Monthly Archive for January, 2012

Lakers 106, Bobcats 73: Jan. 31 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening home contest against Charlotte, the Lakers looking for some momentum before a 6-game road trip, 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, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Bobcats: K. Walker, M. Carroll, B. Diaw, D. Diop

FIRST QUARTER
2:53 A hanging jumper from Bryant had him off to a loud first period scoring wise, with 16 of L.A.’s 24 points coming from No. 24, on 6-of-9 field goals. He also continued his hot 3-point shooting from the Minnesota game (5-of-9), making his first two to rise above 30 percent from distance for the first time all season.

1:34 Sorry, make that 7-of-11 field goals, after another make had him off to a red hot 18-point quarter before Jason Kapono replaced him. Getting some additional rest in this game for the 16-year veteran who came in averaging the second most minutes in the league was likely a focus of Mike Brown’s, and an early 13-point cushion after suddenly super-sub Andrew Goudelock’s jumper.

SECOND QUARTER
7:00 As Bryant and Gasol got extended rest for the first time in several games, the bench pushed the lead up to 18 when Bynum scored on a pretty reverse layup. Rookie Goudelock, whose name Mike Brown still can’t pronounce, had added a triple, reaching seven quick bench points, continuing his recent production.

2:51 Did you know that the Bobcats are one of only two franchises in the history of the NBA with a winning record against the Lakers? Well … it’s true. Boston is the other, thanks to the 1960′s, but the ‘Cats hold an 8-6 edge over L.A. that will last at least until next year even if the Purple and Gold hold a 50-34 lead (22 points for Kobe, 12 for Bynum with seven boards) throughout, since L.A. does not travel to Charlotte this season.

0:00 The shooting discrepancy was considerable in the first half, L.A. converting an efficient 24-for-41 (58.5 percent), and Charlotte just 15-for-48 (31.3 percent), helping L.A. secure a considerably 60-36 edge. Kobe had 24, Bynum 14 with eight boards, and Gasol eight with five glass cleans.

THIRD QUARTER
6:33 One problem with a huge halftime lead against a weaker opponent is what seems like the inevitable let down in the second half, which we certainly saw here as Charlotte reeled off an 8-0 run to make it somewhat of a ball game. Gerald Henderson did most of the damage, scoring eight of his twelve in the period.

1:17 A little trash talking between Bryant and Henderson drew double techs, as L.A. held a 71-56 lead. It’s not uncommon in the least to see a team trailing by 20 points at half come out loosy goosy and free in the second half, but the game remained well in the home team’s control.

FOURTH QUARTER
7:21 A three-pointer by Jason Kapono was L.A.’s third of the quarter, from a different bench players (Murphy, Goudelock), which had the Lakers back up by 22 points at 86-64 after Charlotte had entered the quarter down 15 at 73-58. This was good news for the ice packs in L.A.’s locker room, which could be brought out to Kobe’s knees earlier.

2:59 L.A. was already at a season-high tying nine triples in the middle of the fourth before three more rainbows fell to put the team at 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) in the game, despite nine straight misses by Kobe. This was in fact the fourth straight game in which the Lakers shot the three pretty well, as should be expected with quality shooters like Bryant, Fisher, Murphy and Kapono.

2:42 The Lakers hit the 100-point mark with a Devin Ebanks tip in, Brown having cleared his bench minutes earlier. L.A. would cruise on to take a 106-73 victory out of Staples, scoring 30, 30, 13 and 33 points in respective quarters. The bench scored a season-high 48 points, nailing 10-of-14 three-pointers, including a perfect 4-of-4 from Troy Murphy, while Bryant’s 24 points held up despite his not scoring in the second half. He did, however, get to rest for a full fourth quarter for the first time in a long time, as did Gasol, both players staying under 30 minutes.

Up next, the Grammy trip, beginning on Friday night at Denver. We’ll be there.

Kobe Sets More Lakers Records

In the past few seasons, Kobe Bryant has made a steady assault upon the Lakers’ franchise record books.

His two most recent accomplishments:

- Passing Jerry West (7,160) for the all-time franchise record in free throws made, which he did at the 6:34 mark of the third quarter at Milwaukee on Jan. 28.
- Passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the franchise field goals made record, converting his 9,936th on a driving reverse layup with 4:52 left in the first half at Minnesota on Jan. 29.

