Although Kobe Bryant registered a season low of 10 field goals on Friday night, his 14 assists proved to be instrumental in the Lakers' rout of the Jazz. Mike D'Antoni praised his star shooting guard's approach, saying that the dip in field goal attempts shouldn't be looked at as a sacrifice if the team ultimately comes out on top, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles. McMenamin also takes a closer look at the impending return of Steve Blake, who practiced with the team today and could return to game action next week. You'll find the rest of tonight's Western Conference notes here:
- Earlier today, HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler answered some of his followers' questions on Twitter, saying that he doesn't think the Lakers aren't looking to move Dwight Howard before the deadline, Mike D'Antoni's job isn't necessarily safe right now, and that the Grizzlies aren't currently looking to make a deal with the Celtics (All Twitter links).
- Luke Ridnour has been a productive and dependable stop gap for the Timberwolves in spite of all the injuries he's handled this year, notes Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune.
- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro wants Lamar Odom to be more aggressive on the offensive end, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Another 6'10 forward has been making waves in Los Angeles, albeit for the purple and gold. In another article, Ben Bolch examines Earl Clark's breakout year as a starter for the Lakers.
- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin tells Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune that he wants to groom Gordon Hayward into a player who can be counted on to close games.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says there's no doubt in his mind that Dirk Nowitzki will be an All-Star again, writes Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW.
- Jason Smith has played with
a reckless abandon that has earned the attention and respect from his
teammates and the Hornets coaching staff, observes John
Reid of NOLA.com.
- Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post makes a case for why Warriors guard Stephen Curry was the biggest snub of this year's All-Star game.