Monthly Archive for November, 2012

Lakers 122, Nuggets 103: Nov. 30 Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Morris, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Nuggets: T. Lawson, A. Iguodala, D. Gallinari, K. Faried, K. Koufos

FIRST QUARTER
8:00 Four minutes into the game, Dwight Howard had already drawn three fouls on the Nuggets, hitting 2 of 5 free throws (one on an and-1) to get starter Kosta Koufos on the bench with two personals. Meanwhile, Metta World Peace and Darius Morris hit a triple each to put the Lakers up 16-14.

0:00 Howard was certainly the story of the first quarter, dominating towards 16 points and five boards, dunking seemingly once a minute, making 7 of 9 shots. Antawn Jamison also delivered a nice bench spark, scoring eight straight points – hitting back-to-back triples – in giving Gasol an early rest, pairing him with Howard. That fit nicely into D’Antoni’s system, and then allowed Gasol to play center starting the second quarter. The score: 34-27, LAL getting more points than the 33 they managed in the entire first half against Indiana.

SECOND QUARTER
8:22 Remember how well Jodie Meeks and Jamison played on the road at Dallas and Memphis? They combined for only three points against Indiana, Meeks getting only seven minutes as Kobe went nearly the whole game, but wow was tonight a different story. At the 6:53 mark, Meeks drained his fifth consecutive three-pointer, to put the Lakers up 55-41. He was pulling up from everywhere, hitting nothing but net, while his bench mate Jamison had 12 points himself with five rebounds. LAL’s record for threes made in a quarter by one player, by the way, was six.

0:00 Slowing Howard in the second quarter was a laceration to his left eyelid that forced him back to the locker room and out of the game for several minutes, but athletic trainer Gary Vitti took care of him in the back and got him back on the floor for the final minute. Meanwhile, Bryant picked things up on offense, climbing up to 12 points at the foul line and with a one-legged fadeaway just before the second quarter buzzer, allowing L.A. a 71-57 lead at the half. The bench total of 31 points was a major factor, Meeks and Jamison both going off to help L.A. shoot 60 percent.

2:49 What a difference a night makes from the three-point line. with Jamison and World Peace adding two more to L.A.’s total of 11 makes in 22 attempts, when they’d converted only 6 of 28 against Indiana. And Kobe Bryant sunk 5 of his 11, meaning his teammates were 1 of 17. But with Meeks going 5 of 6, Jamison 3 of 6 and MWP 2 of 6, the lead had grown to 90-73 after Duhon added a transition layup.

0:00 More Jamison and Meeks. This time, Meeks grabbed a loose ball with 00.9 seconds on the clock, and somehow got it to Jamison in time for a buzzer-beating layup that pushed L.A.’s lead to 97-82 after three quarters. Jamison was up to a game-high 23 points with eight boards.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:48: Meeks kept it up, draining his sixth triple of the period, and we should also mention that Duhon had totaled six assists in his 22 minutes. D’Antoni continued to stagger the minutes of Gasol and Howard, playing Gasol with the second unit, and the Spaniard helped facilitate to the tune of six dimes, matching Duhon and trailing only Kobe’s eight.

4:35: A put-back dunk from Howard got the big man to 23 points and 17 rebounds in a night he looked very strong throughout; that slam stopped a 9-0 run from Denver’s bench as L.A. took its foot off the pedal just a bit, but the lead remained quite large at 115-101. And the threes wouldn’t stop, as even Howard got into the act, draining one in the corner with nine seconds to play just after grabbing his 20th board, for a big 28-point, 20-board double-double.

0:00 This tweet sums up the game, from my @LakersReporter account – The final: Lakers 122, Nuggets 103. Jamison had 33 and 12, Howard 28 and 20, Meeks 21 points on 7 3′s. Kobe/Pau 8 dimes each. L.A. shot 54 percent as a team, 51.5 percent from three (17 of 33) and outscored Denver 20-10 on fast break points. Quite an offensive show from the Lakers, even with Steve Nash in street clothes.

