NBA

'Day One in the books' - LeBron and AD return to Lakers practice

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back in practice ahead of the NBA restart.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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  • Kobe Bryant: A shooting record and a prolific finish - the Lakers great's final NBA game Kobe Bryant: A shooting record and a prolific finish - the Lakers great's final NBA game

    It was something only Kobe Bryant could have done.

    At the end of an illustrious 20-year career that included five NBA championship wins, 18 All-Star selections and All-NBA First Team honours on 11 occasions, Bryant said farewell to the Los Angeles Lakers with a Hollywood ending.

    He produced one of the most memorable final appearances the league has seen against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016.

    On the anniversary of his death alongside 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash, we look back at one of the finest moments of his career.

    POINTING THE WAY

    After Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea's bizarre rendition of the United States' national anthem, the 18,997 fans inside Staples Center were treated to something far more familiar.

    Bryant racked up 60 points against the Jazz, which was the most scored by a player in a single game in the NBA that season. However, it was the first time he had gone past 50 since 2009, when he poured in 61 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

    Bryant was 6-of-21 from three-point range and had plenty of joy in the paint, where he accumulated 22 points. He scored a total of 16 unassisted points, with his final seven baskets coming via his own work.

    SHOOT YOUR SHOT

    If you don't shoot you don't score, and Bryant did his utmost to get points on the board. His 50 field goal attempts eclipsed the record of 49 set by the great Michael Jordan against the Orlando Magic in 1993. The 2008 MVP took 15 more shots than the rest of his team-mates combined.

    Bryant nailed 18 of 40 shots with a defender within 3.5 feet against the Jazz and despite his record-breaking number of attempts he still took care of the ball, committing just two turnovers.

    SLOW START, STRONG FINISH

    It was not immediately clear the game was going to go so well for Bryant. He missed his first five shots and did not have a make until after the first six minutes of the game.

    However, he eventually found his rhythm and was flying by the time the fourth quarter came around, scoring 13 unanswered points after the Jazz moved 96-86 ahead with two minutes and 35 seconds remaining.

    His final act was a length-of-the-floor pass to Jordan Clarkson – his fourth assist of the game – for a dunk to seal an iconic 101-96 victory that underlined his legacy as an all-time great.

  • Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Lakers legend's five greatest NBA games Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Lakers legend's five greatest NBA games

    Kobe Bryant forged a legacy in the NBA that will forever stand the test of time.

    A year has passed since the Los Angeles Lakers legend and 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among those to tragically lose their lives in a helicopter crash.

    Bryant was a star who transcended the game of basketball after entering the NBA in 1996, providing highlight after highlight up until his retirement in 2016, with staggering point hauls.

    To mark the anniversary of his passing, we look at Bryant's five greatest games with the Lakers, where the five-time NBA champion spent his entire 20-year career.

     

    65 points - March 16, 2007 v Portland Trail Blazers

    Against the Trail Blazers at Staples Center, Bryant came close to reaching the career-high 81 points he had recorded just over a year earlier. The superstar guard lit up the Blazers with 65 points as the Lakers won 116-111. Bryant shot 23-of-39, including 11-of-12 from the free throw line, while he also made eight three-pointers.

    Nate McMillan coached Portland that day and after Bryant's passing, he told reporters: "I've seen it first-hand. He lit us up and I remember, he was shooting threes and just on fire, and we had him in a trap, deep corner, he had nowhere to go, should have passed the ball. He's facing his bench and he just turns and shoots it and it goes in. He really became like Michael [Jordan], in the sense that when you watched him play, could he do it again? Could he create that magic again in the fourth quarter? And he did."

    61 points - February 2, 2009 v New York Knicks

    Madison Square Garden hosted one of Bryant's greatest performances almost 12 years ago. At the world-famous arena in New York, 'the Black Mamba' posted 61 points - a venue record for a visiting player - against the Knicks, who lost 126-117 to the Lakers. On 19-of-31 shooting, Bryant finished with three assists and one block. He scored 34 points in the first half alone en route to the record, which was matched by Houston Rockets star James Harden in 2019.

    "Tonight was one of the nights he kind of showed why he's going to go down in history," Lakers team-mate Lamar Odom said after the game.

    62 points - December 20, 2005 v Dallas Mavericks

    Three quarters were all that Kobe needed to embarrass the Mavericks. Bryant outscored Dallas 62-61 at the end of the third quarter in Los Angeles as the Lakers eased to a 112-90 victory. The Mavericks were one of the best teams that season, going on to reach the NBA Finals before succumbing to the Miami Heat. However, the Mavericks were schooled by the unstoppable Bryant, who shot 18-of-31 from the field and 22-of-25 from the free-throw line. He sat out the entire fourth quarter.

    "It was just one of those nights," Bryant told reporters as he reflected on the game in 2016. "Yes [I could have scored 80 points that night]. It sounds funny to say, but yes, I could have."

    60 points - April 13, 2016 v Utah Jazz 

    Bryant said farewell to basketball in the only way he knew how, with an exclamation mark. It was a true Hollywood goodbye as Bryant capped an illustrious career by scoring 60 final-game points in a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Bryant drained 23 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first 50-point game since February 2009.

    "It's hard to believe it happened this way," Bryant, who played 42 minutes and attempted a career-high 50 shots, said. "I'm still shocked about it… The perfect ending would have been a championship. But tonight was [me] trying to go out, play hard and try to put on a show as much as I possibly could. It felt good to be able to do that one last time."

    81 points - January 22, 2006 v Toronto Raptors

    The highlight of a stellar career and the night Bryant threatened to surpass Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe played 1,346 NBA games but he was well and truly in the zone against the Raptors, scoring 81 points - just 19 short of Chamberlain's legendary 100-point outing in 1962. Bryant produced 42 minutes of pure brilliance to lead the Lakers past the Raptors 122-104. It was a display of efficiency as Bryant's outburst featured a 60.9 shooting percentage from the field and 53.8 per cent from beyond the arc.

    "Not even in my dreams," Bryant said. "That was something that just happened. It's tough to explain. It's just one of those things."

  • Lampard sacking shows 'brutality' of football, says Mourinho Lampard sacking shows 'brutality' of football, says Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho feels Chelsea's decision to sack Frank Lampard highlights the "brutality" of football.

    The Blues ended Lampard's reign after just 18 months on Monday, with former Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel poised to replace him.

    Mourinho has had two spells as Chelsea manager, both of which ended mid-season, and is well aware of the pressures at Stamford Bridge.

    The Tottenham boss regrets any managerial sackings but felt particularly sad for his former player Lampard.

    "I don't think Frank wants to speak to me or with anyone apart from his close circle of family and friends," Mourinho, who turned 58 on Tuesday, told reporters.

    "But I am always sad when a colleague loses his job.

    "And Frank is not just a colleague - he is an important person in my career - so I feel sorry he did [get sacked].

    "But it is the brutality of football, especially modern football so when you become a manager you know that sooner or later it is going to happen to you."

    Mourinho was speaking after a late surge gave Tottenham a 4-1 away win over Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup.

    Spurs are fifth in the Premier League, four points and four places ahead of rivals Chelsea, who have only won eight of their first 19 top-flight games this season.

    In a statement after his sacking, Lampard said he was disappointed at being prevented from taking Chelsea to the next level.

    But the former Derby County boss expressed pride at the emergence of several academy players during his tenure.

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