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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Kobe Bryant moves past Michael Jordan into third place on NBA’s scoring list 12.15.14 at 7:44 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Elon at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
NFL: Saints at Bears, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NHL: Lightning at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Queens Park at Everton, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Kobe Bryant provided the Lakers with a rare positive moment during a miserable season, as he moved past Michael Jordan for third place on the league’s all-time scoring list during Sunday’s victory over the Timberwolves in Minnesota.

Bryant, who began the night eight points behind Jordan, hit two free throws in the second quarter to tie and pass the Bulls legend. He finished with 26 points to give him 32,310 and now ranks behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928).

The game was stopped briefly so that Bryant could receive the ball from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor along with congratulations from players and coaches from both teams.

“I’m just honored to be here, man, to still be playing,” said Bryant, who made his NBA debut as an 18-year-old in 1996, going scoreless in six minutes against the Timberwolves. “I appreciate being able to play this long. Careers normally don’t last this long. I really appreciate the opportunity to still be out there playing and performing and doing what I do.”

Said Jordan in a statement: “I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone. He’s obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I’ve enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.”

Penguins star Sydney Crosby became the latest NHL player to be diagnosed with the mumps, as the two-time MVP was held out of his team’s two weekend games.

Crosby developed swelling on the right side of his face, and when his condition worsened Friday he was sent to the hospital, where the diagnosis was made. He was kept in isolation through the weekend and was expected to be through the infectious stage by Monday, although the Pens ruled him out of Monday’s game against the Lightning.

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Read More: Jakeli Lenard Mitchell, kobe bryant, Michael Jordan, Sydney Crosby
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Kobe Bryant goes off on ‘soft’ Lakers teammates 12.12.14 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Traill Blazers at Bulls, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Lakers at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: FCS quarterfinals, Chattanooga at New Hampshire, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Lakers are not good, and the frustration is showing. Kobe Bryant, who does not always practice with the team, was there Thursday, and he was even more intense than he normally is.

He trash-talked with Nick Young and Jeremy Lin, then he lashed out at the reserves as the starters crushed them in a scrimmage.

“Now I see why we’ve lost so many games,” Bryant said. “We’re soft like Charmin!”

Shortly thereafter, Bryant stormed off the practice court, yelling at general manager Mitch Kupchak that he wasn’t getting challenged enough. Said Bryant, “These [expletives] aren’t doing [expletive] for me.”

When he met with reporters a little later, he was back in control.

“I was just being myself,” he said. “I don’€™t get a chance to really get out there and play too much because of my body and stuff. I don’€™t know if it helps them. It obviously raises the intensity level. It was a tough practice for them.”

Bryant said his “soft” comment was meant to see if his teammates would respond.

“I just challenge guys, see what happens,” he said. “I’ve always believed in throwing them in the pool and then seeing if they can sink or swim.”

Derek Jeter participated in a Q& with Harold Reynolds at Hamilton College in upstate New York, and the recently retired Yankees shortstop offered some tips on how to avoid bad press.

“There’€™s two things you can always say to the media. One is, you have no comment. There’€™s no follow-up to that,’€ Jeter said. “The second thing I think most people get in trouble with, they’€™re afraid to say, ‘€˜I don’€™t know.’€™ If you ask me a question and I say, ‘€˜I don’€™t know,’€™ how are you going to follow it up?”

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Lakers coach Byron Scott calls Julius Randle injury ‘heartbreaking’ 10.29.14 at 10:28 am ET
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The Lakers lost more than a game Tuesday night when they fell 108-90 to the Rockets at Staples Center.

Just 14 minutes into his career, rookie Julius Randle landed awkwardly on his leg after going up for a shot. The training staff immediately attended to Randle, who clearly was in pain.

The No. 7 overall pick was carted off on a stretcher and got X-rays, and the results revealed that Randle had a fractured tibia. After hearing the news, Lakers coach Byron Scott called the incident “heartbreaking.”

“The last three or four minutes, obviously we weren’t thinking a whole lot about basketball,” Scott said. “We were just thinking about Julius and hoping he’s OK.”

Kobe Bryant, who made his long-awaited comeback during the game, said the Lakers will miss the growth they could’ve had with Randle in the lineup.

But Bryant added that the injury could end up helping Randle in the long run.

“We’ll help him through this, and he’ll come back a better basketball player,” Bryant said. “That’s the goal, is to try to find a silver lining in this. He’ll use the time to come back and be stronger.”

