Bryant gets his chance to upstage Arenas

SUN WIRES SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

It sounded like an insult. A dismissive dig, at least. The sort of thing Gilbert Arenas loves to hear so he can store it away for extra motivation.

After Arenas scored a franchise-record 60 points to lead the Washington Wizards past the Los Angeles Lakers in December, Kobe Bryant sniffed, "He doesn't seem to have much of a conscience," and made reference to his counterpart "just chucking it up there."

Bryant also warned, "I'll be ready next time." Well, next time for two of the NBA's top four scorers comes tonight, when Arenas' Wizards play host to Bryant's Lakers.

Asked this week about his "conscience" comment, Bryant put his best spin on it, saying, "That was a compliment." Perhaps in a further effort to extend an apologetic hand, Bryant said of Arenas: "He's playing extremely, extremely good basketball."

Arenas never misses a chance to point out real or perceived slights, something that's getting tougher as he piles up Eastern Conference player-of-the-week awards and heads to his third all-star game -- as a first-time starter, no less.

He's willing to give Bryant the benefit of the doubt in this instance.

"Kobe and I have been friends since I came into this league, and I didn't take offence to it. At the end of the day, he's my idol."

NUGGETS IN FENDER-BENDER

Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith were involved in a fender-bender on their way to the team shootaround yesterday, coach George Karl said.

Neither player was injured.

They missed the shootaround to take care of paperwork following the mishap.

BIG HONOUR FOR WADE

It's a big weekend for Dwyane Wade. His beloved Chicago Bears are in the Super Bowl tomorrow, facing the Indianapolis Colts. His son, Zaire, turns five that same day and the doting dad plans to surprise him with a trip to the game.

And before all that, the Miami Heat star will receive a big honour: His Marquette jersey is being retired.

A ceremony is set for this afternoon in Milwaukee, where Wade's No. 3 will be hoisted at halftime of the Golden Eagles' game with Providence. The Heat will play in Milwaukee against the Bucks tonight.

HILL SIDELINED

Orlando Magic forward Grant Hill is expected to miss at least two weeks because of a sprained knee.

Hill sprained his medial collateral ligament Wednesday against the Bucks.


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