Kobe gets a technical and is none too happy about it [video]

Watch Kobe Bryant get t’ed up and then at the 0:35 mark he calls the official a f*#king f*g.

Stay classy, Kobe.

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The NBA’s Top 10 Franchise Players

Miami Heat forward LeBron James (R) is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (L) in the first quarter during their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, January 30 2011. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

When I originally debuted this list almost two years ago, I took some (surprisingly angry) flack for not settling on a 10th player and for ranking a few guys too high.

The idea for the list sprung from a conversation that I regularly have with a buddy when we are tipping back a few adult beverages: If you could have one current NBA player to build your franchise around, with the goal of winning a NBA title in the next five years – who would it be?

Here’s who I had almost two years ago:

10. Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker (A reader named “all” was very upset that I couldn’t pick a #10 guy. He’s probably still upset about it.)
9. Derrick Rose
8. Brandon Roy
7. Deron Williams
6. Chris Paul
5. Kevin Durant
4. Dwight Howard
3. Kobe Bryant
2. Dwyane Wade
1. LeBron James

I took some heat for including Rose, but obviously he has panned out very well and is likely to win the league MVP this season. Roy’s knees have killed his stock. The other seven picks look pretty solid.

So let’s take another stab at this. Remember, we’re trying to win a title in the next five years, so youth and health is paramount.

Honorable Mention: Carmelo Anthony (defense), Amare Stoudemire (defense, age, knees), Pau Gasol (age), Tyreke Evans (regressing) Tim Duncan (age), Dirk Nowitzki (age), Paul Pierce (age), Rajon Rondo (moody, in a funk since Kendrick Perkins trade) and Kevin Garnett (age).

NOT QUITE WORTH MAX MONEY…YET

12. John Wall (20 years-old)
All right, I’m projecting a little bit here, but it worked with Derrick Rose and I think Wall has a chance to be in the same league. Check out his month-by-month stats over the course of his rookie season:

Month G Min FG % REB AST STL TO PTS
October 2 39.0 0.417 3.0 9.0 1.5 3.0 21.0
November 8 38.1 0.430 3.8 9.1 3.1 4.1 17.3
December 9 34.4 0.383 4.2 7.6 1.0 3.3 13.7
January 16 38.4 0.388 4.2 10.5 1.5 3.9 13.9
February 12 36.3 0.421 4.9 7.9 1.2 3.5 16.5
March 11 41.4 0.411 6.0 7.3 2.0 4.4 19.1

So he burst into the league with a good October and November, but struggled a bit over the next two months as teams had a chance to game plan for him. Then in February and March, he’s able to counter that and get back to his early-season numbers. Great sign.

He’s an outstanding playmaker (9.1+ assists in 2-of-5 months) and is lightning quick. His rookie numbers are very similar to Rose’s, only he’s averaging 2.4 more assists per game. He’d likely be the Rookie of the Year if Blake Griffin hadn’t blown out his knee last season. In three or four years he might be vying for best point guard in the league honors.

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Kobe says he was fouled

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant waits as officials review a call during fourth quarter NBA basketball action against the Miami Heat in Miami, Florida March 10, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

I know, I know…when doesn’t Kobe think he was fouled? (ESPN)

“[Dwyane] Wade fouled the s— out of me,” Bryant said with his feet dipped in a bucket of ice water after the game. Bryant was referring to the 3-pointer he attempted with 1:06 left and the Lakers down 90-88.

“It was clearly evident,” Bryant said. “They missed it. … He fouled the hell out of me, they just missed it.”

“I couldn’t make that, he hit my whole arm,” said Bryant, who had made his previous two 3-point attempts at the time, including a long 28-footer to tie the score at 88. “That’s why I went so short. … I should have been shooting three free throws.”

Even with all of his other personality quirks, the thing that most drives me nuts about Kobe is his constant interaction with the officials. Nine times out of 10 if he loses the ball or misses a shot, he’ll have something to say or a nasty look for the ref. It’s almost as if he thinks he’s too good to fail on any particular possession without the defender doing something illegal to stop him.

The league has tried to cut down on all of the griping this season by implementing new “respect the game” rules for technicals, and for the most part I think it has worked. But Kobe is still Kobe and these comments prove that.

Maybe I’m being too nostalgic, but I don’t remember Michael Jordan or Larry Bird constantly complaining to (or about) the officials.

Miami breaks losing streak by upending Lakers, 94-88

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (L) and Chris Bosh celebrate after scoring against the Los Angeles Lakers during fourth quarter NBA basketball action in Miami, Florida March 10, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

The little things that were going wrong down the stretch for the Miami Heat during their five-game losing streak didn’t go wrong tonight. Dwyane Wade had eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Heat got a few breaks on the defensive end — Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ non-goaltend, the no-call on Wade’s baseline reach-in on Kobe and LeBron’s box-out flop against Artest — and Miami was able to get one giant monkey off its back.

After a fairly nightmarish game against the Blazers on Tuesday (along with some fairly inappropriate grumbling about the quality of his looks), Chris Bosh came up big, posting 24 points and nine rebounds, outplaying Pau Gasol, who posted 20 points and five boards. Mike Miller (12 points, seven rebounds) was also big off the bench and Mike Bibby (six points) chipped in with two key three-pointers in the second half.

For his part, LeBron James (19 points, nine assists, eight rebounds) didn’t shoot the ball all that well, but his near-triple-double was crucial to the Heat’s success. He made a great decision with 2:49 to play with the Heat nursing a one-point lead. After Wade retrieved his own miss, he kicked it out to LeBron, who had a wide open three, but was 0-for-3 on the night. Instead of taking the open shot, LeBron waited for Wade to get open on the baseline and found him for the easy score. It was a mature play to pass up his own so-so shot to create a great shot for his teammate.

Kobe had 24 points, but after making his first four shots, he went just 4-of-17 for the remainder of the game. Wade did a nice job of staying in his grill and forcing him to take tough shots.

This is a huge win for the Heat, who can finally stop answering questions about why they’re playing so poorly. They host the Grizzlies on Saturday while the Lakers have to visit the Mavericks in Dallas.

Who is going to win the 2010-11 NBA MVP?

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard scores during the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago on December 1, 2010. The Magic won 107-78. UPI/Brian Kersey

About this time every year, the MVP discussion really heats up. This season, it seems like it’s a two-man race between LeBron James and Derrick Rose, but I think there are a few other players that deserve consideration.

Using the same methodology that I used for my All-Star picks, let’s narrow down the league MVP candidates and see who should be on the short list.

I like to use the NBA’s Efficiency statistic, which rolls points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, missed shots and missed free throws into one number for comparison purposes. It’s not perfect, but no statistic is. I take a player’s per game efficiency (adjusted for team pace, because a player should not be penalized because his team plays at a slow pace) and multiply by his team’s winning percentage to calculate his Adjusted Efficiency. This is a number that takes both performance and team success into account.

Let’s take a look…

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