Storyline: Bryant-Howard Dynamic

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New Atlanta Hawks big man Dwight Howard discussed his recent past in Los Angeles and Houston. Here is his discussion with Dan: Dan Patrick: Tougher to play with James Harden or Kobe Bryant? Dwight Howard: Both of those guys are great competitors. I just think the timing was off for all of us. You know we were all on different paths in our career. Kobe was at the tail end and James is on the rise. You know it was just two different types of teams. But I think that timing is important. And playing with the Hawks is the right time for me because I’m in a different space physically, mentally, and spiritually. And the Hawks two years ago we’re in a different position than they are now – especially with the new management. So I thinks it’s the perfect time to be home.

DP: Oh that’s a veteran answer there. C’mon answer it. Who’s tougher to play with Harden or Kobe? DH: Well I can’t really say man. I don’t want to stir up anything. I think both of those guys are great players. And you know despite what people say me and Kobe didn’t have one of those bad relationships. Like I said, we were in two different parts of our career. And I think a lot of the things that were going on [were] hyped up and people thought it was more than what it really was. Personally I can never hate any player or hate on any player. You know all of us are blessed to be able to play in the NBA. It’s not easy to make it here, it’s not easy to stay here you know. So I’d never want to hate on anybody else who made it. I’m proud of anyone who made it to the NBA.

ESPN: Kobe also questioned your toughness when he urged you to come back and play through your shoulder injury. Howard: “Kobe put some pressure on me. He said something like, ‘We don’t have time for Dwight to be hurt.’ The media is asking me, ‘Did you talk to Kobe about your injuries?’ I said, ‘I didn’t realize I was supposed to check with another player about my health.’ When I first got there, I said to Kobe in front of the whole team, ‘The only way we win is if we put our egos aside and play together.’ I wanted to play with him. I don’t know if he didn’t want to play with me — if he felt I wasn’t a killer like him.”
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January 21, 2018 | 8:16 am EST Update

Tyronn Lue safe?

No one inside the organization suggested Saturday that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was preparing to fire the only coach who’s won a championship for this organization, and Lue will not make changes to his coaching staff. But some sort of reckoning could be coming. The 148 points allowed tied a franchise record that’s stood since 1972. Cleveland’s lost its last two games on national TV by a combined 58 points. The Cavs are nearly the NBA’s worst defensive team, and are 3-9 dating to Christmas.
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One potential change James said he does not agree with is Cleveland letting go of coach Tyronn Lue in response to the team’s recent doldrums. “I would hope not,” James said. “But I really don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen with our team. I have no idea what conversations have been going on. Me personally, I’ve been trying to stay as laser-sharp as I can to keep my guys ready to go out and play. Obviously, it hasn’t resulted in wins, but I got to stay as fresh mentally as much I can with the struggles. I can’t worry about job securities and trades and things of that nature. I just stay as focused as I can every night to go out and compete and try to help us win ballgames.”
1 hour ago via ESPN
“We’re confident because we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to beat them,” Rockets center Clint Capela told ESPN. “We’ve got to keep playing. We know that they’re going to come back if we have the lead, and we’ve just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do on defense — all the switches, the weak side — and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them. “We are better than them.”
1 hour ago via ESPN
Tim MacMahon: Rockets sixth man Eric Gordon on potentially beating the Warriors in the playoffs: “We really do have that chance. Offensively, we’re just as good as them, no question. Defensively, they’re a championship team. They’re consistent, whether they win or lose. Us, we still have peaks and valleys. We just can’t have those. That’s why we’ve got to play well the next game, because we just have to sustain the same effort.”
1 hour ago via ESPN