Before we let you go, some superlatives from L.A.’s offensive game that will likely make an appearance in the postgame numbers:

- The last time two guys came off the bench to score 20 for the Lakers was on 4/19/98, vs. Utah, when Nick Van Exel had 20 and Kobe 24. Jamison had 33, Meeks 21.
- The last time someone scored 30 off the bench was 2/11/98, when Shaquille O’Neal did so against Golden State.
- Howard’s 3-pointer with nine seconds left was the second of his career, and it tied the team’s franchise record of 17 for a regulation game. The last time that happend was 1/7/03, when Kobe hit 12. The team record is 19, but that came in OT against Washington on 12/17/06.
- Only nine Lakers had made eight or more triples, so Meeks tied the 10th time someone has had at least seven.

Up next is Orlando on Sunday. See you there.

Lakers Missing Their PG’s

It’s not often that a team loses not just its first, but also second string point guard at the same time.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, that’s been the case since backup Steve Blake aggravated a strained abdominal injury on Nov. 11 against Sacramento that he said he originally injured against Detroit on Nov. 4, one that will keep him out for at least two more weeks, per a team press release:

Lakers guard Steve Blake was examined today by Dr. Steven Yoon and had an MRI exam. The exam confirmed that Blake still has an abdominal strain. As a result, he will be out at least another two weeks. Blake was originally diagnosed with the abdominal strain on November 12 and has missed the last eight games with the injury.

Blake’s injury came on top of the loss of starter Steve Nash, who suffered a non-displaced fracture to his lower left leg on Halloween night at Portland. Team spokesman John Black said that Nash would be out at least for the team’s games against Denver (Friday) and Orlando (Sunday).

Nash has already be sidelined for L.A.’s last 13 games, and Blake eight. It’s the most games Nash has missed since the 1999-2000 season, when he played in 56 of 82. While Nash and Blake recover, 2011 second round pick Darius Morris getting the starts and Chris Duhon – who came over from Orlando in the Dwight Howard trade – are getting the backup to the backup minutes.

The Lakers have played .500 basketball since (4-4) with Morris and Duhon playing well in certain aspects and struggling in others. They deserve some credit for holding down the fort, the youngster using his bigger body to play solid defense and finish through traffic at the rim, and the veteran hitting 39 percent of his three-pointers. Morris is averaging 6.4 poings, 2.4 assists and 1.77 turnovers in 23 minutes per game, and Duhon 2.8, 2.3 and 0.55 in his 16.9 minutes.

But Morris doesn’t have the play making experience at the NBA level to really get the Lakers rolling in an offense most of the team is still learning, leaving much of that responsibility to Kobe Bryant. That takes its toll on Bryant, who’s been brilliant at times (see: at Dallas) doing so but focused on his primary strength in others (see: vs. Indiana).

All the while, Nash and Blake are watching in street clothes.

Nash is the guy who has literally run coach Mike D’Antoni’s system better than anybody in the world, and a guy whose teams have really struggled to win when he’s been out. In fact: Nash missed only four games last season, Phoenix going 1-3; in 2010-11, Phoenix went 1-6 without him. D’Antoni recalled that, when he was in Phoenix, “we never won without him.”

Indeed, D’Antoni hasn’t tried to hide the fact that he absolutely thinks things will change with his former Suns captain taking the court. After a loss at the buzzer to Indiana, D’Antoni said he’s “banking on it,” referencing both Nash and Blake. He’s a bigger fan of Blake’s than you might have known.

“I’ve been trying to get him for 10 years,” said D’Antoni at his introductory press conference. “We always tried to get him I think he’s perfect for our system.”

The Lakers can’t complain too much, not with Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol on the floor. But if you believe D’Antoni, there’s no question that it’s going to be a different looking team when Nash and Blake return, especially on the offensive end.

Three Lakers in Top 15 Most Popular Jerseys

The NBA released it’s list of most popular jerseys and three Lakers found their way into the top 15. Kobe Bryant, a stalwart of this list, came in at number three, while newcomers Dwight Howard and Steve Nash ranked #9 & #13 respectively.

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:

1. LeBron James, Miami Heat
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
4. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
6. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
7. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
8. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
9. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
10. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
11. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
12. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
13. Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers
14. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
15. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

(Rankings based on sales from the NBA Store and NBAStore.com from April 2012 through Nov. 26, 2012)

-Since 2001, Bryant has claimed the No. 1 position six times in the bi-annual survey.
-The Lakers were the only team to place three players on the list.
-The purple and gold ranked third in team merchandise sold.

