Sunday January 26 was a tough day as we just got word of the tragic death of Kobe Bean Bryant. Reports were still coming out about an hour before the opening games and exactly who was involved was still unclear. Then it gets confirmed that it is Kobe and his 13yr old daughter plus 7 others which makes it even tougher to digest. I gotta admit I was one of Kobe's biggest haters and the person I loved to root against the most out of any sport! There were countless arguements I had with friends growing up about why he was overrated, selfish and that he will never be on the Mount Rushmore of basketball. I started watching basketball in the early 90s because of MJ and those NBA on NBC broadcasts were incredible as a child. To me, anyone that thought they were or could be better than Jordan was blasphemous and so you fast forward to this cocky young high schooler who was already saying that he was going to be the GOAT and that kicked off my negative sports relationship with him. 2 years after the Kobe draft we had Vince Carter and that was my guy that I was invested into and thought could be way better than Kobe. Then later it was Team Lebron and obviously as a fan you are going to choose him or Kobe and not both. As I reflected on his sudden passing, I realized that although I despised and loathed him as a player...I also respected him alot at the same time...the work ethic, the fiery competitiveness, the never say die attitude, the willingness to take big shots....plus he was giving us life lessons through his interviews, speeches and the way he played the game. Especially if you are one of many that grow up without a father figure (including myself) or did not have a real life mentor...Kobe was doing it for us...with his words and actions...we saw him grow up right before our eyes in what seemed like a 20 plus year movie. After seeing the numerous social media posts about him from people that I know...it just reinforced the type of impact he truly had on everybody. Vince Carter was a once in a generation athlete and a freak of nature who shoulda gone on to become one of the greats...but he will not be able to even tie Kobe's shoes because he was not willing to adopt the Mamba Mentality. As a die hard Raptors fan it was infuriating to know that if Vince coulda borrowed half the mental strength/work ethic of Kobe who knows how many championships we would have had. Kobe had the talent and athleticism but still wanted to outwork every player in the league...no matter what I will always respect that. The 20 year movie that we all witnessed was something memorable but I was finally looking forward to another 20 year movie where we get to see how he gives back to the NBA community, how he raises his kids, and how he changes the world. Sadly we won't be able to...plus losing his daughter Gianna who was suppose to keep his basketball legacy alive in the crash makes it even more devastating. There was a bit of a somber mood at Logos on Sunday as we played out the games and I also realized just how many players wear #24 or #8 in the league. This is just a constant reminder to always appreciate each other and appreciate the time you have. RIP Black Mamba & GIGI.
No games this Superbowl Sunday and we will be back on Feb 9th. We will keep the recaps short and to the point today but the standings are getting super interesting. We will have a final power rankings coming out next week so stay tuned!
BULLETS: Running out things to say about Duzan as he puts up another amazing game. As you can see by the stat line below...Duzzy has just been on another level. Kid is also super focused and calm and rarely shows alot of emotion but he has been lethal nonetheless. Senthu did a great job on Nidun and the rest of the team held their own on defence. The Kings are making some noise as they have now won 5 straight and will be going into the playoffs with some momentum. The Bullets will have to regroup as they have one game left and are sitting in 14th place.
Final Score: Kings 63 - 50 Bullets Player of the Game - DUZAN INDRASITHU 33pts/11rebs/3asts/2stls/2blks - 59% Shooting - 5 Triples
HORNETS: The Hornets were missing their Center Dinash and they were extremely small without him. The Nuggets were able to use their length and size to their advantage especially when it came to shot contesting. The Hornets only had one sub and eventually ran out of gas in the second half. Nirsan had a double double and hit some big triples in this one. Arun dropped a game high 21 but it was not enough for the Hornets. They sit in 15th place with one game left. It is going to be a tight finish.
