in you even though the knowledge wasn’t there,” Jordan said of Bryant, who entered the league in 1996 as a 17-year-old high school prospect out of Philadelphia. “I’m invigorated. I’m very proud of what you accomplished in all your years.” Continue reading →
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant #24 shoots against Los Angeles Clippers forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute #12 in the first half. The Lakers hosted the Clippers on a Christmas Day game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 12/25/2015 (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)
Even as they encounter the worst stretch of their franchise’s history, the Lakers still remained enough of a draw for the NBA to feature them on their slate of Christmas Day games. Kobe Bryant’s presence surely helped.
But the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers on Friday at Staples Center still marked the lowest of the five NBA games broadcast on Christmas Day. The Lakers drew a 2.2 overnight rating and a 4.2 rating in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the NBA Finals rematch between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Caveliers drew a 6.7 overnight rating, a 21.2 rating in the Cleveland market and a 16.0 rating in the San Francisco market.
The interest in the Lakers-Clippers matchup, perhaps also aided by the 7:30 p.m. tipoff time, also drew less intrigue than Thunder-Bulls (4.0 overnight rating, 12.1 in Oklahoma City market, 8.4 in Chicago market), Spurs-Rockets (2.5 overnight rating, 6.9 in San Antonio market, 3.8 in Houston market) and Pelicans-Heat (2.3 overnight rating, 5.3 in New Orleans market, 4.1 in Miami market).
The Lakers-Clippers game was also aired locally by the team’s broadcast partners, including the Lakers (Time Warner Cable SportsNet) and the Clippers (Prime Ticket).
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant during Christmas Day game against Clippers on Dec. 25, 2015. (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)
The music played over and over in Kobe Bryant’s head.
Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blared through the loudspeakers before and after every Boston Celtics victory at the Garden, something that became increasingly annoying for Bryant as Boston won the 2008 NBA Finals over the Lakers with a 38-point Game 6 series-clinching win.
“I remember when we were losing, they played that Journey song and the whole arena started singing,” Bryant said. “I hated that song for two years. I listened to the song every single day just to remind me of that feeling. Same thing with the Dropkick Murphys’ [“I’m Shipping Up to Boston”]. I listened to the Dropkick Murphys all the time just because I wanted to remember that feeling.” Continue reading →
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant is leading in All-Star votes. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)
Before they voted, it turns out the fans did not take into account Kobe Bryant’s fight against Father Time. Nor did fans worry about the Lakers’ season-long struggles.
Bryant still led in the first returns on the 2016 NBA All-Star ballot, his 719,235 votes ahead of the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (510,202) and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (357,937).
Presuming he plays in the 2016 NBA All-Star game on Feb. 14 in Toronto, this would mark Bryant’s 18th and last All-Star appearance before he retires following the 2015-16 season. Bryant, who is playing his 20th NBA season, has the second most All-Star selections behind only former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19).
Beyond he global popularity, Bryant has also benefited from being listed as a frontcourt player for the first time of his NBA career. Bryant, who has played small forward this season, is ahead of Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant (349,473 votes).
Bryant has averaged 17.4 points on 34.4 percent shooting, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 30.7 minutes per game this season. But in the last five games, Bryant has improved his play to a 23.5 points per game average on 44.9 percent shooting and 4.3 assists in 29.8 minutes per game.
Lakers forward Julius Randle will see a foot specialist on Thursday to evaluate his sprained left ankle (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)
Lakers forward Julius Randle saw a foot specialist on Thursday that diagnosed him with a sprained left ankle, leaving his status as probable to play on Christmas Day against the Clippers in a designated home game at Staples Center.
Randle sprained his ankle during the Lakers’ win on Tuesday in Denver. Though the Lakers did not initially consider the injury serious, it was painful enough for Randle to sit out of Wednesday’s loss to Oklahoma City.
Lakers forward Nick Young will be expected to be available on Friday against the Clippers after missing Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma City with an upset stomach. Young participated in Thursday’s practice without any reported issues.
Los Angeles Lakers Media Day in El Segundo Monday September 28, 2015. Nick Young smiles during interview. Photo By Robert Casillas / Daily Breeze
The Lakers will not receive a dose of ‘Swaggy P’ before the holidays. Reserve guard Nick Young will sit out when the Lakers (5-23) host the Oklahoma City Thunder (19-9) on Wednesday at Staples Center because of stomach issues.
Young has averaged 9.0 points on 40 percent shooting in 19.6 minutes through 25 games off the bench, posting double-digit efforts in three of the past five games.
The Lakers have not listed anyone else on their injury report for Wednesday’s game against the Thunder.