Lakers – Pacers Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 79-77 home loss to Indiana:

114
Career 40-point games for Kobe Bryant, and his second of the season. Playing through flu-like symptoms, Bryant hit only 12 of 28 shots in what’s been an otherwise very efficient season, but hit 5 of 11 threes and added 11 of 13 free throws. He also had 10 rebounds in a game-high 43:44 of playing time, but turned the ball over 10 times. “It was a tough game for us because we didn’t make shots, and on top of that, we didn’t make free throws,” Kobe said. “I got to minimize my mistakes. It boggles my mind that I had 10 turnovers.”

22
Missed three pointers for the Lakers, who hit only six, including Kobe’s five. Metta World Peace – who’s been hitting tons of triples – made only 1 of 5, having several rim out, while Darius Morris, Antawn Jamison and Chris Duhon all went 0 for 3. The team shot only 31.6 percent overall.

21
Turnovers for the team, resulting in 16 Pacers points, and many in fast break fashion. L.A. did force 17 turnovers for 12 points, with Morris and Bryant both collecting three steals.

20
Missed free throws on a night the Lakers lost by two. Mike D’Antoni said that obviously wasn’t going to cut it. Dwight Howard made only three of his 12 attempts, while World Peace, Jamison and Morris all went 1 for 4. “It’s a mental thing and it’s a confidence thing,” Pau Gasol said. “It’s something you have to work on mentally. It’s not just repetition.”

15
Offensive rebounds for the Lakers, which helped produce 11 second chance points, but the many missed free throws came often off extra shots, and L.A. most often did not convert.

Lakers 77, Pacers 79: Nov. 27 Running Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Morris, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Pacers: G. Hill, L. Stephenson, P. George, D. West, R. Hibbert

FIRST QUARTER
11:00 The primary story of the day: Kobe Bryant had flu-like symptoms and missed shootaround, leaving him questionable for the game. Of course, he was out there to start the action, even though he spent much of the pregame shooting period lying in front of the team’s bench with a towel over his head. A minute into the game, Bryant pulled up and nailed a three. He likes being sick.

0:45.7 L.A. quickly found itself down by as many as 12 at 25-13, struggling to match Indiana’s physicality, but with Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill checking in, the Lakers turned the tide. An 8-0 run spurred by those two on D and the glass, and Kobe on offense (13 points on 5 of 6 shooting) trimmed that Pacers lead down to only four after the first.

SECOND QUARTER
5:48 The Pacers opened the game hitting 10 of 15 shots … then started to completely brick everything. They made literally one shot in 23 attempts, but the Lakers weren’t taking full advantage, finding themselves still down 27-25 halfway through the second, due in part to 10 turnovers. Indy was at 30.8% shooting when David West finally hit a jumper, but L.A. was just 11 of 32 (34.3%), Kobe notching five of those field goals, but with his activity on offense (15 field goal attempts in the first half) left many of his teammates without a chance to find a rhythm. He’d been more of a facilitator in the previous several wins, but perhaps in part because he was sick, was more focused on scoring in this one.

1:29 While Kobe had it going in that first quarter, his illness started to catch up to him, as he made only 1 of his 9 shots after starting 5 of 6, and totaled four turnovers. Indy capitalized with a quick 5-0 run to open a 7-point lead. World Peace did find Howard with a pretty pass to set up a dunk with 20 seconds left, but Ian Mahinmi answered with a jam of his own to produce a 40-33 lead at the break.

THIRD QUARTER
7:00 Things didn’t get much better on offense for L.A., as threes continued to brick off the rim (3 for 15) and free throws followed suit. Darius Morris missed 1 of 2 to fall to 1 of 4 on the night, and Howard missed both on the next trip, the team falling to 7 of 17 from the stripe (Howard 3 of 8). As such, Indy held onto a 48-40 lead.

3:00 Seven straight Kobe points, after he’d been scoreless in the quarter, cut what had been a 13-point lead down to six, forcing the Pacers to call a time out. Bryant was up to 23 points, the Lakers trying to find some life in a game they’d barely managed to shoot 30 percent at that point (30.9 after Kobe’s transition layup). The deficit was 61-57 heading into the fourth quarter, one that Bryant would start despite leading all players in minutes (32).

