Monthly Archive for March, 2013

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Injury Update: Metta World Peace

Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemAfter playing nearly 19 of the 24 first half minutes in L.A.’s Monday night loss at Golden State, Metta World Peace didn’t return in the second half after straining his left knee.

In the locker room following the third straight Lakers defeat, World Peace said that the pain and discomfort had subsided, but since he “couldn’t really walk” at halftime, he stayed in the training room to see if a return was possible. When it was determined that he wouldn’t go back onto the court, MWP joined his teammates on the bench in the fourth quarter.

World Peace said he wasn’t sure whether he’d be available for Wednesday’s game at Minnesota; the team will re-examine his knee upon arrival in Minneapolis on Tuesday afternoon.

Lakers 103, GSW 109: March 25 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State WarriorsBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s Monday evening road contest at Golden State, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Warriors: S. Curry, K. Thompson, H. Barnes, D. Lee, A. Bogut

5:20 The Warriors got hot after starting the game 1 for 6, making five of the next eight shots, including two triples, to take a 14-10 lead into a time out. Steph Curry, who was a question mark to play after turning his ankle in the previous game, had five of the GSW points admist six consecutive Lakers misses before Kobe Bryant drained consecutive jump shots to stop an 8-0 run.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors0:00 Things didn’t get any better for the Lakers, who fell behind by as many as 14 before two Antawn Jamison – playing through a sprained wrist – free throws cut the margin to 28-16 after 12 minutes. L.A.’s mission was to come out playing much better defense than was exhibited in blowing an 18-point lead to Washington in the last game, but they didn’t fulfill it early, the Warriors hitting 10 of 17 shots after starting the game 1 for 6.

7:09 All six Lakers points in the first five minutes came from Nash, now starting second quarters after resting earlier in the first to run things with Kobe sitting, but the Warriors were scoring even more, getting 13 points to open a 41-22 lead. L.A. were already in serious trouble.

0:00 It was a rough first half in general, needless to say, but the final 1.4 seconds were borderline inexcusable for the Lakers: After Gasol had cut the lead to 19 with a bucket at the rim, David Lee went right past three Lakers under the GSW bucket to tip home a Curry miss; then World Peace launched a full court pass that sailed out of bounds (it may have touched Lee, but no call was made), and with 1.4 still on the clock, the Warriors put Andrew Bogut back into the game – he set up shop under the rim, and L.A. allowed the Aussie to tip home an alley-oop, putting the Warriors up 63-40 heading into the break. A third straight loss for L.A. seemed only a matter of 24 more minutes.

Injuries have plagued L.A. all season, of course, but the return of Bryant and Gasol seemed to have throw off what had been a good rhythm for the team since the All-Star break. That’s expected to a degree, but time is surely running out for them to find it once again.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State WarriorsTHIRD QUARTER
12:00 We found out at halftime that World Peace strained his left knee in the first half, and would not return, putting Meeks into the line up with Bryant moving up to the three. Meanwhile, Howard had needed three stitches to his lower lip after taking an elbow from David Lee late in the first half. Meanwhile, Golden State kept up its charge.

3:16 L.A. tried to mount an early rally in the third, cutting the 23-point halftime lead to 16 with a 5-0 run capped by Bryant’s jumper, but Laker-killer Jarrett Jack drained back to back jumpers, getting 11 points in the period to push the margin back to 20. Klay Thompson and Curry had done much of the early damage, but Jack was the guy maintaining, mostly from mid-range.

0:00 A run of free throw misses kept the Lakers from cutting further into the lead in the final seconds of the third, as Bryant hit 1 of 3, Gasol missed both after grabbing the offensive board, and Carl Landry scored on the other end with 11 seconds to go. Howard then missed two, Gasol again getting an O-board, before making 1 of 2. That was a total of 2 for 9 at the stripe, the Warriors happily taking a 94-76 lead into the fourth.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State WarriorsFOURTH QUARTER
7:05 L.A.’s bench started the game hitting just 2 of 19 shots, before Jodie Meeks finally got a three to fall, cutting the lead back to 16 after early hoops from Jack and Lee had gotten it back into the low 20′s. The bench would finish a combined 7 for 26 from the field, Meeks and Blake adding a triple apiece later in the quarter.

