Monthly Archive for October, 2010

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10/24 Injury Update: Andrew Bynum

61894211UCLA Health SystemThe respective right knees of Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum have understandably been the two items of most keen interest leading into the 2010-11 Lakers season, and while Bryant’s set to start in Tuesday’s season opener, it’ll be a few more weeks yet for Bynum.

The recent news on L.A.’s 22-year-old center has been primarily positive, however, as Bynum shared with us in a quick state-of-his-knee address prior to Friday’s preseason game in Ontario.

“Everything is going well with the knee, he said. “I started doing a lot more cardio stuff, lifting legs, getting back into shape. When I come back, I want to be ready to go, so I’m working really hard to get there.

“My mission is to try and stay healthy, do a lot more preventative stuff to keep a strong base. That’s what I’m focused on, maintaining that health so I can just play.”

Bynum had been sticking with elliptical and bike machines last week, but on Sunday Phil Jackson said Bynum graduated to running on a regular treadmill.

“He went through some activity that was accelerated,” said Jackson. “I think he wants to ramp it up a bit faster than we want him to. We want him to be able to go in and sustain that effort when he does get back, so he needs to have a real base, a foundation when he comes back.”

Jackson added that Bynum has not yet done any jumping or dunking, but that has been shooting. The head coach thinks that Bynum will be able to re-acclimate rather easily to the basketball side of things, but may take a bit more time with conditioning, strengthening and reaction time.

There remains no actual target date for Bynum’s potential first game, but Jackson did identify Thanksgiving (Thursday, Nov. 25) as one upon which to keep an eye.

Follow Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) on Twitter.

Lakers 105, Warriors 102: Preseason in Ontario

62092703Below is a running diary of L.A.’s preseason contest against Golden State from Ontario, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Fisher, Brown*, Bryant, Artest and Gasol
Warriors: Monta Ellis, Reggie Williams**, Vladimir Radmanovic, David Lee and Andris Biedrins
*Brown started in place of Lamar Odom, taking the night off to rest a sprained left thumb, swollen nose and stiff back. Odom did say that he’d be “fine” for Tuesday’s season opener.
**Williams started in place of Stephen Curry, who sprained his ankle in Thursday night’s loss to L.A.

10:31 The Lakers forced Golden State into four fouls … in the first 1:30 … but the Warriors earned a 7-4 lead thanks to jumpers at the other end from Monta Ellis and Reggie Williams, plus a pretty transition layup also from Ellis. Though he had two of those fouls, we shouldn’t be surprised to see a big evening from Ellis, since he barely played the evening before (three fouls in the first two minutes) and would be without Curry in the backcourt.

621213817:02 With Odom out and Brown in the starting line up, Bryant moved up to the three and Artest the four, meaning Artest matched up with G.S. power forward David Lee. That proved a difficult matchup for Lee, often quick enough to get open looks again opposing fours, but certainly not Artest, who stripped him twice and also was too strong to allow a back-in. Fortunately for the Warriors, however, L.A. had no answer for Ellis, who nailed two more field goals to help G.S. to a 15-6 lead.

3:22 Easing his way in offensively and looking a bit sluggish, Bryant’s first make came from three-point territory, just L.A.’s third field goal plus eight free throws, to make it 23-18 Warriors. In the final three minutes, Ellis would climb up to 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting in a video-game first quarter, leading the Bay Area squad to a 32-20 lead. The Lakers shot only 35.7 percent to Ellis’s, err, Golden State’s, 65 percent, and turned the ball over seven times to two for G.S.

7:31 L.A.’s bench unit was doing its best to cut into the Warriors lead, with Devin Ebanks converting a pretty transition layup, but Ellis answered with his ninth field goal, then drew a foul in transition to make it 40-27. Rookie Derrick Caracter saw his first action in three games, scoring a bucket with a board in six minutes, though Luke Walton, just back from a hamstring strain, left the floor and headed to the locker room.

3:00 With the starters back in, L.A. still struggled to get things going, the Warriors maintaining a double-digit lead while the Lakers stayed in the low 30′s in field goal percentage. Not exactly regular-season form yet for a team looking like it just wanted the preseason to end.

0:51.5 The last two minutes were better, however, thanks to Bryant, who made two jumpers himself, and assisted on three-pointers from both Brown and Fisher to cut Golden State’s lead to five. Ellis, brilliant offensively all half, managed to get the last laugh of the half as well by converting a tough drive, preceding Bryant’s rim-out at the buzzer. As such, Ellis had 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting, giving his team a 52-47 lead.

