Monthly Archive for February, 2010

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Kidd to Replace Kobe in All-Star Game

DALLAS, Feb. 11, 2010 – Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd and New York Knicks forward David Lee have been named by NBA commissioner David Stern to Kobe Bryantreplace injured West All-Star guard Kobe Bryant (ankle) of the Los Angeles Lakers and East All-Star guard Allen Iverson (personal reasons) of the Philadelphia 76ers, respectively, in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas.

Kidd, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time All-NBA First Team selection, will be making his 10th NBA All-Star Game appearance. Lee, in his fifth NBA season, has recorded 30 double-doubles on the season for the Knicks and will be making his first NBA All-Star appearance.

West All-Star head coach George Karl and East All-Star head coach Stan Van Gundy will determine which players will replace Bryant and Iverson in the starting lineup.

The NBA All-Star Game will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages worldwide at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 14. All-Star Central

Farmar Bombs Away Against Jazz

59541458Prior to L.A.’s Wednesday evening tip off in Utah, Lakers guard Jordan Farmar had his three-point stroke rolling in pregame warmups.

Teamed with Adam Morrison, Farmar nailed triple after triple to beat assistant coach Brian Shaw and Sasha Vujacic six consecutive times in a two-on-two shooting drill that takes place before every game.

As it turned out, that stroke carried right into the actual game: Farmar hit 4-of-4 from distance, crucial shots as the rest of the Lakers were only 1-of-9 from three-point range.

“My stroke felt great before the game, but more than anything I’ve been trying to get to the basket,” said Farmar, who scored 18 points off the bench, including some finishes at the rim. “But Sasha hit me with a nice pass at the end of the first quarter, and when that one went in, I knew I was going to continue to feel that stroke.”

Farmar went on to swish three more three-pointers, two off screen and rolls between his teammates, with the final triple – which came from 25 feet with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter – serving as an early dagger, quickly turning Utah’s ‘can we still do this?’ 12-point deficit into a slammed door 15-point mountain.

With Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum out of the game, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol were massive for the Lakers as well, combining for 47 points, 30 rebounds, five assists, four steals and seven blocks. Paired with Farmar, the three were a modicum of efficiency, making 24-of-35 shots (69 percent). But as Farmar explained, the Lakers got something from everybody else as well in the 96-81 victory.

“Nobody wants Andrew or Kobe to be hurt, but it does give guys more opportunities to go out there and do what they can do,” said Farmar. “Most touches run through Kobe, and after Pau (Gasol), Andrew probably gets the next most opportunities. So the touches had to disperse somewhere, and that’s going to start with Pau, Lamar and Ron (Artest).

“But you saw Sasha making big plays, Shannon (Brown) doing his thing, myself being able to be aggressive. It just helps everyone play more in rhythm, and that’s what we had to do with (Bryant and Bynum) out.”

Even when Bryant and Bynum both likely return after the All-Star break, the Lakers can use a back up point guard who’s made nearly 42 percent of his three-pointers in January and February combined.

Postgame Videos from Utah




Lakers 96, Jazz 81: Running Diary

59541330Click here for the Lakers Gameday Page
We took a look at the Lakers – Jazz contest in Salt Lake City while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as the Lakers closed out their pre-All-Star-break schedule.

Lakers: Andrew Bynum
Jazz: Kosta Koufos

Lakers: Fisher, Brown, Artest, Odom, and Gasol
Jazz: Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur

Kobe Bryant Misses 3rd Straight Game, Fisher First to 1,000
When Kobe Bryant missed his first game since Dec. 8, 2006 in Portland on Saturday, he had played in 999 regular season games. Tonight in Utah, Derek Fisher had joined him with 999 games played after starting against the Blazers and Spurs on Monday. Thus, when Fisher started and Bryant stayed in the locker room rehabbing his ankle, Fisher beat Bryant – by a game – to 1,000 for their respective careers. For more, CLICK HERE.

59541458First Quarter
7:39 Yesterday, Lamar Odom went to have an MRI on his sore left foot, but the results were negative and he said he’d play against the Jazz. That begs the question, what sore foot? Odom was everywhere early on, scoring consecutive and-1 buckets – the second a big driving dunk – to get to eight points in the first four minutes and earn a 15-10 lead for the Lakers.

6:19 Getting his second straight start in the absence of Kobe Bryant, Shannon Brown nailed his third shot in four attempts to get to seven points early. This was a nice sign for L.A., since Brown made only 3-of-13 attempts against San Antonio in a Monday start for eight points.