2:51 The Blake three came with 2:51 to play, cutting the GSW lead down to just nine, the first time the Lakers had gotten the home team’s lead into single digits since the first quarter. But they had such little room for error due to the huge deficit, that consecutive misses from Nash – who’d play much of the second half – prior to Blake’s three were tough ones. The Lakers got another stop, their fourth straight, when Bryant’s pull-up three missed long. Yet another Warriors miss (Lee) led to Bryant’s bucket with 1:36 left, cutting it to seven at 105-98.

1:17 Golden State only needed one bucket to stave off LAL’s last-ditch effort, and they got one from Bogut, rolling to the rim against an uber-small Lakers line up of Nash-Blake-Meeks-Bryant-Howard, making it a 9-point deficit once again. L.A. got a final bucket from Nash with two seconds left to make the final score look much closer than the game was, at 109-103. It’s the third straight loss for the Lakers, who fall to 36-35 on the season, with Utah just a game back and Dallas 1.5 behind the eighth and final playoff spot.

L.A.’s road trip continues through Minnesota, Milwaukee and Sacramento: we’ll see you in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Jamison To Play Through Injury

130324_jamisonLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemAntawn Jamison, who suffered a sprained wrist in the second half of the Lakers loss against Washington, went through a non-contact practice on Sunday in advance of Monday’s road game at Golden State.

“Antawn did a half practice,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He didn’t have contact only because he didn’t want to aggravate it.”

Jamison acknowledged he hurt the wrist earlier in the season, but it was nothing serious where it forced him to miss any court time.

“I had some soreness in it about a couple weeks ago when I tried to break my fall and I felt a little tightness, but nothing to the point where it prevented me from lifting weights or participating in practice,” he said.

He maintained it is still “sore,” but stated he should be fine going forward, so long as the pain is bearable.

“As long as I’m able to shoot it and put it on the ground for one or two dribbles, I should be fine,” he said. “Just the initial shock taking place and trying to get over the soreness and swelling, but nothing is slowing me down.”

The 15-year veteran later explained how the injury occurred.

“I think it was (Kevin) Seraphin was going up for a shot and I blocked it,” Jamison explained. “It just put my wrist backwards. I kind of had that numbness sensation for a little bit. I tried to play through it, but couldn’t really get any kind of feeling in that wrist area.”

Jamison played just seven third-quarter minutes, while sitting the entire fourth. He missed all three of his field-goal attempts after a 5 for 6 showing towards 11 points in the first half. The North Carolina product maintains his wrist is improving each day, though.

“Each day it’s feeling a lot better,” he said. “I’m able to get the range of motion to go a little bit more and I’ve played through pain before. Initially, these first few road games, I might have to play through a little pain, but after that, I should be back to normal.”

Since the All-Star break, D’Antoni has rotated Jamison, along with Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks off the bench, and all three have played key roles in the Lakers turnaround. In nearly 24 minutes per game post All-Star break, Jamison is averaging 11.8 points and 6.0 rebounds on 50.0 percent field goals and 43.6 percent on 3-pointers.

As for his status at Golden State, Jamison said he should be ready.

“Another day of treatment and rest and I should be good to go tomorrow,” he said.

Lakers – Wizards Postgame Numbers

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles LakersWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 103-100 loss against Washington:

Percent field goals for Washington in the second half, after a 36.2 percent showing in the first 24 minutes. John Wall and Trevor Ariza combined for 37 points on 13 of 21 shooting as the visitors outscored L.A. 62-43 in the second half. “We just allowed them I think to get into a rhythm and into a comfort zone,” Pau Gasol said. “We gave them life and they took advantage of it.”

Minutes for Gasol in his return to the court after missing 20 games. The 7-foot Spaniard scored just four points, but grabbed eight rebounds. “(I’m) a little sore,” Gasol said. “But hopefully it’ll be OK tomorrow and it’ll be better every game and my conditioning will also get better so I can increase my productivity and my minutes.”

Turnovers for the Lakers that led to 21 points for Washington. L.A. committed seven in the third quarter compared to zero Wizards miscues, helping allow the visitors to crawl within two points entering the final frame.

