NBA Notes: Kobe still weeks away from playing

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NBA Notes: Kobe still weeks away from playing

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Although Kobe Bryant says he's making steady progress in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon, the Los Angeles Lakers' guard is still a few weeks away from playing in a game.

Bryant is back with the Lakers after a short trip to Germany to get treatment on his right knee, another trouble area for the 35-year-old guard.

He sat on Los Angeles' bench for an exhibition game Tuesday, and he'll travel with the team to China later this week.

Bryant is running with his full body weight on a special treadmill, and he has done light jogging and calf exercises recently.

He says he'll still need three weeks of conditioning to get into game shape, citing six months of eating "everything" while sidelined (see full story).

NBA: Odom pleads not guilty to DUI
LOS ANGELES -- NBA player Lamar Odom has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence in connection with his arrest in August.

Odom didn't appear in court for the arraignment Wednesday and his attorney entered the plea on his behalf. A pretrial hearing was set for Nov. 8.

The DUI charge against the 33-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers player includes an allegation that Odom refused to take a chemical test. According to California law, a motorist forfeits their license for a year if they refuse a breath or blood test.

He was arrested Aug. 30 after his Mercedes-Benz SUV was spotted weaving on a freeway in the Studio City section of Los Angeles. The California Highway Patrol said Odom's vehicle was observed traveling in a "serpentine manner."

Odom remains free on $15,000 bail. The husband of reality TV star Khloe Kardashian could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

Odom played for the Clippers last season. He is now a free agent.

Nets: Garnett puts Boston-area home on market
CONCORD, Mass. -- NBA star Kevin Garnett has put his Boston-area home on the market for nearly $5 million.

Garnett was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in June after six seasons with the Boston Celtics that included the 2008 NBA championship.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage announced Wednesday that the asking price for the 11,000-square-foot home in Concord is $4.85 million.

The home is on nearly 13 acres and includes five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and a four-car garage. It also has a wine cellar, media room and gym. The property has been highlighted in Metropolitan Home and Architectural Record and received an excellence citation from the Boston Society of Architects.

Garnett and his wife, Brandi, said in a statement they "will always treasure the experiences and memories" they had in the home.

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric came into the NBA knowing his rookie season would be one of ups and downs. He would have successes based on his talent and struggle because of the newness of the league and matchups.

Saturday’s performance against the Celtics was one of those highlight nights. Saric scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both tying career-highs, for his third double-double. He was efficient in his performance, playing 27 minutes off the bench in the Sixers' 107-106 loss.

“I thought that was his best game as a 76er,” Brett Brown said.

Saric had struggled the night before against the Magic. He barely made a dent in 16 minutes, posting just two points (1 for 5 from the field) without a single rebound. The poor showing was on his mind Saturday, as he got ready for the second game of the back-to-back. He went in early to get up extra shots, met with coaches, studied film and thought about the matchup throughout the day.

“I prepared a little bit more for this game,” Saric said. “After I have some bad rhythm of five or six, maybe, games. Now I concentrate more. I try to give my best, try to play my best, try to think before everything happens.”

Saric showed his aggressiveness in crunch time in the fourth quarter, when he scored seven points and five rebounds in eight minutes. He nailed a three to cut the Celtics' lead to 92-91 with 4:28 to play. Then with 1:09 remaining, Saric’s free throws cut the Celtics' lead to two points. On the other end of the court, he snagged the rebound off an Isaiah Thomas miss and scored a game-tying layup from Jahlil Okafor.  

“He played great,” Okafor said. “He’s working hard every day, getting used to the NBA process. It was good to see hard work paying off for him.”

Saric has been adjusting to new roles throughout the season. He was thrown into the starting power forward spot when Ben Simmons was injured, and then moved to the bench when the team acquired Ersan Ilyasova. On Saturday, Brown also played Saric at small forward in Robert Covington’s (knee) absence, a shift the Sixers may try again.

“He’s a good teammate,” Brown said. “He’s biding his time. He understands he’s a rookie. Incrementally, he’ll be given these opportunities. Tonight he did and he responded and you’re seeing continued growth.”

Saric still is early in his NBA career, and Saturday's showing was a game he can look back on and study for the rest of the season. 

“I feel like tonight … you’d walk away and say, ‘Shoot, that’s a hell of a player for playing 20 games in the NBA and he did what he just did against a hell of a team,’” Brown said. “I’m proud of what we saw all over the place from Dario.”

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

As part of their “Salute Saturday” series, the Sixers honored the 1966-67 championship team at halftime of their 107-106 loss the Celtics on Saturday.

Fifty years after winning the title, the success of the squad (which went 68-13 in the regular season) still resonates with those representing the Sixers today. After all, they are the group Wilt Chamberlain described as “the best team ever.” 

“It’s just part of the history of this city and the organization,” said Brett Brown, who has established a relationship with Billy Cunningham through practice visits and emails. “There was a toughness with that team that he personified and the city sort of reflects. It’s stuff you hear me talk about all the time how you want our team to reflect the spirit of the city. That team did it.”

Prior to their tribute ceremony, members of the team reflected on their run in which they beat the San Francisco Warriors for the title. 

On Wilt Chamberlain
“Wilt was such a dominant figure, not only as a basketball player, but he’s almost bigger than the game,” Matt Goukas said. “He played so well, he was such a good team player – he started really passing the ball right around that time --and that enabled great scorers like Hal (Greer) and Billy and Chet Walker to do their thing, and Wilt was very happy to give them that leeway.”.

On fond memories
“It was a team that we played well together and we lived as a family and that’s what made it so good for us," Greer said. "A lot of fun, a lot of fun. We missed the next year, but 68-13 is not bad at all.”

“It’s hard to forget a situation like that where we had such a terrific team and the season went so quickly, we won so many games and then of course winning a championship,” Goukas said. “As a first year player I said, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be, I guess.’ But of course I never won another championship as a player, but we had such a terrific group of guys and true professionals that for me as a rookie, Billy Melchionni as a rookie, we really benefited from guys like Hal Greer, Wally Jones and Harry Costello, they really showed us the way.”

On team chemistry
“It was very difficult times when you look at the sixties from a social aspect,” Cunningham said. “Martin Luther King was killed the following year we won the championship. Race relationships weren’t the best. And this time, which was just about half black-half white, I’m not even sure, it was never an issue. That’s the beauty I think of being on a team you know getting to know people, you judge them as an individual and nothing more than that.”

“I think it was our coach Alex Hannum, for one (that kept the team together),” Greer said. “And of course the big guy. He held us together most of the time, he could rebound, play defense, do it all.”