And so, to day, Bryant holds the following Lakers records amassed into his 16th season: points; field goals made and attempted; free throws made; three-point field goals made and attempted; games played; minutes played. He also ranks second in steals and free throws attempted, and third in assists.

Not bad.

Lakers 106, Wolves 101: Jan. 28 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday evening road contest at Minnesota, the Lakers looking to bounce back from a Saturday loss at Milwaukee, 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, World Peace*, Gasol and Bynum
Wolves: R. Rubio, L. Ridnour, W. Johnson, K. Love, N. Pekovic
*For the first time this season, World Peace started the game at small forward for L.A. Devin Ebanks was the opening day starter as World Peace got into shape and was intended to serve as an offensive spark off the bench (in addition to his expected defense), then Barnes started for much of January until tonight.

FIRST QUARTER
8:04 A very, very strong for the elder Spaniard Pau Gasol had L.A. off to an 11-3 lead, Gasol hitting all four of his shots over and around Kevin Love. His countryman Ricky Rubio has been more responsible than anyone for Minnesota’s improved season, a 9-10 start, but he was quiet in the opening minutes.

2:23 Same story in the next six minutes, Gasol hitting two more shots to reach 14 points on 6-of-8 field goals, helping his team hold a 22-19 edge after the opening quarter. L.A. held the Wolves to only 39 percent field goals, but Minnesota did its damage thanks to the offensive glass, converting six boards into 10 points.

SECOND QUARTER
5:45 With Bryant and Gasol resting, the bench provided a rare lift on the scoreboard, with rookie Andrew Goudelock continuing his effective scoring off the bench with five quick points, and Troy Murphy adding back-to-back 3′s to put L.A. up 39-32.

2:45 Moments after passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most field goals in franchise history, Bryant added a beautiful hoop off glass, spinning to his left, with his left hand. With that, his field goal total grew to an absurd 9,936 makes. L.A.’s biggest lead came on a short jumper from Gasol, up to 16 points, with a 49-36 lead.

0:00 The one area in which the Wolves were really able to hurt L.A. and stay within reach was on the offensive glass, as 11 boards led to 16 second chance points. They were shooting only 37.5 percent from the field, LAL helping well on Rubio pick and rolls in particular, the young Spaniard totaling only a point and three assists.

THIRD QUARTER
8:50 Back-to-back triples from Bryant got L.A. off on the right foot in the second half, producing a 12-point lead. An odd stat to that point: Bryant led all players with nine boards, at the expense of Bynum’s usual board stats (12.5, third in the NBA), who grabbed his first with 8:30 to play in the third.

5:01 Another Kobe triple, followed by Gasol’s put-back of a missed Fisher three, allowed L.A. to open its biggest lead of the game at 73-55. The Wolves were shooting only 33.3 percent, as LAL continued to play effective defense.

0:00 L.A. had done a terrific job in half court D all evening, but when the Wolves went to a zone defense, down 17 points, the Lakers started taking and missing threes, which resulted in several Rubio-led run outs at the other end, and ultimately in a 14-2 run to close the quarter. The 17-point lead was thus, suddenly, down to five heading into the final quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:54 The 20th offensive rebound of the game for Minnesota got the Wolves to within a single point in a game they trailed by 18, and had never led. Fast break points were 11-0 for Minny, and second chance points 25-8.

5:05 It was fitting that the first Wolves lead of the game came on yet another offensive board, as Beasley’s tip in made it 91-89 for the home team, the rebounding battle favoring Minnesota by a count of 50-35. Gasol, however, scored four straight points to put L.A. back up by two with 3:53 to play.

0:28.0 Bryant’s two biggest shot outs of 14 makes came in the final 1:16, first a fading pull-up across the lane, and then a runner – the dagger – in the paint, through about four Timberwolves, which put L.A. up 103-96. Two late turnovers provided a brief scare, but L.A. held on to take a 106-101 road win out of Minnesota, just the second road victory of the season for the Lakers.

Bryant finished an impressive evening with 35 points and 14 boards, while Gasol matched his season-high with 26 points on a very efficient 11-for-15 effort from the field. Bynum wasn’t far behind, totaling 21 points himself with seven boards and two blocks, L.A.’s three best players also staying on the floor for 41, 41 and 36 minutes, Bryant and Gasol playing the entire second half.

