Kobe’s homecoming soiled with poor play in Lakers’ 103-91 loss to Sixers

first_imgPHILADELPHIA >> The night started with Kobe Bryant receiving loud cheers and performing as if Father Time never became an issue. But it ended with the 37-year-old Bryant showing his age and the Lakers showing their ineptitude.The Lakers hit a new low in a season full of them. They lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 103-91 on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center, an outcome that handed the Sixers their first victory after 19 games and soiled Bryant’s last game before a hometown crowd that suddenly loved him. It also raised questions about the Lakers (2-15) amid a six-game losing streak and the worst record in the Western Conference. Will the 37-year-old Bryant ever figure out how to manage his health? Bryant finished with 20 points while shooting 7 of 26 from the field and 4 of 17 from 3-point range in 31 minutes. He has attempted 16 or more 3-pointers only two other times in his 20-year NBA career. Bryant lamented his legs stiffening up on him despite altering his routine on when to stretch, take ice baths and lift weights. Yet, Bryant maintained he will try to play as many games as possible, including today’s game in Washington. “I’m not going to save myself for pickup basketball at Equinox in December. I’m going to play,” Bryant said. “I’m not coming back to these venues anymore. God willing, I’m healthy and I can walk and run, I’ll be out there.”Will Bryant ever change his shot selection? Bryant made three of his first four shots within the first two minutes. That sparked Bryant to say, “I’m just playing possum because I know my legs can’t carry this energy for 48 minutes.” That sparked Lakers coach Byron Scott to say, “I was hoping he could keep it up.” But after ending the first quarter with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, Bryant missed 14 of his next 16 shots. Scott conceded Bryant took some 3-pointers that were “ill-advised.” But the coach quickly said, “I didn’t do a good job” in setting Bryant up for shots in the mid-post. Yet, Bryant also shot a few airballs and even attempted a left-handed layup that just hit the backboard. “I do trust he’ll get to a point where he will make them on a much more consistent basis. But it’s just not happening yet,” Scott said. “There’s going to be some games like that where you live and die with it. You just hope you don’t die too much.”Will the Lakers’ patience with the team’s X’s and O’s wear thin?No one in the Lakers’ locker room criticized Bryant’s shot selection. Guards Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young actually defended it. But Clarkson, Young and Lou Williams all lamented the team’s struggles with making adjustments.“We have to make the game easier on (Kobe) instead of trying to iso,” said Clarkson, who had 19 points on 9-of-19 shooting. “We can get screens for him. We put more emphasis on that instead of having all eyes on him the whole game, that’s taxing.But what will it take for that to happen?“You can’t blame (Kobe). He takes a lot of shots. But it’s everybody,” Young said. “From the coaches to the players, we have to get on one page and on the same page. I can’t tell you why that’s not happening right now. All I know is the circus came to town today and we did what we normally do.”The circus featured an extra element in Philadelphia. Bryant’s first road game since announcing his retirement happened to be his hometown, which he admitted became a “cherry on top” and partly planned. He had sparked boos during the 2001 NBA Finals and the 2002 NBA All-Star game, but the overwhelmingly partisan Lakers crowd cheered and yelled his name during starting lineup introductions.Bryant then met his high school coach, Gregg Downer of Lower Merion High, and Sixers luminary Julius Erving at center court. Then, Bryant was presented with a No. 24 Lower Merion jersey. After the game ended, Bryant touched his chest twice near his heart and waved to the crowd as he walked off the court. “They got me. I wasn’t expecting that,” Bryant said. “It was emotional. I’m deeply appreciative beyond belief.”Then Bryant spoke in a bizarre press conference where non-media members asked him questions after drinking beverages. Others told Bryant they loved him. Bryant soon thanked reporters when the press conference ended. The vibes in the Lakers’ locker room were not as pleasant.“We’re a circus,” Young said. “We’re playing terrible. We lost to Philly. Philly! What does that make us?”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Europe’s top 10 most successful clubs ever revealed! See where your club ranks

first_img 11 11 Barcelona’s UEFA Super Cup victory this week marked their fourth trophy in 2015, with two more to possibly follow before the year is out, but which European club has won the most trophies ever?It’s not exactly a straightforward question to answer, because opinions differ over what should constitute a trophy.For example, Arsenal have technically lifted three trophies in the past month, but no one in their right mind would count either the Barclays Asia Trophy or Emirates Cup as a serious piece of silverware.But does the Gunners’ Community Shield success go on their honours list?In the past, one-off contests such as the Shield have been dismissed when it comes to trophy tallies, but these events – often known as ‘Super Cups’ – appear to be growing in prestige across the continent.For the purposes of simply counting the number of trophies won, we have included such competitions, although debate will continue to rage as to their relative merits.Additionally, we have restricted our ranking to clubs from the top four league competitions in Europe: England, Spain, Germany and Italy. These countries are historically the most dominant in European competition and, therefore, we have adjudged their domestic competitions to be the toughest to win.If we left it open to clubs from any European league, the result would see Scotland’s Rangers come out on top, with Northern Ireland’s Linfield in second and Scotland’s Celtic in third. But we are more interested in finding out who’s the cream of the cream.So take a look at the ranking above to see which clubs feature and let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.Competitions included: All UEFA competitions bar the Intertoto Cup (but including the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup), the Intercontinental Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, domestic top division titles, main domestic cups and League Cups (now defunct in Germany and Spain and never competed for in Italy, but held since the 1960s in England), and domestic ‘Super Cups’ (known in England as the Community Shield).All statistics correct on 13 August 2015 11 10. Atletico Madrid have won 28 trophies 6. Juventus have won 58 trophies – Ahead of both Inter and AC Milan, Juventus are the most successful Italian club in total number of trophies. Juve have won 31 Serie A titles, by far the most in Italy despite being stripped of two championships for match-fixing. They have also claimed 10 Italian Cups and seven Italian Super Cups. In Europe, the Old Lady has the complete set of honours: winning two European Cups, three UEFA Cups, one Cup Winners’ Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. Juve have also been crowned world champions twice, winning the Intercontinental Cup in 1985 and 1996 (pictured above). 