Monthly Archive for January, 2011

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Matt Barnes: Jan. 13 Injury Update

UCLA Health SystemMatt Barnes had successful surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee under the care of Lakers team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo on Tuesday morning, and addressed reporters after Thursday’s practice for the first time.

“It was a simple procedure, in and out, I was back home in three hours,” said Barnes. “I just want to get back.”

Barnes, walking under his own power without the help of crutches, was of course disappointed to get hurt and have surgery for the first time in his career, but felt a bit better watching the team rack up wins while he watched from home.

“The team’s been playing great while I’ve been down, I’ve been watching everything like a hawk,” he said. “I’m going to take this time to learn the offense a little bit better, watch some game film and just get my body back into it.”

Barnes is expected to be out for approximately eight weeks, typical for such a surgery, but an earlier return is among his goals.

“(Eight weeks) is what they say, that’s what the plan is, but you know me, I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can to be back sooner and make sure I’m healthy at the same time also,” said Barnes. “My job is to do my part with the rehab and be prepared mentally as well.”

In fact, Barnes set a goal to learn the guard positions of the triangle offense. He’s obviously been focusing on the forward spots since coming to Los Angeles as that’s where he’s played, but thinks a better understanding of all the positions can only help him upon his return.

Theo Ratliff: Jan. 13 Injury Update

UCLA Health SystemAfter a few months of rehabilitation on his left knee, Theo Ratliff is expected to return to practice on Jan. 23 and 24, following the team’s two-game road trip to Dallas and Denver on Jan. 19 and 21.

Ratliff, who participated in conditioning drills on Thursday that included full sprints, has not played in a game since Nov. 9, after which he had arthroscopic surgery on his sore left knee (Nov. 16). He said he feels better, is looking forward to returning to practice and ultimately contributing where he knows he can.

“I know I was brought in here to be that support big off the bench, come in and clog that middle up, go out and not make mistakes and control the defensive end,” Ratliff said. “That’s always been my mindset.”

Photo: Young Kobe Bryant in Italy

In June of 1990, a 11-year-old Kobe Bryant was a guest of Nazareno Basket in Carpi (Modena), Italy, for an event with his father Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant.

Zeno Pisani of Italy’s Rivista Ufficiale NBA — the magazine of the NBA in Italy — provided the photograph.

Fourth All-Star Returns

CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW!!!

The latest All-Star returns have been released and a Laker still sits at the top of the heap.

Kobe Bryant leads all vote getters with more than 1.75 million votes. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum held their previous positions at third and second respectively. Lamar Odom also remains in the mix at the forward position.

Voting closes January 23rd. You can vote on NBA.com or through mobile phones by texting the player’s last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”) or by visiting m.nba.com on any wireless carrier.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW!!!

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2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING WESTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 1,270,729; Carmelo Anthony (Den) 945,720; Pau Gasol (LAL) 851,456; Blake Griffin (LAC) 702,784; Tim Duncan (SA) 663,487; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 615,243; Lamar Odom (LAL) 364,950; Luis Scola (Hou) 347,986; Kevin Love (Min) 301,529; Caron Butler (Dal) 205,146.

Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,757,216; Chris Paul (NOH) 949,049; Manu Ginobili (SA) 593,718; Steve Nash (Pho) 522,215; Deron Williams (Utah) 487,887; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 463,250; Tony Parker (SA) 355,993; Jason Kidd (Dal) 303,164; Vince Carter (Pho) 277,430; Kevin Martin (Hou) 266,037.

Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 928,928; Andrew Bynum (LAL) 660,576; Nene (Den) 389,263; Marc Gasol 352,136; Emeka Okafor (NOH) 317,677; Brendan Haywood (Dal) 276,777; Marcus Camby (Por) 201,133; Chris Kaman (LAC) 165,684; Andris Biedrins (GS) 126,567; DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 110,230.

2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING EASTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 1,518,807; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 1,143,391; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 1,049,544; Paul Pierce (Bos) 578,473; Chris Bosh (Mia) 427,551; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 320,661; Josh Smith (Atl) 280,158; Danilo Gallinari (NYK) 259,619; Danny Granger (Ind) 201,653; Luol Deng (Chi) 191,312.