Read More: byron scott, Julius Randle, kobe bryant,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Syracuse reportedly will address NCAA allegations next week 10.24.14 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
World Series: Royals at Giants, 8 p.m. (Fox, WEEI-FM)
College football: South Florida at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Troy at South Alabama, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: BYU at Boise State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Oregon at California, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College hockey: Michigan at UMass-Lowell, 7:15 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Colorado at Boston College, 7:30 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
MLS: Dynamo at Fire, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s CONCACAF semifinal, United States vs. Mexico, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— According to reports out of Syracuse, the school will address accusations of major rules violations in a hearing with the NCAA next week.

There have been reports for almost two years that the men’s basketball team was under investigation, with part of that centering on the academic record of Fab Melo, who was suspended in 2012. Newer reports indicate there are concerns surrounding the football team as well.

That’s news to coach Doug Marrone, who coached the Orange from 2009-12 and now is in his second season in the NFL as coach of the Bills.

“There’s nothing that I know about that we did that wasn’t either punished or put forth,” Marrone told Syracuse.com. “One thing I did, if we made a mistake, an incidental contact or something, I just always reported it. It’s not worth it. This way I can sleep at night.”

MASHUP POLL: Will Syracuse be punished for NCAA rules violations?

  • Yes, the basketball team finally will be exposed for cheating (68%, 54 Votes)
  • No, this is just another report that will prove to be minor (32%, 26 Votes)

Total Voters: 80

Loading ... Loading ...

Since the investigation began, Syracuse restructured the athletic department’s academic services department, which included at least three employees changing jobs.

According to an ESPN story, the issues with Jim Boeheim’s basketball team include extra benefits, and the allegations date back about 10 years and are as current as 2013.

“There were things going on consistently [with the men’s basketball program] for a long time,” a source told ESPN.

— Lakers president Jeanie Buss came to the defense of Kobe Bryant, saying she did not agree with the ESPN The Magazine feature that indicated top free agents do not want to play alongside the aging star.

“Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser, and I’m glad they wouldn’t come to the team,” Buss said Thursday.

Added Buss: “I read the story. I don’t agree with any of it. If there is somebody that’s on our payroll who is saying things like that, I’ll soon get to the bottom of it, and they won’t be working for us anymore.”

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Read More: Jeanie Buss, kobe bryant, Steve Nash, syracuse
Kobe Bryant not worried about critical ESPN article: ‘It’s not the first one’ 10.22.14 at 11:11 am ET
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Lakers star Kobe Bryant has faced enough criticism through his years that he’€™s used to it by now.

After a recent article in ESPN The Magazine said Bryant’€™s play over the last few years is a big factor in Los Angeles’€™ decline, the 19-year veteran just let it slide. Bryant said that so many different stories always come out that it’€™s impossible to dwell on just one.

“It’s not the first one and it won’t be the last one,” Bryant said Tuesday night after a preseason loss to the Suns. “One thing I’ve come to understand over the years is that you’ll have a bad story that comes out on a Monday and it seems like it’s the end of the world and it seems like everybody’s taking shots at you. But time goes by and then you look back on it and it was just a Monday.”

A year after the team finished seventh in the Western Conference and barely clinched a playoff spot, the 2013-14 Lakers missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2005. Times have been difficult for Los Angeles in recent years, and the critics have been tougher on the team and Bryant in particular.

Bryant said he isn’t concerned with the magazine article, instead looking toward winning and getting back into form.

“Stay focused on the bigger picture and things are never as bleak as they seem at the time,” Bryant said. “I just kind of roll with it.”

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Kobe Bryant says Kevin Durant’s injury could help MVP with ‘mental aspect’ of game 10.13.14 at 10:05 am ET
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Seeing Kevin Durant fall victim to an injury reminded one player of his own issues from a season ago.

Kobe Bryant missed most of last season due to an injured Achilles tendon, while Durant will not play in at least the first 6-8 weeks with the Thunder this year because a fractured bone in his foot. Durant will miss the early portion of the season, but Bryant said the time away from the court could benefit the 2014 NBA MVP.

“It’s tough,” Bryant said. “He’s just got to be patient and do what he can in the interim. Study the game and try to improve the mental aspect, which is always what I tried to do when I was out.”

After he fractured his leg with Team USA this summer, Pacers forward Paul George wished Durant the best of luck with his injury.

Tweeted George: Get well KD! Speedy recovery.

The fracture will force Durant out of the lineup for a significant amount of time for the first time in his career. Before this injury, the most time he ever missed in any one season was eight games. In total, he has not competed in just 16 games through eight NBA seasons.