Assists for Wall, a career-high. He also scored 24 points and helped key Washington’s comeback – along with Ariza – from an 18-point deficit. Wall recorded 18 and 11 in the second half alone; since his return from injury on Jan. 2, Washington is 20-15, the fifth-best record in the East. “I don’t know if anybody is playing at as high a level as John (Wall) is,” coach Randy Wittman said.

Three-pointers for Ariza, a career-high. The UCLA product finished with 25 points for the game, but had 19 in the final 24 minutes (7 of 10 field goals and 5 of 7 on 3′s), a key factor in the Wizards comeback.

Lakers 100, Wizards 103: Mar. 22 Running Diary

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

Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Wizards: J. Wall, G. Temple, M. Webster, Nene, J. Collins

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers7:00 A terrific start for the Lakers, buoyed by the return of both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to the starting line up, produced a 14-6 lead in a balanced early effort. Bryant was moving OK on his ankle, hitting 1 of 2 shots with two assists, with the Spaniard looking pretty good towards a bucket, two boards and an assist.

0:00 Behind a terrific shooting performance from the bench, L.A. took a 35-19 lead out of the first quarter, getting nine points from Antawn Jamison, eight from Jodie Meeks and two with two dimes from Steve Blake. The Lakers missed only six of their 19 shots (68.4 percent) while holding Washington to 7 of 23 shooting (30.4 percent). One big key has to do with the rotation with Gasol’s return, as it allows the Lakers to keep one paint protector on the floor at all times. In essence, Jamison enters the game around the 6:00 mark to replace Gasol, who then comes back three minutes later to give Howard a rest. The Spaniard then anchors the second unit, which had been playing with Earl Clark/Jamison/Metta World Peace inside, not exactly a rim deterrent.

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers5:01 Further hints at the rotation for the rest of the season were revealed as Clark got seven minutes at backup 3/4, and Mike D’Antoni staggered the minutes of Nash and Kobe to get the 17-year vets some extra rest. Kobe sat until the 5-minute mark of the second, replacing Nash, who’d started the period. No matter who was in, L.A. had taken pretty firm control, with a 47-29 lead.

0:00 The strong all-around play continued through the period, enough for a 57-41 halftime lead with all nine players getting minutes scoring at least one field goal, buoyed by 17 assists (Bryant led with six). The Wiz shot only 36.2 percent in the half, and struggled to affect the Lakers much on the other end (53.7 percent).

7:21 Bryant opened the quarter with three more assists to reach nine, getting Howard two buckets and Gasol his second field goal in nine attempts – give the Spaniard some time to get into a rhythm. However, turnovers (14) and lazy D followed, the Wizards capitalizing with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 10. Bryant was partly to blame, as he didn’t bother contesting two jumpers from his man, Garrett Temple, who made two in a row.

0:00 We’d seen plenty of runs in this one, but an 11-2 burst from the Wizards in the final three minutes of the period spelled trouble for the Lakers, finding their once 18-point lead at just two points heading into the final quarter. Turnovers were an issue, with six of their 15 coming in the quarter to result in 21 points for their young opponent.

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers7:01 Washington ended up taking a momentary lead, but a monster baseline jam from Bryant – 5 of 9 from the field with his 11 assists – put the Lakers back up three, coming on the back of a pull-up jumper from Nash. The crowd was becoming more of a factor, trying to will L.A. home to a victory in a game that shouldn’t have been so close.

1:23 Back-to-back buckets from Nene erased a 3-point Lakers lead, Washington suddenly in front 98-97, and the Brazilian added 1 of 2 free throws to make it a 3-point deficit in the final minute. Bryant missed consecutive jumpers without passing the ball, and World Peace was called for a charge as the LAL offense went away. However, they got a stop with 16 seconds left to get the ball, down two, out of a time out.

0:00 Bryant got a great look at a fading jumper, but couldn’t get it to go, rimming out with six seconds left to mandate a foul. John Wall, who’d been fantastic in the second half with 18 of his 24 points and 10 of his 16 assists, hit both foul shots to make it a 4-point game.

