National Basketball Association notebook
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LOS ANGELES – AFP looks at trends and topics in the National Basketball Association this past week:
– Bryant says so long to Beantown –
Kobe Bryant experienced a couple of emotional farewell stops as fans in Boston and Charlotte gave the retiring NBA veteran rousing sendoffs.
Bryant scored a team high 20 points in a 108-98 loss last Monday to Charlotte, the franchise that initially drafted into the NBA back in 1996.
Two nights later the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer heard rare cheers from the Boston Garden crowd as the Lakers toppled the Celtics 112-104.
”It was great. It was great. Not the start I wanted, but the finish was fine,” said Bryant of the win which started a modest three game winning streak for the Lakers. ”Being able to say thank you to the fans was a beautiful moment.”
Bryant hit a clutch three pointer that helped stem a Boston comeback and he then pulled down his 11th rebound on the next play as Los Angeles snapped Boston’s four-game winning streak.
Bryant was just five-of-18 and finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, after the Celtics presented him a piece of their famed parquet floor from the Garden arena prior to the game.
When the game ended, the crowd roared as Bryant exchanged hugs with several Celtics, and then acknowledged the fans as he walked toward the exit.
”I remember my daughter was having a hard time with softball in a semi-final game, striking out,” Bryant said. ”She was crying, she was mad.
”I showed her the video of us losing to the Celtics (in the 2008 finals) and me walking off the court crying. I said ‘listen, it’s fine, it’s fine. You’ve just got to bounce back.’ That’s the kind of profound impact this building has had.”
Bryant’s other significant stop was in Charlotte to play the Hornets who selected him with the 13th pick then dealt him to the Lakers in a deal planned out before the draft.
”Charlotte never wanted me. [Dave] Cowens told me he didn’t want me. It wasn’t a question of me even playing here,” said Bryant. ”They had a couple of guards already, a couple small forwards already. So it wasn’t like I would be off the bench much. ”
– NBA admits official mistake –
The NBA agreed that a crucial call in Saturday’s game that went against the Dallas Mavericks was an incorrect one.
And by all accounts, the Mavs believe that erroneous call may have cost them a game they eventually lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 105-98.
On the play in question, the Mavs trailed New Orleans 99-96 with 70 seconds remaining in the game when Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson drove to the baseline and was sent to the free throw line after a foul was whistled against centre Zaza Pachulia.
Replays clearly show that Pachulia didn’t make any contact with Anderson, who made both to give the Pelicans a 101-96 cushion.
On Sunday, the NBA ruled that the foul against Pachulia was an incorrect call. (AFP)
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