3 min read

Tuesday Bolts – 12.1.15

Tuesday Bolts – 12.1.15

Anthony Slater on last night: “The Hawks forced a switch, planting Anthony Morrow on the


slippery Jeff Teague with a well-timed small forward screen. Teague cleared out and attacked the mismatch, knifing by Morrow and laying in the game’s biggest basket. On the next Atlanta possession, the Thunder adjusted, replacing Morrow with Andre Roberson, a more adept perimeter defender. But it didn’t matter. Atlanta went to the same play and Teague produced the same result, crossing up Roberson and gliding to the hoop. The first layup gave Atlanta the lead. The second essentially sealed the Hawks’ 106-100 win over the Thunder on Monday night, highlighting what was the issue in an otherwise competitive game. OKC had too many defensive breakdowns early and a pair that burned them late.”

Shaun Powell of NBA.com: “Durant knows how good he has it with Westbrook, and the respect has been enhanced over the last four NBA months, the final three of last season and the first month of this season. The case could be made that, with the possible exception of Stephen Curry and LeBron James, nobody in basketball has been better. Westbrook is averaging nearly 29 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists in that span, including a portion while wearing a mask to protect a broken face, and looking like an all-time great while doing so. His fiery demeanor isn’t for everyone, but only a fool would refuse to see the obvious advantages of Westbrook. And Durant is no fool.”

If you missed it, KD ain’t happy about the way Kobe’s been covered.

Dan Feldman of PBT: “Kobe is shooting 20% from the floor and 30% on 3-pointers for a 2-14 team. How else should we describe his season? Why not bash the person most publicly critical of Kobe? Or the many people around the NBA who recognize how far Kobe has fallen? Or Byron Scott, who has repeatedly intensified discussion of Kobe’s demise? Why is the media, which is not some monolithic entity anyway, the primary target? There are writers who fawn over Kobe, writers who criticize him and many more who do both. We don’t all think alike. If we did, Durant would be bound to treat Kobe like s—, too.”

Barry Petchesky of Deadspin: “Aside from that, Bryant has been playing badly. He’s been shooting badly. It is time for him to hang it up. It’s not the job of the “media” (as if that were some monolithic entity without differing viewpoints) to be nice to Kobe Bryant, just as it’s not Bryant’s job to be nice to reporters. Those reporters would be negligent if they didn’t cover how ineffective end-stage Kobe has been, just as they’d be negligent if they didn’t appreciate the kind of player he was before age caught up with him. To paint a full and accurate picture of Bryant isn’t to paper over his flaws. That’s for PR outlets. Good thing Durant and Bryant already have one.”

Sean Gentille of Sporting News: “Still, if Durant is out to do some hero-worshipping, he can; that crowd runs deep. Anyone who’s ever expressed a mildly negative thought about Bryant can attest to that. But hero-worshipping as a larger cultural norm is necessarily dead. Kobe Bryant has spent the last 20 years as lot of things to a lot of people, and now he’s reaping what he sowed in the culture that sprung up around him. A complex career deserves a complex eulogy.”

Zach Harper of CBSSports.com: :Nobody in the media has denied Kobe Bryant as one of the greatest players the league has ever seen. His downfall has been understandable and predictable as he tried to come back from a devastating Achilles’ tendon rupture, but it doesn’t mean it’s not newsworthy. He’s played 54 games since the start of the 2013-14 season, shot 36.2 percent during that time, and just 26.9 percent from 3-point range while taking a large volume of shots. Because it’s Kobe, poor play like that gets magnified even more, whether it’s nice to the player or not. Hopefully, Durant will never have to deal with that in his career. I’d imagine there are very few people who relish writing about how poorly Kobe has been because we all like fairytale endings instead. But if Durant wants us to lie about how Kobe has been recently, that’s kind of a non-starter. We still remember the amazing career he’s had, but talking about the distant past only gets you so far.”