Guards: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,499,768; Derrick Rose (Chi) 1,225,575; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 1,171,311; Ray Allen (Bos) 630,588; John Wall (Was) 260,893; Brandon Jennings (Mil) 254,614; Raymond Felton (NYK) 246,208; Gilbert Arenas (Orl) 240,586; Jamal Crawford (Atl) 163,971, Darren Collison (Ind) 156,230.

Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,537,619; Shaquille O’Neal (Bos) 639,661; Joakim Noah (Chi) 291,107; Andrew Bogut (Mil) 245,253; Al Horford (Atl) 193,449; Roy Hibbert (Ind) 183,092; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 162,364; Brook Lopez (NJ) 125,022; JaVale McGee (Was) 106,710; Ben Wallace (Det) 79,017.

Lakers 115, Warriors 110: Jan. 12 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday night road game against the Golden State Warriors as the Lakers looked for their eighth win in nine games since Andrew Bynum returned to the starting line up, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Warriors: S. Curry, M. Ellis, D. Wright, D. Lee, A. Biedrins

FIRST QUARTER
6:36 Bryant’s footwork can be overwhelming for defenders at times, which Monta Ellis could attest to after an up-fake, step-through, pull-up 18-footer swished home to give the Lakers a 10-6 lead halfway through the period. Defensively, the Lakers are more than fine when set up in the half court in general due to their length and increased attention to the relatively new defensive schemes, which played out in the opening minutes as all of Golden State’s points came in transition. But when LAL get set, it’s basically a 1-2-2 zone, with Bynum and Gasol staying home on most pick and roll actions, with the wing players forcing the ball into the corners and keeping the paint covered at all times.

2:30 No NBA player has made more three-pointers this season than Miami castoff Dorrell Wright, who hit his 99th to put the Warriors up 23-17. The Lakers did answer with back-to-back hoops from from Ron Artest (baseline seal) and Steve Blake (pull-up jumper) before the fourth Warriors triple of the quarter, this time from Monta Ellis, made it a 26-21 home team lead after the first.

SECOND QUARTER
10:05 Those defensive principals we talked about were nowhere to be found to open the second quarter, as Ellis twice got all the way to the rim for uncontested layups before burying a corner three in transition on the following play, his third of the game, to score all eight Warriors points in a 34-23 G.S. lead. Bynum had been on the bench, and Gasol hadn’t reacted quickly enough on the drives from a rotation standpoint.

7:15 After settling for a series of jumpers that inspired Golden State’s run at the other end, L.A. started to settle in on offense, using a 10-0 run to cut the lead to four. The key was Gasol’s paint presence, with the Spaniard first drawing a foul of his O board and hitting two freebies, then adding a leaner and another put-back layup to make it 37-33.

2:57 Gasol continued his dominant quarter with two more buckets to reach 12 in the quarter, 14 in the game, and found himself in a major man embrace from Bynum after ‘Drew put-back a miss, his first statistical contribution for a spell, which put LAL up a point. But after his and-1, the Lakers conceded 11 points while scoring just two to close the quarter, allowing the Warriors to head into halftime with all the momentum, plus a 53-45 lead. Most of the damage came in transition, the Lakers failing to get back quickly enough after missed shots and turnovers, as L.A.’s coaches warned against before the game.

THIRD QUARTER
9:15 The halftime message must have addressed L.A.’s need to get back in transition after conceding 20 fast break points in the first half, and doing so helped the defense, with LAL getting two more buckets from Gasol in addition to Bryant’s driving and-1 to make sure they took advantage at the other end in a 55-52 game.

5:14 A missed defensive rotation from Artest and his turnover at the other end led to five straight Warriors points, but Bryant provided a personal answer by scoring six straight himself at the expense of Ellis, bringing the Lakers to within two at 62-60.

1:45 The triples kept raining down from the Oakland sky for the Warriors, Wright hitting his fourth and Golden State’s eighth of the game, compared to just one for L.A., a difference of 21 points. Though Bryant sandwiched jumpers around Wright’s rainbow, the G.S. lead was still nine. The final sequence of the quarter, featuring a Brown three, turnover and make-up-for-it block, cut two points off the lead to make it 75-69 Warriors with the fourth to play.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:55 Bynum was dictating his own terms in the paint at the quarter’s onset, grabbing his 12th rebound and sticking back the miss to cut the lead to just two.

