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Lakers to wear Black Mamba uniforms Thursday against Nuggets

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The Los Angeles Lakers will wear their Black Mamba uniforms, co-designed by NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, for Thursday night’s home game against the Denver Nuggets after the Kobe Bryant statue is unveiled at Star Plaza outside of Crypto.com Arena.

Bryant was a five-time NBA champ and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He is set to become the sixth Laker and seventh person associated with the organization to be commemorated with a statue — joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, and sportscaster Chick Hearn.

Moreover, Bryant received 15 All-NBA selections and won four All-Star Game MVP awards with L.A. In 2021, he was named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

The Black Mamba uniforms feature a “snakeskin-like black print and drop shadows on the jersey numbers.” The designs pay homage to Bryant’s rookie season in 1996-97. The uniforms include “LA 24” on the belt and the Nos. 8 and 24 under the flap of each leg of the shorts.

The Black Mamba uniforms debuted during the 2017-18 season as the team’s first City Edition uniforms. Of course, the jerseys were inspired by Bryant.

In fact, the uniforms were first worn on Jan. 26, 2018, against the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers also wore the uniforms during the 2020 NBA Playoffs en route to winning their 17th NBA title.

Additionally, NBA fans can watch the unveiling of the Bryant statue live on Spectrum SportsNet, with coverage starting at 3 p.m. PT on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Public access to Star Plaza will be restricted Thursday because of event staging, per the news release. Fans will be allowed to view the statue in person at Star Plaza starting Friday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. PT.

Los Angeles Lakers to wear Black Mamba uniforms vs. Denver Nuggets, Kobe Bryant statue to be unveiled at Star Plaza

Furthermore, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss revealed plans to erect a statue for Bryant after he, his 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, six friends, and a pilot died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

The statue was created by renowned sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany of the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt Amrany.

“Kobe Bryant was one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time and one of the most iconic individuals in the history of Los Angeles,” Buss said.

“There is no better place for Kobe to be honored with a statue than here, at the center of our city, where everyone can celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements.”

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, made the official announcement on Aug. 24. This date is known as “Kobe Day,” since the eighth month and 24th day tie into Bryant’s jersey numbers.

“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” she said in an Instagram video. “Since arriving in this city and joining the Lakers organization, he felt at home here, playing in the City of Angels.

“On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters, and me, I am so honored that, right in the center of Los Angeles, in front of the place known as the house that Kobe built, we are going to unveil his statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”

The Lakers host Denver at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday. NBA betting sites have not yet released the betting lines for this matchup. Los Angeles is 8-3 in its last 11 home games against Denver.

The Lakers are 4-2 in their past six games played on this day.





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Experts predict Steve Kerr won’t ever win another title with Warriors

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The Warriors have been the most successful team in the NBA during recent times, as they’ve conquered four championships in the past nine years. As coach Steve Kerr just signed a historic contract extension with Golden State, will they earn a fifth title in the upcoming years? 

At the start of the week, an ESPN panel comprised of Becky Hammon and Kendrick Perkins discussed the tactician’s newest deal, but explained why they don’t believe the Bay Area franchise will win another trophy under his leadership.

Both analysts predicted the same outcome when writing down their answers to the question: “Steve Kerr will win _ more titles in Golden State?” Perkins first held up his blank piece of paper, explaining why he finds it pointless to even write down a number.

“[There] was no point in me actually writing a zero because they’re not going to win another championship,” Kendrick said. Hammon then proceeded to hold up a zero with an arrow through it, sharing the same opinion as his fellow expert.

“Zero. But I love ya,“ Becky said. “It’s a zero, but it’s an arrow because of Valentine’s Day. It’s an arrow because I still love them.”

One of their biggest challenges is to transition from their championship core, who are mostly veterans, into a new generation of Warriors stars. A subject that has reportedly “suffered some strain,” is Klay Thompson‘s relationship with the team’s front office.

“Thompson always knew he would likely have to wait until his free agency arrived this summer, what with Lacob’s well-chronicled hopes of ducking under the second (and possibly first) luxury tax apron compelling them to let the roster landscape fully unfold before adding salary,” insider Sam Amick wrote this week.

The reporter then added that it is a mystery if Klay will retire in San Francisco. “But it’s clear their relationship has suffered some strain along the way, with league sources indicating that Thompson has received no assurances from on high that his hopes of retiring happily in a Warriors jersey,” he shared.

Kerr explained this Wednesday that Andrew Wiggins will be out indefinitely due to a “personal matter”

Andrew Wiggins was not on the team’s list when they beat the Washington Wizards this Tuesday and the reasons why were unclear. However, his coach appeared the following day on local Bay Area station 95.7 The Game and explained that the forward is dealing with a “personal matter.”

