Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Don't worry, Lakers fans. That headline (and "Celtic Pride" photo) makes this sound a lot worse than it actually is.

According to TMZ, All-Star guard Kobe Bryant(notes) was kept from attending practice Wednesday morning in the wake of a violent robbery in his upscale Newport Beach neighborhood.

Sources close to the team tell TMZ's people that Kobe was issued an "excused absence" from the Lakers' team shoot-around after five men — armed with handguns — allegedly broke into a home near Kobe's mansion, roughed up a few residents and then tried to rob them.

Fortunately, a 911 call was made by someone in the backyard, cops arrived, and arrested three of the men.

But with two suspects still on the run, police officials authorized an automated phone system to call every home in the neighborhood — warning residents to lock their doors and windows and to be on the lookout.

Kobe is expected to play tonight against the Jazz barring any further Neighborhood Watch complications.

In other Lakers news: Lamar Odom(notes) likes to eat chocolate in bed, Luke Walton(notes) is trading in his jersey for a seat behind the microphone, and Ron Artest(notes) just opened a taxidermy shop. (Note: That last one may or may not be true.)

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