0:00.2 Jordan Farmar capped a terrific 12-0 Lakers run with a buzzer-beating three-pointer as the clock expired, the play a result of Pau Gasol’s third block of the quarter at the other end. The big run also included Odom’s third and-1 play (he finished the quarter with 11 points and six rebounds) and a gorgeous passing play from Odom to Brown on the wing and finally Gasol, who tapped in Brown’s errant alley-oop pass with one hand off glass. Pretty, pretty basketball from the Lakers to earn a 13-point lead after one.

Second Quarter
8:38 A lineup composed of Farmar, Brown, Sasha Vujacic, Josh Powell and D.J. Mbenga – usually the second team in practice when L.A. is healthy – ran off a quick 5-0 run to push L.A.’s lead to 16 points at 42-26. First came Farmar’s second three-pointer (eight points), then a pretty play in transition orchestrated by Vujacic, who stole the ball from C.J. Miles then dropped if off behind his back in transition for a one-handed Mbenga dunk.

5:26 The bench continued an impressive stretch with another Mbenga throwdown in transition – again courtesy of Vujacic’s steal – and another Farmar bucket at the rim. L.A.’s backup point guard thus reached 10 points in 10 minutes on 4-of-5 shooting, including two triples, allowing the Lakers to maintain its 16-point lead.

0:41.9 Gasol’s offensive rebound was L.A.’s eighth of the half, and his put-back layup gave him 12 points to go along with 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. The Jazz managed to hit two free throws after missing eight of their first 13 to pull two points back, but the Lakers still took a 56-41 lead into the tunnel. Odom finished with 13 points and seven boards in the half, while Farmar’s 10 points and Vujacic’s three steals and four assists were key off the bench.

59541333Third Quarter
7:54 Gasol’s line started to look ridiculous again, swelling to 16 points, 15 boards, three blocks and three assists while the Lakers added a point to their halftime lead after four minutes.

5:12 After missing his previous five shots, Brown skied upwards from a standstill position under the rim to throw down a dunk that put the Lakers up 18, matching the largest deficit from which Utah had come back all season. Meanwhile, the loudest the Jazz fans got all game was when Ashton Kutcher (err, Kyle Korver) checked in for the first time.

2:02 On the same day he was selected for Team USA’s pool of players, Odom continued to shine by first converting his fourth and-1 layup, then drawing consecutive fouls while cutting to the hoop, making three of four free throws to reach 19 points and 10 rebounds. Sometimes it’s too easy to forget how good Odom – who usually comes off the bench – can be due to L.A.’s depth of talent. The quarter ended with the Lakers holding a 19-point lead, their final bucket coming on Farmar’s third triple in as many attempts.

Fourth Quarter
9:35 The Lakers, for the first time all game, had a poor two-minute stretch lowlighted by consecutive turnovers on offense. Utah capitalized with back-to-back buckets, but the lead remained at 16, much work to be done for the Jazz.

6:10 Scroll back up to see how many times we’ve mentioned Odom’s name tonight. Can’t help it. He almost literally couldn’t have played better, helping halt Utah’s comeback attempt with a deep jumper, his seventh make in eight attempts from the field. Add his nine free throw makes in 10 attempts, and Odom had 23 points to go with 11 rebounds and two blocks. Also key in that stretch was Farmar’s fourth three-pointer in as many attempts (the rest of the Lakers were just 1-of-9 from three).

3:20 Among a flurry of daggers was Fisher’s driving finger roll, pushing the lead back to 18 as the Salt Lake City crowd began its departure from EnergySolutions Arena. The final score wound up at 96-81 in L.A.’s third straight victory without Kobe Bryant. Odom was dominant with 25 points (a season high) and 11 boards, while Gasol added an equally impressive 22 and 19, plus five blocks and four assists.

Up next, the All-Star break, but until then, your numbers:

100 L.A.’s winning percentage without Kobe Bryant after tough wins at Portland, vs. San Antonio and at Utah. Portland and Utah are arguably the two toughest places for the Lakers to get road wins, yet win they did in convincing fashion.

81 Total points for the Jazz, the fewest L.A. has ever allowed to the franchise.

30 Combined rebounds for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. The Lakers as a team were +6 on the glass.

14 Point margin in L.A.’s dominant Game 4 win here in EnergySolutions Arena last spring in Round 1 of the playoffs. The primary difference between that win and tonight’s 15-point win was, of course, that Kobe Bryant had 38 points last year.