11 11 8. Arsenal have won 43 trophies – Arsenal hold the record for the number of FA Cups won, with back-to-back successes in 2014 and 2015 taking their tally to 12 in the oldest football competition in the world. They can boast 13 English top flight titles, and share the record for most domestic doubles with Manchester United, having clinched both league and cup success in the same season on three ocassions. They have won the League Cup twice, including as part of a double with the FA Cup in 1993, plus 14 Charity/Community Shields. In Europe, Arsenal’s first trophy came with the Fairs Cup (a forerunner of the UEFA Cup/Europa League) in 1970, and they claimed the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994. 11 11 11 11 7. AC Milan have won 47 trophies – Milan are second only to Real Madrid when it comes to European Cup/Champions League victories, having been crowned champions of Europe on seven occasions. Their first success in the competition came in 1963, with Cesare Maldini as captain (pictured above, left), while their most recent Champions League win in 2007 featured Cesare’s son, Paolo, as skipper (pictured above, right). Milan remain the last club to successfully defend the European Cup, winning back-to-back trophies in 1989 and 1990. Additionally, they won two Cup Winners’ Cups, five UEFA Super Cups, three Intercontinental Cups and one Club World Cup. On the domestic front, Milan boast 18 Serie A titles, five Italian Cups and six Italian Super Cups. 11. Chelsea have won 26 trophies – to find out which clubs make up Europe’s 10 most successful sides from the strongest leagues, click the arrow above – The Blues have won five top flight English titles, seven FA Cups, five League Cups and they are the only English club to have won every European trophy. In 2012 they became the only London club to win the Champions League, adding the Europa League a year later to complete the continental set, along with two victories in the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup and one in the UEFA Super Cup. They have also won four Community Shields. The Blues had racked up 11 trophies prior to Roman Abramovich’s arrival, but have since won 15 in 12 years. 5. Liverpool have won 59 trophies – The most successful English club in European football, Liverpool have won five European Cups, putting them level with Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the all-time list. The Reds have also claimed three UEFA Cups and three UEFA Super Cups. On the home front, Liverpool have won 18 top flight English titles, seven FA Cups, a record eight League Cups and 15 Charity/Community Shields. The only trophies of note to elude them come on a global stage, having lost two Intercontinental Cup finals in the 1980s and the Club World Cup in 2005. They also lost the 1966 Cup Winners’ Cup final to Borussia Dortmund, so cannot complete the full set of UEFA competitions. 4. Manchester United have won 62 trophies – The Red Devils are the most successful club in England, with 20 top flight titles, including 13 in the Premier League era. United have won 11 FA Cups, four League Cups and a record 20 Charity/Community Shields. In Europe, they have won three European Cups/Champions Leagues, plus the Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup. United are the only English club to win a treble of Champions League, domestic title and main domestic cup, and are the only English club to win any global titles. In 1999 they won the Intercontinental Cup and in 2008 claimed the Club World Cup. 11 2. Real Madrid have won 79 trophies – The most successful club in the history of the European Cup/Champions League, Real Madrid have won the tournament on 10 occasions, including the first five editions and four more in the Champions League era. The Spanish giants won back-to-back UEFA Cups in the 1980s and also boast two UEFA Super Cups on their honours list. Madrid claimed the Intercontinental Cup three times and won the Club World Cup in 2014. In Spain, they have a record 32 titles, plus 19 Spanish Cups, nine Spanish Super Cups and one victory in the defunct Spanish League Cup. 9. Inter have won 39 trophies – The only Italian club to win the treble, Inter won five trophies alone in 2010, including the Champions League, Serie A, Italian Cup, Italian Super Cup and Club World Cup. Overall, they have won three European Cups/Champions League, 18 Serie A titles, seven Italian Cups, five Italian Super Cups, three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one Club World Cup. 11 1. Barcelona have won 82 trophies – The most successful club based on number of trophies won, Barcelona are the only club to win the treble twice. They now boast five European Cup/Champions League victories, to go alongside four wins in the Cup Winners’ Cup, three in the old Fairs Cup and five UEFA Super Cup triumphs. In Spain, Barca have been crowned champions 23 times, won the Spanish Cup a record 27 times, the Spanish Super Cup on 11 occasions and the Spanish League Cup twice. They have also claimed the Club World Cup twice, and in 2009 became the first club to win six trophies in a calendar year. They can make it 84 trophies by the end of 2015, if they win the Spanish Super Cup and Club World Cup. 3. Bayern Munich have won 63 trophies – The kings of German football, Bayern have won the Bundesliga title a record 25 times and the German Cup on a record 17 occasions. They also won the now defunct German League Cup six times and the German Super Cup four times. Outside Germany, Bayern boast five European Cups/Champions Leagues, including three-in-a-row in the mid-1970s. They have won every European trophy, with one Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup triumph to their name. Bayern have also won the Intercontinental Cup twice and one Club World Cup, and are the only German club to complete the treble. last_img read more