7:15 L.A.’s typically strong defense to open the second half was absent here, Golden State taking advantage to open a 59-45 lead after a 7-0 run. The Lakers did respond with Gasol’s back-to-back and-1′s at the rim, while Brian Shaw replaced Brown with Barnes to get a bit bigger on the wing.

620930894:30 Bryant quietly climbed up to 16 points after a deep three, preceding a Barnes transition layup that cut G.S.’s lead to five. Ellis countered with two free throws to reach 33 points, but Bryant then drew three defenders to earn Fisher a wide-open three (swish) that doubled as Bryant’s sixth assist. The moments of typical Kobe play continued to show, though he was obviously still building towards putting a full game together.

0:09.6 Despite that mid-quarter push, the Warriors still managed to leave the period with a 10-point lead, thanks to another Ellis jumper plus Brandan Wright’s put-back dunk to close the scoring. Ellis was up to a ridiculously efficient 15-of-20 performance from the field for 36 points. The Lakers seemed a bit unsure how to play up front without both Andrew Bynum and Odom, who had missed only nine games combined in the previous three seasons, but would get L.O. back on Tuesday.

9:45 A pretty put-back dunk from Ebanks, then Vujacic’s steal and jumper at the other end cut Golden State’s lead down to just four, the closest L.A. had been since early in the first. The reserves had been the Lakers’ better unit throughout the preseason, so it was fitting to see once again in the camp finale.

7:17 Impressive bench play continued for L.A. with Caracter hitting from four feet, Ebanks drawing a charge and Vujacic converting two free throws, Artest ripping a steal and Caracter stuffing back an Ebanks miss to promptly put the Lakers up 87-85. It was a 16-3 run, producing the first Lakers lead of the game.

3:43 Fisher and Brown replaced Blake and Vujacic as Shaw put all of the starters back in, but Brown promptly found his pocket picked by Ellis, and Fisher had to foul at midcourt to prevent a layup. Ellis, in the bonus, sunk both to put Golden State back up three, reaching an NBA preseason high 41 points in the process.

0:30.1 LA picked a good time for a 9-0 run, as Bryant took over in typical fashion to score six straight points (four free throws and a layup) before dishing to a wide-open Brown in the corner for a game-tying three. Bryant couldn’t quite close the door, however, missing a potential game-winning triple as the clock expired, meaning preseason OT…

2:00 After Ellis somehow missed a wide-open transition dunk, Artest’s lefty layup tied the game at 100. Vujacic, Blake and Barnes had replaced Gasol, Bryant and Fisher alongside Artest and Brown.

1:15 Advantage, Lakers. Brown nailed his fourth triple of the game after another near-miss from Ellis, who had made only one of his previous 10 shots after starting the game 15-of-20. After a Williams’ hoop, L.A. isolated Artest on the wing, and he delivered a tough shot over Lee to put L.A. back up three with 11.2 seconds left.

That would be all, mercifully, for the preseason, Barnes collecting the final rebound in a 105-102 Lakers win.

5 Steals for Ron Artest, who added 11 points and seven boards with three assists in a solid all-around game to cap a solid all-around preseason.

6 Lakers second half turnovers, five fewer than the first half, keying their late charge.

9 Straight points to close the fourth quarter for L.A., tying the game at 98 before Kobe Bryant rimmed out on a potential game-winning three. No. 24 had been responsible for the late burst, scoring the first six points before finding Shannon Brown for the game-tying three.

9 Three-pointers made by the Lakers, led by Brown’s four, two each from Bryant and Derek Fisher and one from Sasha Vujacic in 28 team attempts, signifying the lack of post game with an absent Lamar Odom and Artest starting at the four.

41 Points for Monta Ellis, an NBA preseason high. He started the game 15-of-20 from the field, but made only one of his final 10 shots, tiring noticeably and understandably.

Injury Update: Odom, Walton & Caracter

UCLA Health SystemA few injury notes from L.A.’s final preseason game:

Lamar Odom: We learned before the game that Odom wouldn’t participate due to a strained left thumb, a swollen nose from an elbow in Thursday evening’s win over the Warriors and a stiff back. Odom, however, said that he was “fine,” and would play in the team’s season opener on Tuesday against Houston.

Luke Walton: Walton re-aggravated a right hamstring strain early in the second quarter and headed back to the locker room. He wouldn’t return to the action, and was set to be re-evaluated over the weekend. Walton had missed the team’s first five preseason games before getting his first minutes in Thursday night’s win over Golden State in his home town of San Diego.