FOURTH QUARTER
8:19 Kobe kept scoring, reaching 32 points at the foul line (11 of 12) to help mask the rest of the team’s 8 of 21 at the line (Howard 3 of 10, Jamison 1 for 4, Morris 1 for 4). Jamison’s one make came after he’d failed to hit several open shots (1 for 7) after two straight great individual road games off the bench, but L.A. was still within only two points. Jodie Meeks also failed to score in his seven minutes off the bench, Kobe ending up playing nearly 44 minutes.

2:27 Biggest play of the game thus far for L.A. came from, who else, Bryant, his big bucket on the baseline coming with a bonus: the 6th Roy Hibbert foul. However, he missed the free throw (LAL 23 of 39) as Indy held on by two.

0:00 A wild final two minutes ultimately ended in a painful way for the Lakers, with George Hill getting a scoop layup off glass to fall around Gasol and over Howard with 0.01 seconds on the clock. L.A., down by as many as 13 in the third, had battled all the way back to tie the contest at the 1:56 mark when Gasol found Howard for a dunk, but then missed four consecutive free throws (Howard 3 of 12 total, and MWP 1 of 4) before falling down by three when George Hill hit a floater with 35 seconds left.

Who else but Bryant would then step up to nail a triple, giving him 40 points on 12 of 28 shooting and 11 of 13 at the line. But with 24 seconds on the clock, Indy drained the clock all the way to two seconds before the ball left Hill’s hand, leaving only 0.01 left when it went through. Ball game. Another tough home loss for the Lakers, who fall back below .500 at 7-8. It’s a surprise they had a chance to win with 20 missed free throws, 31.6 percent field goals and 21 turnovers. The effort on D was good (Indy at 37 percent shooting) but L.A. simply couldn’t buy a bucket, or especially, a free throw.

Up next is Denver on Friday. See you there.

Quote Round Up: Monday Practice

Here’s a transcription of interviews from Pau Gasol*, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Mike D’Antoni from Monday’s Lakers practice. The team faces the Indiana Pacers at STAPLES Center Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.

*Click on each name to watch the video.

PAU GASOL
Q: On adjusting to D’Antoni’s style:
Gasol: We are all trying to get adjusted to the faster pace. (We’re) running hard to our spots, the spacing is better, the flow is better and I think we have a better feel on that last game when the fatigue level was a little higher.

Q: On adjusting to the offense:
Gasol: Just figuring things out, figuring out how you can be more effective on offense and how you can get to your positions, and again, (trying to be) more effective and more comfortable so you can do more things out there.

Q: On if Nash will help this team when he comes back:
Gasol: Of course he’ll help. He’s a great point guard and he’s familiar with the system and coach, so he will definitely help. He won’t solve everything, but he will have a positive impact for sure.

Q: On how he can help himself in this system:
Gasol: I’m going to make sure I push through the first couple steps of my sprints on both ends of the floor and run to the spots, and from there, get myself to spots where I can attack.

Q: On if his knees are bothering him:
Gasol: A little, a little. It’s been bothering me for awhile. Again, I’m going to play through it and try to keep it under control. It’s a little limiting, but it is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s been under control more or less. Hopefully, it won’t force me to miss any games unless my performance is way down. I can’t do that to myself or to my team.

Q: On the adjustment period in getting down the timing in D’Antoni’s system:
Gasol: There are a few aspects we have to improve and clean up. Timing is one of them, position and spacing is another and conditioning. There are a lot of concepts that we have to improve (upon), but so far, we’ve been pretty successful except the two road losses that we had against Sacramento and Memphis.

Q: On which offense (Triangle, Princeton or D’Antoni’s) was more difficult to grasp:
Gasol: The most complex was probably the Princeton offense, even though the Triangle was very rich. The Princeton had more options to it. I don’t think in a month-and-a-half, I don’t think we got to 100 percent of the offense – it was probably 75 percent of the offense. This offense will have more stuff to it. We’re adding little by little, which is a little better for us in order to function effectively. So far, it’s been pretty clear and now we just have to adjust and figure things out.

Q: On coming in and learning the Triangle and the difference now:
Gasol: It was just one guy learning a couple things. It put me in a natural position in the post. It put me in a position where I could score and I could pass. It was a perfect fit for me once I got here. Now it’s different personnel, different needs, different looks, different system and different positioning. But you have to adjust. As a professional, you adjust to a different position in your company and try to do your best so the company still finds you a valuable asset, and the company still performs as well as it did before.

