Monthly Archive for November, 2012

Page 5 of 6

Lakers – Pistons Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 108-79 win over Detroit.

85.7
Shooting percentage for Dwight Howard, on 12 for 14 field goals. The big man finished with a game-high 28 points, to go along with seven rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals.

51.9
Collectively, the Lakers shot almost 52 percent, led by Howard’s big night. For the third straight game, they shot more than 50 percent, and through four contests this season, the team is shooting at a 50.3 clip from the field.

“Our rhythm was a little bit better,” said Kobe. “We talked about it being a process and we just did a much better job of understanding and how to execute.”

35.4
Shooting percentage for the Pistons as a team. After giving up 105+ points in back-to-back contests, the Lakers shut down Detroit, allowing just 79 points.

“Defensively, I thought we were pretty good,” noted Mike Brown. “For one of the first times in this early season, the guys played for as close to 48 minutes as possible. They communicated, they helped one another; in pick-and-roll situations, they were in the correct spot and they gave multiple effort.”

16
Offensive rebounds out of their total 46, led by Howard and Jordan Hill, who both grabbed four. This also led to 21 second-chance points for the Lakers.

15
Turnovers for the Lakers. It was their lowest total through four games thus far, which also cut down on fewer transition points (12) – a point of emphasis from the coaching staff – for the Pistons.

8
Assists for Kobe Bryant, a team-high. He also added 15 points and seven rebounds, a well-rounded game, and shot 50 percent (5 for 10) for the fourth straight game to start the year.

“The last game having 40, Detroit saw that and wanted to crowd me a little bit and cut down on lanes a little bit,” said Kobe “and as a result, guys were open and I was able to find them, and they made the defense pay.”

5
Players in double figures for the Lakers, including four of five starters. The bench produced 27 points, including 11 from Hill and six apiece from Darius Morris and Antawn Jamison.

Player of the Game: Dwight Howard

Lakers Honor Gold Medalists

The Los Angeles Lakers invited all gold medalists who reside in Southern California from the 2012 Olympics in London.

Those honored during the halftime ceremony include:

Track & Field

Allyson Felix: A native of Santa Clarita and a graduate of USC, Felix notched her first Olympic gold medal in the 200-meter event, along with gold medals in the 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay events.

Carmelita Jeter: Set the record for most NCAA medals by a Cal State Dominguez Hills track athlete, and was part of the 4×100 relay team that set a world record (40.82 seconds).

Jeneba Tarmoh: An All-American at Texas A&M University and a resident of San Jose, Tarmoh was part of the 4×100 relay team, too.

DeeDee Trotter: Born in Twenty Nine Palms, Calif., Trotter competed on the 4×400 relay team, along with Felix, that won the gold medal.

Keshia Baker: A native of Los Angeles, Baker competed on the 4×400 relay team, along with Felix and Trotter.

Swimming

Rebecca Soni: A graduate of USC, Soni set a world record in the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:19:59. She also competed on the women’s 4×100 medley team that clocked in at 3:52:05, a world record, too.

Eric Shantaeau: Part of the 4×100-meter medley relay team in the breaststroke competition.

Rowing

Esther Lofgren: A native of Long Beach and a graduate of Harvard University, Lofgren was part of a eight-person rowing crew that took home the gold medal.

Skeet Shooting

Kim Rhode: Born in Whittier, Rhode won the gold medal in skeet shooting, tying a world record with a score of 99.

Gymnastics

Kyla Ross: Was part of the gold medal-winning U.S. team nicknamed the “Fierce Five.” She currently attends Aliso Niguel High.

Women’s Water Polo

Kami Craig, Courtney Mathewson, Heather Petri, Kelly Rulon, Brenda Villa, Lauren Wenger and Tumualalil Anae all helped the USA defeat Spain 8-5.

Women’s Soccer

Shannon Boxx, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach, Kelley O’Hara led the USA to a 2-1 victory over Japan.

LAL 108, Pistons 79: 11/4 Running Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Blake, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Detroit: B. Knight, R. Stuckey, T. Prince, G. Monroe, J. Maxiell

FIRST QUARTER
4:34 Behind the two 7-footers, the Lakers took strong, early control of this one, with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol combining for 13 of the team’s 17 points, with Detroit managing eight and turning the ball over repeatedly (six). The primary focus heading into the game was simple: energy. And L.A. had accomplished that after eight minutes, with 40 to go to sustain it.

0:00 Well, they certainly sustained it to close the first with a 34-13 lead. Bryant had five assists while getting the big men going early (Gasol/Howard combining for 21 points) and then hit back-to-back triples to continue his scorching hot shooting to start the season (62 percent coming in). The D was impressive, forcing the Pistons into 33 percent shooting (LAL at 65 percent) and seven turnovers.

