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  1. #1
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    D'Antoni: Kobe to take on bigger defensive role

    ESPN

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- If the Los Angeles Lakers are going to make a push to get back in the postseason hunt, they'll have to improve their defense.

    Therefore, the Lakers have turned to none other than Kobe Bryant to spearhead that defensive turnaround.

    Bryant drew the primary defensive assignment against Kyrie Irving on Sunday and limited the Cleveland Cavaliers star guard to just 15 points in the Lakers' 113-93 victory.

    In the wake of Bryant's outstanding effort against Irving, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni has vowed to use the veteran guard in similar defensive situations.

    "I think that really helped us," D'Antoni said. "It helped us against the Clippers with Chris Paul. (Bryant) wants to take the challenge, and it really helps us."

    While Bryant has the defensive credentials to perform in such a role -- he's made the NBA's All-Defensive First Team nine times and the Second Team three times -- it's a surprising job for the 34-year-old to assume at this stage of his career.

    Last season, Bryant was left off the NBA's All-Defensive First Team for the first time since 2005, as Paul and Memphis' Tony Allen bumped him to the Second Team.

    The duty of playing lock-down defense also will cause Bryant, the league's leading scorer at 29.8 points per game, to expend more energy that could be used on the offensive end.

    However, the Lakers are ranked sixth in the league in offensive efficiency with a 106.3 points per 100 possessions average. D'Antoni figures Bryant's scoring can take a back seat if it means his dedication to defense can help the Lakers' porous defensive efficiency -- 103.7 points allowed per 100 possessions, which ranks 21st in the NBA.

    "He disrupts the whole offense on the ball," said D'Antoni, who added that Bryant will draw either Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis when the Lakers host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. "He's done that a couple games, so we'll continue to milk that one."

    Lakers guard Steve Nash said that a more difficult assignment actually makes Bryant a better defensive player than when he's left to guard someone who is not as big of a threat.

    "Kobe's a guy that likes a challenge, so to give him a challenge I think sometimes is best for us," Nash said. "Sometimes when he maybe is guarding someone who isn't going to demand his interest, he can wane a little bit. But when we put him in a position where he's challenged, he can be phenomenal.

    "I think it's almost two-fold. I think he was the key to the game (Sunday). He took Irving out of the game and at the same time, offensively he was terrific. So that's the type of player he's capable of being on a nightly basis, as we all know, and I think for our team, his leadership and the way he took that challenge was phenomenal."

    The challenge for D'Antoni in bestowing the new defensive responsibilities on Bryant is to try to limit his playing time so that the 17-year veteran doesn't get run down with 45 games remaining in the regular season.

    Bryant is averaging 38.7 minutes per game this season, which ranks No. 1 amongst all guards in the NBA.

    "That's what worries me and that's why I took a long time to put him there and that's why, even now, I still have some trepidation," D'Antoni said. "But he's taking the challenge. I told him his minutes got to go down -- they got to go down. He doesn't love that, but he's willing to do anything to make us win.

    "He's always going to be focal point or the lightning rod of a lot of things here in Los Angeles. But I've only found a guy that wants to win and as a coach, I couldn't ask for anything more than that."
    This will be great for the team. Same role he did with the team USA.

  2. #2
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    he cant play any less defense

  3. #3
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    might be good for him and the team. more energy on defense, forces him to play smarter on offense

    This is how we do it! I still believe



  4. #4
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    Thank the good lord

  5. #5
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    Now No D is going to really kill Kobe! How about Nash? or the rest of the team? Are they going to help too? First he should go to an intensive training with the Chicago's coach! Then could come back to coach defense here!

  6. #6
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    Well if they could get any kind of lead... then Kobe can rest .. and play less than 35 minutes per game... then maybe he would have a little more energy to play defense... but since we almost always playing from behind... Kobe has to be more aggressive to score and winds up playing 40 mins a game...
    ... You know you got a good DVR... whenever you hit pause on your remote during the action and it displays its favorite player....

  7. #7
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    defense and d'antoni?

  8. #8
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    over / under on kobe going down with an injury ... 15 games

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinylman:25101904
    over / under on kobe going down with an injury ... 15 games
    We don't need this attitude buddy boy

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinylman View Post
    over / under on kobe going down with an injury ... 15 games
    Highly unlikely given that Kobe is probably the most durable elite player in sports history or least in the conversation.

  11. #11
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    I kinda feel like dantoni is reading psd to try and figure out whats wrong with the team.

    Dodgers, Lakers, Raiders.
    Fok Jelle Naiers

    They`re = contraction of they are
    There = used to describe location
    Their = pronoun used to describe belonging
    Should've = contraction of should have
    Should of = makes no sense at all

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by KOBE24 View Post
    he cant play any less defense
    He's been a great defender for most of his career. He's been taking plays off these last few years, but when he wants to, he's still an elite on ball defender. He's shown in several games this season that he can still be an excellent defender. If Kobe plays like he did yesterday the rest of the season, despite all the talk about how bad Kobe's defense has been, it will be another all-defensive team selection. With Kobe focused in on defense, howard being as active as he was last night, clark and artest, the team has a legit shot. But it has to be every game with that kind of focus, energy and defensive intensity.

  13. #13
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    hmm.. mda making adjustments, and on the defensive side of the game, interesting.

  14. #14
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    I like it! Lets go boys!!!

  15. #15
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    If Kobe is going to be one of the defensive anchors out there, d'antoni needs to cut his minutes to about 32-34 a game.

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