Appearance on an All-NBA team for Andrew Bynum, who made the second team as the center. It was also Bynum’s first season on the All-Star team, promising signs both for the 24-year-old 7-footer. His numbers: 18.7 points per game on 55.8 percent shooting with 11.8 rebounds and 1.93 blocks, ranking among league leaders in each category. After the season, Bynum acknowledged that the next step for him is to bring it every night, like teammate Kobe Bryant has for years, if he wants to reach superstar status.
Bryant’s all-time rank in NBA playoff minutes played, second only to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 8,851. Kobe’s 8,641 are a staggering total in 220 total games, averaging out to 39.3 per contest. That’s nearly three additional full regular seasons in playoff minutes – of course more taxing than regular season minutes – for a player in his 16th season. Bryant would need to play roughly six more playoff games to surpass Kareem’s total.
Times in franchise history that the Lakers have lost a playoff game while leading by at least nine points heading into the fourth quarter, after blowing an 80-71 lead in Game 4 of the Western Semi’s against Oklahoma City, ultimately losing 103-100.
LAL vs. OKC was just the fifth playoff series ever pitting the players who finished first and second in the
league’s scoring race that season against one another, with Kevin Durant barely edging out Kobe Bryant’s 27.9 ppg, his highest output since 2007-08. The other four: 1951 West Semis – George Mikan (Lakers), Alex Groza (Olympians); 1993 East First Round – Michael Jordan (Bulls), Dominique Wilkins (Hawks); 1995 NBA Finals – Shaquille O’Neal (Magic), Hakeem Olajuwon (Rockets); 1997 NBA Finals – Jordan (Bulls), Karl Malone (Jazz).
Games with at least 30 points for Bynum this season, when he had only one such scoring night in his previous six seasons. Other than Bryant, the last Laker to total seven 30+ point games in a single season was Shaq in 2003-04 (7).
Overtime wins with just a single loss for the Lakers in the last two seasons, after L.A. went 5-1 this season and 4-0 in 2010-11. The lone loss came at Detroit on March 6, with the final victory coming against Oklahoma City on April 22. In the past 24 OT games dating back to the 2007-08 campaign (or, since the team acquired Pau Gasol), the Lakers are 21-3.
Foreign born players to accumulate 14,000 points, with Barcelona native Gasol becoming the 10th at Orlando on Jan. 20. The other nine (totals as of Jan. 20, 2012): Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946/Nigeria), Dominique Wilkins (26,668/France), Patrick Ewing (24,815/Jamaica), Dirk Nowitzki (23,072/Germany), Tim Duncan (21,854/U.S. Virgin Islands), Rolando Blackman (17,623/Panama), Steve Nash (16,073/South Africa), Kiki Vandeweghe (15,980/Germany) and Detlef Schrempf (15,761/West Germany).
Rebounds and assists for Gasol in his April 18 triple-double in a victory at Golden State, in addition to his 22 points. The Spaniard did not commit a single turnover in the contest, the third time he’s recorded a triple-double without turning the ball over, joining only Jason Kidd (5) and Grant Hill (3) as active players to do so at least three times. Gasol has five career triple-doubles.
Appearance on an All-NBA team for Bryant. Pause. Repeat: in 16 seasons, Bryant has been on an All-NBA in all but two of them. That’s a lot. To put it in perspective, Kobe trails only Karl Malone for all-time selections to the first team (11), and is now tied with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Michael Jordan, Bob Pettit, and Jerry West. Bryant’s 14th overall All-NBA mention is matched only by Malone and Shaq, trailing only Abdul-Jabbar and his 15.
Consecutive wins for the Lakers over the Minnesota Timberwolves after four more wins in 2011-12, which is the longest active win streak in the league by one team over another. L.A. also defeated Dallas 19 straight times from 1995-99, while 24 straight wins over the Kings from 1983-88 is the all-time franchise mark.