On the other end, Bryant did an impression of himself from the Raptors game, hitting a spinning three off the inbounds pass to cut the margin to one. He then drew a foul with 1.5 seconds left, hitting both foul shots, and despite getting a good look after a full court pass from Howard, Kobe couldn’t hit a game-tying three as time expired.

As such, it was a rough loss for the Lakers, who led by 18 in the first half and 16 at halftime before watching former Laker Ariza (25 points on 7 of 12 shooting from three) and Wall put another loss in their column. Utah lost at San Antonio, so L.A. held onto the 8th seed by just half a game in essence (1.5 games total, but Utah has the tiebreaker). Up next is a 4-game road trip starting at Golden State on Monday. We’ll see you there.

Kobe Pregame Quotes

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles LakersIn an interview with Time Warner SportsNet before the game, here’s what Kobe Bryant had to say about the left ankle that’s kept him out of the last 11 quarters of Lakers basketball and more:

Q: On how the ankle is feeling:
Bryant: It’s much better. Obviously I can move around freely (without stiffness). In (Thursday’s) practice I felt like I could do everything I wanted to do. As practice went on I started to think about it a little bit, went in the back and iced it down. But today I should be OK.

Q: On the team getting Pau Gasol back as well, and what that can do for the team:
Bryant: We all know what he means to this team and the significance he adds – we have a little more stability to be able to add a weapon to what we do, to feature him, play to his strengths. (He) can make us all better.

Q: On Dwight Howard’s emergence since the All-Star break:
Bryant: I think he’s comfortable with the pressure that we have in terms of winning the championship – he understands that challenge and seems all for it.

Q: On developing some cohesion after a year littered with injuries, with most everybody back now:
Bryant: I think we just have to find that rhythm again – we’ve been able to find it in patches with guys being out, guys being shuffled in and out of the line up.

Q: On having no excuses for the ankle now that he’s on the floor:
Bryant: I draw a quote from the Oz movie that just came out: “Show up, keep up, Shut up.” If I’m here, it’s game time.

Quote Round Up: Thursday Practice

ts_130321gasol670Here’s a transcription of interviews from Dwight Howard, Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash from Thursday’s practice in advance of the Lakers matchup with Washington on Friday. Pau Gasol also addressed the media, and “expects” to play for the first time since tearing his plantar fascia on Feb. 5 at Brooklyn.

*Click on each name to watch the full video.

Q: On how Pau Gasol looked in practice today:
Howard: He looked good. He made some good plays, he was moving his feet on defense and he’s getting in better shape.

Q: On having Gasol back and what it means to him:
Howard: It’s another big. When he was out, besides myself, our front line was very small. With him being out there now, we have an opportunity to do a better job of playing inside out. He’s a great passer from the post and the perimeter, so it means a lot to have him back.

Q: On what Gasol will bring to the table now that he’s healthy:
Howard: He’s a 7-footer. He’s down there blocking shots, rebounding and making it tough for guys to score. It’s good for me. It was kind of tough for Earl (Clark) and Antawn (Jamison) to play down there against some (bigger) guys cause they’re used to being on the perimeter. It gives Earl the opportunity to go back and play guys on the perimeter and leave (Pau and myself) in the paint to protect it.

Q: On what the team needs to work on defensively heading into the final stretch of the year:
Howard: Just our rotations. Communication is very important. Now that we’re getting everybody back in our lineup, we can really build the chemistry we’ve been trying to build all year, so this is great.

Q: On their matchup with the Washington Wizards:
Howard: They’re a tough team. They have a lot of bigs. They have some very fast point guards, so it’s going to be a tough game. You can’t look at their record and where they are and come in lackadaisical. You have to play against these guys. They can score, these guys can defend and they’re a pretty good team.

Q: On if his mindset changes with Gasol coming back:
Howard: Not at all. Just continue to play my game, block shots, rebound and bring a lot of energy.

Q: On the bench production as of late:
Howard: Just getting opportunities to score and they’re taking advantage of the minutes they have. We’re playing together. That’s the biggest thing. We’re looking for each other, finding each other and we have to continue to do that for the rest of the season moving into the playoffs.

