Bulls’ belief in themselves paid dividends in Boston



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BOSTON — Jimmy Butler always believed in the possibilities.

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As the Chicago Bulls Jerseys meandered through one of the most up-and-down seasons in recent memory, Butler quietly held to the belief that all his team cheap jerseys had to do was get to the postseason and they could start anew. He didn’t care that the Bulls continued losing to some of the worst teams in the league during the last week of the regular season, the All-Star swingman was buoyed by the feeling that with him leading the way, and playoff-tested veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade flanking him on each side, the Bulls had a legitimate chance to do some damage in the postseason.

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After watching the Bulls dominate the Boston Celtics Jerseys throughout long stretches of a 111-97 Game 2 Eastern Conference playoff victory on Tuesday night, Butler is proving to be correct in his assessment.

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The Bulls’ Dwyane Wade rebounded from a poor shooting performance in Game 1 with a 22-point effort on Tuesday night. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

“”I’m not surprised because everybody’s so locked in right now,”” Butler said after scoring 22 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out eight assists. “”Everybody’s putting in extra work right now, watching film, working on their game, and that’s where your confidence always comes from. We’ve got some great field generals out there in these two guys to help out and these younger guys, and to make sure they’re playing hard at both ends of the floor.””

The Bulls have looked nothing like the eighth-best team in the East, a seed they earned after backing into the postseason with a lackluster 41-41 record. They’ve simply outplayed the top-seeded Celtics throughout most of the first two games of this series cheap nba jerseys. Each time a frazzled Boston team tries to make a run, the Bulls have an answer.

“”You play the 82 games to learn a little bit about yourself,”” Wade said. “”And one thing I learned about this team is through adverse situations, this team sticks together. We had adversity as every team has, and that’s the thing that’s made us closer and stronger together. The credit for this team sticking together through injuries, through everything, putting ourselves in a position to make the playoffs, it goes to everyone, from the coaching staff, to the leaders, to the young guys — everyone did it together.””

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To put the Bulls’ performance in some historical context, there’s only been one other No. 8 seed in history that went on the road and won its first two games. That would be the 1992-93 Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys, who went into Phoenix and earned two victories, then proceeded to drop the final three games of the five-game series.

The Bulls don’t look like a team that is ready to fall back into bad habits, though. The reality is that despite what the seedings say, the Bulls simply look like the better team through the first two games. Wade bounced back after a poor Game 1 showing to score 22 points, while Rondo was an assist shy of a triple-double with 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds to go along with five steals wholesale jerseys. The Bulls are playing with a level of trust together on the floor that they haven’t shown consistently all season.

“”We had our backs against the wall in the couple weeks leading into the situation we’re in right now where we had to win,”” Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg explained. “”And our guys did a good job of doing what had to be done to get us into the postseason. So, we’ve been playing high-pressure basketball for several weeks. I think that does help you when you come into playoff time.””

It has certainly seemed to help the Bulls’ role players as they get acclimated to the bright lights of the playoff stage. Two days after Bobby Portis played the game of his young career, scoring 19 points in Game 1, rookie Paul Zipser followed suit by coming out of seemingly nowhere to score 16 points. Combine this with the fact that Robin Lopez continued his steady play with 18 points and eight rebounds and the fact that the Bulls are playing some of their best defense of the season, and it’s easier to understand why they are feeling even more confident. If they can keep getting production from their younger players while Rondo, Wade and Lopez stabilize the starting unit, then Butler can do what he loves to do and take over the game late.

Check out the team site for more game coverage

Check out the team site for more game coverage

“”It’s really simple,”” Butler said. “”When I’m open, I normally shoot the ball. Sometimes when I’m not open, I also shoot the ball. But most of the time, I pass it to the open guy. And when they’re making shots, my job’s a lot easier. People can’t load up on me, and then on top of everything else, these two do a lot of that as well. When they’re attacking, they’re aggressive, they’re getting people involved as well. And getting stops. When we’re getting stops, we’re pretty tough.””

Now the Bulls head back to Chicago for what will surely be a raucous atmosphere in the United Center for Game 3 on Friday. In his 14-year career, Wade has never dropped a series in which his team had a 2-0 lead and the Bulls, led by Butler, Wade and Rondo, don’t expect to blemish that record.