Kerr spoke about his player’s absence but did not go into detail. All he could really say was that the 29-year-old will be out indefinitely until he’s able to play at his best.

“We do expect him to be back but we just don’t exactly know when,” said the Warriors tactician. “We’re in a position where Wiggs is a private person and he’s asked to keep it private and we’re gonna honor that. So it doesn’t help for me to sit here and try to explain any of that. The bottom line is we respect Wiggs, we need him and we fully expect him back, but we just don’t know when that will be.”

This is not the first time Andrew is out due to similar reasons, as he missed out on the final 25 contests of last regular season due to a “family matter.” The reasons were never disclosed, but insider Shams Charania reported that the player’s father was “dealing with a serious medical situation.”





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Hawks waiving veteran guard Patty Mills

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The Atlanta Hawks are waiving 15-year veteran guard Patty Mills, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. The Hawks reportedly made the move to open a roster spot.

Atlanta plans to fill the spot by converting guard Trent Forrest’s two-way deal into a standard NBA contract. Forrest has played 20 games this season, his second in Atlanta after being in Utah from 2020-22.

The NBA deadline to waive a player and become playoff eligible is 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, March 1.

Mills, 35, has made only 19 appearances off the bench this season. The 6-foot-2 guard is averaging 2.7 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 10.6 minutes per game while shooting a career-low 37.3% from the field and 38.2% beyond the arc.

In Atlanta’s 134-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 24, Mills recorded a season-high 13 points, two rebounds, three assists, and one steal in 21 minutes as a reserve.

This decision comes days after the Hawks lost All-Star guard Trae Young for at least four weeks with a torn ligament in his left pinkie finger. Atlanta announced the injury Sunday.

Did Atlanta Hawks also waive Patty Mills because of lack of production, Trae Young’s injury?

Young suffered his finger injury during Friday night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors and underwent surgery Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. The team said Young will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

“You feel awful for Trae more than anything,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “It is going to be a challenge for him not to be out there.”

Mills’ departure likely had something to do with his lack of touches. With Young out, Dejounte Murray is expected to become the team’s primary ballhandler.

Bogdan Bogdanovic replaced Young in the starting lineup ahead of Sunday night’s game against the Orlando Magic.

Another notable loss is starting center Onyeka Okongwu (sprained left toe). Snyder said last Thursday that Okongwu will not be available for the foreseeable future.

“You have to adapt,” Snyder said. “That happened when we lost Jalen [Johnson]. We have to have minutes from Kobe [Bufkin] and Patty, and we obviously know what Dejounte can do. I don’t want to wallow in anything.”

Although Bufkin returned after recovering from a fractured left thumb, Murray and Bogdanovic may still struggle to carry the load during Young’s absence.





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Boston’s Defense Continues to Help Maintain Best Record in NBA

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The Boston Celtics have arguably the best defensive unit in the league. It is a huge reason why they have the best record in the NBA at 46-12 as of February 29th , 2024. On top of having one of the best starting lineups in the league, head coach, Joe Mazzula has developed a reputation for being a defensive mastermind. A hard thing to come by in today’s offensive driven league. They are second in the league in defensive rating (110.6), sixth in defensive rebounding percentage (72.7 percent), and second in blocks per game (6.6).

The Celtics are not afraid to go man-to-man or even go into a zone defense. Mazzula has gotten creative in using a free roamer in the zone scheme this season. With the talent they have, it really does not matter who they have playing this “free safety,” position. Boston usually utilizes a 2-3 or 2-1-2 alignment which often throws opposing offenses for a loop. It also helps that the personnel have terrific switch ability making it difficult for opponents to exploit any possible mismatches. Even when they are in man, the Celtics are extremely hard to score on as every player has brought into head coach, Joe Mazzula’s, system.

Boston’s Terrific Defensive Scheme

Their Personnel

The team often likes to use Jrue Holiday in unorthodox positions in their defensive schemes. They will use him at the center of their 2-3 zone and the other players are smart enough to adjust on potential mismatches. This often allows someone like Kristaps Porzingis or Al Horford to roam giving the defense an added dimension. Porzingis also gives Boston some much-needed rim protection. He currently averages 1.8 blocks per game to go along with a block percentage of 5.5 percent. Jayson Tatum has also developed into an above average defender who has the wingspan to alter shots at the rim.

Not to mention, Jaylen Brown has a reputation as a solid defender who can guard almost any position on the floor. As if that was not enough, the backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Derrick White is arguably the best defensive one in the NBA. White is arguably a top-five point of attack defender. He has 65 blocked shots on the year as of February 29th . Even some of the bench players such as Al Horford and Payton Pritchard have a reputation for being defensive pests. Boston has been playing high IQ basketball at all levels this year. However, their defense is arguably the main reason they are the favorites to win title this season.



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