Derrick Caracter: After missing three games with back spasms, the second-round pick returned to action on Friday, scoring an early hoop with a rebound in five second quarter minutes.

Phil Jackson Unlikely to Coach Friday

62092429Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson, dealing from flu-like symptoms, could miss his second straight preseason contest on Friday night in Ontario when the Lakers face the Golden State Warriors for the second time in as many nights.

Team spokesman John Black said that it was “unlikely” for Jackson to coach on Friday, though a final decision has not yet been made as the man with 13 total NBA rings was scheduled to go see a doctor.

Jackson didn’t make the trip to San Diego for Thursday evening’s 120-99 win against Golden State, charging assistant coach Brian Shaw with running the team in his absence.

A former player under Jackson for four seasons (1999-2000 to 2002-03), Shaw won three titles as a player and now two as an assistant. Shaw acknowledged that the primary reason he took on head coaching duties in Thursday’s game was because each of Jackson’s four assistants (Shaw, Frank Hamblen, Jim Cleamons and Chuck Person) split up the NBA teams for scouting purposes, and Golden State is Shaw’s squad. While Shaw said that he enjoyed the experience of sitting in the big chair, he was simply keeping it warm until Jackson feels better.

“(Jackson’s) our leader, we’re just following his instructions and his lead on what he does,” said Shaw. “We hope he feels better and that he gets back soon.”

If Jackson does not make the trip east to Ontario, Shaw would again resume head coaching duties for the night.

Lakers 120, Warriors 99: Preseason in San Diego

62120563Click below for selected videos:
- Brian Shaw Postgame
- Pau Gasol Postgame
- Steve Blake Postgame

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s preseason contest against Golden State from San Diego, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Fisher, Vujacic*, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Vladimir Radmanovic, David Lee and Andris Biedrins
*Vujacic was starting in place of Kobe Bryant, taking the game off to rest. He will start on Friday night in Ontario.

8:08 Well, that looked easy. Derek Fisher three-pointers, Sasha Vujacic pull-up jumpers, Pau Gasol and-ones and turnarounds … it was quickly 10-0, and then 13-2 Lakers before many fans even sat down at the San Diego Sports Arena. In other Vujacic news, the Slovenian confirmed before the game that he was engaged to girlfriend and tennis star Maria Sharapova.

4:44 Vujacic had missed L.A.’s last three games with a concussion, but Luke Walton hadn’t played at all in the preseason after straining his hamstring in London. Walton knows the team’s offense so well, and is so keen to facilitate, that assistant coach Brian Shaw said he didn’t miss a beat in a full practice on Wednesday. It showed moments later when Walton made an extra pass out of the offense to find a wide-open Steve Blake for a three (swish) that made it 26-18 L.A.

0:51.6 Gasol, meanwhile, was getting any shot he wanted on Biedrins, and while he managed nine points, he could have had six more as three shots rimmed out. Phil Jackson (who stayed in L.A. with flu-like symptoms) mentioned after Wednesday’s practice that his Catalan big man had yet to really ramp it up in preseason, but some things were starting to fall into place with the regular season now five days away. The Lakers finished the quarter with Blake’s tough runner to reach 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting (55 percent), conceding 25 Warriors points.

6:30 The Lakers were featuring Odom on the low block early, and he used the time to notch a few hockey assists while making the final two of seven field goal attempts. At least until halfway through the second, when he took a shot to the nose and had to come out to stop the bleeding. Of course, being who he is, Odom used the occasion to crack the entire bench up. Bryant, Walton and Fisher in particular were doubled over laughing before Odom (who was just fine) finally got up to head to the training room with trainer Gary Vitti.

3:41 Barnes nailed his second consecutive three to tie the game at 46 after L.A. had fallen off a bit on the scoreboard despite appearing to control the game, keyed in part by Golden State’s 11 offensive rebounds.

0:35.0 The teams exchanged hoops until Vujacic’s swished triple gave L.A. a 55-52 lead into halftime. Gasol led the way with 13 points, while Fisher had eight, Odom and Blake seven, Barnes six and Vujacic five.

6:24 Gasol and Vujacic had a nice lil’ two-man game running early in the third, with the Slovenian getting two open jumpers, both makes, and Gasol abusing Biedrins with an up-and-under move plus a pair of his own jumpers, putting L.A. up 67-63.