Next up is a home tilt against Charlotte on Tuesday. We’ll see you there.

Lakers – Wolves Preview Podcast

Less than 24 hours after a 100-89 loss at Milwaukee, the Lakers must rebound for a 4 p.m. Pacific tip in Minneapolis against an improved Timberwolves team that’s 9-10 after defeating San Antonio for the second time this season.

The Lakers have dominated the Wolves in recent years, winning 15 consecutive games, including sweeps in each of the past four seasons, but have started this season with just a 1-7 road record.

To discuss the matchup, we enlisted Minneapolis based AP reporter Jon Krawczynski, who has not only covered the Wolves for several seasons, but also spent two years covering the Indiana Pacers (2003-05) when Mike Brown was Rick Carlisle’s lead assistant. Krawczynski offered his thoughts on Brown, explained the two sides of the “Is Kevin Love a max player” argument, discussed Ricky Rubio — whom he said has entirely changed the culture in Minnesota and is the primary reason for the team’s turnaround — in detail and looked specifically towards the matchup against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

To listen, click below:

Lakers 89, Bucks 100: Jan. 28 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Saturday evening road contest at Milwaukee, the Lakers looking to win for just the second time in their eighth road game, 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, Barnes, Gasol and Bynum
Bucks: B. Jennings, S. Livingston, C. Delfino, L. Richard Mbah a Moute, D. Gooden*
*The Bucks came into this one quite short-handed, with regular center Andrew Bogut out 8-12 weeks with a fractured ankle, and Stephen Jackson suspended after being ejected at Chicago last night.

FIRST QUARTER
12:00 It doesn’t take Bill Russell to figure out that L.A.’s major edge in this one was going to come inside, which isn’t that out of the ordinary, but is especially true with Bucks lone really big inside player Andrew Bogut out. If the Lakers don’t pound the ball inside repeatedly, expect Stu Lantz to pop out of his courtside seat on the KCAL broadcast. In the media room before things started, Lantz said L.A. should go inside so often that Bynum and Gasol get so exhausted by the fourth quarter that they’re begging not to get it.

6:15 L.A. was getting whatever look it wanted in the opening stanza, as Bynum and Gasol took nine of the team’s first 10 shots, but four missed layups – all wide open – helped the Bucks stay right there, down just 12-7 after a baseline fade from Bryant.

0:00 A strong start to the game produced lead of 21-15 and 23-17 after subs Andrew Goudelock (a three) and Josh McRoberts (a big follow dunk off Kobe’s miss) suddenly went by the wayside, as the Bucks reeled off a 10-0 run to close the first up 27-23. Milwaukee hit four of their last five shots in the quarter.

SECOND QUARTER
7:36 While Bryant was on the bench, L.A. got outscored by 12 points, and his free throws after a defensive three seconds call on Milwaukee still found the Lakers down 10 points. Gasol uncharacteristically struggled to hit his shot, making only 2-of-8, despite his length edge on Ersan Ilyasova.

4:30 The Bucks were absolutely flying around on D, which we saw result in 10 Lakers turnovers and easy Milwaukee baskets on the other end. The Bucks were also simply playing with greater intensity, L.A. trying to slow things down and execute, but since they weren’t, Milwaukee led 45-34 even after Fisher’s first hoop, a corner J.

1:39 A running, left-handed dunk from Gasol brought L.A. up to only 14 paint points despite how early it was getting it down low in the first few minutes of the first. Milwaukee’s scrambling D cut down those passing angles, subsequently, and meanwhile, the Bucks got 23 points off its bench. It’d be 51-43 Bucks at the break, thanks to a 7-2 LAL run to close the half.

THIRD QUARTER
8:00 Back in the first half, Bryant tied a franchise record held by Jerry West for most free throws made in franchise history, at 7,160. A jumper also had him eight field goals within the franchise mark held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (9,935). At 5-for-9, Bryant had 13 points with six assists and five boards, keeping his team within the 8-point halftime deficit early in the third.

3:15 McRoberts made a good entry pass to Bynum, who scored over Gooden to get to 13 points, but L.A. then conceded a paint bucket to Ilyasova on the other end. Bryant, however, than hit consecutive jumpers, including a triple, plus a Goudelock floater to cut Milwaukee’s lead to four.