Q: On getting Gasol back and if it changes what has been working for the team thus far:
Howard: Not at all. It’s only going to add to what we’ve been doing having a guy like Pau back. Continue to move the ball, continue to play inside out and we’ll be fine. I think having him back is a plus. We’re happy that he’s back. We’re happy to have Kobe (Bryant) come back. We’re looking forward to all of us being on the court together.

Q: On having everybody back healthy and if it gives a boost to the team:
Howard: It does. Just having everybody back is something we’ve been looking forward to. We’ve had to play games with different lineups, but it’s only made our team stronger, so having everybody back is a big plus. We’re looking forward to finishing the rest of the season on a high note, going into the playoffs and then make a big push.

Q: On what kept him staying positive despite all the circumstances:
Howard: As basketball players, we understand we’re going to have ups and downs during the season. Things might not go as planned, but you have to keep your head in the right place and think good thoughts. All of us have had that mentality since we’ve been here of just winning a championship. Earlier in the season, it probably didn’t seem like it since we’ve been through so much. But inside the locker room, we had one goal. All of us want to win a championship and we kept that in the back of our heads throughout all the adversity.

Q: On having nearly a full lineup against Washington:
D’Antoni: I’m looking forward to it. That’s the lineup if we’re going to do any damage has to happen. We can’t lose any games. At the same time, we have to keep progressing and getting better. We have a month of getting better and winning games. We put ourselves in this position so we have to do it.

Q: On their matchup with the Washington Wizards:
D’Antoni: They’re playing well. The speed of John Wall, they have a lot of guys that can score and (Martell) Webster is shooting the ball really well. They went into Phoenix and won, and we didn’t do that. We have to pay attention and play well or we’re not going to beat them.

Q: On stopping John Wall:
D’Antoni: Make sure we get back and don’t turn the ball over is the biggest thing. We have to run back and be conscious of ‘here he comes,’ and make sure you guard him with five guys.

Q: On if Gasol will start tomorrow:
D’Antoni: I haven’t decided 100 percent, but he basically will, so whether it’s tomorrow, the next day or the day after, we’ll figure that out.

Q: On the defensive issues with Dwight and Pau earlier in the season compared to now regarding everybody’s health and if he feels more comfortable now:
D’Antoni: Definitely. I think there were two issues we had to factor in. I don’t think Dwight was 100 percent. Now with him 100 percent, that helps. I don’t think Pau was 100 percent earlier in the year. That alone will help. I don’t think Metta (World Peace) was 100 percent. He was having trouble guarding guys on the perimeter, so we had a lot of breakdowns. They’ve kind of corrected themselves lately, but Pau has to get back in conditioning. Metta is good on the perimeter and Dwight is patrolling the middle, so we should be very good defensively.

Q: On how Gasol looked in practice:
Nash: He looked good. He was moving well. He looked like he had a lot of energy. Hopefully, he can feel good tomorrow and play.

Q: On how Bryant looked in practice:
Nash: Kobe looked good, too. He got into a rhythm and played well. It didn’t look like (his ankle) was bothering him.

Q: On their matchup with the Washington Wizards:
Nash: Young, athletic, energetic team. They obviously have John Wall and some big guys (Nene Hilario and Emeka Okafor), and they have some shooters. They’re young, but capable of beating some good teams this year.

Gasol Nearing Return

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles LakersPau Gasol went through extensive on-court work during practice on Wednesday, again showing progress towards an imminent return.

“I got to play up and down (today),” he said. “First time I got to play up and down since my injury (on Feb. 5 at Brooklyn). I played some 2-on-2’s, 3-on-3’s, (4-on-4’s) and some half court. I felt good. I still feel a little soreness, but it’s part of the process. It’s a matter of feeling confident to be more explosive and make more aggressive moves off of it, so that’ll be a mental thing.”

Gasol, who hit the six-week mark on Tuesday, experienced pain in his right foot after participating in 2-on-2 workouts on Saturday, but an ultrasound revealed “continued healing and improvement.”

“It’s around a three or four,” Gasol said when asked about the pain level in his foot. “It’s manageable right now. Still, when you come off an injury like that, as painful as it was when it happened, you’re still concerned because you still feel something. But as you feel more comfortable, pain does not increase and hopefully decreases, you feel better about it and you’re able to push through it more.”