5:37 After missing his first six shots in his first poor shooting game of the preseason, Artest dropped a second-chance three thanks to Odom’s offensive rebound to put the Lakers up two. Phil Jackson cited Artest’s better general comfort within the offense, knowing when he was going to be getting his shots and from where, for the early improvement.

0:00 L.A.’s bench continued its excellent preseason play to close the 3rd on a 13-4 run, opening up an 86-76 lead into the fourth quarter. Blake and Barnes led the way, Blake getting to 11 points with four assists and Barnes to eight points, while Artest continued his productive period with three assists (five total) and his third field goal.

8:20 The good bench play continued as Blake converted a tough and-1 through contact in transition, preceding Theo Ratliff’s second block, a Barnes layup and finally a Devin Ebanks runner that suddenly found the Lakers up 104-81.

4:44 Luke Walton checked back in for the first time since a five-minute run in the first quarter and promptly hit a corner three that got amongst the friendliest bounces in NBA history. It’s fair, however, for the hometown kid. L.A. still rolling at that point, its lead extending to 24.

0:23.6 An emphatic thunder dunk from Ebanks off Brown’s alley-oop toss – yes, for once Brown was passing and not throwing down an oop – closed a 65-point second half for the Lakers that produced a 120-99 victory in San Diego.

We’ll see you tomorrow night in Ontario for another game against Golden State, in which Kobe Bryant will play.

Lakers Double Dip with Warriors

59919514In the next two nights, you’ll get to know the Golden State Warriors very well.

The Bay Area team will, after all, be L.A.’s preseason opponent for both Thursday and Friday night’s games, respectively taking place in San Diego and Ontario.

What should you watch for? Take a look below:

1) SLEEPING GIANTS? After L.A.’s Tuesday night loss to Utah in Anaheim, backup point guard Steve Blake said he understood that the Lakers were steadily building into the regular season, but wouldn’t having at least one complete effort before Ring Night against the Rockets. In other words, it’s been quite clear that despite a few flashes, we haven’t seen much from the Lakers just yet. So, will the Warriors be the unfortunate punching bag? Maybe not on Thursday, when Phil Jackson said Kobe Bryant may not play in San Diego, but perhaps on Friday in Ontario we’ll see the Lakers unleash the beast. The game is, after all, on national TV (ESPN), and the Purple and Gold will have the entire weekend plus Monday to rest up afterwards. Makes sense.

2) FUN & GUN: Sure, former Warriors head coach Don Nelson loved to get his squad up and down the floor to score, often with little regard for defense, but just because former assistant Keith Smart is taking his place this year doesn’t mean the brakes are being applied. The Warriors still averaged over 100 points in their first six preseason games (3-3) despite heavy minutes doled out to reserves. Quick guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry still pair with mobile big man David Lee, a free agent acquisition from New York, Andris Biedrins and former Miami wing Dorrell Wright to form a team meant to wear track shoes. L.A.’s size has always been a difficult counter punch to Golden State’s speed, but with Andrew Bynum out and the fact that these games don’t count, maybe the Lakers will be goaded into some Fun & Gun themselves?

3) (MINOR) INJURY RETURNS: We should see the return of Sasha Vujacic (concussion), Derrick Caracter (back spasms) and Luke Walton (hamstring) in either or both games. Neither figures to receive major minutes throughout the season, but each could play a key reserve role for Phil Jackson, and full health to do so. Vujacic and Caracter should be just fine, while Walton says his back is feeling great and hamstring was strong enough to practice on this week.

4) (ALMOST) R.O.Y. In one of the tougher NBA postseason awards ballots, Stephen Curry lost out to Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans for Rookie of the Year honors despite a huge closing push. In eight April games, Curry averaged 26.4 points, 8.1 assists and 6.4 rebounds on 46.9 percent field goals and 47.2 percent three-pointers, just absurd numbers. He wasn’t much worse in February and March, and finished his maiden campaign averaging 17.5 points, 5.9 assists and 4.5 boards on 46 percent shooting and 43.7 percent from three, which also happens to be L.A.’s all-time franchise-best three-point conversion percentage (Sasha Vujacic, 2007-08). The high percentages help counter the argument that Curry only produced such numbers because he was playing in the Fun & Gun system.

5) BLAKE, BARNES AND BROWN OFF THE BENCH: Perhaps the biggest bright spot in L.A.’s 2-4 preseason start has been the energetic, effective play off the bench from newcomers Steve Blake and Matt Barnes and returner Shannon Brown. The three helped lead L.A. back from deficits against Utah several times across Sunday and Tuesday’s losses, and have more than a few times beaten Phil Jackson’s starters in practice scrimmages. The group can only get stronger with the return of Andrew Bynum to the starting line up, since Lamar Odom will join up, but in the meantime the unit is already looking to be a step up from last season.

6) FEWER WARRIOR THREES: The Warriors lost one of the league’s best three-point shooters when choosing not to re-sign Anthony Morrow (New Jersey), not to mention another long-distance slinger in C.J. Watson (Chicago). And while Curry, Vladimir Radmanovic and to a lesser degree Ellis can still hit at a high rate from downton, Golden State isn’t expecting to shoot as many deep perimeter J’s. Smart has put in more of a defensive focus than in season’s past, but the team will still look to run at every opportunity.

Houston: Western Conference Podcast Preview

62070341We continue our Western Conference Podcast Preview series with a look at the Houston Rockets:

Yao Ming’s back, Trevor Ariza’s gone and Houston hoping to get into the playoff mix … how good will the Rockets be?

The Lakers will get an early look in four days, actually, as the Rockets heads to Los Angeles for Tuesday’s season opener at STAPLES Center. Yao, who missed the entire 2009-10 season with an injured wheel he suffered against L.A. in Round 2 of the 2009 playoffs, is back though expected to be limited to around 24 minutes a game. Ariza was shipped to New Orleans in a multi-team trade that brought New Jersey’s Courtney Lee to Texas, who joins starters Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin in Rick Adelman’s stable of guards.

Luis Scola and Shane Battier will start at forward on either side of Yao, with backups like Chuck Hayes, Jared Jeffries, Brad Miller and Jordan Hill itching for playing time.

To break everything down for us, we enlisted beat writer Jason Friedman:

10-20 Injury Update

UCLA Health SystemPhil Jackson offered up a Lakers’ injury status update after Wednesday’s practice:

Sasha Vujacic (concussion): Probable to play in Thursday’s game against Golden State in San Diego. Jackson said that Vujacic “looked ready.”

Luke Walton (hamstring): Questionable to play on Thursday. Walton will be re-evaluated on Thursday morning to see how he feels.

Derrick Caracter (back): Caracter said he was “fine,” but he did not practice on Wednesday. Jackson did not rule out an appearance on Thursday, however.

Kobe Bryant (knee): Bryant practiced fully on Wednesday, but may take Thursday’s game off. Jackson said that Bryant would play in Friday’s preseason finale, however.

Lakers 74, Jazz 82: Running Diary 2

62120989Below is a running diary of L.A.’s preseason contest against Utah from Anaheim, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Highlights | Phil Jackson | Steve Blake

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Jazz: Deron Williams, Raja Bell, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson

8:00 The Jazz shot 50 percent during Sunday’s win over the Lakers, and slowed down not a bit at the onset of Tuesday’s game, sinking 5-of-6 shots, but still trailed L.A. 12-10 after Artest’s baseline jumper gave him six points, thanks to an earlier free throw and his eighth three-pointer of the preseason in 16 attempts. Artest’s effectiveness on offense, a story throughout training camp, is something the Lakers’ coaching staff wishes it could keep in a bottle.

2:59 The rainy day in Los Angeles seemed to form a cloud over L.A.’s basket in the early goings, as only 4-of-14 shots went through the Anaheim rim. Fisher missed all four of his attempts, and Gasol his three, as Utah went on a 10-0 run to take a 20-12 lead. Meanwhile, we got a fresh injury update on Sasha Vujacic (concussion); he was cleared to practice on Tuesday morning if he felt OK upon arriving at the facility.

0:00 Things didn’t get any better for L.A. from an offensive standpoint, as only 5-of-19 shots (26.3 percent) fell for the champs, and Utah capitalized to take a 24-14 lead out of the quarter.

10:05 You know those first quarter shooting woes? Still going. Even Steve Blake couldn’t get a layup to fall, but he has his own excuse. He told me before the game that he’s been feeling ill for about a week now … in related news, Blake has three small boys at home. Moments later, Blake got into a skirmish with Utah’s Francisco Elson, to whom Blake took exception after a loose elbow from the big man, and swiped hard at him before the two faced off. Blake has always been a feisty pro, which on this occasion earned him praise from team leaders Bryant and Fisher on the bench.

5:01 L.A.’s defense picked up considerably after the Blake tech, and the purple and gold capitalized at the other end through Matt Barnes, who hit a corner three and a layup in transition, and then Brown’s deep two and Blake’s three, cutting Utah’s lead to just three. For his team’s purposes, should Blake get more technicals? (Not really).