0:00 With Bryant and Goudelock taking turns scoring, L.A. cut that lead down to just three at 76-73, but the Bucks again answered, hitting the final two shots of the quarter to create a seven-point lead heading into the fourth. Five Bucks were in double figures in a very balanced effort, and this without two of the three players on their roster (Bogut and Jackson) who actually averaged double figures coming into the game.

FOURTH QUARTER
6:34 You’d have been as surprised as Stu Lantz to see that the Bucks would lead L.A. 42-32 in paint points despite the huge disparity in size, but as Bynum failed to take advantage of his offensive board, L.A. needed a tough running hook shot from Kobe to get within six points at 85-79.

1:37 More of the same, as L.A. continued to struggle to get the ball inside, and the Bucks drained jumpers, improving to 50.6 percent from the field after back-to-back deep jumpers from Mike Dunleavy. Five Bucks players were in double figures, including 15 each off the bench from Dunleavy and Ilyasova.

The final score: Bucks 98, Lakers 87. L.A. falls to 11-9 on the season, and just 1-7 on the road, with the second of a cold winter weather back-to-back at Minnesota coming up on Sunday. We’ll see you then.

Bucks Big Man Bogut out vs. Lakers

The Lakers always have a size and length advantage in the paint thanks to their pair of 7-footers in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and when the team opens a road back-to-back with Milwaukee on Saturday evening, that edge will be greater than usual.

This because Bucks center Andrew Bogut fractured his left ankle in his 12th game of the season (@HOU, 1/25), an injury that is expected to keep him out between eight and 12 weeks, as Bucks GM John Hammond announced on Thursday.

The Australian big man, taken No. 1 overall in 2005, was averaging 11.3 points, and team-highs 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 30 minutes per game.

The Bucks are expected to start Drew Gooden in Bogut’s place, while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders or Jon Leuer could also see increased playing time. Lakers coach Mike Brown coached Gooden in Cleveland for three years, with Gooden playing a key starting role on the 2007 team that went to the Finals. This season, Gooden had three outstanding games in Bogut’s absence, including a 24-point, 12-rebound performance in a loss to Utah and an 18-point, 13-board game in a loss to the Clippers.

Nonetheless, Bynum and Gasol tower over Gooden (6-10, 250) and Mbah a Moute (6-8, 230), encouraging L.A. to aggressively pound the ball inside offensively … even if that’s always a major part of the team’s game plan.

Though the Bucks have generally played L.A. very tough, the Lakers have managed to eight of their last 10 in Milwaukee and 6-of-7 overall, losing only a Dec. 21, 2010 contest at home.

This season’s Bucks have been led by point guard Brandon Jennings, an L.A. native, who’s averaging 20.2 points (44% FG’s) and 5.5 assists to pace his team. Stephen Jackson, acquired in a trade with Charlotte that included Corey Maggette in the offseason, scores 13.0 points per game but is shooting only 37%, while Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Delfino are each just a tad under a 10.0 point per game average.

Tip time is at 5:30 p.m., when L.A. will look to snap a 3-game road losing streak.

A Chat with Josh McRoberts

Late last week, we chatted with Lakers forward Josh McRoberts for a few minutes after practice, to discuss the painful sprained toe that kept him out for six games, his focus on doing the “little things,” getting a new car and some of his friendships on the team:

On his toe:
McRoberts: I’m feeling better. I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’ll get better once I get my conditioning fully back. The type of injury it is makes it more difficult. Our training staff works on it, to see how much motion and bruising I have, but it’s a fine line between putting too much pressure on it and taking time to rest.

On his weak side defensive effort:
McRoberts: It’s something I think I can help with by understanding rotations and covering for guys. I don’t expect people to really notice it; I don’t know if a fan watching would notice it, because I wouldn’t if I were watching. People want to see Kobe score 40, for example … but there are savvy Lakers fans that may notice. At the end of the day I know the coaches and my teammates notice, so that’s what matters. I think doing those little thing is one of my roles here.

On if he’s had a moment to enjoy being in Los Angeles:
McRoberts: The season has been so hectic that it’s been tough to gage, but I will say it’s a lot more fun to be on the court than to be on the sideline hurt. I’m just happy to be back on the court, and can’t wait to get back to 100 percent in shape.

