Monthly Archive for April, 2013

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Andrew Goudelock: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_GoudelockThe Lakers recalled Andrew Goudelock from the NBA D-League days after Kobe Bryant’s season-ending injury. He played six minutes in the regular-season finale against Houston.

With L.A.’s top four guards out injured, Goudelock started his first career contest in Game 3 of the playoffs against San Antonio, scoring a career-high 20 points. He followed that with a 14-point, 4-rebound effort in Game 4.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- On his crazy season: “I definitely think I’ve come a long way. From getting cut (by the Lakers in training camp), going to the D-League for the whole season, winning the MVP and then coming back and getting significant minutes (in the playoffs) … it was crazy. I ended up getting a call, everybody got hurt, and I’m starting in the playoffs.”

- On the difficulty of playing San Antonio, with all their experience, when the Lakers had barely played alongside one another: “We definitely tried … it was just tough. We hadn’t played together, I didn’t even know any of the plays. I don’t think anyone could have envisioned this in training camp. If you look at the roster, you see a championship contender, and for everything to happen like it has, that’s just how the business is.”

- Goudelock on Kobe Bryant: “The guy is a warrior – just being around him last year, I tried to take that mentality myself, where nothing can penetrate your mind. The first thing he said to me when he got hurt: ‘It’s a small thing to a giant.’ He’s just such a competitor, and you can’t teach those things. His knowledge of the game is crazy.”

- Goudelock on Steve Nash: “One of the nicest guys I ever met – I always thought you had to have a bad boy image in the league to gain people’s respect, but he’s a pure heart, he does everything for the betterment of the team. I asked him and Steve Blake a lot of questions when they were out … the experience was invaluable. I just tried to soak it all in.”

- The College of Charleston product was refreshingly honest about what it was like being in the D-League, where he was scoring a ton, dropping dimes when no one said he could play point guard, then watching his backup get called up by the Clippers, and another teammate who was injured get the call to New Orleans. He was just frustrated and feeling like he could add something to the next level, but never quit, kept working until he was named League MVP. The Lakers call up was something of a fluke due to injuries, but he hopes he was able to remind GM’s of what he can do, and that he’ll have a chance to make a roster next season.

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Devin Ebanks: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_EbanksIn his third year in Los Angeles, Devin Ebanks started three games and appeared in 19 towards averages of 3.4 points and 2.2 boards in 11 minutes.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- Ebanks, who will be a free agent, stated this: “Next season, I’m going to look around and weigh my options as far as other teams next year. I just want to thank Mitch (Kupchak) and the Lakers organization for giving me an opportunity the last three years.”

- “It was definitely a disappointing year knowing how hard I worked in the summer. Just the whole season overall, it was a big disappointment for me. I don’t want to get down. I’ll be back better next year.”

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Earl Clark: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_ClarkEarl Clark started 36 games and appeared in 59 towards averages of 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds on 44.0 percent field goals. He played sparingly during the first two months of the year, but found a spot in coach Mike D’Antoni’s rotation after a 22-point, 13-rebound performance at San Antonio in early January.

Clark averaged 3.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 20 minutes per game in the playoffs.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- Clark, a free agent this summer, was appreciative of the opportunity the Lakers gave him and repeatedly stated he wants to remain with the team. “I want to be a Laker. Had an opportunity to show what I can do. If we have a training camp, we can show what we can do. Hope everything works out.”

- Clark said GM Mitch Kupchak was proud of him for constantly working hard – early in the morning and late in the evening – even before he became part of the regular rotation. His expanded role when guys were out was difficult, mainly adjusting to playing nearly 30 minutes per contest. But when Pau Gasol returned, it was hard for coach Mike D’Antoni to manage minutes.

- Clark, a teammate of Dwight Howard in Orlando, believes staying in L.A. will be “great for his career.” Early on, Clark felt Howard felt the pressure of losing and playing for an organization not accustomed to it. “This summer, he’ll work on his game and continue to get better. He’ll answer the challenge.”

- His goal for the offseason is to get stronger, so he can guard bigger post players like Zach Randolph and Tim Duncan. He admitted he’s more comfortable playing on the perimeter, but wants to expand his game.

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Steve Nash: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_NashSteve Nash appeared and started in 50 games in 2012-13, missing 24 games due to a lower leg fracture and the last eight of the regular season because of hamstring/hip/back issues. Nash averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 assists, and narrowly missed his fifth 50/40/90 season (49.7 percent field goals, 43.8 percent on three-pointers, 92.2 percent free throws).

Nash played the first two postseason games, averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 assists in 30 minutes per contest, before missing the final two with the same back/hip/hamstring issues that kept him out at the end of the regular season.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- Nash opened by expressing his disappointment with the tough season: “It’s definitely been the most frustrating year of my career.” Obviously the injuries were difficult, let alone the failure to meet expectations. Regardless of the reasons why – and there were plenty – that’s going to result in disappointment.