“”You can’t be satisfied,”” Hoiberg said. “”You got to go home and keep playing. This is one of the better road teams in the league. We have to continue to go out and fight, continue to learn, continue to make adjustments and hopefully play well.””

Lakers match team record as skid hits 10

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The road-weary Charlotte Hornets Jerseys were making the final stop on a four-game trip after back-to-back losses. They were missing four key players due to injury.

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Against a better team than the Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys, all of that might have mattered.

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Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 19 points and 12 rebounds apiece, and the Hornets sent the Lakers to their franchise record-tying 10th consecutive defeat, 101-82 on Sunday night.

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Kemba Walker had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Hornets, who hit 13 3-pointers and had a 59-42 rebounding edge in a decisive win over the Western Conference’s worst team. Charlotte led for all but one possession cheap jerseys, cruising back home even with four of its top eight scorers sidelined.

”We just wanted to end the road trip the right way, and the ending was great from the jump,” nba jerseys wholesale Walker said. ”The energy and intensity was all there. We did everything we wanted to do.”

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points in 23 minutes, but the Lakers matched the 1994 team for the longest skid in the proud history of a franchise that’s won 16 NBA championships. Los Angeles dropped to 9-41, guaranteeing three straight non-winning seasons for the first time since 1961.

”Honestly, it doesn’t really matter,” said Bryant, the 20-year NBA veteran. ”I mean, does it make a (lousy) season less (lousy)? You just want a win, no matter what.”

While Bryant hit four 3-pointers and excelled in his first 20-point performance since Jan. 7, his teammates received loud boos from a Staples Center crowd finally growing tired of their poor play in his farewell season.

”I think the fans are just as frustrated as we are,” Lou Williams said. ”Hopefully the boos weren’t because of a lack of effort, because I thought our guys played all right. We just missed shots wholesale nba jerseys. Once we started missing shots, I think we just got demoralized. … I think we’ve got a lot of guys in there right now with a lack of confidence, and we have to somehow get that back.”

Jordan Clarkson scored 13 points and Lou Williams added 11 for the Lakers, who finished January with 14 losses in 15 games since their only winning streak of the season.

”The Navy SEALs have a way of taking guys to the bottom of the pool,” Bryant said. ”Sometimes, you’ve got to go to the bottom of the pool, man, and figure it out. We’re almost there, gasping for air.” View gallery LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 31: Marvin Williams #2 of the Charlotte Hornets Jerseys and Julius Randle #30 of t …

MKG IN LA

Kidd-Gilchrist returned from shoulder surgery in Portland on Friday night after being sidelined since October. He went 6 for 7 against the Lakers and hit two 3-pointers.

KOBE’S STRENGTHS

Bryant missed his first five shots before banking in a short jumper late in the first quarter. He heated up with three 3-pointers and two free throws in a 2:06 span in the second quarter, earning a standing ovation and chants of ”Kobe! Kobe!” from the adoring Lakers fans.

Bryant was a high school freshman when the Lakers lost 10 straight games in 1994 under interim coach Magic Johnson, who watched this game from courtside.

LIN’S RETURN

Jeremy Lin had six points, five assists and five rebounds despite a sprained right ankle. The point guard spent last season with the Lakers, struggling to fit into coach nba jerseys wholesale Byron Scott’s offense and rarely playing a significant role on the worst team in franchise history. Lin signed with Charlotte in July.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Jeremy Lamb sat out his fifth straight game while hobbled by a sprained toe. … Nicolas Batum also sat out again due to a strained toe.

Lakers: The crowd observed a pregame moment of silence for Marge Hearn, the widow of longtime Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn. She was 98 when she died Saturday night. … Before the game, the Lakers signed Make-a-Wish recipient Yitzi Teichman to a one-day contract. The brain cancer fighter got a No. 18 jersey. … Rookie F Larry Nance Jr. sat out after a setback with his sore right knee. The Lakers are considering shutting him down until after the All-Star break, Scott said. … IOC President Thomas Bach, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, and Robbie and Claudine Keane attended the game.

UP NEXT

Hornets: Host the Cavaliers on Wednesday.