12 Free throws missed by the Jazz in the first three quarters alone. They finished by making just 13-of-25.

5 Straight turnovers for the Lakers to start the fourth quarter, allowing the Jazz to cut a 19-point lead down to 14.

Fisher Beats Bryant to 1,000 … By a Game

Derek FisherThe Lakers acquired Kobe Bryant, the 13th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft, by trading Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets. Eleven picks later, they selected Derek Fisher.

Fast forward to February 10, 2010, and both players entered a Wednesday evening game in Utah with 999 career games played.

How about that?

“I didn’t realize it until someone told me today,” said Fisher. “I probably won’t say anything to Kobe just yet … but at some point, I’m definitely going to give him a hard time about it.”

Bryant would have become the first to 1,000 had he played in Portland or against San Antonio, but a sprained ankle kept him out of both contests, the first he had missed since Dec. 8, 2006.

All Fisher had to do to catch up was play in literally every game since April 13 of the 2004-05 season, when he missed a game for the Golden State Warriors with knee inflammation. Since then, he’s appeared in 384 consecutive games, and finally Fisher has one up on Kobe.

“It’s one thing I can say I did before him,” said Fisher. “He’s been the fastest to everything else.”

How has Fisher done it? Lakers Director of Athletic Performance Chip Schaefer needed just one word to describe it: “Dedication.”

Then he added a few more.

“He’s dedicated to a set of principals and a way to live his life that include proper rest and recovery, proper nutrition, hydration and a nutrient-based diet, training and preparing mentally,” said Schaefer. “For a trainer, he’s just the best. It’s all you can ask for.”

Bryant, Odom on Team USA’s Initial Roster

blog_100210bryantodom_teamusaLakers Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom have been named to USA Basketball’s initial 27-man roster that will compete in various events between 2010-2012 leading up to the 2012 London Olympic games.

Bryant joins eight other returning members of the 2008 team that captured gold in Beijing.

“This is another important step in the reassembling of the USA National Team for the next three years of competitions that will include the FIBA World Championship in 2010, and if we qualify, the 2012 Olympics in London. Unlike 2006-08 when we were first starting the program, this time we have the benefit of including players who were members of the last national team, while also incorporating players who were involved in our pipeline the last couple of summers,” said Jerry Colangelo, who also served as Managing Director of the 2006-08 USA National Team.

Odom is no stranger to international competition as he was a member of the 2004 team that played in Greece.

For the full roster visit

Bryant, Bynum & Odom: Injury Update

The injury list was longer than usual heading into Wednesday evening’s game in Salt Lake City, but after shootaround we learned from the Lakers PR staff that the following listings remain:

Lamar Odom (foot) – Probable
Kobe Bryant (ankle) – Questionable
Andrew Bynum (hip) – Doubtful

Phil Jackson suggested that Odom will start, Bryant is unlikely to play but remains a game-time decision, and Bynum will not go.

Tuesday Injury Update

Kobe Bryant, who has missed two straight games due to a sprained left ankle, remains a game-time decision for Wednesday’s game in Utah.

“It’s really up to him,” said Phil Jackson. “If he feels like he can play, he’ll play.”

Andrew Bynum, on the other hand, will not be in uniform due to a hip contusion.

“I don’t think Andrew will play,” was Jackson’s quote. “Right now he has kind of resigned himself to the fact that (he won’t play).”

One other piece of injury information from Tuesday is that Lamar Odom missed practice to have an MRI/CAT scan on his sore left foot. Both exams were negative, and Odom is probable for Wednesday.

No Bryant, No Bynum, No Problem

59525646In a firm reminder of just how deep and talented they really are, the Lakers rallied to a 101-89 victory over visiting San Antonio despite the absence of their best, and biggest, players.

Kobe Bryant (ankle) missed his second straight game, and Andrew Bynum (hip) joined him on the inactive list, just the third game the young center missed this season and the second Bryant has missed in three seasons.

The Lakers are no stranger to playing without Bynum, but playing without Kobe never seemed a possibility until he literally didn’t take the floor of L.A.’s Saturday evening win in Portland. No. 24′s previous missed game due to an injury? Check all the way back to December of 2006.

But on Monday, there was a noticeable extra collective hop in the remaining Lakers’ step in pregame warm ups that carried through the contest. All of those who saw the floor found a way to contribute, led by a huge game from Pau Gasol and by Lamar Odom’s all-around play.

59525638Gasol, who struggled with his shot (8-of-20) due in part to fatigue (46 minutes), still managed to score 21 points, grab 19 rebounds, toss eight assists and block five shots. Odom added a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double of his own, but it was a complete effort that saw seven Lakers score at least eight points that ultimately did the trick.