5:02 If Gasol dominated the second quarter as L.A. chopped Golden State’s lead down, Odom thoroughly controlled the fourth, scoring 14 of his 18 points in an 8-minute stretch to put the Lakers up three points after sinking his fourth straight free throw. Again, Odom was proving how entirely invaluable he is coming off the bench, the Lakers

1:17 As entertaining of a stretch of hoops as we’ve seen in a few games included a 1-on-1 duel between Bryant and Ellis, Artest’s corner three from Bryant, a real tough hanging J from Wright and a 24-second violation on the Lakers. Then with L.A. up three, Bryant pulled up from 27 feet and absolutely buried the dagger triple to reach 13 points in the past five minutes, 35 in the game. The Black Mamba, folks.

0:10.0 A crazy final stanza, fitting for such a contest, featuring (literally) three G.S. triples in 15 seconds, with L.A. making 6-of-6 FT’s and getting another layup from Odom to lead by five in the closing seconds. Gasol would add two final free throws to make it 115-110, L.A.’s sixth straight win.

POSTGAME NUMBERS
56 Paint points for the Lakers, who utilized their size particularly well in the fourth quarter, with 16 of those paint points.

30 Of Kobe Bryant’s 39 points that came in the second half, including a 17-point fourth quarter during which he fully entered Black Mamba mode with a series of daggers. Monta Ellis put up 38 for the Warriors, but only seven came in the fourth period.

20 Fast break points for the Warriors in the first half, the key behind their eight-point lead at the break. L.A. limited their transition opportunities more effectively in the second half, limiting the Warriors to 11 in the open court.

16 Fourth quarter points for Lamar Odom, who brought the Lakers back into the game after the team trailed by six heading into the final period. Also key early in the fourth was Andrew Bynum, who totaled 14 rebounds with his 11 points and two blocks.

14 Golden State’s biggest lead of the game, which came in the second quarter before the Lakers settled in.

Lakers – Warriors Podcast Preview

To take a closer look at the Golden State Warriors heading into Wednesday evening’s contest in Oakland, we called up Warriors radio voice Tim Roye to talk about Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, why the Warriors — currently 5.5 games back of the eight spot — think they could sneak into the playoffs and how playing against the Lakers will be all about tempo.

To listen, click play below:

Lakers 112, Cavs 57: Jan. 11 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday night home contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Lakers looked for their seventh win in eight games since Andrew Bynum returned to the starting line up, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Cavaliers: M. Williams, M. Harris, A. Jamison, JJ Hickson, R. Hollins

FIRST QUARTER
8:26 Phil Jackson’s a fan of opposing teams switching line ups around to try and match up with his squad, and we saw why early in this one when the Lakers opened an 11-2 lead on the Cavs, who pushed Jamison to the three and Hickson to the four to start 7-footer Ryan Hollins at center. L.A. took advantage of Cleveland having to double Gasol and Bynum inside by hitting three open threes, including two from Fisher and one from Artest.

4:56 The Lakers continued to press on the gas pedal, Bynum and Gasol exchanging pretty passes out of the triangle to get each other open layups that made it a 19-6 early lead. The Cavs, obviously struggling immensely to win only once in their last 21 games, opened the season around .500 but seemed to lose their mojo after LeBron and the Heat dismantled them in Cleveland.

0:00 Nothing much changed prior to the close of the quarter, the Lakers leading 27-12 while holding Cleveland to 27.3 percent from the field and forcing six turnovers. Fisher’s eight points led the way, while Bynum had six and Gasol five boards with three dimes.

SECOND QUARTER

8:44 The Cavs actually managed to outscore the Lakers in the first three minutes of the second, 7-5, at least before Gasol’s baseline hook made it 34-18 for the home team. Cleveland, not the league’s most talented team in the first place, has been among the league’s most injured teams to boot, and were playing without Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson, Leon Powe and Joey Graham on this evening, leaving them with a few players even Phil Jackson said he hadn’t heard of (Manny Harris an Samardo Samuels and Alonzo Gee) all seeing big minutes.

0:00 That’s right, only two comments from a second quarter in which the Lakers outscored Cleveland 30-13, this after the 27-12 first quarter. That had the Cavs scoring only 25 points for the entire half, creating L.A.’s 32-point lead. Gasol had a 13-point, 10-rebounds double-double, while Bryant needed attempt only one shot before trying to beat the halftime buzzer.