Lakers: Host the Timberwolves on Tuesday.Sports & RecreationBasketballLos Angeles Lakers JerseysCharlotte Hornets JerseysKobe Bryant

Pistons rout Warriors despite Curry’s 38

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Before the game, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said Golden State simply has more margin for error than other teams, meaning the Warriors can win even when they don’t play their best.

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Not on this night against Van Gundy’s Pistons.

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope held his own against Stephen Curry for most of the night, scoring 20 points as the Pistons handed the Warriors their second loss in three games, 113-95 on Saturday.
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Much of the pregame talk centered around how well Caldwell-Pope might be able to defend Curry. The Golden State star scored 38 points, but Caldwell-Pope gave the Pistons a boost offensively.

”I think we know that we’re capable of beating anybody,” Van Gundy said afterward. ”The difference between the Golden States, San Antonios, Clevelands of the world and where we are right now, is you’ve got to do it night after night after night after night after night, and that’s our challenge.”

The Warriors (37-4) reached the midway point of the regular season a win short of the best 41-game start in NBA history. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys and 1995-96 Chicago Bulls Jerseys started 38-3.

Detroit retired Ben Wallace’s No. 3 jersey at halftime, and by that time the Pistons led 65-49 on a raucous night at the Palace.

Curry scored 16 points in the third, but the Warriors still trailed by 11 at the end of period. Then Detroit started the fourth with a 16-2 run to lead 101-76.

”We’ve been saying it all year, but no matter where we go, teams are going to give us their best shot,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. ”It was a big night with the crowd, it was a sellout, retiring Ben Wallace’s jersey. They were coming after us. … In this league if you’re not ready to fight back, you’re going to get cheap throwback basketball jerseys blown out.”

Golden State was whistled for three technical fouls. Curry and Draymond Green were hit with technicals late in the second quarter, and Walton was called for one in the fourth after a dunk by Detroit’s Andre Drummond. The technical free throw by Stanley Johnson made it 94-74.

Drummond had 14 points and 21 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson scored 20 points for Detroit. The Pistons had six players in double figures, while Golden State had only three. Klay Thompson scored 24 points for the Warriors wholesale jerseys.

Golden State’s Andre Iguodala went scoreless, and Green had five points on 1-of-7 shooting.

The Pistons took an early 10-point lead, and the crowd gave Wallace a standing ovation during a timeout. Golden State rallied to take a 30-27 lead after the first quarter, but backup center Aron Baynes gave Detroit a lift.

Baynes scored 12 points in the second quarter, making all six of his shot attempts cheap nba jerseys.

Caldwell-Pope outscored Curry 16-15 in the first half. View gallery AUBURN HILLS, MI – JANUARY 16: Marcus Morris #13 of the Detroit Pistons Jerseys dunks against the Golden Sta …

SPECIAL GUESTS

In addition to Wallace, several other former Pistons were in attendance, including Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed cheap throwback basketball jerseys Wallace. Larry Brown, who coached Detroit to the 2004 NBA title, was also part of the festivities. It was the type of celebratory night with a big crowd that the Pistons have rarely enjoyed over the last few years.

”The energy was in the building,” Caldwell-Pope said. ”We felt it tonight. We just fed off it.”

NO EXCUSES

In each of their first three defeats of the season, the Warriors were missing key players like Harrison Barnes, Green and even Curry. On Saturday, Golden State had all of its top scorers, and Green thought they could make a run even when they were down heading into the fourth quarter.

”I thought we could, but we still didn’t get stops and scores,” he said. ”We just didn’t get stops and we fouled them a lot.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Barnes was in the starting lineup for the first time since returning nearly two weeks ago from a sprained left ankle. He scored five points on 2-of-11 shooting. … Golden State shot 37 percent from the field, its worst showing of the season. The Warriors shot 39 percent at Boston on Dec. 11.

Pistons: Brandon Jennings left with a jammed left ankle.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Play at Cleveland on Monday night in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.

Pistons: Host Chicago on Monday.

Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtristerSports & RecreationBasketballGolden StateStephen CurryPistonsthe WarriorsDetroitKentavious Caldwell-PopeStan Van GundyBen Wallace

Lakers-Jazz Preview

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Already struggling to control the glass, the Utah Jazz Jerseys suffered another significant hit to their frontcourt when Trevor Booker took a blow to the head.

