The NBA notebook …
LOS ANGELES ó Sasha Vujacic used to be called “10:30” by his teammates because he was known for his lights-out shooting in the morning at practice as opposed to his lack of accuracy when it really counted, at night.
“That happened,” Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons recalled Wednesday. “Guys always find your idiosyncrasies and bring them to light.”
Cleamons said the “10:30” monicker doesn’t seem to get much use anymore, because Vujacic has grown into the role of a successful shooter when the spotlight is shining.
Instead, it’s “The Machine,” courtesy of Lakers television play-by-play man Joel Meyers.
“He started it, the fans picked it up,” Vujacic said. “It’s OK. People recognize me as “The Machine” right now. I have nothing against it.”
One of those people is MVP teammate Kobe Bryant, who had a ready response Tuesday night when asked about Vujacic’s 20-point performance in the Lakers’ 87-81 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the NBA finals.
“A machine. Played like a machine,” were Bryant’s first words.
Savior might have been a better description. Bryant scored 36 points ó no surprise there. But the other four Los Angeles starers combined for only 22, making just seven of their 28 shots. Vujacic came off the bench to shoot 7-for-10, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
“He was the difference in the game,” Lakers guard Derek Fisher said. “There have been stories and books written about the improbable. That’s what’s so great about sports. You can’t predict it.”
LOS ANGELES ó If Tim Donaghy’s latest allegations are true, Kobe Bryant won his last championship with the help of an NBA conspiracy.
And Scot Pollard is still ringless because some guys in suits determined it would be that way.
Even with Bryant chasing another title in a marquee NBA finals matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, the league still can’t escape the Donaghy mess, now nearly a year after learning the former referee bet on games he officiated.
And the people who thought the spotlight would be theirs alone are pretty fed up.
“The whole Donaghy thing just makes me sick, if you want me to be honest,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday. “Paul Pierce got injured and we questioned him, but we believe Donaghy?”