KOBE BRYANT
Q: On the season thus far:
Kobe: It’s just been a process. It’s part of the NBA, and sometimes things happen. As players, you have to do your job, come to work and try to get better every single day. We’re still trying to figure things out individually that can help us as a group.

Q: On the two losses on the road trip:
Kobe: In Sacramento, we pretty much laid an egg. We didn’t come ready to perform or match their energy. Memphis is a really good team. They played very well, made some big shots and won the game – and deservedly so.

Q: On why he’s been so efficient so far:
Kobe: I think the system has a lot to do with it. We’re more spaced out a little bit more, I can penetrate and get to the free throw line a lot more. I have more lanes to the basket. We don’t have people on the block or in the post all the time, so it enables me to drive to the rim, draw fouls and get to the free-throw line a lot.

DWIGHT HOWARD
Q: On the bench play recently:
Dwight: They’ve been working hard. That’s one thing we need. We need to have guys come off the bench and give us a spark on the offensive end. The last couple games, the bench has been doing a great job. (Antawn Jamison) has been playing excellent the last couple games. We just have to keep it up.

Q: On where he feels defensively:
Dwight: I know against (Sacramento and Memphis), my energy wasn’t there. For this team to be successful, it doesn’t matter how many points I score or how many rebounds I get. But as long as my energy is there on the defensive end, and I’m active on the offensive end, it just picks everybody up. My energy level has to stay high for our team.

Q: On him and Pau Gasol getting more looks and touches:
Dwight: Me and Pau want to get as many touches as we can on the block, but we have to dictate that by running the floor and being active. If we don’t get the ball, make up for it on the defensive end and get stops.

METTA WORLD PEACE
Q: On his uptick in production and what he attributes it to:
MWP: Just being healthy, and a lot of extra work. Previous seasons, I was hurt. I wasn’t injured, but I was hurt.

Q: On what is getting him open looks in D’Antoni’s system:
MWP: Just being in shape. The previous season, I wasn’t able to play defense, go coast-to-coast, come back down and have the energy to shoot a 3-pointer. I was off balance. I was overweight and I wasn’t able to work out in the summer time. Just being in shape has helped me out a lot.

MIKE D’ANTONI
Q: On if the team fell back into old habits on the road trip:
D’Antoni: We started off that way. I think it’s normal. It’s normal you have a little shock to the system when you change coaches. I’ll talk about up tempo and I’ll talk about running. You come out and do that, and then you go back to your normal way to play – your habits that have been engraved for years. We have to change that little by little.

Q: On what he learned about the team on the road trip:
D’Antoni: We’re really good if we play with energy. We’re really good defensively if we play with energy. That has to be supplied by them. We can’t cheerlead and coach at the same time. I think they got the message. They did it, and they looked good. I’m expecting on Tuesday to build on what we did on Saturday and have a great home stand, and eventually get Steve (Nash) back to see what we got offensively.

Q: On Pau Gasol’s performance in the Dallas game:
D’Antoni: It tells me what I know about him. He’s a great guy, he’s a great competitor, he’s got a great career – he’s had one and will have one. I didn’t have any doubts. It’s just a matter of simplifying and getting everybody knowing what we want as coaches, and getting all the frustrations out, and he did it. I would really be shocked if he responded any other way because he’s that good of a (player). He needed to play well, and he did. He needed to respond like that, and he did. I didn’t have a doubt. He can easily play our system and he’s going to be a very important player for us, and I’m looking forward to going forward with it.

Q: On Jamison’s play the last couple games:
D’Antoni: I’ve always liked Antawn (Jamison) as a player and he’s had a great career. It doesn’t surprise me what he’s doing. We’re trying to put him in a position where he’s really good at. He’s a great stretch 4 … trying to find his niche and he’s definitely found it for a couple games.

Q: On the team’s spirit after the day off:
D’Antoni: I think they see some improvement in some stuff we’re trying to do. You can’t think and be energetic on the floor; it has to be a reaction type process. This is the learning period that where we’re trying to simplify everything so now they can just go play without having to think too much.

Injury Update: The Steves

Lakers point guards Steve Blake (seven) and Steve Nash (12) have now missed a combined 19 games, a trend that will continue at least through Tuesday’s contest against Indiana.

