Golden State Warriors’ Shaun Livingston (34) looks to pass against New Orleans Pelicans’ Toney Douglas (16) in the second quarter at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, March 14, 2016. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
While Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was on his way to a 60-point night in the final game of his career, even the Warriors couldn’t turn away from going on despite their games being played at the same time Wednesday.
“Man, I was checking his stats at halftime, at halftime of our game,” Warriors guard Shaun Livingston told ESPN Peoria on Thursday. “I mean, seriously. It was that serious. I had to know. Kobe, he’s the greatest player that I ever faced. He’s the hardest player that I ever had to guard. I’m not ashamed to say that he gave us (Los Angeles Clippers in a 2006 game) 50, and I took the majority of that 50.
“Just knowing the type of competitor he is, I mean, he’s the closest thing I think that we’ll ever see to Michael Jordan, and he is our generation’s Michael Jordan. What he was able to with the game of basketball and how he was able to evolutionize the game for the new generation and for the kids is truly amazing. And it’s truly an honor to be able to face him for the 11, 12 years that I had in the NBA. So shoutout to Kobe Bryant, and Mamba Day, and what a way to go out with 60 points.”
Both teams went on to attention-getting wins, with Bryant going out in style and the Warriors winning their NBA-record 73rd of the season.
OAKLAND — Stephen Curry walked through the tunnel at Oracle Arena after the historic game and was told Kobe Bryant had quite a night of his own.
Bryant scored 60 points on 50 shots, and Curry couldn’t believe it.
“I was like, ‘Stop playing,'” Curry said. I thought they were lying to me. It sounded too good to be true having not watched the game.
“That’s just the perfect ending to his career. You know, being able to walk off the court…37 years old, 20 years in the league, the 60 ball, can’t draw it up any better, and a win. That’s how you want to go out. So I’ll try to take notes if I’m in that position down the road.”
Klay Thompson, who grew up idolizing Bryant, was thrilled.
“You couldn’t write that in a movie script,” Thompson said. “So for him to do that, that’s Mamba style. 60 points? I mean, he’s got to be the oldest ever to get 60, and that’s unbelievable. I haven’t reached that yet. And to do it at 37 years old and the miles he’s got on his body, it’s legendary.
“You want it to see it happen to a guy like Kobe. He’s a fierce competitor, and you respect him the most because he really did give this game his all. You root for guys like that who really care about their craft, that’s why it was great to see him do what he did. What a night for basketball.”
Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) dribbles past Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph during the first half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball Western Conference playoff series Friday, May 15, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
OAKLAND — Kobe Bryant will play in his final NBA game before retirement while the Warriors go for win No. 73. Before the games, Harrison Barnes reflected on Bryant.
Barnes was a rookie on April 12, 2013 when while guarding Bryant and getting called for a foul, the Los Angeles Lakers star ruptured his Achilles.
“I don’t think about it often, but as a rookie, that was one of the craziest basketball experiences of my life just guarding one of my idols and seeing him get hurt and thinking that he may never play basketball,” Barnes said Wednesday.
“It’s been great to obviously see him come back and be able to play and do that type of stuff, but at the time, it was super scary. I’m glad he was able to rehab from that and get back on the court.”
The feeling of the Achilles injury was such that Bryant in that moment asked Barnes if he had kicked him, hoping that was the reason for his discomfort.
It was not, and Bryant was never the same after that despite playing in his 107th game since the injury tonight.
“Kobe is the best player in this generation,” Barnes said. “Just everything he’s done for the game. Personally, just in the competition that we’ve had, he’s just been a great, great friend and mentor. And for the game, I think everybody in this generation has been influenced by him.”
NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 31: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates his shot in the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 31, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Get the latest score and analysis during the Warriors’ game Sunday against the Lakers in Los Angeles at 12:30 p.m. from our Diamond Leung as well as other reporters.
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Get the latest score and analysis during the Warriors’ game against the Lakers at Oracle on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. as Kobe Bryant makes his final appearance as a player in Oakland. Follow Bay Area News Group beat writer Diamond Leung and others here for live updates and commentary.
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The NBA unveiled the special jerseys to be worn by the ten teams playing on Christmas Day. They are short-sleeved and feature an enlarged team logo on the front.
Yes, the Warriors’ are yellow.
Despite the bad reviews from last year, which no doubt promoted the switch to the white sleeved jerseys this year, adidas put the Warriors back in yellow. But they won’t be alone.
“They’re cool,” point guard Stephen Curry said. “It’s nice to be playing on Christmas Day to showcase them off. Like I’ve said, as long as we shoot well and get the win, they look good.”
The Clippers, Lakers, Bulls, Heat, Thunder, Knicks, Nets, Rockets and Spurs will also join the sleeved-jersey gang.
Here are looks at the rest of them, plus the commercial featuring Stephen Curry (I like Brooklyn’s the most, hands down.)
After all the preseason hype, all the talk of high expectations, many presumed the Warriors to come out and struggled. Especially after the Lakers thumped the much-ballyhooed Clippers on opening night, a let down wouldn’t have been surprising.
But that didn’t come close to happening Wednesday night.
The Warriors, instead, made an emphatic statement, beating the Lakers125-94 at Oracle on Wednesday. Was the statement that Golden State is for real? Or was it that the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers are really bad?
Perhaps it’s too early to answer that definitively. But it certainly looked different.
These Warriors smelled blood and pounced. They went for the jugular of a vulnerable team — playing without Steve Nash on the second night of a back-to-back — like you’d expect from a legit contender.
Maybe it was the energy of the season opener. Or maybe they fed off the passion in the arena whenever the Lakers come to town. Or maybe this is just who they are.
“We understand we’re going to have to have a lot of energy at home,” Andre Iguodala said. “I’ve been in a situation where I’ve won a lot of home games. (Last year with Denver, we) had the best home record in the NBA. Still, you’ve got to take care of business on the road. Energy gets you wins at home, but its how you go on the road, compete against the top-tier teams.”
The Warriors will have a chance to do that tonight against the host Los Angeles Clippers.
Before then, here’s the season debut of the game rewind …