On if he sorted out his car situation:
McRoberts: Well, I had the (Toyota) Prius I was borrowing, then I had a rental, and now I finally had a chance to lease a car. But I’m not a car guy … I just want something that runs. It’s not a big deal to me.

On his relationship with Troy Murphy:
McRoberts: We played together for a few years in Indiana, so I just know him pretty well and we’re pretty good friends. We’ll have dinner together on the road every once in a while. Murph helped me a lot in Indiana, because he was a starter when I was in my second year in the league, and he’d talk me through stuff. I’d guard him in practice, and he’d help me through plays. Now that I’m in my fifth year, it’s not as one sided, as we can sort of communicate together on the floor about what we see … but he still knows a lot more than I do. I also will hang out with Steve (Blake), who I spent a year with in Portland.

On the team chemistry for a team with a lot of new faces:
McRoberts: I feel comfortable as a new guy. Everybody gets along well, and it’s a great group of guys. But it is a locker room that focuses on hoops. Guys really are focused. Some other locker rooms have more jokes than not, and there is a time and a place for everything, but people here really come in here and get their work done.

LAL – LAC Postgame Numbers

We compiled some of the more interesting numbers from L.A.’s 96-91 victory over the L.A. Clippers, which snapped a 3-game losing streak and improved the Lakers to 11-8 on the young season.

69 Pau Gasol’s shooting percentage on an impressive 9-of-13 field goals, which included a motley crew of moves inside and out. He added 10 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in 40 solid minutes.

20 Plus/minus tally for Metta World Peace, who in 38 (intense) minutes scored only three points on 1-of-4 shooting (on a fourth quarter three-pointer) but he led the team with seven assists and generally caused havoc for the Clippers. Mike Brown made special mention of his effort:

“I thought his physical and mental toughness throughout the course of his 38 minutes was phenomenal,” said Brown. “The one shot he hit was obviously a big shot, but the seven assists, five rebounds, the block that he had, the two steals and his physical and mental toughness really impacted the game, especially as it wore on.”

Also key off LAL’s bench was Andrew Goudelock, the second round pick who nailed his first four shots, including two three-pointers, and finished with 14 points off L.A.’s bench.

17 Offensive boards for the Clippers, a concerning number for the Lakers at first, but Mike Brown noted that his team collapsed well after conceding the boards, helping L.A. hold the Clips to just 4-of-15 shooting on second chance opportunities (11 points). The Lakers, on the other hand, converted eight second chance opportunities into 17 points.

6 Third quarter turnovers for Kobe Bryant, who finished the game with seven. He did have six assists, including a game-clinching feed to Andrew Bynum with 32 seconds left to put L.A. up four. On the play, a side pick and roll with Gasol, Bryant attracted the defense before simply lobbing the ball in to Bynum, who gathered himself before taking the ball up and putting it off glass. Bryant added 24 points on 7-of-17 shooting and seven boards. L.A.’s center added 19 points (6-of-11 FG’s) and six boards with a game-high four blocked shots, including a key swat of DeAndre Jordan directly after his big make at the other end.

4 Points scored by Chris Paul, who burned L.A. for 33 points the last time these two teams played (Jan. 14, a Clippers win), when he strained his hamstring in the fourth quarter. This was Paul’s first game since then, and he made only 2-of-8 shots, though he did have a game-high 12 assists in only 26:40 of action.

Lakers 96, Clippers 91: Jan. 25 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening home contest against the Clippers, the Lakers looking to snap a three-game losing skid, 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, Barnes, Gasol and Bynum
Clippers: C. Paul, C. Billups, C. Butler, B. Griffin, D. Jordan

FIRST QUARTER
5:28 A big focus of Lakers practice this week was getting the ball inside effectively, through double teams, with improved spacing. That happened early, Gasol and Bynum getting four total field goals, and Barnes converting a layup. However, L.A. didn’t practice contesting threes, apparently, as Caron Butler opened absolutely on fire, hitting four consecutive from outside, including three triples, to give the Clips an early 19-9 lead. The Lakers then came out of the time out on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to four.

2:29 Providing the bench spark? Second rounder Andrew Goudelock, who jumped Darius Morris in Mike Brown’s rotation and promptly rewarded his coach by draining first a baseline two, and then an open three to tie the game at 23. L.A. was clicking on offense, making 10-of-16 shots, while the D had picked up after the Butler perimeter barrage.