0:04.0 The Lakers managed to cut the lead down to three despite 30 percent shooting in the half, but Devin Ebanks left Jazz wing C.J. Miles open from three, and paid for it as Utah entered the tunnel with a 38-32 lead. Uneventful half, indeed, other than the Blake skirmish.

5:29 The Lakers weren’t much better to open the third than they were in the first half, as Utah pushed its lead to 13 on an Al Jefferson and-1 before Bryant answered with a three. There’s a bit of rational that can be provided in struggling to play against the Jazz in the preseason: Jerry Sloan’s run the same system for years and can be run efficiently even in training camp where as Jackson hasn’t even installed much of what L.A. will be doing, and the Jazz – 6-0 in the preseason – also simply play a bit harder than most teams in preseason.

3:17 Before walking back out on the floor after a time out, Yankees fan Odom wondered how his squad was doing. Down 7-3, bottom of the eighth, but with the bases loaded, we responded. He nodded and walked back out on the floor. It’s preseason, after all.

0:01.0 Could Bryant at least get a halfcourt buzzer-beater to fall after missing all but two of his first 12 shots? Nope. Lakers were at only 32 percent after three, scoring just 50 points to Utah’s 61.

7:52 When Andrew Bynum returns in late November or early December, the group we saw to start the fourth quarter could play quite a bit together: Blake, Brown, Barnes, Odom and Ratliff. It was a successful early sting, as two Brown jumpers produced a 10-5 run, trimming Utah’s lead to six.

6:23 The Jazz bounced right back with a 6-0 run to put the lead back at 12, though we did learn that Jefferson wouldn’t return due to a bruised right knuckle. He’d been effective for Utah with 13 points, eight boards and four blocks. Moments later, Barnes converted his second and-1 of the fourth to reach a team-high 13 points, trimming Utah’s lead to seven in the process.

0:51.5 Brown hit another deep jumper, but it was too little, too late, Utah holding on for a 82-74 victory to improve to 7-0 in the preseason. The Lakers are back in action on Thursday and Friday, both games against Golden State, in San Diego and Ontario, respectively. Until then, your numbers:

8 Fourth quarter points for Matt Barnes, who led the Lakers in scoring with 13 points. He added four boards and two assists in 24 minutes, teaming effectively with Steve Blake.

9 Rebounds and assists for Lamar Odom, who attempted only three shots in 30 minutes.

11 Among the few positives for the Lakers was a major decrease in turnovers, 11, from previous preseason games.

15.3 Kobe Bryant’s shooting percentage on 2-of-13 FG’s, just a game after he nailed 7-of-8 shots in the third quarter.

33.3 L.A.’s shooting percentage in their second straight inefficient offensive performance against the physical Jazz squad. Steve Blake (4-of-7) was the only Laker to make more than half of his attempted shots.

Lakers Get Jazzy in Anaheim

62093380Two days after Sunday’s preseason loss to the Utah Jazz, the Lakers head to Anaheim on Tuesday to face the … Utah Jazz.

It’s not uncommon for the Lakers to see a preseason foe twice in a week, actually, and it won’t even be the only time this week it happens since Golden State is slated as Thursday’s (San Diego) and Friday’s (Ontario) opponent.

One major difference in the Utah team L.A. fell to by a count of 99-94 is the return of star point guard Deron Williams, who missed the weekend’s Staples Center Shootout due to a strained right calf. He’ll join Raja Bell, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson in Jerry Sloan’s starting line up as the Jazz (6-0) look to stay undefeated in the preseason.

While Jefferson (14 points) and Kirilenko (13) were effective against the Lakers, it was lottery pick Gordon Hayward who came off the bench to really hurt L.A., making 8-of-10 field goals and 10-of-11 free throws to score 26 points. C.J. Miles added 15 off the pine, and Utah outshot the Lakers 50.7 percent to 39.0 percent on the evening.

The bright spot for L.A. was Kobe Bryant’s vintage third quarter performance, in which he made 7-of-8 shots en route to 19 points, making his still-progressing knee very much an afterthought. Pau Gasol added 28 points and nine boards for the Lakers, Lamar Odom grabbed 15 boards and Ron Artest scored 17 points in the first half.

Neither team will throw anything too different out there on Tuesday, but Phil Jackson would like to see a better defensive performance from his team, and continual progress since the regular season is now but one week away.

To watch or listen to the game, tune in at 7 p.m. on KCAL/9 & 710 ESPN radio.