“It was fun,” said Gasol of the all-around effort. “I think it was a good challenge for us; the way we played tonight was beautiful to be out there … we played hard and got a nice win.”

Phil Jackson cited L.A.’s rebounding (45-42 edge), defense (held the Spurs to 55 points in the final three quarters) and the respective individual efforts of each of his players.

“It is always good for a ball club to feel like they rally,” he said. “We stepped into the game with two starters that were out and we had to put two or three guys from the bench on the court that probably do not have too many minutes.”

There was Ron Artest, who nailed back-to-back three-pointers to counter a 9-0 start to the game and finished with a line of 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.

And Derek Fisher, who canned 6-of-9 shots for 13 points and provided steady floor leadership throughout.

There was Sasha Vujacic, who has struggled for much of the year but checked in late in the second and immediately nailed his first three shots, two of them three-pointers, to help erase a nine-point S.A. lead. Later, he offered some scrappy defense in the fourth quarter.

And Jordan Farmar, who in 18 minutes off the bench scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting … Shannon Brown, who started in place of Bryant and scored eight points with three assists … Luke Walton, who played only 11 minutes but added four points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal to the effort.

59525641“You never want to see your teammates injured in any way, but I think anytime guys get an opportunity to prove that they belong in this league, that they can play at a high level, they’re going to take it,” said Fisher. “When Kobe and Andrew are out, we have to execute to get high quality shots, so the ball moves more. When those guys are in there, we can rely on them to do great things.”

Speaking of that execution…

“We were aware of how we needed to play, especially being short handed,” explained Odom. “We limited their second-shot opportunities, ran the triangle and played good team defense.”

It wasn’t easy at first, as Tony Parker repeatedly got into the lane and helped the Spurs score 34 points in the opening quarter (Bynum’s interior presence may have helped), 20 of which came in the paint. But L.A.’s defense collectively stepped up in the second, holding the Spurs to 13 points total while scoring 22 of their own to turn a six-point deficit after one into a three-point halftime lead.

Then in a solid all-around third quarter, the Lakers opened an 11-point lead, but the Spurs chipped six points off that margin to create a 73-68 margin into the fourth. There, Gasol was terrific, as documented by his eight points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the final period alone as the Spurs never got closer than six points.

“Pau is a good director out there with the ball,” said Jackson. “He is unselfish, he reads the defenses well. He made some really goo passes tonight and I told him his defense was good.”

“(Gasol) put it together tonight,” added an admiring Bryant after the game. “We’ve seen glimpses of that this season … hopefully he can keep it up.”

59525649Whether Gasol will have Bryant at his side when he and the rest of the Lakers face Utah on Wednesday night* is yet to be determined, however.
*Bynum is doubtful

“I’ll make a decision on Wednesday,” said Kobe. “Game-time decision. If I’m ready to go I’ll play.”

Yet as Bryant acknowledged, if the Lakers play team basketball as they did in defeating the Blazers and Spurs without him, there’s little need for him to rush it in Salt Lake City.

Until then, your numbers:

4 Personal fouls committed by the Lakers in the second half, to 12 by the Spurs. That resulted in 13 free throws to six for San Antonio.

7 Lakers who scored at least eight points.

20 Spurs points in the paint in the first quarter alone as Tony Parker repeatedly got into the lane, aided by the absence of Andrew Bynum. L.A. improved significantly afterwards, however, holding S.A. to 28 paint points for the rest of the game.

43.9 L.A.’s winning percentage (18-23) without Kobe Bryant since 2003-04 in 41 games heading into the victory over the Spurs.

46 Minutes played by Pau Gasol, who did yeoman’s work in a 21-point, 19-rebound, 8-assist, 5-block effort.

Kobe Bryant Out Against Spurs

The first question asked of Phil Jackson in Monday’s pregame presser was, of course, regarding the status of Kobe Bryant for the evening’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.

“Kobe’s not going to play tonight,” said Jackson.

On Saturday night in Portland, Bryant had missed his first game since Dec. 8, 2006, due to injury because of a sprained left ankle upon which he had an MRI on Monday morning. Jackson said that he was “not informed enough to talk about” the results of the exam, but said that Bryant wants to play in Utah on Wednesday.

“I think if he feels like he can play, he’s going to play,” said Jackson. “He’s not going to sit out just because that might extend the duration (for) which he doesn’t have to play.”

As such, Bryant will be re-evaluated on Tuesday morning, and again on Wednesday prior to the game in Salt Lake City, L.A.’s last before the All-Star break.