The last official team update on Nash came on Nov. 16, stating that he’d be out one more week, to be re-evaluated by Dr. Steve Lombardo. The team had discussed sending Nash for an MRI on Monday, but ultimately decided against it. Alternatively, Nash will increase his activity level slightly to include agility drills and jogging – he’d previously been doing cardio on an elliptical machine.

Head athletic trainer Gary Vitti and his staff will monitor Nash’s work outs, and continue to evaluate him on a daily basis as they determine when he’s ready to return to practice, and eventually games.

Blake, meanwhile, has improved from the abdominal strain he aggravated against Sacramento on Nov. 11, but not to the point that he’s ready to resume practicing. He’s listed as day-to-day, and will be continually evaluated.

The Lakers have made it clear that they want both point guards for the long haul. Coach Mike D’Antoni suggested after Monday’s practice that he’d far prefer having both guys able to go through the rest of the games upon returning, as opposed to coming back too quickly and re-injuring themselves.

In the meantime, Darius Morris and Chris Duhon have both been effective: Morris utilizing his athleticism on defense and in transition; and Duhon knocking down 50 percent of his field goals, 46.7 percent of his threes and initiating the offense he learned under D’Antoni in New York.

Furthermore, Kobe Bryant has taken on additional ballhandling duties, particularly in screen/roll sets, which has been very effective for L.A.’s offense. He’s eager to get back to his role of primary scorer once Nash and Blake return, but said he’s quite comfortable filling in where needed in the meantime.

Lakers – Mavs Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 115-89 victory at Dallas, the team’s first road win of the season:

5
Three-pointers drained by Metta World Peace, including three in the decisive first quarter. In fact, MWP scored the first 10 points of the game, taking advantage of a mismatch with O.J. Mayo as the Mavs started Shawn Marion on Kobe Bryant.

13
Lakers that grabbed at least one rebound, including subs like Robert Sacre and Earl Clark that played only a few fourth quarter minutes as the starters iced their knees. L.A. nearly doubled up the Mavs on the glass, grabbing 61 boards to the 39 of their opponents.

15
Rebounds collected by Antwan Jamison to couple his 19 points in nearly 30 minutes of playing time. It was the second consecutive excellent game off the bench for Jamison, who went for 16 points and seven boards at Memphis the night before. Jamison said the key was his being aggressive, and not waiting to see what his new teammates would do or how he might best fit in.

33
Minutes played by Kobe Bryant, who along with Pau Gasol was able to sit for the entire fourth quarter. Bryant scored 19 points on 6 of 11 field goals and 6 of 8 free throws, and notched five first quarter assists as he focused on getting the rest of the team involved while facilitating out of pick and roll action. The league’s leading scorer, Kobe has now shot at least 50 percent in 10 of 14 games after doing so just 14 times last season in 58 games.

37.0
Field goal percentage for the Mavs, who struggled against a defense anchored by Dwight Howard, who had five steals and two blocks and affected shot after shot. “We came out with a lot of energy tonight on both ends,” Howard summarized. “Everybody was active and we really ran the floor well tonight. We played great defense and were able to score. We need to continue to do that and not let teams change our game plan.”

54.5
L.A.’s 3-point percentage in the game, with 12 makes in 22 attempts. The 5 of 7 from World Peace led the way, while Jodie Meeks added 3 of 5 triples and Devin Ebanks, Jamison, Chris Duhon and Bryant added one apiece.

Lakers 115, Mavs 89: Nov. 24 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Saturday night contest at Dallas, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Morris, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Mavs: D. Collison, O.J. Mayo, S. Marion, E. Brand, B. Wright

FIRST QUARTER
7:55 L.A. got off to a great start behind an on-fire Metta World Peace, who drained two three-pointers and bulled his way past O.J. Mayo twice for layups, scoring L.A.’s first 10 points. Dwight Howard then hammered home an alley-oop from Bryant to make it 12-6. With Shawn Marion defending Bryant, Dallas had to leave Mayo on Metta, certainly a mismatch.

3:56 I had a chance to speak with Pau Gasol before the game, the Spaniard suggesting that he can’t continue to wait for offense to come to him, promising activity and aggression. And he certainly delivered in the opening minutes, twice going hard to the hoop first for a finger roll and then hitting two free throws, to reach six points, four boards and two assists with his team up 26-15. They’d keep up a terrific first quarter to emerge with a 36-23 lead, capped by the third MWP triple of the session.