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Now two of their top three rebounders could be sidelined against the woeful Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys in Salt Lake City on Saturday night.

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The Jazz (17-22) own a plus-1.3 rebounding margin on the season, but have posted a minus-6.7 mark in the last six games of a 2-5 stretch. They’ve been dominated on the boards by a 54-38 margin each time in dropping their last two.

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Derrick Favors, second on the club nba basketball jerseys cheap with 8.6 rebounds per game, could miss a 13th straight due to back spasms. Booker is expected to also be out Saturday after being diagnosed with a concussion following an elbow from DeMarcus Cousins in Thursday’s 103-101 home loss to Sacramento.

Booker is averaging 6.6 boards on the season.

That should leave more minutes for Trey Lyles, who’s totaled 35 points but just five rebounds in nba basketball jerseys cheap his last two games. The rookie scored a season-high 19 to help Utah rally from an 18-point deficit against the Kings before Rudy Gay hit the winning jumper with 0.6 seconds left cheap jerseys.

Gordon Hayward missed all nine of his shots in the first half before going 4 for 8 in the final two quarters. He was 13 for 16 from the free-throw line overall.

“I think it takes a lot of resolve and a lot of grit (to come back) with Book out, basically every player on our roster in foul trouble except Gordon, and Gordon having a very difficult night from the field,” coach Quin Snyder said.

Hayward appears to be facing a prime opportunity to get back on track. He’s averaged 24.5 points and 50.7 percent shooting in his last four against the Lakers (9-32).

The forward led the way with 25 points and Utah held Los Angeles to 32.6 percent from the field – 3 for 21 from 3-point range – in Sunday’s 86-74 win at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant did not play due to a strained right Achilles. He’s since totaled 15 points on 7-of-26 shooting in two games.

The retiring Bryant made his final appearance at Oracle Arena in Thursday’s 116-98 loss at Golden State. He’s yet to miss a game when it has been his last time playing in that city, though that won’t be the case Saturday with the Lakers returning to Salt Lake on March 28.

“I was really stiff (Thursday) but I felt like it was the right thing to do to go back out and try to enjoy it one more time,” Bryant said. “It was sore but it didn’t lock up on me.”

Los Angeles, loser of four of five, seems unlikely to provide Utah with much of a challenge on the boards as it ranks near the bottom of the league with a minus-4.2 rebounding margin.

Jordan Clarkson scored a team-high 22 points and Lou Williams added 21 against the Warriors. Clarkson has averaging 18.2 in his last six games while Williams has scored 23.3 in his past eight.

The Lakers have won in two of their past three visits to Utah.Sports & RecreationBasketballUtah Jazz JerseysLos Angeles Lakers JerseysTrevor BookerLos Angeles

Cousins’ manager slaps Terry, Kings win

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Kings star DeMarcus Cousins had another strong game Tuesday night. His manager wasn’t as fortunate.

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Cousins amassed 26 points and 12 rebounds as Sacramento won its third straight by defeating the Houston Rockets Jerseys 107-97.

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His manager wasn’t around to see the victory. Andrew Rogers was ejected for slapping at Rockets guard Jason Terry, who was trailing the play on a dunk by Sacramento’s Ben McLemore in the third quarter.

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Terry put his hand out to slow down as he neared fans sitting along the baseline, and Rogers slapped at Terry’s arm. The Houston guard stopped, turned around and started to step toward Rogers, who was retro nba jerseys cheap then ejected from his seat.

Another fan, believed to be sitting with Rogers’ group, was ejected later in the game.

”I don’t know what happened. I didn’t hear anything or see anything. That’s all there is,” said Terry, who clearly did not want to discuss the situation.

The Kings never trailed after the midway point of the second quarter in a sloppy game that included 49 turnovers and three technical fouls, one on Cousins.

”I’m not sure I’ve ever won a game by 10 points where my team committed this many turnovers,” Sacramento coach George Karl said. ”I’ve got a crazy team and I’m kind of crazy. Some of our crazy decisions were amazing.”

Starting for suspended guard Rajon Rondo, Darren Collison had 14 points, a season-high 13 assists and six rebounds as the Kings won their third in a row.