- On recovering from his injuries this offseason, starting with the nerve issues he’s battled in his back/hip/hamstring: “I always work hard. I’m definitely going to prepare better than I ever have to make next year (different). (I have) no concerns. No word (from the) medical staff for long-term issues or next season being in jeopardy. There’s still a lot of work to do to get right.” Nash is hoping that he’ll be back to 100 percent in the next month or so.

- Nash on Dwight Howard, who is an unrestricted free agent: “I’m very hopeful that Dwight will be back. I think this is the place for him. I’m hopeful he sees it that way.”

- On playing for the Los Angeles Lakers: “It was an amazing experience for me to play for this franchise … that’s the one thing that burns me so much right now. I wanted to have a huge impact on the team and really make this an incredible year, and experience for the fans, the players and everyone involved … I just hope next year we can repay everyone for their loyalty and enthusiasm.”

- On how a coaching change, injuries derailed things: “It feels like we never even got started … we kept fighting, and played really good basketball for the last couple of months.”

- Nash isn’t sure what the roster will look like next season, saying changes are inevitable in the NBA, but he likes a lot of what is in place if healthy: “I think the core pieces with the disappointment of this season could (help us) form something special. It’s not a perfect fit, but we have great players that can find a way to make this work.” L.A. almost never had a healthy, cohesive team throughout the season.

- Nash downplayed chemistry issues with the team that may have plagued the roster early in the season. He said that losing brings out a certain degree of difficulty for any team, but that the Lakers definitely figured things out as the season wore on. “In the big picture I think relationships were formed and kept … I think it’s the only reason we didn’t (putter out).” The team played good basketball in the final three months of the season even while beat up.

- Nash discussed the difficulty of having established veterans who have all played different styles in the past, and how difficult that can be for a head coach: “We have a lot of guys who have had great careers, great success that have done it in their way. But when you come together you can’t do it in four or five different ways. I think that was really difficult for everyone, for the players, and particularly for the coach. We can make a long list of what (coach) Mike (D’Antoni) faced this year: coming in late, the craziest injury situation I’ve ever seen, guys playing when they’re not themselves. It’s hard to find an identity when guys aren’t what they’re going to be in a week, or out of the line up in a week. I thought he handled it well. He competed, he worked every day, he was passionate about it.”

- What’s most important for Nash moving forward for next season? “For me, I just want to get in great shape … so that nothing is holding me back for next season. For the team, we’ll see.” Nash went on to explain that further, but basically, it’s tough to really plan too much until we see who is on the roster for next season.

Nash on Jason Collins: “I think it’s great that Jason is strong enough to come out. I think he’s going to make a huge impact on a lot of people, most importantly on a lot of young people … I’ve thought for a while now that it’s not going to be a big issue. I don’t think it’s fair for Jason to think it’s going to be a walk in the park, but at the same time, this is a really important issue and time that somebody has finally taken a leadership role in this respect.”

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Metta World Peace: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_MWPMetta World Peace started 66 games and appeared in 75, averaging 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals on 40.2 percent shooting (34.2 percent on three-pointers). He tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee late in the year and had to undergo surgery, forcing him to miss just six contests.

World Peace played in three of the four postseason games, missing the second half of Game 3 and all of Game 4 as his knee simply was not healthy enough to play through. He averaged 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds, shooting just 25 percent from the floor while dealing with the knee.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- World Peace, who has a player option for next season, declined to state whether he will pick it up or not. He said he didn’t discuss that specifically with GM Mitch Kupchak in his meeting. His basic message was this: “For me, it’s all about coming back next year and winning.” MWP often will stick to a single thought as such, trying to focus on one thing. He believes the team had enough talent when healthy to compete, despite the collective age of the players.

- MWP said the Lakers didn’t always “let” Mike D’Antoni (or Mike Brown) coach. It’s a very interesting group of players, some with tons of experience and ideas on how to play, who had seen a number of systems in the last three seasons alone. D’Antoni clearly didn’t have a chance to coach as he’d wanted to, but Metta appreciated that he adapted and found a way to get the team on a winning track before the late-season injuries.

- On the absence of training camp for a coach: “We were behind the eight ball so much that we didn’t get to see the whole team and who improved their game, and how we’re going to play.” That was certainly tough for the coaches and players, no doubt.

- One of Dwight Howard’s biggest supporters this season, Metta had this to say: “Dwight gave 100 percent. He played hard. His personality was just different. You have to get used to a franchise player like that.” He tried to explain what he meant, that Howard is almost always “happy” around the team, except at certain points of games where he gets “very serious.” No question Howard is a different from a personality standpoint from the other veterans on the team like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, and it certainly took some adjusting to for everyone – as it should have. They’d begun to figure things out, rallying through the injuries before Bryant’s torn Achilles to reach the playoffs despite being 17-25 in January.

- MWP on his knee: “It was supposed to take six weeks to heal. Was in a situation where I didn’t want to miss the playoffs.” The reason he was able to return so quickly from March 28 surgery was that the doctor removed the torn part of his meniscus instead of repairing it, thus eliminating the swelling. However, he developed a cyst upon returning the floor, severely limiting his movement. Now, MWP has his six weeks to heal, and does not need further surgery. He expects to be healthy coming into training camp next season.