SECOND QUARTER
10:13 The positivity continued into the second quarter, D’Antoni using Bryant, Meeks, MWP, Hill and Howard, with Bryant setting up the offense. They opened on a 7-0 run to push the lead all the way to 20, with Meeks draining two triples to provide a spark.

0:00 It’s hard to find much of anything wrong with what was really a terrific first half for the Lakers, as Bryant’s pull-up 3-pointer put emphasis on a story the scoreline told: 65-38. Perhaps most impressive individually was Jamison, who posted an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double in his nearly 16 minutes on the court. Howard dominated the defensive paint, and L.A. got at least eight points from four players in a balanced offensive attack.

THIRD QUARTER
6:07 I asked assistant coach Darvin Ham if the coaches could poke any holes in that first half: no. They were just pleased with the energy and effort, and that sustained into the third quarter, as two Bryant and one Chris Duhon free throw pushed the lead up to 78-46.

0:00 Even with the Mavs hitting five triples in the final three minutes of the third – three from Vince Carter – L.A. took a 24-points lead into the fourth quarter. The Lakers led by as many as 37 points, getting scoring from everywhere, the Mavs managing only 65.

FOURTH QUARTER
4:52 Two free throws from Jamison pushed his impressive total to 19 points with a game high 15 boards, though some of those should be credited to Howard for influencing several Mavs misses. Moments later, with the bench emptied, Devin Ebanks drained a corner three to make it 107-77. Kobe, Gasol and Co. watched with smiles from the bench.

0:00 The final: 115-89. L.A. scored at least 24 points in all four quarters, highlighted by the 36-point first period that put the Mavs in a deep hole. The Mavs never got within 20 points in the second half, and finished the game at 37 percent from the field. L.A. hit 48.8 percent, and drained 12 of 22 three-pointers, including 5 of 7 from World Peace and 3 of 5 from Meeks. After the game, the unified message from Jamison, Bryant, Howard and D’Antoni was simple: consistent effort and energy from a group this talented is going to do put them in great position to win. Up next is a Tuesday tilt against Indiana, giving the Lakers a few extra days to rest. We’ll see you there.

Lakers – Grizzlies Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 106-98 loss at Memphis on Friday evening:

107.5
Points per game allowed on average in L.A.’s four road losses. The Grizzlies scored 106, with all five starters in double figures, and shot 50.7 percent (38 for 75) from the field. Memphis improved to 7-0 when topping the century mark, and shot six more free throws than the Lakers (30-24) in a category L.A. typically controls. “They had a better game overall than we did,” said Pau Gasol. “They were able to move the ball well and pick us apart at times. They got into the heart of our defense way too many times. That hurt us. That put all the big guys in foul trouble. They had (Zach) Randolph and Marc (Gasol) going to the glass. There are some adjustments that we are going to have to make. We must tighten up at least.”

27.5
Points Kobe Bryant is averaging on the season after his second straight 30-point effort, following up Wednesday’s 38 points in Sacramento. The team’s co-captain, however, made only 7 for 23 field goals — 3 for 13 in the second half — while trying to help get the Lakers back into a game they trailed by as many as 16.

26:33
Minutes played by Antawn Jamison, who capitalized by scoring a season-high 16 points with seven boards, five of them offensive. The 14-year veteran contributed on D as well, helping to keep Zach Randolph to five points on 2 for 7 shooting in the second half.

18
Turnovers for the Lakers, with the Grizzlies capitalizing on those miscues for 29 points. L.A. had 20 turnovers at Sacramento in their previous road loss, and has at least 18 in all four of its road defeats. Averaging 19 per game in the last two stands in contrast to the 11.3 turnovers the Lakers averaged in their previous three home games since Mike D’Antoni took over as head coach.

16
More points in the paint scored by the Grizzlies, with Dwight Howard and Gasol doing little work inside. They combined for only 13 points and had four boards apiece.

11
Straight double-doubles to begin the season for Randolph, who finished with 17 points and 12 boards, and was a game-high +24 on the night. Howard had a streak of five straight double-doubles snapped in the past two games, in which he’s 14 points and 13 rebounds, total.