SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Kobe Bryant plans to make his long-awaited return from a torn left Achilles tendon when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
In a video posted on his Facebook page before the Lakers beat Sacramento 106-100 on Friday night, the superstar set his much-anticipated comeback date. The video, which was also uploaded to the team’s Facebook page, was titled: “Seasons of Legend. Lakers announce Kobe’s return.”
The video shows Bryant’s No. 24 jersey flapping in the wind. There is rain, sleet, snow and lightning for nearly two minutes. At one point, the jersey tears.
Sunshine breaks through the clouds, and the video fades to black. Finally, words flash across the screen that read, “The Legend Continues…December 8.”
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How effective the 35-year-old guard will be against top-tier competition is the last lingering question in his return.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said Bryant will likely be eased back into the lineup, though he declined to discuss how many minutes he will play in his first game. Asked what his expectations are for Bryant this season, D’Antoni said, “That he’ll be a dominant player.”
“He can play any way,” D’Antoni said. “He can play below the rim, above the rim, the side of the rim. The guy can play any way. He’ll figure out how he’ll be effective and he’ll come at you with everything he’s got.”
The 15-time All-Star hasn’t played since he was injured April 12 in a home victory over the Golden State Warriors. He had surgery the next morning and was projected to need from six to nine months to recover.
Blazers win 15th of last 16
PORTLAND – Wesley Matthews scored 24 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 15 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Utah Jazz 130-98 to win for the 15th time in 16 games.
Damian Lillard added 21 points and Nicolas Batum had 13 for the Blazers, who set a franchise mark with 17 three-pointers en route to a season high for points. Portland shot 79.3 percent from three-point range, an NBA record for a team with at least 20 attempts, according to basketball-reference.com.
• Kyle Korver made a three-point basket for a league-record 90th straight game, Al Horford scored 22 points, and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-89.
Korver snapped a tie with Dana Barros (1994 to ’96, after he was a Sonic).
• James Harden scored 34 points and Dwight Howard had 22 points and 18 rebounds to lead Houston to a 105-83 victory over visiting Golden State.
• Jeffery Taylor matched a career high with 20 points to lead host Charlotte to a 105-88 victory over Philadelphia.
Ex-Washington Huskies player Tony Wroten Jr. scored a team-high 21 points for the 76ers and another former Husky, Spencer Hawes, had 10 points and 13 rebounds.