SECOND QUARTER
6:30 A good sign off LAL’s bench was the strong play of Darius Morris, who had six points and an alley-oop assist to Howard (16 points) as he helped the second unit build the lead to 44-21. Mike Brown went with a long, strong second group of Morris-Ebanks-Jamison-Hill-Howard, all big at their positions, Brown looking to emphasize D.

0:00 By far the best half of the early season produced an impressive 62-34 lead at the break, with Howard’s 20 points on 8 of 9 FG’s leading the O, and collective intensity on D forcing 12 Pistons turnovers, and 38 percent shooting to L.A.’s 62.2 percent. The coaches certainly would have to work hard to find a complaint in the locker room.

THIRD QUARTER
4:49 Continuing to take out all the anger from a winless Oct./Nov., the Lakers pushed the lead all the way up to 80-44, Howard connecting on a beautiful Gasol pass to reach 26 points. Pistons coach Lawrence Frank responded by subbing out his entire starting line up, only to see World Peace connect on his third triple to reach 18 points.

1:00 Detroit’s bench found a bit of life behind Will Bynum (eight points, three assists), but the lead remained at 29 after reaching as many as 36. Bryant and Howard checked out with about four minutes to go in the quarter, at 27 and 30 minutes played; Mike Brown certainly didn’t want to have to bring those two back into the game. Bryant had 13 points (3 of 4 from three) with his game-high eight assists (he had four in the first three games).

FOURTH QUARTER
8:30 With a poor stretch of play from the group of Morris-Ebanks-Jamison-Hill-Sacre, Mike Brown went back to Bryant, Howard, Blake and Bryant (Jamison staying on), despite the lead still being at 24 points. A put-back slam from Dwight had him up to 28 points and seven boards, the lead at 96-71 with 5:33; we’ll see how long the starters stay in.

4:14 Bryant, Blake and Gasol joined Howard on the bench, at last, needing to play only 32, 31 and 33 minutes in the process with their team up 99-73, the game on ice.

0:00 The final in an impressive all-around effort long overdue: 108-79. Howard looked the best he has on D as he continues to get in better game shape, Bryant was efficient and effective on O and Metta World Peace notched a season-high 18 points, both hitting three triples. Jordan Hill chipped in 11 points and seven boards off the pine, and the Lakers forced 17 Pistons turnovers. Next is a road contest at Utah on Wednesday; we’ll see you there.

Lakers – Clippers Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 105-95 loss to the Clippers:

1977
The last time the Lakers started a season 0-3. That team, led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, ended up getting to the Western Semi’s that year, falling to eventual champion Seattle. “Right now I’m extremely disappointed,” said guard Steve Blake, who started in place of Steve Nash (lower leg contusion). “It’s not acceptable for us to be losing like this, but we will come in and we will work harder.”

61.4
Kobe Bryant’s shooting percentage through three games, on 35 of 57 field goals, including 5 of 10 three pointers, doubly impressive since he’s been playing on a strained right foot that kept him out of the final eight days of the preseason. He said his foot “feels like it’s about to fall off right now” after the game.

40
Points for Bryant, who played 44 minutes in his 17th season in the NBA. Mike Brown acknowledged that it was too many, but said the Lakers simply weren’t getting scoring production elsewhere.

30
Minutes played by Dwight Howard, who managed to stay on the floor for the entire fourth quarter after playing limited minutes in the first three due to foul trouble. Howard barely played in either the second or the third, when the Clippers outscored L.A. 30-20 to take control of the game.

20
Turnovers for the Lakers a game after they committed 25 in a loss at Portland. Mike Brown identified the TO’s as the biggest culprit in both losses. “A lot of them is just getting the timing down,” added Bryant. “We just have to get a little more in sync on where to put the ball so the weak side can’t come make deflections and knock them away.”

15
Assists for Clips PG Chris Paul, who turned the ball over only one time while adding 18 points, six boards and three steals in a terrific floor game. “Chris is a floor general out there and he’s going to control the tempo of the game,” said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. “He did a very good job at pushing the basketball, getting in the paint and making plays for us.”

5
Blocks for Howard, who was able to protect the rim when he was in the game. The Clippers scored 42 paint points to L.A.’s 46, even with Bryant scoring so frequently on the perimeter.

Kobe Becomes Lakers Steals King

With a third quarter interception of a Clippers’ pass on Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant became the all-time franchise leader in steals for the Lakers, surpassing Magic Johnson’s 1,724 in his Hall of Fame career.