Rondo was penalized one game by the NBA for directing a gay slur at official Bill Kennedy in a game Dec. 3 against Boston in Mexico City cheap jerseys.

”We all know what kind of player Rondo is, but when somebody is down, we’ve still got to be able to win games,” said Rudy Gay, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Sacramento. ”Darren came out there and he made an effort to keep his team in check and run the team like a point guard should. He did that.”

Omri Casspi had 19 points for the Kings, who have won seven of their past nine home games.

James Harden scored 33 points for Houston. Terry and Patrick Beverley both added 14. View gallery Sacramento, CA – DECEMBER 15: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings Jerseys high fives teammates duri …

Rockets star Dwight Howard was in foul trouble and wasn’t much of a factor. He left the game early in the third quarter with his fourth foul and finished with four points and four rebounds in 28 minutes.

”Whatever it was, we need retro nba jerseys cheap to play harder and figure it out,” Harden said. ”That’s the type of messages that are sent. Our defense will get there, but we have to make it get there. We’re showing spurts on defense but we are not consistent.”

The Kings led 82-74 entering the fourth quarter and three early 3-pointers by Marcus Belinelli helped them maintain control in snapping an eight-game losing streak against Houston.

TRADE TALK

A report earlier in the day speculated that Howard was unhappy with his role on offense, where he’s only getting a little more than eight shots per game. The speculation had him possibly going to Miami.

”I haven’t said nothing to nobody about anything,” Howard said. ”I’ve been positive and trying to help turn this thing around every way possible. People are always going to make up lies and rumors to get off. But I haven’t said nothing about anything to anybody. That has never been my focus. I’m trying to get these guys to play better and get myself to play better. So why would I say that to anybody?”

TIP-INS

Rockets: Howard fouled Cousins late in the opening half and picked up a technical. … Harden scored 10 straight Rockets points to end the third quarter. . The Rockets missed 27 of 39 3-point shots.

Kings: Cousins drew a technical early in the game after battling underneath with Howard. … Karl was called for a technical in the second quarter. … Rap star Drake sat next to Kings owner Vivek Ranadive in courtside seats. … Seth Curry played as the backup point guard and had six points in 20 minutes.

UP NEXT

Rockets: At the Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys on Thursday.

Kings: At Minnesota on Friday.Sports & RecreationBasketballHouston Rockets JerseysDeMarcus CousinsSacramentoJason TerryThe Kings

Kobe’s enduring legacy: How his greatness spawned a generation of Kobes

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On the day her youngest son was born, Rochette Wilson awoke to a big surprise.

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Her husband had named their newborn baby after his favorite NBA player while she was heavily sedated because of complications during labor.

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“When my wife was coherent enough to know what was going on, they bring our son in from the nursery and they’re like, “Here’s Kobe!” Carlos Wilson recalled with a chuckle. “She’s like, ‘Who?’ They say, ‘Kobe.’ She’s like, ‘Who named him Kobe?’ The other people in the room point at me, and she gives me this ‘go-to-hell’ look like I’d never seen before and I’ve never seen afterward. But by that point I had filled out all the paperwork, so his name was locked in.”

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An aspiring basketball coach who had just founded an AAU team in Texas at the time of his son’s birth, Carlos had a deep appreciation for Kobe Bryant even as the 20-year-old Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys phenom was just launching his NBA career. When doctors asked Carlos the name of his newborn son, he made an impulse decision to pick “Kobe” instead of one of the biblical names he and his wife had previously discussed.

View gallery.Seventeen-year-old Kobe Wilson is one of more than 14,000 boys named after Bryant during his 20 years in the NBA. Those namesakes are as much a part of Bryant’s legacy as his five championship rings, two Olympic gold medals and 18 All-Star appearances.

Some of the oldest of that legion of Kobes are just beginning to gain attention for basketball at the same time as Bryant is months away from retiring.

There’s UCLA-bound Kobe Paras, a teenage heartthrob in his native Philippines who hopes to be the next guard named Kobe to star in Los Angeles. There’s Wisconsin-bound Kobe King, a promising shooting guard whose cousin is former Fab Five member Jimmy King. And there’s Arizona-bound Kobi Jordan Simmons, a McDonald’s All-American named after two of the greatest players in NBA history.

