SH Blog: Thunder get back at Kobe for talking smack during the Olympics

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What do you do when your two favorite teams are playing each other? That’s the dilemma I’m in tonight. I’ve decided that I’m rooting for the team that’s doing better this season, but that doesn’t make rooting against the other team much easier. Tonight’s big game is probably Knicks-Bulls, but the NBA’s best team, the Memphis Grizzlies, are in action as well against the Hawks.
Now, on to today’s latest NBA news.
  • Ric Bucher of CSN Bay Area (via Sulia) has an interesting subplot to the Thunder’s win over the Lakers on Friday night: “Why Kevin Durant and Russ Westbrook were, and will be, fired up every time they play Kobe Bryant and the Lakers this season: source says the Black Mamba talked relentless smack during the Olympics that the Thunder stars weren’t going back to the Finals after the Lakers acquired Steve Nash and then added Dwight Howard right before the U.S. played Spain for the gold medal.”
  • Roy Hibbert certainly isn’t lacking for confidence. Marc J. Spears talked to the Pacers’ big man for Yahoo! Sports. It’s a good read, so here’s an excerpt: “Indiana’s Roy Hibbert isn’t averaging double-digits in points but is being paid double digits in millions of dollars this season. Even so, the regressing former All-Star center is confident he will eventually be the NBA’s best at his position. ‘People said I wouldn’t be in the NBA,’ said Hibbert, the highest-paid Pacer at $13.8 million this season. ‘People said I wouldn’t be a starting center, this, that and the other. I just prove people wrong. I’m having a slump right now, but in the grand scheme of things I’m going to turn it around and hopefully be the best when it’s all said and done.’ Hibbert aims to top Dwight Howard as the widely accepted best center in the NBA. A fake Hibbert Instagram account took a shot at Howard recently and gained some traction on the Internet before it was debunked – ‘I’m the best center in the league #[expletive]Dwight’ it read. ‘That wasn’t me, but I will be the best center in the league one day,’ Hibbert said.”
  • Despite picking up a win over the Heat this week, this season has been a disaster for the Wizards, and one thing that certainly isn’t helping is the play of last year’s sixth overall pick, Jan Vesely, who has played less than one second combined over the Wizards’ last four games. Michael Lee of the Washington Post writes: “With the Wizards trailing by 13 in the final minute, Coach Randy Wittman called on veteran Earl Barron to replace Nene and finish out the game. Vesely has received a DNP-Coach’s Decision in each of the past two games but Wittman said recently that he hasn’t given up on the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft. ’I don’t want him to step away from game playing, I want him to be ready every night,’ Wittman said. ‘As our guys know, it can change at any minute. We’ve said that all year, with who I started and who’s played and who hasn’t played. He’s got to keep practicing hard and it’s going to come. It’s going to happen.’ The Wizards don’t have any plans of sending Vesely to the NBA Developmental League, according to a league source, but he has seen a precipitous decline in his minutes since being replaced in the starting lineup before a Nov. 26 loss to San Antonio.”

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