More of the burden will be placed on Russell Westbrook since Durant will be out of the Thunder lineup. The guard has played just five games of his career without Durant by his side.

Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said it will be a team effort to step up in Durant’€™s absence, and the load of the offense will not just fall on Westbrook.

“In regard to replacing a player like Kevin Durant, you don’t replace Kevin Durant. It’s not going to be one person. It’s going to be a collective mindset,” Presti said. “We know we’re a better basketball team with Kevin Durant on the floor. But we can have some influence on how good we are in the meantime.”

Read More: Kevin Durant, kobe bryant,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson critical of Lakers front office 03.13.14 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Coyotes at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Rangers at Wild, 8 p.m., 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Rockets at Bulls, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Rhode Island vs. UMass, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Florida State vs. Maryland, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: Villanova vs. Seton Hall, noon (FS1)
College basketball: St. Bonaventure vs. La Salle, noon (CSNNE)
College basketball: Illinois vs. Indiana, noon (BTN)
College basketball: Kansas State vs. Iowa State, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Houston vs. SMU, 1 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Purdue vs. Ohio State, 2:25 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: St. John’s vs. Providence, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Dayton vs. Fordham, 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Rutgers vs. Louisville, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: San Diego State vs. Utah State, 3 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: UNLV vs. Wyoming 5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Duquesne vs. Richmond, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Penn State vs. Minnesota, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: N.C. State vs. Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UCF vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Creighton vs. DePaul, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Northwestern vs. Iowa, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Memphis vs. UConn, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Clemson vs. Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: New Mexico vs. Fresno State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Marquette vs. Xavier, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Arizona State vs. Stanford, 11:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Nevada vs. Boise State, 11:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Reds at Dodgers, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Rockies at Athletics, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Lakers are on a downward spiral, and Kobe Bryant is not happy with the way the front office is handling the situation. And he’s got Magic Johnson in his corner.

Bryant, speaking Wednesday after the team announced he would not play again this season as he recovers from a fractured knee, said he had no patience regarding the team’s reported plans to wait until 2015 to rebuild.

“Oh, yeah, let’s just play next year and let’s just suck again,” Bryant said sarcastically. “No Absolutely not. It’s my job to go out there on the court and perform, no excuses for it. Right? You’ve got to get things down.

“Same thing with the front office. The same expectations they have of me when I perform on the court, it’s the same expectations I have for them up there.”

Bryant and Johnson both criticized the organization for passing over Phil Jackson last season and then allowing the coaching legend to join the Knicks front office this week. Bryant called out team executives (and siblings) Jim and Jeanie Buss and questioned the future of coach Mike D’Antoni.

“I think we have to start at the top in terms of the culture of our team,” he said. “What type of culture do you want to have? What type of system do you want to have? How do you want to play? It starts there.

“You’ve got to start with Jim. You’ve got to start with Jim and Jeanie and how that relationship plays out. It starts there and having a clear direction and clear authority.

“Then it goes down to the coaching staff. What’s Mike going to do? What do you want to do with Mike? It goes from there. It’s got to start from the top.”

While Bryant was talking, Johnson tweeted out his concern about the direction of the team.

“I love Jim & Jeanie Buss, but we need Phil Jackson to be the face of our great organization, the Los Angeles Lakers,” Johnson wrote in a series of tweets. “Kobe Bryant is the face of the Lakers’ team. Who is the face of the Lakers’ organization? In signing Phil Jackson, [Knicks] Owner Jim Dolan & [team executive] Steve Mills are saying to the Knicks fans, they’re ready to win now!”

Blake Griffin continues to make highlights and enemies. The Clippers star, who has had numerous run-ins with opponents this season, had a dispute with veteran Warriors forward Jermaine O’Neal that carried over into the Staples Center hallway.

O’Neal, a onetime Celtic, received a technical foul with 8:55 left in the game after he walked toward the Clippers bench to yap at Griffin before being directed away by teammates and officials.

After the game, as Griffin was making his way to a postgame press conference following Los Angeles’ 111-98 win, O’Neal shared a few choice words with the young star. Griffin would not comment on the conversation, but the Los Angeles Times reported that he told O’Neal, “Why you going to walk up on me like that? Leave that ‘€¦ on the court.” A snarling O’Neal then quickly shook Griffin’s hand and walked away, saying, “Man, I’m a monster off the court.”

Said Griffin: “Man, get out of here with that.”

Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino is offering two fans a chance to attend spring training as his guest as part of a contest to raise money for the Shane Victorino Foundation, which benefits underprivileged children.

Fans who donate $1 or more by Monday via the new digital fundraising platform Fame4Good.com are entered into the contest. The winner and a guest will receive round-trip plane tickets, a two-night stay at a Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Fort Myers, Fla., and a visit with Victorino on the field prior to a game against the Rays on March 23.

“Partnering with Fame4Good allows me to shine a light on our foundation’€™s incredible efforts to support kids in need and it does so in a way that fans can have fun with and really get engaged,” Victorino said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the communities that have given so much to me and I look forward to meeting the lucky winner.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 13, 1971, who became the third player in Bruins history (and fifth in NHL history) to record 100 points in a season when he scored a goal in a 6-3 victory over the Canucks in Vancouver?

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Jermaine O'Neal, kobe bryant, Magic Johnson
Reports: Lakers decide to shut down Kobe Bryant for rest of season 03.12.14 at 12:06 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, the Lakers will shut down Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season.

Bryant, who signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension in November, missed the first 19 games of the season while recovering from a torn left Achilles suffered last season, then he played in just six games before taking a leave on Dec. 17 with a knee fracture.

Bryant, 35, is in his 18th NBA season.

The Lakers are tied with the Kings and Jazz for last in the Western Conference and in a four-way tie with the Celtics for the fourth-worst record in the NBA at 22-42.

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Lakers star Kobe Bryant likely to miss NBA All-Star Game due to lingering knee issue 01.29.14 at 9:22 am ET
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Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is likely to miss the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16 as he continues to deal with a knee issue. Bryant fractured a bone in his left knee on Dec. 17 and has not played since. The 16-time NBA All-Star tore his left Achilles tendon last April and returned for six games before the knee break.

The initial prognosis on the knee was that it would keep Bryant out for six weeks. According to a recent tweet from the Lakers, it appears Bryant will miss more time. Tweeted the Lakers: INJURY UPDATE: Kobe Bryant was examined tonight & still has pain and swelling in his left knee. Examined again in approximately 3 weeks. 

ESPN Los Angeles quoted Bryant as saying that he felt he didn’t deserve the All-Star honor because of his lack of playing time.

“With all due respect to the fans that voted me in, I certainly appreciate that, they know how much I appreciate that, but you got to do the right thing as well,” Bryant said. “€œMy fans know you got to reward these young guys for the work that they’ve been putting in.”

If Bryant does miss the All-Star Game, a replacement from the Western conference will be chosen by the West All-Star coach.

The Lakers have lost 17 of their last 20 games.

Read More: kobe bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA,
Kobe Bryant says he will not recruit potential free agent Carmelo Anthony 01.27.14 at 10:33 am ET
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Despite his close friendship with Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant said he would not actively attempt to recruit the Knicks forward to the Lakers this summer.

“Well, everybody wants to play in Los Angeles,” Bryant said, according to ESPN.com. “I mean New York is a beautiful place, don’€™t get me wrong, but it is colder than [expletive] out here. You know, palm trees and beaches obviously are a little more appealing.

“All jokes aside, I think that players, when that time comes, will have to make the best decision for them and their families. I try not to think about it too much. If he wants to call me for advice later as a friend, I will be more than happy to give it to him.”

Bryant made his comments after the Lakers fell to the Knicks 110-103 and two days after Anthony broke Bryant’€™s Madison Square Garden scoring record. Despite playing for a team that has jus a 16-27 record, Anthony scored 62 points on Friday.

If Anthony opts out of the last year of his contract with the Knicks, he will become a free agent on July 1. According to ESPN’€™s Larry Coon, the forward could get a five-year, $129.1 million contract if he stays with the Knicks, while he would max out at $95.8 million over four years if he went to a different team.

Despite his success on the court, Anthony has not won a championship since he was part of an NCAA title team at Syracuse. Bryant, who went through a seven-year drought without winning a title after picking up three in his first six seasons, said a ring-less career could have an impact on Anthony.

“It is hard from a psychological perspective as a player, you don’€™t want to get too frustrated about things that you can’€™t control,” Bryant said. “You have to find that balance.

“At the same time, it is important for the organization to understand the level of competiveness that you have, that you won’€™t tolerate having a team that is not in contention for an NBA championship, which is what I did. It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but sometimes you got to kick down a few doors and piss some people off and trust that it will pay off in the long run. If you are willing to do that, more times than not, you will be OK.”

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