The name “Kobe” never cracked the Social Security Administration’s list of the nation’s 1,000 most popular boy’s names until Bryant’s rookie season, but its stature has mirrored the ebb and flow of his career ever since. It rocketed into the low 200s by the time Bryant captured his first championship in 2000, dipped noticeably after he was accused of rape three years later and then climbed again afterward as he gradually repaired his image.

At a time when Americans take cues from Hollywood on everything from clothes, to cars, to charitable causes, it’s no surprise that baby names have also become increasingly celebrity¬driven. You’re more likely to meet a newborn “Mila,” “Reese” or “Arya” today than you are a “Lindsay,” “Patricia” or “Karen.”

[More on Kobe Bryant’s legacy: Five prep prospects named after the Lakers star]

“There’s a real arms race among parents to be new and different, and that’s different from past generations,” said Laura Wattenberg, author of the book “The Baby Name Wizard.” “The name Kobe struck a chord with people because of his image as a player and the very contemporary sound of the name. In a lot of ways, it was the perfect combination.”

When Bryant’s own parents named him after the pricey, well-marbled steak they saw on a restaurant menu, the name was so distinctive that he has insisted he never encountered another Kobe throughout his entire childhood. Now there are boys named after Bryant in every corner of the country, from his native Philadelphia, to his adopted hometown of Los Angeles, to places like Salt Lake City or Sacramento, where he has received only boos and catcalls his entire career.

View gallery.

When McCaskey High School point guard Kobe Gantz was in grade school, his father had this poster of him and Kobe …If his family hadn’t already owned a Rottweiler named Jordan, Georgia native Kobi Jordan Simmons probably would have been called that, too, in honor of the Chicago Bulls Jerseys star. The Arizona-bound point guard instead became Kobi when his 4-year-old older brother suggested combining the names of the greatest shooting guard in NBA history and his heir apparent.

“My wife liked that idea so much she was done after that,” Demond Stephens said. “It was much better than having your son have the same name as your dog. You don’t where to buy cheap nba jerseys want to be like, ‘Jordan!’ and here comes your Rottweiler.”

Kobe Smith, a standout wide receiver and shooting guard from Gardena, Calif., would have been named after Earvin “Magic” Johnson if his father Anthony initially had his way. Only after Smith’s mother recoiled at the idea of naming her son “Earvin” did the couple consider another Lakers luminary.

“He was like, ‘How about Earvin?’ I was like, ‘How about not,'” Smith’s mother Julia Boyer recalled. “If we were going to name him after a Lakers player, it was going to be Kobe.”

Parents who name a son after Bryant often go to great lengths to make sure he loves the Lakers star as much as they do. They hang framed posters or jerseys in their son’s bedroom, shell out $100 for baby shoes modeled after Bryant’s latest basketball sneakers and place child-sized hoops around the house so little Kobe can master a jump shot as soon as he learns to walk.

When Kobe Gantz was still in grade school in Lancaster, Pa., his father had a poster made featuring his son clutching a basketball on one side and an image of Bryant dunking on the other. The poster hung in Gantz’s room until he was about 12, but by then the promising McCaskey High School point guard already had eyes for other basketball players.

View gallery.

Park Tudor High School point guard Kobe Webster (via Isaac Webster)”He still respects Kobe Bryant, but he’s not his favorite player,” dad Collins Gantz said. “Now he’s a big Kevin Durant fan.”

Kobe Webster, a two-time state champion point guard at Indiana’s Park Tudor High School, is such an ardent fan of Bryant that he’ll watch replays of Lakers games from the Kobe-Shaq era and emulate his namesake’s moves at the gym. When a stranger at the barber shop insisted earlier this month that Bryant was no longer worthy of a spot in the Lakers’ starting lineup, Webster staunchly defended his favorite player.

“My son told the guy, ‘He’s Kobe Bryant. He should start until the day he retires,’ ” dad Isaac Webster said with a chuckle. “That’s definitely a guy you can’t talk badly about around my son.”

No matter how enthusiastic their parents are about basketball or Bryant, not every young Kobe inherits the same passion.

In Indiana, there’s a Kobe who’s headed to Purdue on a wrestling scholarship after winning a state championship at 220 pounds last year. In Florida, there’s a Kobe who’s one of the state’s best defensive shortstops and will play at Alabama State next year. Elsewhere, there are numerous Kobes with no interest in sports whatsoever.