0:00 Behind 58 percent field goals (not bad considering the blistering LAC start), the Clips took a 27-25 lead out of the first. Gasol started 4-for-4 for L.A. before rimming out his fifth FGA to lead with nine points.

SECOND QUARTER
8:58 The second unit was far less efficient than the starters for L.A., missing all four FGA’s and getting only two Gasol (who had yet to sit) free throws. But the D was energetic, the Clips managing 2-for-7 shooting to claim a 32-27 lead.

6:40 Bynum’s baseline hook picked up where Gasol had left off scoring wise, the Spaniard up to 15 points on 6-of-8 FG’s in 16 impressive minutes. He was helped further by Goudelock, who drained two more shots, including his second three, for 10 bench points in 11 minutes. The Clips did get eight bench points of their own from Mo Williams (2 3′s) to maintain a 40-38 lead.

0:00 Two unnecessary fouls off the ball by L.A. got Billups four free throws (he made three) in the final two minutes, but the Lakers got a corner three from Fisher (his first hoop) with nine seconds left to trail by just two into halftime.

THIRD QUARTER
11:00 One obvious adjustment made by Bynum after a few days of practice: actively re-posting if he doesn’t have good position on the catch. It worked early in the third, drawing Jordan’s third PF, two free throws getting Bynum to 11 points. Speaking of free throws … he was shooting only 54 percent on the season, far below what he “should” be hitting considering his nice touch.

9:30 But on the other end, CP3 was making it really tough on Bynum and L.A.’s defense, extending his dribble through the paint, drawing Bynum out and then finding Jordan on the weak side for consecutive hoops that put the Clips up 60-51.

2:35 It’s always tough to understand why players rotate off hot three-point shooters, but L.A. did just that for the fourth time of the evening, and Williams made them pay by draining his third triple. L.A. thought it had a lead when Bryant hit a leaner in the paint, but that bucket was negated for traveling, and the Clips scored the next five points to lead 69-63.

FOURTH QUARTER
11:45 Continuing his fantastic individual game, Gasol hit a 15-footer to cap his personal 5-0 run (including a free throw and up-and-under lay up to close the third) to reach 22 points on only 12 shots. In the process, he got the Lakers within a point, despite six Bryant turnovers alone in that third quarter compared with LAC’s six in the game.

5:36 The game stayed tight as could be, L.A. finally grabbing the lead on Bryant’s three, but giving it up on the next possession on Paul’s 2nd field goal (only 6 FGA’s, with 10 assists in 22 minutes). Another potentially key note: L.A. had drawn the fourth Clippers foul with eight minutes left, but had yet to get into the bonus.

2:24 My tweet: (Harlan voice) Metta … World … Peace?? His team-high 7th assist gets Bynum a layup, & LAL an 89-84 lead. 2:24 to go. Would you have guessed that World Peace was +20? That’s PLUS 20! Some are bigger than others on in-game plus/minus, but his energy had very obviously been a huge bonus for the Lakers.

0:23.9 Bynum had been relatively quiet as World Peace and Bryant carried L.A. through the final quarter, but he made two huge plays in the final minute, first converting a layup in traffic after a lob from Bryant (whom the defense had collapsed upon), and then swatting Jordan at the other end. Bryant gathered the loose ball after the block, hit 1-of-2 free throws, then earned two more (again hitting one) by deflecting Griffin’s pass off Butler. That put L.A. up 93-87 with 15.2 seconds left.

The final: Lakers 96, Clippers 91. It was a very strong, spirited effort from the Lakers, who used a 28-20 fourth quarter edge to snap a 3-game losing streak, and avenge a Jan. 14 loss at the Clips.

LAL – LAC Preview Podcast: Brian Sieman

Clippers radio play-by-play voice Brian Sieman joined us on a preview podcast to discuss Wednesday’s Lakers – Clippers matchup, a rematch of a Jan. 14 102-94 home win for the Clips.

Among the topics: Chris Paul’s hamstring (Sieman expects him to return after missing five straight games); Blake Griffin’s post game; the Clippers’ lack of frontcourt depth; how a light early schedule (four fewer games than the Lakers) has helped; what he thinks the Clippers need to do to win and more.

To listen, click play below: