<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Triple Threat]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/blogs/triple-threat http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sat, 22 Nov 2014 02:35:47 -0800 Sat, 22 Nov 2014 02:35:47 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Lakers Lose to Mavericks 140-106]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:10:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Mavericks_Getty_11-21-14.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers lost big in Dallas on Friday night, as the Dallas Mavericks led by such a margin that the Lakers emptied their bench after three quarters.

The lead was 27 points by then. It would be even bigger by the final buzzer.

In the first half, the Lakers stayed within reach of the Mavericks despite Kobe Bryant and Nick Young missing their first 12 shots from the field. Recognizing his shot was not falling, Bryant focused on creating and tabbed six assists before halftime.

At the intermission, the Lakers trailed by nine points.

In large part, the Lakers kept the Mavericks within sight due to standout performances from Jordan Hill and Jeremy Lin. The starting duo combined for 24 points on 10-12 shooting in the first half. However, the Lakers' defense never turned up, and the purple and gold allowed 68 points in the first half. In the third quarter, everything got worse, and the Mavericks scored 42 points in a quarter.

Dallas' third quarter was offensive excellence and defensive destruction. Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons combined for 33 points, as the Mavericks only missed four shots over those 12 minutes. Dirk Nowitzki made both of his shots in the quarter to bring his total to 23 points on 8-10 shooting. The giant German would grab a seat having played fewer than 22 minutes.

Bryant, on the other side of the court, would play over 31 minutes and finish with 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds. He missed more shots than Nowitzki attempted.

With 27 points separating the sides after three quarters, the final 12 minutes were a scrimmage for each team's bench players. Even there, the Lakers lost.

As far as positives to take away from Friday's game, Hill finished with his seventh double-double of the season and was perfect from the field, 7-7. Also, Lin finished with 18 points and five assists and shot a high percentage, 73 percent. Looking at the 34-point deficit and the final score, the Lakers lost this game on the defensive end of the court.

At the final buzzer, the score read 140-106 in favor of the Mavericks. The Lakers finished their road trip 2-1.

Notes: Wayne Ellington re-joined the team and was not expected to play. However, with the game out of reach, Ellington played 12 minutes and scored eight points.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Coach Explains Lineup Philosophy]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:12:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/La-Lakers-Boozer-Lin.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers have won a couple games in a row, and the plan for the 2014-15 season is clearer to see than it was two wins ago. The Lakers started 1-9, but even if this is period of winning is a temporary euphoria from having Nick Young back, the team is displaying more promise than the 1-9 start hinted.

The Lakers are not an eight-win team or close to it. At 3-9, they're on pace for 20 wins, but even that mark would be a massive underachievement considering the Lakers' recent road trip.

With two games in the bag and a clean sweep of a three game road trip in his sights, Lakers coach Byron Scott deserves credit for sticking with the same unit through the best and worst of times. Also deserving praise, starters Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin have responded positively to the coach's confidence after inconsistent starts to the season. Both played well in Atlanta to start the current winning streak.

While Scott has stuck with the same starting lineup since the start the season, fans have wondered why Ed Davis has not cracked the starting five or how Ronnie Price was not inserted into the lineup when Lin was visibly struggling to get involved. In particular, both those players offer better defense that their counterparts.

Luckily, NBC Los Angeles and a couple others caught Scott a day before he took off on the three-game road trip and asked the coach to provide greater insights into his lineups.

Within the context of Ronnie Price starting much of the preseason, had Scott internally gone back and forth with starting Price and moving Lin to bench?

"I've thought about it. So far, it's not the time."

On why he hadn't made changes to the starting lineup despite the slow start:

"Because, then, I'm abandoning everything that I believe in as far as giving these guys a chance to work together. Ten games or 11 games--that's not enough. So, then, I'll be going against everything that I truly believe in. I think guys need time to jell as a unit, and again, two months is not enough, three months is sometimes not enough...San Antonio have been together forever."

How long in an 82-game season before you can start make changes?

"Two or three months, from training camp on. After that, I think you might have to make changes because certain guys aren't getting it or they just don't gel, and you have to make some changes, put those guys on the bench. They may be better coming off the bench than they are starters. All those things, I have to take into consideration, but I have to give these guys a chance as well."

Less than a month into the season, Scott made it clear not to hold your breath on changes to the Lakers' starting five: Lin, Bryant, Wesley Johnson, Boozer, Jordan Hill.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Add to Bullpen in Four-Player Trade]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:34:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/peralta+copy.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers took their first step this off season to fixing a problematic bullpen by adding veteran right-handed reliever Joel Peralta in a four-player trade with the Tampa Bay Rays Friday.

The Dodgers also received minor league pitcher Adam Liberatore in exchange for pitchers Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris.

The Peralta acquisition is not exactly a long-term solution for the Dodgers, as he’ll be 39 years old when Spring Training starts in 2015.

Peralta also didn’t exactly light the world on fire last season with his 3-4 record and 4.41 ERA. What the 10-year big league veteran has done, however, is become more durable with age. Peralta has pitched in an average of 74 games and 67 innings per season since tuning 35 years old.

The Dodgers are definitely looking into the future by adding Liberatore to the trade.

It’s not clear if, or when, or how, the 27-year-old will fit into the mix on the big league team but he just finished up his best season in 2014 with a 6-1 record and 1.66 ERA for the Rays Triple-A Durham squad. He was named the organization’s top minor league reliever.

Dominguez, 23, pitched in just five games for the Dodgers in 2014, giving up eight earned runs in 6 ⅓ innings. The hard throwing right-hander suffered through shoulder inflammation toward the ends of last season.

In two minor league seasons with the Dodgers Harris, 20, was 9-9 with a 4.69 ERA. He finished the 2014 year with Class-A Great Lakes.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Look to Sweep Roadie in Dallas]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:52:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Mavericks-Kobe-Dirk-Nowitzki.jpg

On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Dallas Mavericks to conclude a road trip that will be viewed as a success regardless of what happens at the American Airlines Center. The Mavs lost three of their first seven games, but Dallas has won five straight entering Friday night.

Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki have been splitting Dallas' scoring load this season with Ellis averaging 19.7 points per game and Nowitzki averaging 19.1 points per game. Ellis is coming off a 34-point outing against the Washington Wizards, but the 36-year-old Nowitzki was drawing praise for hitting a big three late in the game.

On the subject of 36-year-olds, Kobe Bryant still leads the NBA in scoring with 27.5 points per game. In Houston, he scored 29 points and logged 40 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. At this point, the on-court evidence makes it impossible to question the shooting guard's condition and recovery from major injuries.

Bryant may be the ringleader, but he has help.

Jordan Hill has already collected six double-doubles through 12 games this season. In particular, Hill has been finishing games with put-backs and offensive rebounds that have been crucial in winning games. With 4.7 offensive rebounds per game, Jordan Hill leads the NBA. Also, the big man's jump shot started falling again, and Hill appears comfortable in the Lakers' offense.

If Hill has been finishing strong, Carlos Boozer has been doing the opposite. Boozer has been aggressively scoring the basketball early in games before trailing off a bit in second halves. Against Houston, Boozer struggled mightily in the third and fourth quarters. With Hill and Boozer taking turns offensively, the Lakers appear to be developing a formula for success.

The Lakers' biggest asset at the moment--excluding Kobe Bryant--is Nick Young. The lively personality has drawn significant attention for entering a team locker room that was bordering on toxic and changing it into a happy environment where guys started having fun again. Most importantly, Young's return has resulted in two wins straight wins.

The Lakers and Mavericks tip-off in Dallas at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Notes: Steve Nash and Julius Randle remain sidelined for the remainder of the season. Ryan Kelly is out due to a torn hamstring. Wayne Ellington returns after missing six games due to a family tragedy.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Add to 40-Man Roster]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:52:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/lee+copy.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers, Thursday, added pitchers Zach Lee and Chris Reed and outfielder Scott Schebler to the organization’s expanded 40-man roster.

What that does is make all three, technically, Major League players and even if they are assigned to a minor league club, which is the most likely scenario, it moves their names up the list of potential call ups to the 25-man Major League team should they be called upon.

Lee, 23, ended this past season in Triple-A Albuquerque with a 7-13 record with a 5.18 ERA and is rated by Baseball America as the Dodgers fourth-ranked prospect.

The right-hander was the team’s top pick in the 2010 draft and named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2013. With the Dodgers bullpen still in need of a makeover, it’s quite possible Lee could be in the running for a long reliever spot come Spring Training.

Reed finished last season with a 4-11 record and a 4.26 ERA between stops in Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque. The 24-year-old also made the all-star team as part of the Lookouts.

The minors are for development not numbers but Reed’s 9-31 record and 4.12 ERA in four minor league seasons is a bit of an eyebrow raiser.

Schebler is rated by MLB.com as the Dodgers ninth-best minor prospect and he’s proved it on the field. Schebler has shown that he’s a legitimate power hitter by blasting 28 home runs in Double-A in 2014, after hitting 27 the year before in the High-A California League. But, just like a power hitter Schebler strikes out way too much. He’s whiffed 250 times in the past two seasons combined.

At 24 years old Schebler is at the age when teams decide if a player will be part of the future, or a placeholder for the next crop of younger talent.

Schebler will have a shot to show what he’s made of in 2015 with his new promotion.

The Dodgers now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wayne Ellington's Loss Felt in Many Ways]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:25:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Wayne-Ellington_Nov-20-14.jpg

Following an unexpected tragedy in every sense of the word, Los Angeles Lakers' shooting guard Wayne Ellington suddenly left the team to be with his family. Ellington's father had been shot in his head while driving his 2001 Oldsmobile in Philadelphia. Wayne Ellington Sr. would die early Monday morning.

As news broke and reached the Lakers' guard, the team immediately provided Ellington with an indefinite leave of absence and supported the 26-year-old with a public statement.

The mental toll of this type of event is impossible to understand, but Ellington's departure from the team had dramatic effects for the Lakers on the court. While Ellington was only averaging between four and five shots in 20 minutes per game, the former North Carolina Tar Heel allowed the Lakers to spread the floor.

With the exception of Ed Davis, who does his work close to the basket, Ellington was the Lakers' best shooter in the early season, shooting 57 percent from the field. He was making shots. Also, with a career mark of 38.5 percent from behind the three-point arc, he stretched the floor and provided the team more room to operate on the offensive end.

No coincidence, Ellington's last game before leaving to be with his family was the Lakers' first win of the season. In that game, the shooting guard only missed one shot and scored nine points in 19 minutes. More importantly, the presence of one true shooter allowed the ball to move and shots to be spread around. Five Lakers scored in double figures in that first win.

Over the next four games, Ellington's departure shrunk the floor, and Kobe Bryant, the team's foremost scorer, took on the challenge of creating and shouldering the extra shots necessary to compete.

In that fourth game without Ellington and the last game before Nick Young returned from injury, Bryant launched 34 shots and scored 44 points in a lopsided loss that had fans rubbing their eyes and teammates struggling to formulate sentences.

In the next game, Young returned and filled the role vacated by Ellington. Young was able to stretch the floor and make shots from distance. Obviously, Young is a far more gifted shot creator than Ellington, but having someone to fill that deep threat was essential for the Lakers' offense. Ryan Kelly's injury complicated matters further.