Bynum’s rank in the NBA in minutes played per game at 35.2. Bynum, who has obviously struggled to stay on the floor in his career due to various injuries centering upon his knees, missed only one game due to injury in 2011-12. He played just 27.8 mpg in 2010-11, a difference of 7.4 per game. “My body feels great,” said Bynum at his exit interview. “While the shortened season was a lot harder on the body and not having time to recover, it also kind of keeps you in rhythm.” Bynum will now have a full offseason to continue to build strength around his knees in particular.
27 and 133
Years and days by average on the Lakers roster, which changed when the team acquired Ramon Sessions (25), Christian Eyenga and Jordan Hill (24) in two separate trades that saw Derek Fisher (37), Luke Walton (32) and Jason Kapono (31) head to Houston (Fisher) and Cleveland. The average age thus went from 29 years and 149 days to 27 years and 133 days.
Rebounds collected by Bynum at San Antonio on April 11 in an impressive 98-84 win, making him the fifth Laker in franchise history to reach that milestone. The Hall of Famers also on that list: Wilt Chamberlain (16 times); Elgin Baylor (3); Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2); and George Mikan (2). Furthermore, Bynum is just the second player in the last 15 NBA seasons to clean the window at least 30 times (Kevin Love, 11/12/10, 31).
Playoff berths in 33 seasons since Dr. Jerry Buss bought the Lakers. That’s 94 percent of the time.
Points scored by Bryant – at least – in four consecutive games, against Phoenix (48), at Utah (40), Cleveland (42) and at L.A. Clippers (42) from Jan. 10 to Jan. 14. In NBA history, only two players have more career 40-point games: Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173). The Lakers have gone 77-35 when Bryant scores 40+ points, and he holds the franchise record for 40-point games in a season, recording 27 during the 2005-06 campaign. Bryant also holds the franchise record for most consecutive 40-point games (9), established during the 2002-03 season. Only Wilt Chamberlain (14 twice, 10 once) has had longer consecutive 40-point game streaks in NBA history than Bryant.
Three-point percentage for Ramon Sessions in his 23 regular season games with the Lakers following the trade deadline. Though a capable shooter, L.A. didn’t expect such accuracy from the perimeter, which made opponents second guess going under screens. However, Sessions struggled with that shot in the playoffs, hitting only 4 of 25 (16 percent), a reason he vowed to focus on his perimeter shooting in the offseason. His backup, Steve Blake, ended up finished many of L.A.’s postseason contests; Blake played quite well when given the chance, with a highlight coming in Game 4 at Denver in Round 1 when he made a game-clinching three-pointer.
Lakers free throw percentage in Game 3 against OKC, in which 41 of 42 free throws went in, led by Kobe Bryant’s 18 for 18 performance, a franchise playoff record that surpassed Gail Goodrich’s perfect 17 without a miss in 1971 against Chicago in the conference semi’s. Only the Dallas Mavericks, who made 49 of 50 in 2003 at San Antonio, own a better team performance in playoff history while attempting at least 30 shots.
Points in the All-Star game for Kobe, the most in the history of the game, which he reached this season with a fast-break dunk at the 4:57 mark of the third quarter to move ahead of Michael Jordan (262). Despite breaking his nose and suffering a concussion, Bryant finished with 27 points in the contest on 9 of 17 FG’s, helping the West to a 152-149 victory. It was the 14th time as an All-Star for Bryant in his 16 seasons; he’s won MVP honors four times.
Steals in the career of Metta World Peace, who became the sixth active player (Jason Kidd, Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion, Baron Davis) to reach that number with a swipe at Oklahoma City on Feb. 23. The 2004 NBA Defensive POW with fiercely strong hands has finished in the top five in steals five times.
Points away from Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) on the all-time scoring list for Kobe with his 29,484. As such, if Bryant played in all 82 games next season and averaged 23.6 points, he’d catch Wilt. Or if Bryant averaged 27.9 points — as he did in the 2011-12 campaign — it would take him roughly 71 games to surpass Chamberlain. Bryant currently ranks fifth in league history on the all-time scoring chart, having passed Shaq (28,596) on Feb. 2 at Philadelphia. Ahead of Wilt are Jordan (32,292), Malone (36,928) and Kareem (38,387).