THIRD QUARTER

10:18 This play summed up the entire game: after Bryant’s missed layup in traffic, Gasol stepped into Cleveland’s outlet pass to create a 3-on-0 break with Bryant and Bynum. Pau passed to Bryant, who threw an alley-oop off glass to a trailing Bynum that gave L.A. a 61-25 lead.

5:23 The Lakers did anything but take their foot off the gas pedal, storming further ahead behind a series of blocks from Bynum (five) and Gasol (one). Meanwhile, Bryant went on a scoring run, reaching 13 points after taking just one shot in the first quarter, L.A. pushing its lead to 77-31.

0:00 After holding the Cavs to season lows for an opponent in the first and second quarters, Cleveland totaled only 16 more in the third, L.A. notching 35 to open a massive 92-41 edge. As if intent upon driving the stake further in, Shannon Brown nailed a halfcourt buzzer-beater that he took as a jumper to close the quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER

12:00 While Bryant, Fisher and Artest were on the bench, we weren’t surprised to see Gasol and Odom still on the floor to open the fourth, only because Phil Jackson likes to keep positive momentum building throughout a season. Furthermore, both had played limited minutes already, and would finish the game with 31 (Gasol) and 25 (Odom) respectively. Bryant and Fisher had played 24 minutes a piece, and Artest 26, all six players finishing in double figures in scoring while not a single Cavs player had reached at least 10 points.

0:29.3 The franchise record for fewest points ever given up by the Lakers was 66, which came against the Charlotte Hornets (a year before they moved to New Orleans) in 2002. Scratch that, as we have a new record: two free throws got the Cavs to just 57 points, with quarters of 12, 13, 16 and 16 points allowed by L.A.

Let’s get right to the postgame numbers:

POSTGAME NUMBERS
57 New franchise record-low points allowed by the Lakers, eight fewer than their previous low of 66, which came on 3/12/02 against the Charlotte Hornets.

14 Rebounds in 31 minutes from Pau Gasol to lead all players. The Spaniard added 13 points and three assists.

7 Lakers in double figures, including all five starters plus Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown, led by 15 points apiece from Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum.

5 Blocks for Andrew Bynum, matching his season high. He added those 15 points on 7-of-9 field goals, and grabbed six boards in his 28 minutes.

2(nd) Largest margin of victory, ever, for the Lakers. Their final margin (55 points) was two fewer than the biggest of the game (57).

Bynum’s Second T Rescinded


Lakers confirm that the NBA rescinded Andrew Bynum’s second technical foul from last night.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Lakers – Knicks Postgame Numbers

We highlighted some of the more interesting numbers from L.A.’s Sunday evening victory over the New York Knicks at STAPLES Center, which saw the team’s record rise to 27-11 on the season thanks to a fourth straight win.

36.0 New York’s shooting percentage, far below its usual 46.9 percent, as the Lakers played solid defense throughout the contest, earning Phil Jackson’s postgame praise for following the game plan well.

29 Amare Stoudemire’s shooting percentage, a surprise as he came into the contest shooting the ball very well throughout the season, so much so that Phil Jackson praised his jumper prior to the game. Stoudemire opened really slowly, hitting just 2-of-14 shots, and finished at 7-for-24 plus 9-of-11 from the foul line for his 23 points.

27 Points for Kobe Bryant, though it took him 28 attempts to get there, plus 10 rebounds and five assists.

19 More rebounds grabbed by the Lakers, who held a 61-42 edge. That included a 17-7 advantage on the offensive end, which resulted in a 28-9 controlling of second chance points.

18 Rebounds for Lamar Odom, a season-high despite only 28 minutes of run. He added 13 points and four assists, continuing the best season of his career.

17 Blocked shots in a game that was highly contested around the rim, even though the Lakers did hold a major advantage. The Knicks blocked 11 shots, the Lakers six, led by four from Pau Gasol, who added 20 points and 14 boards with four assists and two steals in a complete game.

16 Points off the pine from Shannon Brown, including a big buzzer-beating three-pointer to close the third quarter, squashing a 5-0 Knicks run that came on one possession after a flagrant foul on Ron Artest.