The most important role that Young filled, however, was a guy Bryant trusted to shoot and make shots. Bryant can create shots, but if players cannot make shots, the 19-year veteran tends to get frustrated and just score on his own.

Ellington's shooting ability made Bryant trust the guard, but once he was gone, the team was short on shooters. Rookie Jordan Clarkson was still too raw, Xavier Henry still did not look right and Ronnie Price held the second-lowest shooting average on the team after 12 games at 28 percent. Incidentally, Henry is bottom of the field goal percentage chart at 25 percent.

On Friday, Ellington expects to be on the floor with the Lakers in Dallas. Likely, he will re-join the team under a reduced role since Young returned and ignited the team to two wins.

Still, Ellington provides the Lakers with an important quality as a guy Bryant trusts to take and make shots. Walking off the court after scoring 44 points in a 21-point loss on a 1-9 team, Bryant looked like a player that lacked belief in his teammates' abilities to score. And that was only four days ago.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Get Second Road Win in Houston]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:37:42 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Rockets-Kobe-Bryant_11-19-14.jpg

On Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers continued to play competitive basketball despite playing their second road game in as many nights, and the Lakers came away winners for only the third time in the 2014-15 season.

With Dwight Howard ruled out due to a strained right knee at the last moment, the Lakers went inside early and often. At the half, the Lakers had outscored Houston 24-14 in points in the paint. By the final buzzer, the Lakers held a 38-20 advantage in that category.

Defensively, the Lakers were packing the paint and preventing Houston from getting layups and fast break points. However, Houston took advantage of the Lakers' poor three-point defense. The Rockets made nine of their 19 shot attempts from the outside in the first half, and Kostas Papanikolaou was especially lethal off the bench.

The Greek national made four of his five shots from long distance to help Houston to a two-point lead at the halftime intermission.

In the second half, the James Harden came to life. After only scoring only four points in the first half, Houston's star player scored 13 points in the third quarter to provide the Rockets with a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

The deficit was partially due to Bryant struggling from the field in the third period. Bryant only made two of his 11 shots in the quarter, but he did find Jordan Hill on three straight baskets. Also Bryant was able to get to the foul line and entered the final quarter with 20 points and six assists.

As such, the Lakers were within striking distance on the road entering the fourth quarter.

At the start of the final period, the Lakers looked to Carlos Boozer for points. Boozer made five of nine shots in the first half, but he missed on three straight shots to start the fourth quarter. Combined with the Rockets hitting their 15th three-pointer of the night, the Lakers fell behind by seven points.

Immediately, Lakers' coach Byron Scott brought back Hill and Bryant. Approaching the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Lakers had already taken the lead behind a flurry of baskets from Nick Young. From there on out, the see-saw battle began.

Bryant continued to struggle with his shot in the fourth quarter and Harden continued to heat up. The Rockets stretched their lead to five-points at the two-minute mark.

Bryant, who had missed three of his four shots in the quarter, made a fall-away jump shot from the top of the key and got fouled in the process. After the free throw, the Lakers were within two points with 1:43 to play in the game. At the one-minute mark, the Lakers trailed by only one, as the chase was on.

Then, Wesley Johnson stepped forward and made a crucial steal on Harden before finishing at the rim and completing the three-point play. With the play, the Lakers took a two-point lead that they would never relinquish.

Bryant would finish with a game-high 29 points, and the Lakers won 98-92. Next, LA will travel to Dallas in the hopes to sweep the road trip. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers at Rockets: Kobe Vs. Dwight - Part 2]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:50:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Rockets-Dwight-Kobe-11-19-14.jpg

On opening night in the NBA, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant met for the first time since Howard spurned LA for Houston. The two did not see eye-to-eye on how to lead the Lakers during their one season together, and in that game, Howard landed an elbow that resulted in the pair being split and yelling obscenities at one another.

Famously, Bryant was caught on video calling Howard "soft." After the game, the 36-year-old laughed off the suggestion that he did not like the Rockets' center before calling him a "teddy bear." When asked about the incident, a clearly frustrated Howard called the question "stupid."

As much as Wednesday night should be about the Lakers building momentum off getting Nick Young back and winning a game in Atlanta, Wednesday night is about Howard and Bryant.

The Rockets have a 9-2 record, which is good enough for second-best in the NBA. Conversely, the Lakers have a 2-9 record which is good enough for second-worst in the NBA. Playing on the road and on the second night of a back-to-back further handicaps the Lakers, but that should not stop Bryant from taking on the personal challenge of showing up Howard.

"I think it's fantastic. It's the game," Bryant said about Howard's elbow after the opening night meeting. "An elbow is part of the game. Trash talk is part of the game. I don't know when the NBA became so sensitive. It's all part of it."

Only, the elbows and trash talk are not part of the NBA these days. Bryant is one of the last to employ both tactics, and no. 24 tends to have a long memory when it comes to personal battles. Bryant may not walk onto the court with boxing gloves on, but he will likely find ways to jab Howard throughout the night.

Worth mentioning, Howard was recently involved in a bust up with the Oklahoma City Thunder. During the bust up, injured forward Kevin Durant was reportedly heard calling Howard a rather unpleasant name. The mohawk donning Howard is not exactly the NBA's poster child of a good guy these days.

Win or lose, Bryant and Howard on opposite sides makes for great drama. And hey, if the Lakers win, Howard will likely take out his frustrations on his teammates, as he did when Steve Blake hit a last second three-pointer to beat the Rockets in Houston at the start of the 2013-14 season. The Lakers were massive underdogs on that occasion, too.

The Lakers and Rockets tip-off at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Notes: Under the "Swagg Effect," the Lakers had five players who scored in double figures and three players who finished with double-doubles on Tuesday night. Wayne Ellington, whose father was recently shot and killed in Philadelphia, expects to re-join the Lakers on Thursday in Dallas. Ellington was provided indefinite leave to be with his family following the incident. Ryan Kelly is out for about six weeks with a torn hamstring. Steve Nash and Julius Randle remain sidelined for the season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nick Young Charges Lakers to Win Over Hawks]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 19:55:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Hawks_Kobe-Bryant-11-18.jpg

"The 'Swagg effect,'" Nick Young called the impact of his return on the Los Angeles Lakers. "It just rubbed off on everybody tonight. It just felt good to be out there with those guys."

Young's first bucket was a three-pointer assisted by Kobe Bryant, and yes, Bryant passed him the ball. That play embodied Young's importance to the balance of this team and served as a reminder of how much the Lakers missed not having Young for the first 10 games of the season.

"It felt good to have him out there," Bryant told Mike Trudell on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet after the game. "The defense really has to pay attention to him."

Young would go on to finish with 17 points on 6-10 shooting in an impressive season debut that energized the Lakers to a 114-109 victory.

For LA, wins do not come easy, as the team started the 2014-15 season only winning once in its first 10 games. Against the Hawks, even the energized Lakers waited until the final seconds to secure the result. Overall, though, the team played well.

For the first half, the Lakers provided a glimpse into how good the team could be if everything went right: Jeremy Lin was perfect from the field and led the team in assists; Bryant was efficient with 19 points on only nine shots; Carlos Boozer added 18 points and seven rebounds; and Young provided a scoring spark with nine points off the bench.

At the half, the Lakers held a 15-point lead with three players in double figures and the team getting back in transition. It was a perfect half for the Lakers. In short, the Lakers looked good--a foreign phrase in Laker-Land these days.

Sadly, within three minutes of the second half, the Lakers had given up all but two points of their comfortable lead. The purple and gold erased one half of good with three minutes of bad.

From there on out, the Lakers clung to their sliver of a lead. The Hawks continued to threaten throughout the final two quarters, but the Lakers managed to maintain a slight lead throughout the second half. Paul Milsap was Atlanta's player of the game, as the Hawks' big man led all scorers with 29 points.

Not far behind, Bryant finished with 28 points--and became only the fourth player ever to score 32,000 points--on 18 shots to lead an impressive Lakers' offense that shot 54 percent on the night. Lin, Boozer and Jordan Hill all collected double-doubles. The Lakers' point guard only missed one shot en route to 15 points and 10 assists, Boozer finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Hill finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Hill, who scored all 18 of his points in the second half, was key down the stretch on the boards and with put-backs. Hill and Bryant combined for 15 of the Lakers' final 23 points in a feel-good win.

The traveling Lakers will arrive in Houston late Tuesday night and will face Dwight Howard and the Rockets on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Get "Swaggy P" Back Vs. Hawks]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:50:39 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Nick-Young-returning-Lakers-at-Hawks.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers have started the 2014-15 season 1-9 and are desperate for an infusion of energy to resuscitate the season. With a challenging three-game road trip kicking off on Tuesday night in Atlanta, the Lakers will finally have Nick Young available against the Hawks.

Young, who led the Lakers in scoring in 2013-14, underwent thumb surgery after suffering a fracture in training camp. With Kobe Bryant unable to play for all but six games of the 2013-14 season, Young led the Lakers with 17.9 points per game and even hit the 40-point mark on a couple occasions.

"Swaggy P" can score -- fact.

Whether drawing laughs in the locker room or drawing fouls on the basketball court, Young adds spirit and chemistry to a team that desperately needs it. His fun personality is infectious, and his scoring ability is essential for the Lakers to lighten the load on Bryant. Through 10 games, Young has been sorely missed in practice and in games.

"He's an energy giver. He's one of those guys when he's on the floor and in practice, there's a lot of energy and he enjoys the game," Lakers coach Byron Scott said on Tuesday morning. "He enjoys a certain passion that you have to enjoy being around. He's not an energy taker. That's a plus. Obviously, the fact that he can beat people off the dribble and create shots for himself and create shots for his teammates. All of those things help as well. I'm anxious to see him out there."

Young will make his return off the bench, a role he played for the majority of the 2013-14 season. Whether he moves into the starting unit remains to be seen, but the 29-year-old expects to play alongside Bryant for long stretches. While other Lakers may not be willing to pry the ball away from Bryant, Young has a history of shooting regardless of who else is on the court.

As odd as it may sound, the Lakers are desperate for a guy who will not look to pass the ball to Bryant. Young is definitely that guy, and the Lakers could have used him 10 games earlier.

The Lakers and Atlanta Hawks tip-off at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Say Ryan Kelly To Miss Six Weeks]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:04:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers_Ryan-Kelly-out-6-weeks.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers' fears were confirmed on Monday afternoon when the team announced that Ryan Kelly would miss a minimum of six weeks after tearing his right hamstring.

Kelly spent all of training camp on the shelf with a hamstring injury before hurting his opposite hamstring. On Sunday night against the Golden State Warriors, Kelly drew some contact and landed. Immediately, he was unable to run. On the next whistle, he headed to the locker room.

With the Lakers taking off for Atlanta on Monday morning, Kelly stayed back and visited with Dr. Luga Podesta of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic.

An ultrasound revealed that the 23-year-old had torn his right hamstring, and the prognosis called for six weeks on the shelf, at minimum. Only lasting one full game, Kelly averaged 3.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 8.2 minutes over three games in the 2014-15 season.

"I really like Ryan with the way he plays, and he knows how to play," Lakers' coach Byron Scott said after Sunday's loss to the Warriors. "He's going to give you everything he's got. Unfortunately for him and us, we haven't seen enough of that because of the injuries that he's had."

In his rookie season, Kelly often featured as a power forward that could stretch the floor. In 59 games, Kelly averaged 8.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 22.2 minutes. Scott said earlier that Kelly provided a different look, as none of the Lakers' other big guys can step outside and shoot three-pointers.

If the 23-year-old can recover in the minimum time listed, he should return at about the same time as the New Year. At that point, the 1-9 Lakers will be nearly 40 percent done with the 2014-15 season.

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<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Fighting Crime by Scoring Points]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:46:16 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Kobe-Bryant-loss-Warriors.jpg

"If you think I want to shoot as many times or be as aggressive at 36 years old, then you’re freaking crazy," a frustrated Kobe Bryant stood at his locker after scoring 44 points in a lopsided loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Bryant used a curious analogy to explain his aggressive shot taking in the game, "Obviously, I'd rather get guys involved earlier, but a purse gets stolen in front of you, how many blocks are you going to let the guy run?"

According to the 19-year veteran, he had to take the ball and score it in order to provide the Los Angeles Lakers some hope. Only, that is not what happened. Bryant shot a decent percentage, his teammates never got in any sort of rhythm and the Warriors won big.

"I just try to keep us in the game," Bryant attempted to justify shooting 34 times in a game that the Lakers trailed by as many as 38 points. "I'd rather not have to do that, but you can't just sit back and watch a crime happen right in front of you."

Crimes were occurring, and a purse being snatched was the correct imagery. Jack Nicholson, Shaquille O’Neal and Floyd Mayweather were all sitting on the court, and numerous other celebrities and wealthy personalities spent big bucks to watch the Lakers fail to compete. The value of Bryant scoring 44 points in three quarters may not have convinced these fans that the Lakers were worth watching, but Bryant made a convincing argument for still being an elite scorer. Even with Bryant scoring 27.3 points per game, the Lakers are criminally bad at 1-9 on the season.

"Just make plays. I'm more than willing to sit back," Bryant responded when asked how his teammates could get more involved. "I'd always rather guys get involved and play. That's always the intent at the start of the ballgame, but you go down 10-12 points in the hole, I got to try to keep us in the ballgame at some point."

Bryant pointed to transition defense as the failing factor. The 19-year veteran welcomed his coach's threats to change the lineups in order to draw greater effort defensively. However, the Lakers' on-court leader said he did not have much to say to his brethren after the game ended.

"This responsibility, it's on me," Bryant again attempted to explain why he continued to shoot when his points did not appear to have any impact on winning the game. "When things go good, it’s 'us.' When things go bad, it’s 'me.' And that's the responsibility of being in this seat."

Asked about the mood after the game, the veteran said the locker room was quiet and full of disappointment.

"It gets to a point where you can't make excuses," Bryant attempted to claim his share of the blame pie. "You can't look at everybody else and point the finger. You got to look at yourself first. I got to look at myself first. Maybe I'm being too aggressive. Maybe I need to let the person run a couple more blocks and let the authorities come.

"It's easy to look at everybody else. I'll look at myself and see if there are other things I can do to keep guys involved and get them better opportunities and things of that nature. And hopefully, everybody's doing the same thing."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers' Coach Upset After Loss]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 05:35:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Byron-Scott-Angry-11-17-14.jpg

The lousy Los Angeles Lakers have an angry coach.

Byron Scott was not happy after his team allowed the Golden State Warriors to score 136 points in a lopsided defeat on Sunday night at Staples Center. Ominously, Scott repeated "I'm getting close" twice in response to questions about making changes.

"We have some guys right now--because of some of the injuries that we have--that feel that they're almost entitled because they got to play," Scott said after the game. "Well, we're losing anyway, so I ain't got to play you."

The coach's primary gripe was the team's lack of effort, and his patience with his players was beginning to run thin.

"To me, that was a lack of effort," Scott said. "Just getting back in transition, our guys were jogging. [I] showed it to them at halftime. [I] wasn't really happy about it. We can't win that way."

At one point, the coach's frustrations got the better of him, and he even slipped out a curse word before apologizing repeatedly.

"And I have more patience, probably, than anybody, but I can't sit there and watch players that are not playing hard—period," Scott clarified his message. "You either got to suck it up and play harder or sit over there [on the bench] with us."

Scott promised that he would take dramatic steps on Tuesday in Atlanta. Although he did not expect to change his starting lineup, the Lakers' coach promised to shorten his leash and assume anyone not running hard was too tired to be on the court.

"Maybe some guys can't go eight, nine, 10 minutes straight," Scott made his thinly veiled threat. "Maybe it's two or three [minutes]. I don’t know, but if I see--in my eyes--that you're not giving that effort, then, I'll just pull guys out."

Scott said the locker room was quiet after the game. He expressed his message at halftime, but nothing changed in the second half. With nine losses in 10 games, the Lakers need anything to shock life into the season.

Scott pronging the starters with threats of being pulled may bring about a change to the life of the ball club. More likely, though, that morale boost--if it comes at all--will arrive with the personality, both on-court and off-court, of Nick Young, who expects to make his season debut on Tuesday in Atlanta.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Scores 44 Points, Lakers Still Lose]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:57:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Warriors-Kobe-Bryant.jpg

Kobe Bryant was sick entering Sunday's home game against the Golden State Warriors, but everyone wearing purple and gold at Staples Center felt ill by the time the final buzzer sounded. The Los Angeles Lakers lost 136-115, and even that score was flattering to the Lakers' defensive performance. 

The thirty-six-year-old shooting guard played with remarkable aggression and scored 44 points in three quarters of work, but his effort was not matched by his Los Angeles Lakers teammates on either end of the court.

In the first quarter, Bryant led the Lakers with 17 points, but the home team trailed by as many as 19 points. With that, the tone was set early. Bryant would score often, but the Warriors would score twice as often.

At the half, Bryant already had 28 points. He had launched 24 shots at that point, but the Warriors' lead hovered into the 20-point range. When the Lakers walked into the locker room, the final result was hardly in question. The Warriors were on their way to a comfortable victory, and the Lakers were about to mark their 10th game of the season with their ninth night to forget.

After 24 minutes, the Lakers had been unable to find any way to slow down Stephen Curry and the Warriors' offense. Curry had 13 points and nine assists at the intermission, and he would finish with 30 points and 15 assists despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter.

Along with making five three-pointers, the Warriors' point guard put on a passing display that could easily be cut into a coaching segment designed to teach students how to play the position.

"[Curry]'s the best in the NBA right now at that position," after the game, Warriors' coach Steve Kerr said.

Bryant, who put on another individual scoring clinic, continued to target the basket in the third period without truly impacting the outcome of the game. He added another 16 points in the quarter. Unfortunately, his team continued to falter on the defensive end. Outside of Bryant, only Jordan Hill, 15 points, had even reached double figures in scoring.

The Lakers lacked balance offensively and, quite offensively, lacked defense.

After three quarters, both coaches pulled their starters. Bryant had more than half of the Lakers' points when he left the game at the end of the third quarter. He had 44 points on 15-34 shooting, 44 percent, and the other Lakers had 35 points on 12-44 shooting, 27 percent.

Had he played the fourth quarter, which would have been pointless, he would likely have hit a half-century and would have had a crack at a 60-point game. In his 19th season of chasing history with every shot, Bryant was hardly shy when it came to shooting, but the Warriors were hardly bothered by Bryant's scoring.

Lakers' coach Byron Scott threw in the towel with 12 minutes to play, as the Warriors were up by 36 points and had led by as many as 38 points. As has been the case far too often this season, the final score was an afterthought.

The Lakers fell to 1-9 on the season. Next, the team plays in Atlanta on Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Nick Young expects to play his first game of the season, so at least, there is that to look forward to.

 

Notes: Ryan Kelly only played 5:25 before leaving with a hamstring issue. The second-year forward has been plagued with hamstring issues and has only featured three games this season. Former Lakers' center Shaquille O'Neal was in attendance and sat on the court. Bryant came over and greeted his former teammate before the game and after the game. The Lakers handed out Elgin Baylor jerseys to fans, and the former Lakers' great was honored at halftime.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nick Young Back at Lakers' Practice]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 08:44:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NickYoungLakersPracticeNov1514_1200x675_359208515556.jpg Nick Young went through a full practice on November 15, 2014 and said he expects to return to the Lakers on Tuesday night.]]> <![CDATA[Kobe Sick, Nick Young Practices]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 08:44:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Kobe-Bryant-sick-vs-Spurs.jpg

"I just can't wait to get out there," Nick Young said on Saturday after completing his first full contact Los Angeles Lakers practice of the season. "I'm excited."

Tuesday was the most likely return date, which would be a road game in Atlanta, Young said. The former USC Trojan sounded empathetic to the Lakers' struggle calling it "tough" to sit and watch without being able to help out.

"I want to be a part of everything. If we're going to lose, we're all going to lose together," Young said. "If we're all going to win, we're all going to win together."

Always worth a laugh, Young lightened up practice a bit, Lakers' coach Byron Scott said -- Young admitted to trash talking with everyone in the building.

Before concluding his interview with reporters, Young referred to himself as the "defensive player of the year" and "the best three-point shooter." Then, he told assembled media members to get their popcorn ready.

With Young providing positive news, the Lakers still had the dark cloud of Kobe Bryant's mysterious illness hovering overhead. Bryant admitted he was ill after the game and sounded unsure about what the illness would mean going forward.

"I felt bad for him last night," Scott said about Bryant on Saturday. "I found out, which I already knew, how tough this kid is."

However, don't expect no. 24 not to be playing on Sunday against the Golden State Warriors.

"Probably have to amputate his legs for him not to play tomorrow," Scott responded when asked what it would take for the 36-year-old to sit out Sunday's game. "When it comes to playing, he's the one guy I know that if he can walk, he'll probably play."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Japanese Fan Salutes Dodgers' Drew Butera With Awesome Sign]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:19:58 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*123/453603816.jpg

Drew Butera is part of the team currently in Japan for the "Japan All-Star Series", a.k.a., Major League Baseball's version of the Pro Bowl.

And, if you're not a die hard fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, or of the backup catcher, you've never heard of Drew Butera.

But, thanks to MLB's Cut4 Twitter feed we now know exactly who Drew Butera is thanks to this fan, in Japan, with a Colorado Rockies hat on.

 

 

It doesn't make any sense, but it's exactly right.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clayton Kershaw, the Ballplayer, Wins MVP Award]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 21:14:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/187*120/mvp.jpg

Clayton Kershaw is not a pitcher. He’s a baseball player.

Sure, the 26-year-old won a third Cy Young Award this year for his pitching, and most people will say his mound work is why, Thursday, he won his first Most Valuable Player Award; the first National League pitcher to win both in the same season since Bob Gibson in 1968 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Kershaw led the NL in just about every major traditional and sabermetrics stat you could think of for a pitcher. But, you ask any Dodger this past season who their best player was, and I’d bet you $240 million they would all say Clayton Kershaw.

How could that be when he only played in 27 games? Well, those 27 games were the difference between the Dodgers collecting playoff bonuses and being the Padres.

During the 2014 regular season Kershaw did what the best athletes in every sport do for their teams. He terrorized opponents with his all-around game. Pitchers don’t go first-to-third on a single to center against a guy who has a rocket for a right arm. A ballplayer does.

For most pitchers, a popup bunt five feet from home plate is either a foul ball, or the catcher’s responsibility. Kershaw turned one into a rally-killing, double play.

And, the lumbering lefty showed that in crucial moments he can swing it.

Those plays are not from a pitcher who shows up every fifth day, hits his 95-pitch count and calls it a day until the next charter flight into the off-season.

They’re the feats of a ballplayer. Kershaw showed his mettle to the extent that even Pirates and Marlins fans have refrained from blowing up Twitter saying Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton got robbed.

It took 46 years for another NL pitcher to be named league MVP. As far as I’m concerned the clock’s still ticking. Just like Mike Trout in the American League, the best ballplayer in the Senior Circuit in 2014 walked away with the trophy.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers vs Spurs: Video Preview]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:05:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LakersSpursShootaroundpreview11142014_1200x675_358591043693.jpg The Los Angeles Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 11, 2014, and NBCLA's Shahan Ahmed previews the contest with quotes from Byron Scott on Tim Duncan and Tony Parker]]> <![CDATA[Lakers' Frustrating Lack of Defense]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:07:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-defense-Byron-Scott.jpg

"It was just terrible,” Los Angeles Lakers' coach Byron Scott lamented after Wednesday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. "That was probably the worst defense that we've played from the preseason all the way to this particular point."

Sixty points in the paint, 109 points allowed and the seventh loss in eight games finally cracked the Lakers' coach brought in to specifically teach defense. So far, the class is failing.

Whether reviewing traditional statistics or advanced statistics, the Lakers are dead last in defense. Through eight games, the Lakers have allowed 111.5 points per game. That is the most by any team in the league. In the advanced statistics medium, the Lakers have a defensive rating of 114.4, which is the highest of any team in the league. This means the Lakers allow 114.4 points per 100 possessions.

To provide perspective, the Lakers' defensive rating in 2013-14 under Mike "no defense" D'Antoni was 107.9, and they allowed 109.9 points per game.

What this means is that the Lakers brought in a coach whose calling card listed defense at the top, dedicated a full training camp to learning how to defend, and still ended up worse than a season ago.

After eight games, the Lakers have only managed to hold an opponent under 100 points on one occasions, and not coincidentally, that occasion marked their lone win.

"To be honest with you, most of the time, the things that we want to do, they haven't done," Scott played revealed during his post game frustrations.

"I want to at least see if they can do it," Scott said. "If they can't, then we'll change. And I've told our guys that. We want to see in the next three or four games if we can do that, and if we can't, then we'll change and go to something else."

Advanced statistics can further quantify how bad the Lakers have been. The NBA tracks individual players' defensive ratings. For example, Carlos Boozer's 121.4 defensive rating is the worst on the Lakers. This means that for every 100 possessions Boozer is on the court, the Lakers give up 121.4 points. That is not good.

Kobe Bryant's defensive rating is the third worst on the team at 118.7, but at this early junction, the stats are not indicative of each player as much as the unit they play with. The Lakers' starting unit comprises the five players with the highest defensive rating because the starting unit is struggling to stop any opposition. Boozer, Wesley Johnson, Bryant, Jordan Hill and Jeremy Lin have the highest defensive ratings on the Lakers, in that order.

On the flip side of that coin, Robert Sacre has a defensive rating of 94.8, which leads the team. Sacre also has the best offensive rating on the team at 114.8, but that's a discussion for another time.

For now, the Lakers are the worst defensive team in the NBA.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Struggling Lakers Host Solid Spurs]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:43:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Spurs-Kobe-Bryant-Tim-Duncan.jpg

Entering Friday night's game at Staples Center, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant have nearly a season worth of individual duels to reference. By the end of this 2014-15 season, Bryant and Duncan will have met 81 times, which is only one game shy of a full NBA regular season.

That type of record speaks to the pair's longevity as much as it does to their greatness.

Two years older than Bryant, Duncan entered the NBA one year after the Lakers' star. From 1997 to 2014, the duo has combined for 10 NBA titles and 13 NBA Finals appearances. Over the 17 full seasons that both Bryant and Duncan have been in the league, the NBA Finals have only failed to include either the Spurs or the Lakers four times.

What makes that accomplishment all the more remarkable is that the Spurs and Lakers both play in the Western Conference, so that means that only one of them could go to the NBA Finals in a given season. 

On Friday night, though, the Lakers and Spurs are on different ends of the spectrum, but Bryant and Duncan are still worth the price of admission. At 36 years of age, Bryant leads the NBA in scoring by averaging 27.5 points per game. A slim 38-year-old Duncan continues to average a double-double with 14.7 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, as the Spurs are coming off consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals.

As much as Friday night may be about the Lakers desperately seeking their second win of the year and the Spurs seeking their third straight win of the young season, it is about watching two of the greatest players to ever play the game go head-to-head yet again.

Polar opposites with regards to personality off the court, Duncan and Bryant are two of fiercest competitors the sport has ever seen. On Friday night, Duncan and the Spurs tip off against Bryant and the Lakers for the 78th time at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ronnie Price Gets One Game Suspension]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 15:44:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ronnie-Price-suspended.jpg

The NBA suspended Los Angeles Lakers' guard Ronnie Price one game for violent conduct after he hit Austin Rivers of the New Orleans Pelicans from behind during Wednesday night's loss in New Orleans.

Price offered his hand to Rivers after the play, but the Pelicans' guard refused. Subsequently, the officials reviewed the play and deemed it worthy of a flagrant-two, which meant Price was ejected from the game. In the moment, the officials' call appeared slightly harsh, but the current temperature of head injuries made the decision understandable. Price had fouled Rivers mid-flight and struck the back of the air born player's head.

A day later, news that Price was suspended for a game came as a far greater shock.

Clippers coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers, who is the fouled player's father, was asked about the incident and responded, "I was surprised it was a [flagrant] 2, but that’s the day we’re in."

With Price out of Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers will likely expect Jeremy Lin and Kobe Bryant to play heavier minutes. Also, rookie Jordan Clarkson may earn a longer look, as the Lakers are already short at the guard position with Wayne Ellington on an indefinite leave for family reasons, Nick Young still recovering from a thumb injury and Steve Nash ruled out for the season with a back injury.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Kershaw Wins NL Cy Young Award]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:21:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/176*120/kersh+4.jpg

For the second year in a row, and the third time in the last four years, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has won the National League Cy Young Award.

The 26-year-old led the NL in wins (21), ERA (1.77), complete games (6), WHIP (0.857), strikeouts per nine innings (10.8) and ERA+ (197). ERA+ is a pitcher's adjusted earned run average based on the stadium they pitch in. 100 is the average and the higher the number above the average, the better the pitcher's season.

Kershaw was also second in the league in strikeouts (239) and second in opponents batting average (.196).

He also threw his first career no-hitter.

It was one of the most dominant regular seasons in the modern era. I had to specify "regular season" because the year came crashing to an end during the NLDS when the St. Louis Cardinals treated Keshaw like that European rocket "Philae" on the comet it landed on: they caught up to him, planted their feet and took him for a ride. In 12 2/3 innings over two outings, Kershaw gave up 11 earned runs.

Despite that, he could very well be named the league's Most Valuable Player when the award is announced Thursday.

And, it's not until next year that the Texas native starts to collect on his seven-year, $215 million contract.

At the rate Kershaw's going, the Dodgers may have gotten him on the cheap.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Lose to Pelicans, Fall to 1-7]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 19:48:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Pelicans_Anthony-Davis-Kobe-Bryant-duel.jpg

Leading up to Wednesday's contest between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans, the pregame talk revolved around 21-year-old electric athlete Anthony Davis.

It took Kobe Bryant all of one quarter to remind everyone why he still deserves top billing. En route to 14 points in the opening period, Bryant hit three straight three-pointers. Down by seven points early, Bryant put on a cape and rescued the Lakers. At the end of the first quarter, the Lakers led by two points despite shooting under 35 percent from the field.

Davis played his part, too. By halftime, the third-year super stud had 13 points and six rebounds.

In the third quarter, the Lakers' tired legs began to show. In a flash, the Pelicans got out to running and stretched the lead to double digits, as playing on the second night of a back-to-back began to show. Throughout the night, the Lakers failed to defend their goal and gave the home side too many easy looks inside. When the final buzzer rang, the Pelicans had 26 more points in the paint than the Lakers.

With the Lakers losing steam, Bryant tried to play hero again in the second half. This time, however, he was unable to conjure the level of magic. Bryant and the Lakers trailed by 13 points after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, the Pelicans ran away with the contest. The lead would grow to 20 points, and even a couple highlight plays from Bryant had no impact on the outcome. With Ronnie Price ejected due to a hard foul above the neck, Bryant came back early and logged 36 minutes before being pulled late in the fourth quarter. The final score of 109-102 sounded closer than the second half actually was.

Bryant finished with 33 points, five assists and four rebounds, and he should remain top of the NBA in the scoring category. Davis finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, and he should retain his place at the top of the NBA in both rebounding and blocks.

The Lakers fell to 1-7 on the season and 0-4 on the road. Next, the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs come to Staples Center on Friday night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers at Pelicans: A Date with Anthony Davis]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:44:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Pelicans_Anthony-Davis.jpg

Anthony Davis is special.

In a league full of physically gifted giants, Davis brings added athleticism that rises to the top of the pool. Twenty-one years into his life, Davis is already into his third year in the NBA and leading the league in rebounds, 13.2, and blocks, 4.2, per game.

Offensively, the man who proudly wears his uni-brow continues to improve with each passing season. In his rookie season, Davis averaged 13.5 points per game. That number increased to 20.8 points per game in his sophomore season. Six games into his third season, Davis currently ranks fourth in the NBA with 24.8 points per game (tied with LeBron James).

Remarkably, Davis has been able to make these dramatic scoring improvements without wavering his field goal percentage. Davis shot 52 percent from the field in each of his first two seasons. In his third season, the most prized Pelican continues to shoot 52 percent despite shooting more often.

On Wednesday, the LA Lakers come to visit Davis and the Pelicans. Kobe Bryant scored 28 points in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. Bryant leads the NBA in scoring with 26.7 points per game, and on Wednesday, the league's top scorer comes up against the NBA's next big star.

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers are desperate to get their second win of the season and their first win on the road. With San Antonio waiting in Los Angeles on Friday and Golden State coming to Staples Center on Sunday, the early schedule for the Lakers does not bear many gifts.

Looking at the next three games, Wednesday night in New Orleans may well be the most winnable in the set.

Game Notes: The Lakers are still without Wayne Ellington, who was provided an indefinite leave after his father was shot and killed in Philadelphia on Sunday night. Nick Young (thumb) is back shooting but has not had any contact. Ryan Kelly, who missed the start of the season and training camp with hamstring issues, missed the last two games due to a tight hamstring. The Lakers continue to be cautious with the second-year player in the hopes to avoid another tear. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Has No Fear]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:27:32 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-no-fear.jpg

"There's nothing truly to be afraid of, when you think about it," Kobe Bryant told ESPN Los Angeles' Baxter Holmes after Tuesday loss.

After setting the record for most missed shots in NBA history, Bryant seemed to be unaware that he had just set a mark that would likely stand for all eternity.

As would be expected, Bryant did not fixate on the negative implications of missing his 13,418th shot. Instead, he attempted to explain the mentality that allowed him to not simply achieve that mark but also the mentality that made him one of the greatest scorers in NBA history.

"Well, I'm a shooting guard that's played 19 years," Bryant emphasized the word "shooting" mixed with his longevity to explain the record.

Then, as he does often, Bryant dug deeper into his own psyche.

"You've got to step up and play, man. You can't worry about criticism," Bryant said. "You can't worry about failure. You really can't worry about that stuff."

While "No Fear" may be a catchy phrase to put on a t-shirt, Bryant was adamant that he had never felt fear on a basketball court. Multiple times, Bryant reiterated that he had no reason to be afraid.

"You've got to go out and figure that out and play and do the best you can, and whatever happens, happens," Bryant said. "You can't be held captive by the fear of failure or the fear of what people may say."

Bryant, who has a reputation for keeping a mental tab of everyone who has ever burned him, insisted that he was not at all concerned with the public perception of his play.

"And I don't mean to sound cavalier when I say that, but never," he insisted that "fear" was not in his basketball vocabulary. "It's basketball. I've practiced and practiced and played so many times."

When pressed on whether he had even felt afraid for a single moment on a court, Bryant answered crisply: "No." 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Comeback Falls Short in Memphis]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:53:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Grizzlies-Kobe-Bryant-11-11-14.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers entered Memphis as decided underdogs but put up a good fight before eventually falling 107-102 on Tuesday night.

Prior to the game starting, the Lakers were shocked with news that Wayne Ellington’s father was shot and killed in Philadelphia on Sunday night. Ellington, who is in his first season with the Lakers, was granted an indefinite leave from the team, and by all accounts, the locker room was hit hard by the news.

"It kind of puts everything in perspective," Lakers' coach Byron Scott said before the game.
However, the Lakers still had a game to play Tuesday night.

Starting out, the Lakers struggled to grab hold of the glass, as the Grizzlies racked up eight offensive rebounds in the first quarter. The visitors, however, cleaned up that aspect of the game, and only gave up one offensive rebound in the second quarter.

Carlos Boozer continued his hot hand from Sunday's win over the Charlotte Hornets. Boozer scored 10 points in the first half on 5-7 shooting from the field. Prior to fouling out in the fourth quarter, Boozer finished with 20 points on 8-13 shooting.

To go along with Boozer, Wesley Johnson finally stepped up and had his best game of the young season. Johnson also had 10 points in the first half, and the lengthy forward was active on both ends. Johnson finished with 15 points on the night.

Of course, Kobe Bryant led the Lakers, per usual. Bryant had 11 points in the first half and finished with 28 points on the night. This night, however, will likely be better remembered as the moment Bryant passes John Havlicek as the NBA player with the most missed shots in the history of the NBA.

With about six minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Bryant missed a shot for the 13,418th time in his 19-year career. Although the record may have been worth the historical perspective, it was a testament to Bryant’s longevity rather than his poor shooting. Havlicek, like Bryant, was one of the greatest scorers in NBA history and a multiple-time champion. With the Celtics, Havlicek won eight NBA titles and even collected an NBA Finals MVP.

Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan are also in the top six in that category. No coincidence, Bryant, Jordan, Malone and Abdul-Jabbar are the top four scorers in NBA history.

Back to the present day, Bryant's Lakers hung with the Grizzlies for the better part of three quarters until the home team created a 10-point cushion that would extend to 17 points early in the fourth quarter.

Down 17 points, Scott turned to Bryant and called his star player off the bench. Right on cue, the 36-year-old caught fire and led the Lakers' comeback. Promptly, the Lakers rallied to within three points with about a minute and a half to play. Down three points, the Lakers had an open look with about 30 seconds to play. Jordan Hill, who had a tough night with his set shot, missed the open shot, and the rebound fell to Memphis.

"I take all the blame for that because that's not what we wanted at that particular time," Scott said about the play that led to Hill's shot.

The Lakers fell to 1-6 on the season but do not have much time to mull over the loss. The team took the next flight out of Memphis. On Wednesday night, the Lakers will be in New Orleans to take on the Pelicans.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Size Matters as Lakers Face Grizzlies]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 12:35:32 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-at-Grizzlies.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers (1-5) are coming off their first victory of the 2014-15 season, while the Memphis Grizzlies (6-1) are coming off their first loss of the year. In this manner, the Lakers and Grizzlies are opposites, but the opposites do not stop there.

The most noticeable way the Lakers and Grizzlies are opposites is size. The Grizzlies get the majority of their offensive production from the big man tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. In sharp contrast, the Lakers rely on the backcourt duo of Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin to get their engine going.

Sharing of minutes also offer a major differences between these two teams. Whereas the Grizzlies depend on a core of six players, the Lakers have an eight-man rotation that could even expand to 10. Only six players on the Grizzlies average 20 or more minutes per game. Wayne Ellington, Ronnie Price, Ed Davis, Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin, Jordan Hill, Wesley Johnson and Kobe Bryant all average greater than 20 minutes per game for the Lakers.

Speaking of Bryant, Memphis was the site of the injury that shelved no. 24 six games into his 2013-14 comeback. Six games into the 2014-15 season, Bryant appears to have regained his sea legs. Averaging 26.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, Bryant's individual match up against Tony Allen should be spotlighted.

In the past, Bryant has singled out Allen as one of the elite defenders worthy of covering the all-time great shooting guard. Allen famously matched up against Bryant in the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals, back with Allen was a member of the Boston Celtics. The 32-year-old is still considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, and matching up against a 36-year-old Bryant offers a strong any player who takes pride in defense.

The Lakers enter the Memphis' Grind House as decided underdogs on Tuesday night, but that will be a recurring theme for these 2014-15 Lakers. As long as they have Bryant, though, the Lakers always have a chance. Tip-off is 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Game Notes: For the first time in many years, this will not be a match up of Gasol brothers going head-to-head. Pau Gasol left the Lakers for the Chicago Bulls in the offseason. Lakers forward Ryan Kelly's status was upgraded to questionable as the second-year recovers from a tightened hamstring.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hanley Ramirez Says No to Dodgers' Qualifying Offer]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 11:10:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/han.jpg

The Dodgers' usually boisterous Twitter feed sent a very curt message Monday announcing that shortstop Hanley Ramirez told the team, "No, thank you," to its $15.3 million qualifying offer that would've kept him in Los Angeles for the 2015 season.

 

 

That decision was, essentially, what everyone was waiting for since Ramirez sent out the signal flare last week on, where else -- Twitter.

 

 

So, free agency it is for the soon to be 31-year-old hard-hitting shortshop who immediately becomes one of the most coveted players on the market because of his bat.

Because the Dodgers extended the one-year offer, they'll receive a first or second round draft pick from the team that signs Ramirez.

The organization will also have to find a replacement, and that'll most likely come through free agency. As it stands now, Justin Turner would be the most likely fit as the starter. It's doubtful that Darwin Barney, $25 million man Erisbel Arruebarrena, or defensive star Miguel Rojas are the answer. Plus, shortshop in waiting Corey Seager is still at least a year away from being big league ready.

The team will miss Ramirez's offense. When healthy, Ramirez showed he’s still one of the best hitting shortstops in the game. In his two-plus years with the Dodgers he hit .299 with a .997 OPS.

Ramirez’s defense, however, is on the decline, which could make his landing on another roster a murky situation. But, he has reportedly told teams that he’s open to playing another position. Thanks to fellow Dominican native Alfonso Soriano, Ramirez has a road map to follow at this crossroads in his career. 

Soriano, much like Ramirez with the Marlins, was a slugging middle infielder in his formative years as a second baseman with the Yankees. Soriano, much like Ramirez, saw his defensive skills decline with age. Soriano, much like Ramirez, had a reputation as a guy who had crazy skills but lacked leadership qualities. And, Soriano, much like Ramirez, hit the free agent market at age 30 with questions looming over his head -- where will he play? Are his best years behind him? Is he really worth the long-term risk?

The now 38-year-old, retired Soriano turned those questions into a very lucrative, happy ending to his career. After a trade to the Washington Nationals in 2006, Soriano, albeit reluctantly, converted to left field that season. It paid off, handsomely. He led National League outfielders in assists (22), started in the All-Star game at the position and became the first player in Major League history to record 40-plus doubles (41), 40-plus homers (46) and 40-plus steals (41) in the same season.

His reward? An eight-year, $136 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

So, there you go, Hanley. The blueprint has been written.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant's Six Games]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 05:37:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-six-games-memphis.jpg

Six games. That is the number of games Kobe Bryant played during the 2013-14 NBA season. Six games. That is the number of games Bryant has played during the 2014-15 season. Without a doubt, he's not the same player he was a year ago, and that is a compliment to how great Bryant has looked for the Los Angeles Lakers in this young NBA season.

"I never really did notice him change his game," Lakers coach Byron Scott said about Bryant when recently asked how he'd seen Bryant adjust his game. "I think this year, everybody said, 'you know, he's going to have to change his game.'"

Bryant looks better than most anyone thought he would. Being 36-years old and recovering from a debilitating Achilles rupture and a fracture in his knee, Bryant was expected to look slower and older. He was meant to adjust his game for his newfound lack of mobility and explosiveness.

A year ago, Bryant did just that.

Coming off a major injury and joining a team that was already a couple months into the season, the 2013-14 version of Bryant struggled to feel out his limitations and adapt to his battered aging body. A year later, Bryant looks a year younger. The 2014-15 version looks comfortable on the court, and he is strikingly similar to the player that existed prior to the Achilles injury.

Numerically speaking, in the six games Bryant played during the 2013-14 season, the 35-year-old shooting guard attempted only 73 shots and averaged only 13.8 points per game. The 36-year-old Bryant has attempted nearly twice as many shots, 142, and is averaging nearly twice as many points per game, 26.5, despite playing in the exact same number of games, six.

"I think now, he even sees, he still has 'it,'" Scott said his early training camp discussions with Bryant to focus on the post and positioning closer to the basket were no longer relevant. "He's far from being done--like a lot of people thought."

While the short-lived 2013 return provided a glimpse into how the Black Mamba could warp his game to lengthen his career when he inevitably loses his quickness, the 2014 product has provided proof that his game need not be adjusted just yet.

In his final appearance of the 2013-14 season, the Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies on the road. Bryant felt most comfortable in his new found role. He shot 50 percent from the field, only took 18 shots and added five assists and four rebounds to his 21 points. He picked his spots and played a crucial role down the game-winning stretch.

Fast forward 11 months, and Bryant is back to attacking with reckless aggression and crazed determination. Limitations are not in his vocabulary, and even age does not appear to be slowing down the player closer to 40 years than 30 years.

In one of his quietest performances of the young season, Bryant scored 21 points on 20 shots in the Lakers' victory on Sunday. On the heels of a 39-point performance, Bryant dropped to no. 2 in the NBA’s scoring race due to the only scoring 21 points.

To put this in perspective, Bryant never once topped the 21-point mark in his six-game cameo in 2013. In 2014, Bryant has only once failed to hit the 21-point mark, and that instance came on the Lakers’ season opener when he scored 19 points and sat for a significant portion of the fourth quarter.

With a smile, Scott added, "Right now, people around the league are saying, 'he's got a lot of juice left.'"



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Practice Report: Nov. 10]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:43:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Practice-11-10-14.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers met for practice on Monday morning following a much-needed victory on Sunday night.

With the team traveling to Memphis to face the Grizzlies on Tuesday night and to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Wednesday, Monday's practice did not allow much time to celebrate Sunday's victory.

"It was a good win," Lakers coach Byron Scott said when briefly looking back on the team's lone win. "The guys got a good taste of it last night."

 

Nick Young @swaggyp1 back shooting at practice #xmo #lakers #slomo

A video posted by Shahan Ahmed (@shahanla) on

Before enjoying the taste for too long, the coach began to look ahead.

"From this point, it's just going forward," Scott added. "Not taking a step back, that's the biggest thing we want to do right now is continue to grow as a basketball team."

For Lakers' forward Ed Davis, the trip to Memphis provided an opportunity to return to the team that cut him loose after a season and a half.

"Coach Scott is giving me the chance, and obviously, I'm stepping up," Davis said on Monday. "I'm ready for it."

Asked about whether he was not ready in Memphis or if he was not provided an opportunity to succeed with the Grizzlies, Davis said "100 percent," it was a lack of opportunity.

"It's a lot of motivation going back there because they gave up on me," the 25-year-old added. "It is a team that I definitely want to get a win against."

Scott said Ryan Kelly and the injured contingent would continue to travel with the team with Julius Randle and Steve Nash not expected to be part of that group. Randle was visible at practice working on an arm bike, but the rookie with a broken leg is expected to miss the season.

Nick Young was also at practice, and on this occasion, the Lakers' guard could be seen shooting jump shots. Scott, however, insisted that Young's timeline for recovery had not changed at all.

The Lakers travel to Memphis on Monday evening and will tip off in Tennessee at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers: Inside the Numbers]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:01:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers_Kobe-Bryant-Jeremy-Lin.jpg

After six games, we decided to dig into the box scores and highlight numbers that stand out for the 1-5 Los Angeles Lakers. 

71.1: Lakers' backup forward Ed Davis has been shooting lights out in the early part of the 2014-15 season. The 25-year-old has made 27 of his 38 shot attempts on the season, meaning he's shooting 71.1 percent from the field. Before categorizing this statistics as based on too small a sample size, keep in mind that Davis made 27 of his 37 attempts in the Lakers' preseason, which adds up to 73.0 percent.

52.3: Lakers' forward Jordan Hill has expanded his game to include a set shot from about 15 feet away. For a player who was primarily known for put-backs, layups and dunks, Hill's set shot has quickly become a staple of the big man's game. Six games into the season, Hill's field goal percentage stands at 52.3 percent, which is slightly higher than his career mark of 51.5 percent. Considering a significant number of Hill's buckets are coming from further away from the basket, this percentage is a testament to the work Hill put in to get his shot right.

34.4: At 36 years of age, Kobe Bryant's minutes were expected to drop in order to avoid injuries. Through six games, however, Bryant had already logged a performance that lasted 44 minutes and 15 seconds. After six games, Bryant is averaging 34.5 minutes, which is only slightly down from his career average of 36.6 minutes. With the Lakers facing a back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday, Bryant's minutes should be closely monitored over the upcoming road trip. 

48: On the discussion of minutes, one of the most interesting statistics is the average per 48 minutes, which extrapolates players' averages to estimate their statistics if they played a full 48 minutes. Standing out in this category, Bryant is averaging 36.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per 48 minutes. Another standout, Davis averages 21.9 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per 48 minutes. Per 48 minutes, Davis leads the team in rebounding, block shots and would be third on the team in scoring, behind only Bryant and Hill. Currently, Davis only averages 22.6 minutes per game, but expect that value to increase if his production remains steady.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Finally Get 1st Win of Season]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 23:55:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Hornets-11-9-14.jpg

After the worst start in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers since arriving in California, the team finally got its first win of the 2014-15 season Sunday night when the Lakers beat the Charlotte Hornets 107-92 to move to 1-5 on the season.

In his pregame interview, Lakers' coach Byron Scott emphasized the Lakers' need to receive positive contributions from Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer in order to balance the dependence on Kobe Bryant. Scott pointed to Boozer and Lin as the guys that needed to step up. The coach's comments foreshadowed a third quarter that would prove to be decisive.

In an ugly first half at Staples Center, the Lakers only notched 42 points and trailed the Hornets by nine points at the halftime intermission. Bryant led all scorers at that point, but the Lakers' star player had started slow, making only one of his first seven shots.

With the Lakers failing to impress and their star player not having his best shooting night, Lin and Boozer stepped forward for a third quarter run that would take the Lakers from down nine points to up 12 points over the 12-minute span.

During that crucial third period, Boozer and Lin combined to hit eight of their 10 shots, and the duo combined to score 22 of the Lakers' 34 points in the quarter. Along with that, the Lakers held the Hornets to only 13 points over those 12 minutes of basketball.

One reason the Lakers enjoyed success in the third period was the three-point shot. After missing all eight attempts from long distance in the first half, Lin sparked a flurry of three-point activity in the third quarter. The Lakers would go on to make four of five three-pointers in the period, and the crowd noise seemed to increase with every made shot.

After the game, Scott said the third quarter was the blueprint for how this team could be successful, "on both ends."

In the fourth quarter, the Lakers held the Hornets at bay and increased their lead to 17 points at one point. Lin and Boozer continued to make plays down the stretch. Lin finished with 21 points on 8-12 shooting from the field to go along with seven assists. Boozer finished with 16 points and five rebounds. Despite a slow start, Bryant was named the in-arena player of the game, as the "Black Mamba" tabbed 21 points, six rebounds and four assists.

It may not have been the prettiest 48 minutes, but the Lakers played a beautiful second half and collected a much-needed victory--the first for Scott as head coach of the Lakers.

The Lakers play in Memphis on Tuesday night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Host Hornets on Sunday at Staples]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 13:34:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Lakers-Hornets_Kobe-Bryant.jpg

Looking for their first win of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night at Staples Center.

Following a gutty 39-point performance that nevertheless ended in defeat, Kobe Bryant will look to guide his struggling cohorts to their first victory of the 2014-15 season. Despite the Lakers' record, Bryant has impressed and out-performed most everyone's expectations early in the season.

"I would never bet against him," Lakers' coach Byron Scott said about Bryant after Sunday morning's shootaround. "He's amazing. He has, I will say this, surprised me. He really has. I just shake my head some days watching how hard he continues to work."

Bryant played over 44 minutes and launched 37 shot attempts in the Lakers' loss to the Phoenix Suns, but the 36-year-old's quick return to form has even caught his coach by surprise.

"His legs and everything just seem to be getting stronger. He's getting more explosive. The baseline drive against the Clippers," Scott continued. "He has surprised me, but--I don't know if it makes sense--he hasn't surprised me."

Asked about the 37 shots, Scott said he was not concerned in the least. He said that Bryant's "natural instincts" were to take the pressure off his teammates and shoulder the load. Obviously, Scott said he preferred those shot attempts to be lower and Jeremy Lin, in particular, to take a few more shots.

Bryant, though, was not the point of concern. Scott said the other players needed to learn how to play with the great player and not simply defer when Bryant is on the court.

"All the people that said 'he's done' and that 'he's the 40th best player...' all that does is fuel him," Scott laughed.

With Bryant leading the NBA in scoring with 27.6 points per game, one would have a difficult time denying that the "Black Mamba" is back. On Sunday evening, he will hope to bring his teammates along for their first victory of the season.

Tip-off for the Lakers and Hornets is 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Notes: Byron Scott called Ryan Kelly's involvement on Sunday night "doubtful." Nick Young also remains sidelined. The Charlotte Hornets were previously known as the Charlotte Bobcats. The old Charlotte Hornets franchise moved to New Orleans and is now known as the New Orleans Pelicans. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Byron Scott Reacts to Steve Nash's Letter to Fans]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 01:42:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers_SteveNashLettertofans_1200x675_355613763788.jpg Lakers coach Byron Scott commented on Steve Nash's open letter to Lakers' fans, and talked about the great point guard coming to terms with the end of his storied career at Lakers practice on Nov 8, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Steve Nash Writes Letter to Fans]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 13:41:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/184678482-1.jpg

In recent days, Steve Nash faced a great deal of criticism for posting a short Instagram video on him swinging a golf club at a driving range. Los Angeles Lakers' coach Byron Scott defended Nash's right to live his life, but Nash has since taken the video down. On Friday night just shy of 9 p.m. Pacific Time, the Canadian addressed the backlash he faced in an open letter to Laker fans posted on his official Facebook page:

"I'm doing what I've always done which is share a bit of my off-court life in the same way everyone else does. Going forward I hope we all can refocus our energies on getting behind these Lakers. This team will be back and Staples will be rocking."

Prior to making the plea to fans, Nash described his injury in great detail so fans could understand why he was unable to play for the 2014-15 NBA season.

"I have a ton of miles on my back. Three buldging disks (a tear in one), stenosis of the nerve route and spondylolisthesis. I suffer from sciatica and after games I often can't sit in the car on the drive home, which has made for some interesting rides. Most nights I'm bothered by severe cramping in both calves while I sleep, a result of the same damn nerve routes, and the list goes on somewhat comically. That's what you deserve for playing over 1,300 NBA games. By no means do I tell you this for sympathy - especially since I see these ailments as badges of honor - but maybe I can bring some clarity."

Nash attempted to explain that swinging a golf club or even playing in a recreational basketball game in the park cannot compare to the physicality of a single NBA game.

"This may be hard for people to understand unless you've played NBA basketball, but there is an incredible difference between this game and swinging a golf club, hiking, even hitting a tennis ball or playing basketball at the park. Fortunately those other activities aren't debilitating, but playing an NBA game usually puts me out a couple of weeks. Once you're asked to accelerate and decelerate with Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving it is a completely different demand."

With over 18 years in the NBA, Nash's spirit failed to carry his body to year 19. Looking back at his surefire Hall-of-Fame career, one cannot help but feel sad about the way it ended.

"I want to play more than anything in the world," Nash states in his letter at one point. "I've lost an incredible amount of sleep over this disappointment."

However, Nash appears to be slowly recovering from the mental toll of working tirelessly to return to the Lakers and falling short in such a manner that his professional career is likely over. That is not an easy reality to face after nearly two decades in the profession and roughly 30 years playing the sport.

Nash will probably turn up kicking a soccer ball, shooting a basketball or doing something else active because he is one of the greatest athletes of his generation, but that should not hold any bearing on his affiliation with the Lakers or his passion for the sport.

At 40 years of age, the greatest Canadian basketball player of all time is no longer capable of playing in the NBA, but it certainly was not for want of trying.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Byron Talks About Magic's HIV Announcement]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 14:01:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Byron-Scott-Lakers-coaching-staff.jpg

"Everything," Byron Scott said when asked what he remembered about Nov. 7, 1991.

On that date, Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA due to contracting the HIV virus. Scott was Johnson's teammate and close friend.

"I was at Loyola Marymount at the gym," Scott remembered. "(Former Lakers' coach) Mike Dunleavy said we had a mandatory meeting at the (Great Western) Forum."

Scott said that he was with James Worthy, and the pair of teammates attempted to figure out why they had this meeting. Scott said they had "pretty much" figured it out before the duo headed home to shower up.

"Unfortunately, back in those days, we didn't have practice facilities, so we couldn't take showers and get dressed and have lunch and all that good stuff, so I went home," Scott continued hinting that the modern NBA players may be a tad bit spoiled.

Scott said he heard the news to confirm what he already believed the moment he got in the car.

"Got home and took a shower, sat on my bed with my head in my hands," Scott continued to reminisce about that unforgettable day 23 years ago. "And my wife came in and she was hysterical."

Then, he went to the meeting.

"Then, went to the forum, and Earvin told us what he was about to tell the world, and there wasn't a dry tear in the locker room."

Scott feared the worst. The Lakers’ coach said from his limited knowledge of HIV, he thought it was a "death sentence."

"Twenty-three years later and he's making millions and millions of dollars being as only Earvin can be," Scott finished his recounting with a smile.

Johnson, who was one of the Lakers' harshest critics in recent years, was present when Scott was announced as the Lakers' coach and has continued to back the team despite an 0-5 start to the season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Is Kobe Bryant Shooting Too Much?]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 21:06:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-37-shots.jpg

At 27.6 points per game, Kobe Bryant leads the NBA in scoring during the young 2014-15 season.

Coming off two serious injuries and celebrating 36 years, Bryant was written off by analysts entering his 19th season in the league. ESPN famously ranked Bryant as the 40th best player in the NBA, and their analysts went a step further to question whether that ranking was too high.

Albeit a small sample size, Bryant has already shown enough to tear apart the preseason rankings. ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi, who has covered the cross-town Clippers' beat in recent years, was one of the voices that felt it necessary to address the preseason rankings.

With the discussion of Bryant being an elite player settled for the moment, the same questions that have following the shooting guard throughout his career have resurfaced. Namely, does he shoot too much?

Through five games, Bryant is averaging 24.4 field goal attempts per game. No one else in the NBA averages even 20. Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony are hovering at 19.4 and 19.2 field goal attempts per game, but no. 24 is averaging a full five shots more per game than his nearest competition.

Added to that, Bryant is in the top 10 in free throw attempts per game. Going to the foul line 8.8 times per game implies that Bryant is taking a few more shots that don't get registered as field goal attempts.

Obviously, criticizing Bryant for shooting too much is easy pickings these days, especially considering the Lakers have started 0-5. However, shooting at these levels is not new for the 19-year veteran. Provided thin rosters during the 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, Bryant averaged 23.6 field goal attempts per game during those three years.

Considering the Lakers' current roster, the main criticism of Bryant should not be his shooting; it should be his passing. In the season he tore his Achilles, Bryant averaged 6.0 assists per game. In the 13 seasons prior to that season, Bryant averaged between 4.5 and 6.3 assists per game. Regardless of who was on his team or how many times he shot the ball, Bryant fell into that respectable range of assists.

So far in the 2014-15 season, Bryant is averaging 2.8 assists per game. Even more pronounced in his last two outings, Bryant has missed open teammates and focused on taking his shot. As such, the "Black Mamba" is averaging 32.5 shots per game in the Lakers' last two losses to go along with only 1.0 assists per game.

Of course, Bryant’s assists would be higher if Carlos Boozer was able to finish at the rim with greater efficiency or if Ronnie Price was able to knock down a couple more three-pointers. Even with those factors taken into consideration, Bryant is falling into isolation far too often and, as a result, leaving his teammates feeling isolated. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Steve Nash Plays Golf, So What?]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 17:01:26 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/186973645.jpg

"Do people not understand there’s a difference between hitting a golf ball and playing NBA basketball?" A reporter asked Los Angeles Lakers' coach Byron Scott on Thursday.

The reporter was referring to a recent Instagram video Steve Nash posted where he hits a golf ball at a driving range (see below). The short grainy video was posted on Sunday, but it did not gain attention until after the Lakers had lost their fifth game of the season on Tuesday and had a day with no media allowed at practice on Wednesday.

Apparently, a day with no new Lakers' stories required reporters to go back a few days and point the finger at the 40-year-old Canadian who was already ruled out for the season.

"There are a whole lot of people who don't understand there's a difference between golf and basketball," Scott answered the inquisitive reporter with half a smirk. "Unfortunately, there's [sic] a lot of people out there like that."

 

Almost fell over. Glad my cheerleader was on hand.

A video posted by stephennash (@stephennash) on

Prior to the Lakers' final preseason game, the team announced that Nash would not play for the 2014-15 season due to his recurring back injury. By all accounts, Nash had been working his butt off throughout preseason to get right, but a decision that involved the Lakers' medical staff and Nash resulted in the future Hall of Fame point guard being ruled out for the duration of the 2014-15 season.

"The guy is hurt and can't play this year doesn't mean he can’t enjoy himself or have some fun while he's going through rehab and everything else," Scott said.

Whether he is kicking a soccer ball, swinging a golf club or even shooting a basketball, Nash is not coming back to the Lakers. No amount of golf swings will bring Nash back to the team, and the man deserves to enjoy his life, which no longer includes playing professional basketball.

Swinging a golf club at the driving range or even playing 18 holes of golf are not comparable to playing in an NBA game.

No one has ever questioned Nash’s work ethic or competitive spirit during his time in Los Angeles, and the decision to sit out the season had to be a difficult one for the Canadian. By the Lakers' account, the decision was made by the medical staff and Nash together. The decision to sit Nash was one that protected both the player and the team.

Scott concluded the conversation, "It probably doesn’t look good, but Jesus Christ! I mean, relax." 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Practice Report]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 13:52:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Practice-Report-11-6-14.jpg

"I think it’s more angry," LA Lakers' coach Byron Scott responded to whether he felt more angry or frustrated about the team's lack of defense through five games, all of which were losses.

Scott said the team suffered more from a "lack of focus" than a "lack of effort," and that was something Scott discussed with his players.

"I'm not angry," Scott clarified that, overall, he was not angered by what he had seen over the first five games. "The biggest thing with me right now…is that I see progress, from game one to game five. We played some really good basketball teams."

Defense, transition defense in particular, has been a point of focus for Scott since taking over the Lakers, and the coach beat that same drum on Thursday after practice. However, the coach was not satisfied with simply competing and losing games.

"I want to win games," Scott expressed clearly. "Any win is a win. I don't care who it’s against."

Scott said the mood in the locker room remained positive on the whole, as the team faces a prolonged stretch of practicing without games. After playing five games in first seven days of the season, the Lakers do not play until Sunday night against the Charlotte Hornets.

"I'm just ready to go. I’m just itching," Kobe Bryant said on Thursday. "These four days couldn't come at a worse time."

Bryant played over 44 minutes in the Lakers' loss Tuesday night and scored 39 points in the process. Still the 36-year-old was not happy about the time off. Scott said that the day after the loss, Bryant shot the ball for 30 minutes and told the coach he was ready to practice.

Wednesday, however, was a film day.

"I felt fine, actually," Bryant intimated how his body felt the day after playing extended minutes against Phoenix. "I felt pretty good."

Worth mentioning, Bryant leads the NBA in scoring with 27.6 points per game. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Gonzalez Wins Mexico's Male Player of the Year Award]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:01:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/163417845.jpg

My apologies to Adrian Gonzalez.

On Tuesday, I wrote how the Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman won his fourth Gold Glove Award.

What I failed to mention is that he won a more prestigious honor in his homeland of Mexico.

Heck, the Mexican government organization that's responsible for the award even tweeted about it:

 

El beisbolista Adrián González recibirá el Premio Nacional de Deportes 2014 #PND2014, categoría Deporte Profesional pic.twitter.com/e95R4uEVof
— CONADE (@CONADE) November 3, 2014

 

But, I don't follow them, so I didn't see it (lo siento). Even if I did, my Spanish is not good enough to decipher what it means anyway.

Luckily, the Dodgers' twitter feed saved me.

 

He's not stopping with the Gold Glove. Adrian Gonzalez also earns top Mexico sports award. http://t.co/ZAoDk2UX3S pic.twitter.com/lrQVsgJXkk
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) November 5, 2014

"It’s basically male athlete of the year for any sport in Mexico," Gonzalez told the Dodgers MLB.com blog.

He'll receive his award from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the president's official residence during a ceremony Dec. 1.

Gonzalez won the award once before in 2011 but says he had to miss the ceremony to attend the birth of his first daughter.

The 32-year-old is openly proud of his Mexican roots. Although he was born in San Diego, Gonzalez's parents are both Mexican born and he played for the Mexican National Team in the World Baseball Classic in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

OTHER NOTES:

- Gonzalez and Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe were both named Wilson and Major League Baseball's defensive player of the year winners, Wednesday, for their respective positions.

- Clayton Kershaw is officially a finalist for both the National League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Rookie Julius Randle Talks About Broken Leg]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:26:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LakersJuliusRandletalksmedia1142014_1200x675_353136707853.jpg Lakers rookie spoke to reporters about his broken leg and the mental and physical state of his rehabilitation.]]> <![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Amazes Fans, Lakers Still Lose]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:47:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-lose-Suns-Kobe-Bryant-39.jpg

"He plays every game like it's his last game," Los Angeles Lakers' coach Byron Scott said late Tuesday night.

Scott, obviously, was talking about a 36-year-old Kobe Bryant, who had just played over 44 minutes, scored 39 points, jumped over the a row of fans, pulled down nine rebounds and seemingly sacrificed his body on the Staples Center court to get the Lakers their first win of the season. Only, the Lakers didn't win.

The Phoenix Suns beat the Lakers 112-106, as even Bryant's time-stopping heroics could not earn a victory for the purple and gold. The Lakers fell to 0-5, and frustration was visible on players' faces and in Bryant's speech after the game.

"Just get a damn win," Bryant responded after the game when asked what his message was to the team.

"I hope they understand the relentlessness that you have to play with," Bryant attempted to put his competitive spirit into words. "I'll go out there and I’ll leave it on the floor, everything. Compete and be relentless."

Watching Bryant play on Tuesday night, no one could doubt that this 36-year-old was trying harder than anyone else on the court. Bryant cared more. He wanted it more.

"He’s going to do whatever he thinks he has to do for us to win a game," Scott summed up almost too perfectly.

Playing his fifth game in seven nights and coming off an Achilles injury and a fracture in his knee, the 36-year-old played with ferocity, aggression, energy and recklessness that a player half his age would have trouble conjuring.

"Whether I can shoulder the load and these minutes consistently? Probably not," Bryant said after the game. "But every now and then, it will be necessary."

On Tuesday night, it was necessary, but even a 39-point super human performance could not provide the Lakers their first win of the season.

Notes: Kobe Bryant registered 37 shot attempts on Tuesday night. The last time Bryant launched 37 or more field goal attempts was in the Lakers' overtime win over the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 22, 2012. The last time Bryant attempted 37 or more field goals in a regulation game was Jan. 8, 2010 against the Portland Trail Blazers. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Greinke, Gonzalez Win Gold Glove Awards]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 23:50:39 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/agoneglove.jpg

When the 2014 Major League Baseball Gold Glove Award winners were announced Tuesday, two Los Angeles Dodgers players had their names called: first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and pitcher Zack Greinke.

For Gonzalez, it’s his fourth Gold Glove. He also won in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Gonzalez committed six errors this past season and among first basemen he led in putouts (1,318) and tied for second in fielding percentage (.996). Gonzalez also had a UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) of 5.5, which rated him as an above average fielder, according to FanGraphs advanced defensive metrics. UZR is just a funky acronym that puts a number on how many runs a player saved or helped give up based on their fielding ability.

The play Gonzalez made that Dodger fans, and his teammate Clayton Kershaw, won’t soon forget is the pick he made on the throw from Miguel Rojas that saved Kershaw’s no-hitter.