Thankfully for Carlos Wilson, his son shares his love of basketball.

Kobe Wilson has blossomed into one of the better point guard prospects in the state of Arkansas and has already begun to receive looks from Division I programs. Perhaps someday he’ll even play for Arkansas State, where his dad is now in his second season as an assistant coach.

Carlos knows he took a risk naming his son after Bryant without consulting his wife, but Rochette Wilson apparently has forgiven her husband.

“She’s a trooper,” Carlos said. “The initial shock lasted a couple days, but about a week into it she was good with it. The name has been a perfect fit. I couldn’t have named him anything better.” Sports & RecreationKobe Bryant

Five players who have a solid shot at joining 80-point club

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The NBA boasts the best collection of basketball talent the world has to offer with supreme athletes, elite defenders and high flyers marking each team. But there’s nothing like watching a professional scorer enter the proverbial zone.

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On Wednesday night, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry put on a scoring clinic, starting with a 25-point first quarter against the Washington Wizards Jerseys. To say Curry entered the zone would be an understatement. Steph made 9 of his first 10 field goals, including 7 of 8 from 3-point range. By halftime he had 35 points and the Twitter-verse wondered just how many points he would score. 50? 60? 70?

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Curry Explodes for 51 Points

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Stephen Curry was cookin’ on Wednesday night, scoring 51 points on 11-for-16 from 3-point land.

After the first period, the reigning Kia MVP was on pace to reach 100 but no one really thought it was obtainable. After all, he’s sat out 14 4th quarters this season. Curry would finish halfway to the century mark — 51 points, thanks to an 11-for-16 effort from 3-point land. Steph can score 50 points at any moment, but can he or anyone else flirt with 81?

It’s been 54 years since Warriors legend Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points and 10 seasons since Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys guard Kobe Bryant scored 81. Neither Wilt nor Kobe were prolific 3-point shooters, but they both shared the mentality that the next shot was guaranteed to fall.

“Scoring 100 points is a lot,” Chamberlain once said. “But … I maybe could have scored 140 if they had played straight-up basketball!”

Kobe’s 81 Point Night

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81 point game on January 22nd, here’s a look back at that night and what some players around the League had to say about his performance

The thought of one player scoring 100 points is insane, let alone 80. In fact, Chamberlain possessed the ability to score at will and only surpassed the 80-point threshold once in his entire career. Out of the thousands of players to play in the NBA’s lifetime, only five players have scored 70-plus points in a single game. That list does not include three of the top four scorers in NBA history: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan.

Most Points Scored in a Single Game

Player Points scored Year

Wilt Chamberlain 100 1962

Kobe Bryant 81 2006

Wilt Chamberlain 78 1961

Wilt Chamberlain 73 1962

Wilt Chamberlain 73 1962

David Thompson 73 1979

Just last month, Bryant was asked about reliving his historic 81-point performance and, like Chamberlain, he felt he “should have had 90 points or more.” If Bryant thinks 90 is possible, then 81 should be within reason.

Clearly it would take a young player with a true scorer’s mentality. Wilt was 25 years old when he scored 100 and Kobe was 27 throwback nba jerseys cheap when he poured in 81. The player that scores 80 has to be a volume shooter that can get to the free throw line often. He must possess the ability to create his own shot as well as 3-point shooting range.

Using this criteria, many players may fit the mold but five All-Stars — Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins — immediately come to mind. These are the top four scorers in the league who have a total of 13 career 50-point games. Three of the five players (Curry, Harden and Cousins) are responsible for four of the six 50-point games this season. So who’s the most likely candidate for an 80-point game?

The Obvious Picks

Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors): A list that involves scoring can’t be constructed without the “Baby-Faced Assassin.” Curry leads the league in scoring (29.8 ppg), has amassed four career 50+ point games and is the only player with multiple games with 11 3-pointers made. The 2015 Foot Locker Three-Point Champion has been on a tear this season (232 3-pointers through 47 games). He’s the first player to make 200 3-pointers prior to the All-Star break.

Curry Hits 11 3-Pointers

Relive every 3-pointer from Stephen Curry’s incredible night.