Lakers 109, Knicks 87: Jan. 9 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday night home contest against the New York Knicks as the Lakers looked for their sixth win in seven games since Andrew Bynum returned to the starting line up, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Knicks: R. Felton, S. Williams, W. Chandler, L. Fields, A. Stoudemire

FIRST QUARTER
6:13 Phil Jackson wasn’t too happy to see his team turn the ball over six times in the first four minutes, which resulted in seven Knicks points, and a 10-4 lead for the visitors. Seemingly scores of New Yorkers were enjoying the early action, showcasing how many live in Los Angeles, while there was also a large celeb contingent at the contest, including (per Jeanie Buss’s Twitter handle): Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler (sitting next to one another), Denzel Washington, Tom Arnold, Michael Rosenbaum, Dax Shepard, Spike Lee, Chris Pine, Glee’s Matthew Morrison, Lindsey Lohan in Knicks cap, NFL Dick Butkus.

2:47 Jackson felt a lot better into the next time out, his Lakers finding Andrew Bynum on the low block instead of turning the ball over. The 7-footer quickly had eight points to go with four boards, while Lamar Odom promptly scored five points after checking in off the bench, leading a 9-1 run that put L.A. in front 21-17.

0:00 In a somewhat odd quarter, the Lakers scored 15 of their 25 points in a three-plus minute stretch in the middle of the period, adding only four free throws after Odom’s three got ‘em to 21. Nonetheless, they recovered from the slow start to lead 25-21 at the break. Once L.A. stopped turning the ball over, the Knicks settled for jumper after jumper, converting at only a 34.8 percent rate.

SECOND QUARTER
8:30 Struggling a bit of late, Shannon Brown began to break out in a big way early in the second, hitting back-to-back threes from the same corner in front of L.A.’s bench, then adding a massive one-handed dunk when the Knicks inexplicably left the paint wide open, putting the Lakers up 34-30.

2:51 Despite not getting many looks, Gasol was making things happen for himself, attacking the offensive boards for his eighth total rebound and putting the ball back home, plus a foul, to put L.A. up 41-40. Gasol also had two blocks at that point, and followed up with an open jumper from the top of the key to reach nine points.

0:40.4 Bryant hit his first three-pointer of the game to close the scoring for the half, enough to give L.A. a 52-47 lead. With tempo being the obvious key to this game, L.A. did a decent job after the opening stretch of asserting themselves down low, outscoring New York 30-16 in the paint, and grabbing 11 offensive rebounds to produce a 17-4 edge in second chance points.

THIRD QUARTER
7:39 Bryant opened the third with back-to-back threes to put the Lakers up nine points, the high for either team, reaching 15 points with his seven boards and three assists in the process. L.A. then went repeatedly to Bynum, with the smaller Stoudemire defending, and though Stoudemire picked up two blocks (though one was a clear hack), Bynum then (a) dropped in a layup and (b) earned two free throws. Gasol would then clean up Bynum’s near miss by earning a foul after another offensive board, his two free throws making it a 64-52 lead.

4:03 After more paint-pounding got Gasol up to 15 points with 13 rebounds, Bryant added two free throws to make it a 72-56 LAL lead. The Lakers were just hammering New York inside on offense, while keeping the visitors out of transition at the other end, the best complete stretch from the starters in a lil’ while.

0:01.0 An odd end to the quarter, to say the least, ended with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Shannon Brown that snapped a 5-0 Knicks run that resulted from a flagrant foul on Artest.

FOURTH QUARTER
11:26 More oddity: Bynum, after cleanly blocking Stoudemire, was incensed that he was called for the foul that he immediately got a technical for arguing. He then argued more, and got a quick second technical, ejected for the game with his 18 points, seven boards and two assists in 25 minutes. The Knicks got three points on the possession to cut a once 16-point lead to eight in a game that L.A. had controlled entirely only moments earlier.

5:37 With two free throws from Bryant and two more from Fisher, the Laker re-opened the safe lead they’d built in the third quarter prior to all the extra curricular activity, taking a 95-81 lead. Bryant was up to a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Gasol (20 points, 14 boards) and Odom (12 points, 15 boards) were right there with him.

1:51 And that would do it. Bryant’s 10-foot jumper gave him a game-high 27, and put the Lakers up 103-85 as Phil Jackson cleared his bench. A really solid all-around effort from the Lakers thus resulted in the team’s fourth straight win, and sixth in seven games since Bynum returned to the starting line up.