Greinke was just as good at catching the ball from the mound as he was at throwing it. He made just one error in the 202 ⅓ innings he was on the field in 2014. The 31-year-old also led all National League pitchers in double plays (8) and something called “Range Factor” (1.81). According to MLB.com, "Range Factor" says that for every inning Greinke was on the field, he was involved in, on average, between one and two outs per inning.

The full list of Gold Glove winners:

National League:
C - Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
1B - Adrian Gonzalez, LA Dodgers
2B - DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies
3B - Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
SS - Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves
LF - Christian Yelich, Florida Marlins
CF - Juan Legares, NY Mets
RF - Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
P- Zack Greinke, LA Dodgers

American League:
C - Salvador Perez, KC Royals
1B - Eric Hosmer, KC Royals
2B - Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
3B - Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners
SS - JJ Hardy, Baltimore Orioles
LF - Alex Gordon, KC Royals
CF - Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
RF - Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles
P - Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers vs Suns Video Preview]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 18:03:20 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LakersSunspreview1142014_1200x675_352653891819.jpg Lakers coach Byron Scott has trouble saying "Goran Dragic" as he talks about the Lakers taking on the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 4, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Lakers Hoping to Earn First Win Vs. Suns]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 18:02:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Suns-11-4-14.jpg

The winless Los Angeles Lakers host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Playing their third home game of the young season, the 0-4 Lakers have already achieved a record of the dubious variety: worst start in the history of the franchise since moving to LA. That, however, remains in the past. The Lakers look to claim their first victory against the pacey Suns on Tuesday.

Both teams enter the evening affair well-rested, as the Suns and Lakers both have not played a game since Saturday. The Lakers lost to the Golden State Warriors by 23 points on the second night of back-to-back. Not to be outdone, the Suns lost to the Utah Jazz by 27 points on the second night of their back-to-back.

So far in this young season, the Suns have been unable to properly feature 2014 NBA Most Improved Player Goran Dragic. Through three games, Dragic is averaging 12.7 points and 1.3 assists per game. Those numbers are sharp declines from the 20.3 points and 5.9 assists Dragic averaged during the 2013-14 season.

That decline is due to the Suns adding Isaiah Thomas in the offseason. Despite coming off the bench, Thomas is averaging 18.7 points and 3.0 assists per game. Also, the Suns still have Eric Bledsoe, who has started the season averaging 12.7 points and 6.7 assists per game.

With this trio of guards leading the way, the Lakers will have to improve their transition defense, a point of concern early in the season.

When these two teams met in the Lakers’ second game of the season, the Suns particularly took advantage from beyond the three-point line. Phoenix hit 13 of 18 shots from beyond the arc, which grossly outmatched the Lakers’ four of 13 figures from distance.

In that department, the Lakers received a boost on Tuesday morning, when Ryan Kelly was passed fit for the purple and gold. Kelly missed training camp and the early part of the season due to hamstring injuries in both legs, but after completing practice and shootaround on Monday and Tuesday, the Lakers' power forward appears set to feature in a bench role on Tuesday night.

"The one thing about Ryan is that he has a high basketball IQ," Lakers' coach Byron Scott said on Tuesday morning. "He understand what we're doing by just sitting there and watching, so the few times that he's had a chance to practice, he really hasn't missed a whole lot as far as what we’re doing on both ends of the floor."

With Kelly providing a deep threat at a forward position, the Lakers can use the 6-foot 11-inch shooter to spread the floor and provide quality looks from distance. Also, Kelly's mobility should prove to be an asset for the Lakers' second unit struggling to create offense.

"He brings a different element as far as the fact that he can stretch the floor--he's a stretch floor," Scott said. "That’s something that we don’t have (without Kelly)."

Scott emphasized that he was happy that the team had been improving but added the team had been "not good enough." On Tuesday, Scott will hope the Lakers continue to show improvement to the point that the Lakers finally win a game.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ramirez Gets Qualifying Offer From Dodgers ]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 21:50:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/han.jpg

Hanley Ramirez has a pretty big decision to make.

He'll either accept the $15.3 million qualifying offer the Los Angeles Dodgers extended to him Monday for the 2015 season, or leave Tinseltown to test the free agent market.

Sure, it’s a pay cut from the $16 million he made last season. But, my guess is, Ramirez will realize he’d be smart to take the guaranteed money on the table rather than play a game of Russian roulette with his career. If he declines the deal there will suitors but likely not at that price tag. Although, I hear there’s a team in New York that's in the market for a shortstop since theirs decided to retire after 20 years, and we know money has never been an object in Yankee town. 

For the Dodgers the offer was a smart move. Frankly, they need him. Should Ramirez leave, the Dodgers two options to replace him, at least for now, would be Miguel Rojas (.181 AVG, 85 games in 2014) and Erisbel Arrubarrena (.191 AVG, 22 games in 2014). Option three would be 20-year-old Corey Seager who is the team’s top minor league prospect but is at least a year away from being big league ready.

Ramirez can still hit, when he’s on the field. Since coming to the Dodgers in 2012, the 30-year-old has hit .298 with 43 home runs and 172 RBIs and an .850 OPS.

But, he's also missed a combined 110 games the last two seasons, and as his health has declined so has his defense. According to FanGraphs advanced defensive metrics, of the 22 Major League shortstops who played at least 900 innings on defense in 2014 Ramirez ranked 21st overall. Looked at another way, in 919 ⅔ innings at short Ramirez had 15 errors. Alexi Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox also had 15, but he played in 458 more innings on defense than Ramirez. That’s the equivalent of nearly 51 more games.

If Ramirez decides to jump ship, the Dodgers would receive a draft pick from the team he eventually signs with. He’s got until November 10th to make up his mind.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Practice Report: Ryan Kelly Close]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 16:04:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Practice-Kobe-Bryant-11-3-14.jpg

"I got about an hour in today, a lot of running up and down--really my first 5-on-5 action," Los Angeles Lakers' second-year forward Ryan Kelly said after Monday's practice. 

Kelly missed training camp and the start of the 2014-15 season due to issues with both hamstrings. However, the forward appears set to make his 2014-15 Los Angeles Lakers' debut and could even feature as early as Tuesday night against Phoenix.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow," Lakers' coach Byron Scott said when asked about Kelly playing on Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns. "He went through about an hour of practice today. We'll see how he reacts tomorrow morning, and he'll go through shootaround, if he can. Then, we'll go from there."

After Monday's practice, Scott talked about defense winning championships, so his emphasis would not change even if the results were not immediately visible. Scott said the team had only been together only five weeks, so he was undeterred by the slow progress.

"I'm trying to get them to understand who I am and what I'm all about," Scott said.

Although the Lakers are 0-4, which is the worst start for the team since moving to Los Angeles, the team had some bright spots. One of those bright spots is Jordan Hill.

"I told him he should average a double-double," Scott said about Hill.

Hill is averaging 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game over the first four games of the season. In particular, Hill has been able to hit a mid-range shot that was not a part of his game previously. Scott said he encouraged the Lakers' big man to shoot that shot, as it was something Hill regularly practiced and made during training camp.

The Lakers may be off to record bad start, but the coach did not seem down about the progress.

"It's only been five weeks," Scott said. "I still got a ways to go." 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["I'm A Laker," Kobe Bryant Says He's Here to Stay]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 12:20:09 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Kobe-Bryant-11-3-14.jpg

Losers of their first four games, the Los Angeles Lakers are off to the worst start in the history of the franchise since the team arrived in Los Angeles, but Kobe Bryant is not wavering on his commitment to the the Lakers.

"I've enjoyed a great amount of success here. You can't just enjoy the successful times and then run away from the bad ones," Bryant told Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Marc Spears. "No, I don't even think about [departing]. I'm a Laker."

When analyzing the Lakers' first four losses, at least two of those defeats could be placed on NBA schedule-makers giving the purple and gold four games in five days, including two home and away back-to-backs.

The losses to the Phoenix Suns and to the Golden State Warriors were expected because both teams like to run, and the Lakers faced them on their respective home openers and on the second nights of back-to-backs.

In their home opener against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers laid an egg. They started flat and the uncomfortable lineup variances caused by training camp injuries did not help the Lakers' cause. The easy explanation is that Houston is a better team than the Lakers, and Dwight Howard and the Rockets beat a lesser team.

The loss against the Clippers hurt deepest. The Lakers had the opportunity to claim a meaningful home victory, but Bryant stumbled at the end of the game and finished the fourth quarter having made only one of his last seven shots. In a close game, Bryant showed a bit of rust down the stretch, and that stumble allowed critics to raise their voices and write off the 36-year-old star.

In the following game, however, Bryant displayed his uncanny ability to hit improbable shots and catch fire. A couple of his shots during a 19-point third quarter, however, were ridiculous by any measure, i.e. 35-foot three-point attempts.

The Lakers' road back to the top is not going to be smooth sailing. At the moment, it feels like the Lakers are going down a steep incline with a rusty set of brakes that don't seem to be working.

"We can't get discouraged by it," Bryant said. "It's a very long season. You just have to stay the course. Keep on looking to improve, keep on looking to get better and things will eventually break.

"Lakers fans know it's a process. Things can turn pretty quickly. We've seen it there before. If there is anything we're relying on, we're relying on our history, what we've been able to accomplish and how quickly we are able to turn things around."

Fans may not be happy with the state of the team or the product on the floor, but having Bryant committed and standing by the team makes the process easier and somewhat bearable.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Klay Thompson Kills Lakers, Scores 41]]> Sat, 01 Nov 2014 22:00:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Warriors-Kobe-Bryant-11-1-14.jpg

On Saturday night in Oakland, Klay Thompson celebrated his new $70 million contract with a career night and a 127-104 victory for the Golden State Warriors over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors improved to 2-0 on the season in large part due to a career-high 41 points from Thompson. Meanwhile, the Lakers dropped to 0-4 for the first time in Lakers' history since the franchise moved to LA.

On the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers struggled to hang around in the second half despite Kobe Bryant hitting a wide array of circus shots and catching fire at one point. During the third period, Bryant scored 19 points, but the Lakers struggled to stop the Warriors' scoring duo all night long.

Along with Thompson, Stephen Curry was deadly. The Warriors' point guard finished with 31 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and three steals. The backcourt duo combined for 72 points, as they combined to splash in eight of the Warriors' 11 three-pointers.

The Lakers played well for the majority of the game, so it was not all doom and gloom. Jordan Hill continued to make his set shot from 15 feet away and finished with 23 points on the night.

"He's had two great games," Lakers coach Byron Scott said about Hill after the contest. "He's playing really well offensively. Defensively, I'm still asking more from him."

Hill was able to continue building off the progress he displayed in Friday night's loss to the Clippers, but Jeremy Lin fell back into the abyss. Lin failed to make a single shot against the Warriors and finished with six points and six assists to go along with five turnovers and five fouls. Lin had a night to forget.

"I feel terrible about how I played tonight," Lin said after the game. "I didn't give the team what they need from me."

In more positive news, Ed Davis continued to be the Lakers' most reliable player off the bench. The power forward added 13 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes at Oracle Arena. Also, Wesley Johnson had his best game of the young season with 15 points and four rebounds.

Ultimately, though, the Lakers fell to 0-4 after losing four games to strong Western Conference teams in five nights. After the day off on Sunday, the Lakers will practice Monday morning and play the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night in the hopes to finally win a game.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>