Magic twice led the NBA in steals (1980-81 and 81-82) and posted the third highest single-season steals average in history in 80-81 at 3.43 per game. He now ranks 15th on the NBA’s all-time list, one spot behind Kobe, with Isiah Thomas (1,861) and Derek Harper (1,957) up next.

Bryant turned that second steal into a layup on the other end as part of his 40-point evening, though the Lakers lost 105-95 to fall to 0-3 on the season.

LAL 95, Clippers 105: 11/2 Running Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Blake, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Clippers: C. Paul, W. Green, C. Butler, B. Griffin, D. Jordan

FIRST QUARTER
5:30 An eventful first six minutes had L.A. doing some nice things on offense despite missing Steve Nash, out with a lower leg contusion, as Howard’s five points and Kobe’s four came within the flow. However, the D continued to struggle as it had in the first two contests, the Clips hitting 6 of 11 shots plus four free throws that produced a 18-11 lead. Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Willie Green were all on the bench with two fouls, Howard’s absence the most impactful.

0:00 Thanks to Bryant, the deficit was only five heading into the second quarter (28-23), No. 24 scoring 14 points on 4 of 7 field goals plus 5 of 5 free throws. He also made some franchise history, matching Magic Johnson’s franchise record for steals at 1,724, 15th in NBA history.

SECOND QUARTER
9:00 The Lakers needed back-to-back three-pointers to stay in this one, as the Clippers were controlling the play on both ends of the floor. Blake’s 3 cut what was as many as an 11-point lead to seven at 36-29.

0:00 Considering the fact that Howard played only 10 minutes in the half after leaving early in the second with his third foul, and that the Lakers committed nine more turnovers, being down 52-47 at the half wasn’t all that bad for the home team. Their on-ball defense was actually pretty good, but LAC turned all three offensive boards into points, and got 12 transition points to LAL’s three. Steve Blake, Darius Morris and Devin Ebanks all hit a triple, 6 of 9 for the Lakers helping keep them around.

THIRD QUARTER
7:24 With an and-1 off one of his patented up-fakes into a jumper, Bryant answered Willie Green’s 2nd triple of the quarter, then found Howard with a pretty no-look pass on other end, resulting in two free throws. Howard made 1 of 2 (4 of 6 in the game), LAL thus down 62-57.

2:11 After Howard picked up his fourth foul, the Clips took their biggest lead at 75-63 thanks mostly to Paul and his 12 assists, plus a pull-up jumper out of a pick and roll. LAL were up to 14 turnovers, and had conceded 16 second chance points to the visitors. Moments later, a frustrated Mike Brown got hit with a technical for complaining about a blocking call on Blake, who for the second time in moments thought he drew a charge.

0:00 Keeping the pressure on, the Clippers pushed their lead to 15 after three, outscoring the Lakers 30-20 in a third quarter that has plagued the Lakers since the preseason began. Bryant had 23 points, Gasol 12 boards, but the team only 12 assists compared to LAC’s 21.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:11 Bryant scored six straight points to get the Lakers back in the game, but with the shot clock expiring and the ball nearly at midcourt, former LAL Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom drained a 35-foot three. Another Bryant bucket then cut the lead to 87-77 Clippers, but stops weren’t coming readily enough. One area of concern, with Nash out and Howard in foul trouble, was that Bryant (31 points already) had to carry the offense all game just like he did last season. How much would he have left in his legs for crunch time in his 17th NBA season?

2:35 With a driving layup and two free throws that got Bryant to 40 points in 43 minutes, his shooting total through three games climbed to a very, very impressive 35 of 57 (61 percent). Yet the Lakers were 0-3. They failed to get the deficit any tighter than eight in the fourth, with Paul climbing to 18 points and 15 assists while running the show for the Clippers. The final: Clips 105, Lakers 95. Up next are the Pistons on Sunday; we’ll see you there.

“It Makes You Unstoppable.”

Kobe Preaches Patience

Despite an 0-2 start to begin the season, Kobe Bryant maintains there is no reason to panic given the new offensive system the team is still trying to incorporate.

The Lakers co-captain, though, looks like his usual self despite playing through continued pain in his right foot.

After the season opener against Dallas, Kobe estimated he played at “probably 80, 85 percent,” although he still notched 22 points on 11 for 14 shooting. In the second game of a back-to-back in Portland, he scored 30 points on 10 for 20 shooting, including 4 for 9 on 3-pointers. Through two contests, he is averaging 26 points on almost a 62 percent clip from the field.

The 17-year veteran did not practice Thursday, and is listed as “day-to-day,” but will play on Friday against the Clippers.

Post practice, Kobe took some time to talk about the team’s offense through two games, cautioning critics and fans to be understanding of the new system and Mike Brown.