With Gasol inching closer to seeing the floor, coach Mike D’Antoni acknowledged that he’d eventually start the four-time All-Star alongside Dwight Howard. When that happens, it will be the first time since Jan. 20 that Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Gasol and Howard will start together. In all, that unit has played just 17 games, or a total of 173 minutes.

The 7-foot Spaniard came off the bench in eight games earlier this season, with D’Antoni electing to use Gasol with the second unit. The first-year Lakers coach stated that he went the move because of numerous factors, namely health.

“There were a lot of decisions made when Steve Nash wasn’t 100 percent on the floor, when Dwight Howard wasn’t 100 percent, when Pau wasn’t 100 percent,” he said. “When they’re all 100 percent, it can work. That’s what management and we envisioned. Pau is too talented and too good, Dwight is too talented and too good, Kobe is and Steve is – and you go down the list – not to be able to figure it out, and I think we can.”

Howard’s noticeable improved play (18.8 points, 15.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks in the last six games) is a sign he’s started to turn a corner. The collective hope from the coaching staff and players will be integrating Gasol back into the mix, and by the time the playoffs roll around, the team will be where it wants to be.

“It will change things up cause we’ll be playing with two big guys instead of spreading the floor,” D’Antoni explained. “There are things we have to work out. We’re looking forward to seeing what we have and seeing if it’s good enough to cause some damage.”

Since the All-Star break, the Lakers have caused some damage, running off an 11-4 record and climbing to the No. 8 seed in the West despite missing 65 total games to the four best players and 37 to backup point guard Steve Blake.

“If our minds and hearts are into it, we can be a heck of a team and we can beat anybody,” Gasol said. “We have too many guys who can put the ball in the hole for us to focus on one or two guys mainly. Once we share the ball and we really want to defend, get back in transition and limit our turnovers, we’re a tough team. We just have to bring it 48 minutes a night. That’s the big difference.”

Center of Importance

Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando MagicLook no further than Dwight Howard’s split stats in Lakers wins and losses to see how critical his play is to the team:

WINS (36): 18.7 ppg, 59.1% FG’s, 50.2% FT’s, 13.1 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 1.4 spg, 35.5 mpg
LOSSES (33): 13.9 ppg, 52.4% FG’s, 47.6% FT’s, 11.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 0.7 spg, 35.3 mpg

Howard’s general play has improved considerably of late as he gets healthier and more comfortable with his role, and indeed, his numbers are generally up since the All-Star break. His biggest improvement has come on the glass (14.7 up from 11.8) and on defense in general, while the rest of the numbers are similar (16.8 ppg from 16.3).

But, clearly, the team has gone as he has, the difference as plain as day in those W/L splits.

Lakers – Suns Postgame Numbers

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix SunsWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 99-76 loss at Phoenix:

Bench points for Phoenix, including 22 in the second quarter that allowed the home team to turn a four-point, first-quarter deficit into a three-point halftime lead. Jared Dudley (13) and Kendall Marshall (tied a season-high with 11) both had eight points in the second frame to help the Suns turn the game in their favor.

Percent field goals for the Lakers towards a season-low 76 points. L.A. shot just 4 of 21 (19 percent) in the fourth quarter, where they were outscored 28-10. The Lakers played their ninth game in 14 days in seven different cities, the last two with just seven players in the rotation. “We kind of just hit the wall,” Steve Nash said. “You could just kind of see the wheels fall off, especially lately with guys injured and playing a seven-man rotation. I think it caught up with us a little bit.”

Points for Luis Scola in 20 minutes off the pine – all of them coming in the final 12 minutes. Scola also grabbed eight boards in the fourth, single-handedly outscoring and outrebounding the Lakers.

Rebounds for Dwight Howard, snapping his streak of at least 12 boards at 14 games. The big man scored seven straight points for the Lakers at one point during the first quarter, but 7-foot-2 center Hamed Haddadi affected a fatigued Howard after Jermaine O’Neal picked up two early fouls trying to slow L.A.’s big man.

Despite the loss, the Lakers still sit in the No. 8 spot in the West one game ahead of Utah, thanks to a bad Jazz loss at home to short-handed New York. L.A. had a chance to gain ground on idle Houston, but instead, sit a game back of the No. 7 seed.