Final Score: Nuggets 46 - 34 Hornets Player of the Game - NIRSAN KUNARATNAM 16pts/13rebs/2asts/2stls/2blks - 4 Triples
SIXERS: This was suppose to be the game of the day as two solid contenders were going to battle it out. The Sixers however came out completely flat and trailed 20 to 1 to start the game! Matty Brice laid into his team finally and told them to "play some f**king defence" which really sparked the team and got them going. They started making some shots and playing together and gave the Clippers a run for their money before eventually running out of gas. Matty was great with 19 points but Kris and company were more consistent and closed it off in style. Would love to see a rematch of these two in the playoffs as it could be an exciting one. The Clips remain undefeated at 9-0.
Final Score: Clippers 70 - 56 Sixers Player of the Game - KRISOTH GNANENTHRA 28pts/9rebs/6asts/1stls - 6 Triples
SONICS: This should have been a good one but with Zaid and Zoobee missing it was destined to be what it was. Grizz took it fairly easy after a tight first half...they settled in and Ben was terrific in this one. He hit big time long range bombs and was too much for the Sonics. Abdul finished with a double double (17 n 10) and that was enough to take it home for the Grizz. The Sonics will make the playoffs but their seeding might be lower than they expected. They have no games remaining and will have a long break.
Final Score: Grizzlies 55 - 45 Sonics Player of the Game - BEN OKYERE 28pts/10rebs/1stl/3blks - 58% Shooting - 5 Triples
TIMBERWOLVES: The Nets took care of business against the lowly Wolves. Paolo was a beast and finished with a 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting as his defence led to some breakaway baskets. Mike was too big for the Wolves as he double doubled with 19 and 10. Nets secure themselves a playoff spot with this win and we will see what kind of damage they can do when the real season begins. Seyon was a bright spot for the Wolves as he hit 3 of 4 from deep and chipped in 2 steals and a block. He is only 19 and talented and will continue to get better.
Final Score: Nets 65 - 53 Twolves Player of the Game - PAOLO VERGARA 18pts/1reb/ast/3stls - 82% Shooting
BULLS: The only close game of the night and Shang had a chance to win it with a deep triple at the buzzer...but it was not meant to be. He hit a game winning 3 earlier this season against the Hornets but this time the Blazers escape with a victory. Jeffrey led the Bulls with 18 points as he was firing away from long range as he took 18 triples in this one. The Blazers were extremely sloppy with the ball in this one but still managed to pull this one out. Bulls slide barely out of the playoff picture with this loss.
Final Score: Blazers 44 - 42 Bulls Player of the Game - NJ KRISHNA 16pts/6reb/3asts/3stls - 3 Triples
SPURS: The Knicks came out swinging and destroyed the lifeless Spurs in the first half 32 to 16. The Spurs were stuck in quicksand and the Knicks ran them out the building in the first half by getting a bunch of leak outs and scored in transition numerous times. What a statement game for the Knicks and they got a a heck of a performance from Nash on the defensive end as he had 2 steals and 4 blocks and changed alot of the other shots as well. Spurs are allowed to have an off game and they will come back hungrier.
Final Score: Knicks 55 - 31 Spurs Player of the Game - NASH KAMAL 8pts/3reb/4asts/2stls/4blks - 2 Triples
MAGIC: The Magic were missing Matheos, Brian and Obaid and so this was going to be rough. The Pelicans needed the win though and so it did not matter who was in front of them. The Big 3 of Vijay, Vman and Harrison took charge and put this out of reach early. 15/11/7 for Vijay as he was outstanding and a game high 20 for Harrison. Meanwhile, Vman did just about everything and the Pelicans find themselves in the final spot in the playoff bracket! The Pelicans have life and will have an interesting final 2 games to see if they can make it. The Magic will wait and see if they will make it to the playoffs as they currently hold the 13th spot but have no games left.
Final Score: Pelicans 65 - 39 Magic Player of the Game - VMAN VINAY 17pts/12reb/8asts/4stls/1blk - 50% Shooting