While he may be an obvious selection, it’s highly unlikely he’ll reach 81 or more points. The most free throw attempts Curry has in a single game is 14. He’s averaging 5.5 free throw attempts per game this season, a career high.

One would need at least 20 points on free throws to have a realistic shot at 80. Curry knocked down 11 threes on Wednesday and still fell 30 points shy of Kobe’s mark.

Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys): At first glance, Durant was the favorite to score 80. Standing nearly 7 feet tall, Durant can score with ease from anywhere on the court. He has the ball-handling to blow by defenders and the range and scoring arsenal to create jump shots for himself from anywhere.

Durant Scores 54

Durant poured in 54 points in an incredibly efficient performance, helping Oklahoma City beat Golden State 127-121.

Like Curry, Durant’s career high is 54 points and he, too, has four career 50-point games. But what sets the two apart is Durant’s career high 26 free throw attempts.

During the 2012-13 season, Kevin recorded his first 50-40-90 season. A true testament to a player’s shooting ability when they average 50 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent shooting on 3-pointers and 80 percent shooting from the line. With his size and range, there’s no limit to what he can put up on the scoreboard.

But, as long as he shares the load with Russell Westbrook, 80 points appears to be out of reach.

The Longshots

Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors): Thompson is bigger and taller (6-foot-7, 215 pounds) than Curry (6-foot-3, 190) and, some would argue, has a better shooting form than Curry, too. Klay has one career 50-point game — a 52-pointer (where he went for 37 points in a quarter) last season against the Kings. In that magical outburst, Thompson made all 13 of his field goal attempts, nine of which were 3-pointers.

Thompson Dominates Kings

Highlights from Klay Thompson as he hits 13 of 13 shots with 9 triples to notch a NBA record 37 points in the third quarter.

Problem is he only attempted two free throws that period. Thompson’s career high is 12 free throw attempts in a single game. While he may have the height advantage and shooting motion over Curry, he doesn’t get the wealth of touches these players get on a nightly basis. Thompson may have a 60-point effort in his future, but 80 doesn’t seem likely.

DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings Jerseys): “Boogie” is the lone big man to make the list. He has a 56-point game under his belt, which he recorded this season and is tops in 2015-16. An 80-point game would appear to favor a center since most teams play small and offensive rebounds are at a premium. Cousins appears to be developing into an offensive savant game by game. He’s made 45 3-pointers this season after making 11 total in his first five seasons.

Cousins Scores 56 vs. Hornets

DeMarcus Cousins scores a new career-high 56 points and grabs 12 rebounds versus the Hornets.

He boasts a 73 percent career free throw shooting mark and has five career games with 20 or more free throw attempts. All of this makes 80 a possibility, but, unfortunately for Cousins, the NBA is no longer a big man’s game.

The Choice is …

James Harden (Houston Rockets Jerseys): Prior to “The Beard” arriving in Houston, many wondered if he throwback nba jerseys cheap could be a team’s leading scorer. Those questions were quickly answered. In just his second game as a Rocket, he tallied 45 points with an impressive 17 free throw attempts.

Rockets vs. Hawks

James Harden explodes for a career-high 45 points in the big win over the Hawks.

Harden has three career games with 50-plus points and nine games with 20 or more free-throw attempts.

(If you haven’t caught on by now, free throw attempts are key.)

In Bryant’s 81-point game, he went 18-for-20 on free throws and made just seven 3-pointers. Ever since he got to Houston, Harden has mastered the art of drawing the foul. Proof? He has led the league in free throw attempts three times (including this season).

With no true number two scoring threat, Harden is the type of player that can go for 60 or more points and many would shrug at his performance. Along with his ability to cash in at the line, Harden utilizes the 3-pointer as well as anyone (he’s third in the NBA with 140 3-pointers). According to NBA.com/Stats, Harden ranks in the top 15 with 9.3 drives per game. He’s shooting 48.8 percent on those drives and getting to the free throw line nearly four times a game off drives alone. When he’s fouled on penetration plays, he’s making 86.6 percent of his free throws. As a result, Harden scores 75 percent of the time when he drives to the basket.

All those factors mark a player who has the skills to one day deliver an 80-point game. Trending

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