Below is a transcription of the interview:

Q: On if the team can win while the team adjust to the new offense:
Kobe: Offensively, it hasn’t looked as pretty as it will be, but we’re scoring a lot of points efficiently. That’s not where we’re hanging our hats on right now in in terms of how we’re losing games. We’re not executing defensively, which has a lot to do with guys being on the same page and working together.

Q: On if he’s surprised at how the team has started:
Kobe: I’m always surprised when I lose, but at the same time, it’s pretty entertaining to me. Nobody wants to win here more than I do. Nobody, nobody. I’m not panicking or jumping off a bridge because we’re 0-2. It is a process, but we have to approach the process with a sense of urgency. Just because we have this talented roster, we want it to happen. But we have to push for it to happen.

Q: On learning the new offense and understanding it’s a process:
Kobe: We have to have a sense of urgency to get things right and not rely on the fact that things take time. We can’t rely on that; we have to push and play with a sense of urgency and get things done now.

Q: On the critics asking for Mike Brown to abandon the Princeton offense:
Kobe: I don’t understand. (The city) has seen us win multiple championships here, playing an offense that is tough to learn, that had a sequence of options and took five guys being on the same page working together. They know how that stuff works, so for them to be so stupid now and say: ‘Well, let Steve (Nash) dribble the ball around and create opportunities for everybody, let Dwight (Howard) post up or let me (isolate) … it’s not idiotic but it’s close.’

Q: On how the criticism is different back with Phil Jackson compared to Mike Brown:
Kobe: The message changes according to who’s giving it. The sequence of options, the equal opportunity offense – in essence – it’s the same thing. The only thing that changes is you have Mike Brown telling everybody to be patient but back then, you had Phil (Jackson) telling everybody to shut up.

Q: On whether criticism is fair or not:
Kobe: I think the critics are more likely to take runs at him than they would at Phil Jackson. It’s fair because Phil obviously won and Mike hasn’t won yet. Look at the philosophies; they’re the same type of philosophies. It’s kind of funny to me to sit back and see that and hear the arguments.

Q: On his response to people criticizing Mike Brown:
Kobe: I can say it because I’ve won. It might be tough for (Mike Brown) to say it, but I’ll say it for him: ‘Everybody, shut up.’ Let us work and at the end of the day, you’ll be happy with the results like they normally are.

Q: On if he believes in the offense:
Kobe: You have to be stubborn about the approach. The essence of the offense is everybody sharing the spotlight, everybody being able to read and react and working as one, and that takes time to do especially if you have guys as individually talented as we are.

Q: On if his teammates have bought into the system:
Kobe: The reality is that when you have talented players that are willing to sacrifice their games and play within the structure, to go along with talent they have individually, it makes you unstoppable.

Nash “Doubtful” for Clippers

Steve Nash is listed as “doubtful” to face the Clippers on Friday night after suffering a lower leg contusion at Portland on Halloween, but he didn’t rule himself out entirely.

“We’ll see how it goes, see how it calms down some more, but I couldn’t tell from this point,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “Maybe I’m too optimistic to say ‘doubtful,’ but it’s definitely tough.”

It was the second time in two weeks a young point guard collided with Nash in the backcourt. On Oct. 21, Kings rookie Isaiah Thomas stepped on Nash’s ankle, but the Canadian bounced back to return to practice the next day. At Portland 10 days later, rookie Damien Lillard accidentally drove his knee into Nash’s lower leg in the second quarter, causing the contusion.

Fortunately for Nash and the Lakers, it’s nothing worse than a painful bruise.

“Luckily it’s not any major structurally or something,” said the two-time MVP. “It’s just a contusion in that area.”

After emerging from the visitor’s locker room at the Rose Garden with a yellow protective sleeve over his lower leg, Nash gave it a go to start the third quarter, but he lasted just over a minute, unable to move laterally.

“By the time I got off the training table, there was almost no time on the clock to warm up, so I ran out there and took a couple shots,” he explained. “But I didn’t have time to test it laterally and as soon as I tried to make a lateral movement, it just gave out on me. I thought I was going to be able to finish the game, but it just wasn’t ready last night.”

He’s more frustrated than anything else.

“To take a knock like that, this time you want to be out there fighting and trying to scrape a win,” he concluded. “It’s frustrating, but sometimes you need to take a deep breath and think the big picture, and play with the hand you’re dealt.”

Nash will be re-evaluated on a daily basis as he and the training staff try to determine when he can get back on the court.

UPDATE FROM SHOOTAROUND:
Mike Brown answered a few questions about Nash’s status after Friday’s shootaround, calling him a “game time decision” but suggesting the point guard was a long shot to play.

“It doesn’t look good, but (the training staff) hasn’t ruled him out yet,” he said.