Caught in the Web: Debating the NBA All-Star snubs, Lakers links
If it makes Lakers forward Andrew Bynum feel any better, he can take comfort in knowing he's not the only one -- other players also thought they were snubbed by NBA All-Star game selectors.
There was Clippers center Chris Kaman, who leads all centers in the league in scoring but who anticipated well ahead of time that the team's losing record doesn't really impress coaches. There was a deserving player (Cleveland guard Mo Williams) and an undeserving player (Cavs center Shaquille O'Neal) who didn't make the cut, something Coach Mike Brown says is his fault since he doesn't exactly want players to just pad stats (except for LeBron). And then there are guys like New York's David Lee, who says he'll just use the rejection as motivation.
Denver guard Chauncey Billups won't complain. He knows he has all-star numbers, but he promised he wouldn't get upset if he was left off the roster (he was). There's no use complaining when you have every media outlet telling you that you were wronged. When you go through all the lists (here, here, here and there, and over there) and compile all the names, you have enough for multiple All-Snub teams, which the league should announce as a consolation prize.
Lakers links (after the jump)
-- Sports Illustrated debates whether the Lakers' two regular-season losses to Cleveland are an indicator on how the postseason will play out. SI's Paul Forrester quotes a few scouts who say the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder have the best shot to beat the Lakers.
-- Lakers guard Derek Fisher discusses a multitude of topics with Dan Patrick, including the season-long suspensions of Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton; the Lakers' White House visit; and Kobe Bryant's injury.
-- The one man who is most familiar with Kobe's injuries (or any injury, for that matter) is Lakers trainer Gary Vitti. In a very interesting interview with Lakers.com's Mike Trudell, Vitti offers the money quote summing up Bryant's ability to play through pain: "He is absolutely the toughest, mentally and physically, the toughest athlete that I've ever worked with."
-- 76ers guard Andre Iguodala has a different take on Bryant. And even if this comes across the wrong way, he means it as a compliment: "He's mentally insane, to be honest with you."
-- Even though Bryant has returned today to his hometown, the City of Brotherly Love, Mamba says he considers L.A. his main home.
-- Perhaps this will simmer down the trade talk in Lakerland. The Toronto Star's Doug Smith says in a game chat that the Raptors aren't shopping forward Chris Bosh, and that includes to the Lakers. In a chat, ESPN's John Hollinger said a Lakers trade for Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich is financially unrealistic. Maybe, just maybe, that will cure Silver Screen and Roll's headache.
-- Lakers Coach Phil Jackson may say the grind of the eight-game trip is wearing on him, but he's still energetic enough to speak with ESPN's Colin Cowherd and former Lakers great and minority owner Magic Johnson.
-- The Lakers shouldn't look past their upcoming opponent, even if it is the Philadelphia 76ers. But Forum Blue & Gold gives fans a good reason that it's not so bad to look ahead to Sunday's game against the Boston Celtics.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Pau Gasol gets a high-five from Kobe Bryant after making a basket during the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 118-96 victory over the Pacers on Wednesday. Credit: Darron Cummings / Associated Press