- World Peace – like Chris Duhon before him – was supportive of Jason Collins coming out earlier on Monday morning, saying that people must be free to be who they are. World Peace has been a supporter for people feeling OK to say they’re struggling with mental health issues, so he appreciates what it takes to stand up to public scrutiny.

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Chris Duhon: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_DuhonChris Duhon started nine games and appeared in 46 towards averages of 2.9 points and 2.9 assists on 36.3 percent on three-pointers in the regular season.

With regular point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake out injured, Duhon played the entire second half in L.A.’s Game 4 season-ending loss (43 minutes total), scoring 11 points and dishing out a team-high seven assists.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

Duhon: “This is probably the craziest year I’ve been apart of. Everything that could go wrong went wrong, with the talent, the expectations we had. We definitely had a team that was capable of winning a championship, we just never had a chance to put it together. It’s tough, and it’s kind of disappointing – coming into training camp, we felt that. We felt like we had an opportunity, and it just never came together.”

- Why wasn’t the team’s identity established? “Injuries … two coaches in one season … no training camp (with the coach) … injuries … injuries again.”

- Duhon said that Mike D’Antoni never really had a chance to put in his system, lacking the chance for an offseason to establish the principles, let alone a training camp. He played for D’Antoni in New York, and spent a whole offseason learning that system. He added that the team spent the entire training camp trying to learn the Princeton offense, then didn’t run anything for four games under Bernie Bickerstaff, then just didn’t have a real chance to get what D’Antoni wanted to do since they already had the pressure of winning games. That made it very difficult.

- On what he’ll take away from playing with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol: “They love this game. They do whatever it takes for them to be great. Kobe watches film at halftime, of his shots, turnovers, defensive plays and things he can do better in the second half. Steve Nash is consistently in the weight room trying to get his body right, first one here, last one to leave. It’s amazing how you see these guys come to work every day. That’s why they’re the best. Kobe’s going to be one of the best players ever. Nash is going to be one of the best point guards, and (that is for) a reason.”

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Lakers – Spurs Postgame Numbers

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game FourWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 103-82 Game 4 season-ending loss against San Antonio:

Field-goal percentage for the Lakers. The home team shot better than San Antonio, but turnovers allowed the Spurs eight more attempts at the rim. The visitors were also a plus-15 at the free throw line (20 of 23 compared to 5 of 12).

Turnovers for the Lakers, 16 coming in the first half. With the Spurs fronting the post, L.A. repeatedly tried to lob the ball into either Pau Gasol or Dwight Howard to no avail. Another reason: a lack of playing time together for each unit, this game being the 21st different starting lineup used this season.

Minutes for Howard before getting called for his second technical foul. The big man recorded seven points and eight rebounds, but also had five turnovers with San Antonio swarming him each time he touched the ball in the post. As such, he only attempted two field goals (made them both) and nine free throws (made three).

Points for Gasol on 8 of 12 field goals, despite the Spurs trying to deny him the ball inside. He also grabbed eight boards, dished out five assists and blocked two shots in 35 minutes before exiting for the last 3:08 of the game.

Assists for Chris Duhon (a team-high) in a season-high 43 minutes. Duhon gave the Lakers a nice spark off the bench in the first quarter and played the entire second half.

Laker players missed what would turn out to be the final game of the year due to injuries. In the opening round series, L.A. started three different lineups and had 13 total missed games from rotation players.

LAL 82, Spurs 103: Game 4 Running Diary

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game FourBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday afternoon home contest against San Antonio in Game 4 of their first round series, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Morris, Goudelock, Clark, Gasol and Howard
Spurs: T. Parker, D. Green, K. Leonard, A. Baynes, T. Duncan

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four12:00 Injuries have been a major storyline for the Lakers all season, so starting Game 4 of a series they trailed 3-0 with two guys not expected to even see minutes before the season started, and one who wasn’t on the roster until the final few games of the season, was fitting. It was former second rounders Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock in the backcourt replacing the top four guards out injured (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks) and Earl Clark in at small forward for Metta World Peace. San Antonio had one injury, with center Tiago Splitter sprained his ankle, leaving Australian rookie Aron Baynes as the starter (Gregg Popovich wanted Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair to avoid early foul trouble defending Dwight Howard).

2:58 After falling quickly behind by nine, the Lakers rallied behind Dwight Howard and Chris Duhon off the pine, Howard scoring twice near the rim and Duhon connecting on a floater after finding Howard for the second of his two field goals to get L.A. within two points at 15-13.

0:00 A breakdown on offense – the eighth turnover – led to a breakdown on defense – failing to take a foul to give – that put the Spurs up eight in the final seconds. Morris, however, streaked up the court and got a tough runner to go to make it a 26-20 Spurs lead after one, which wasn’t too bad considering the four additional shots San Antonio got off thanks to the turnovers.

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game FourSECOND QUARTER
7:23 San Antonio got its first real separation from Gary Neal scored five consecutive points, nailing a triple when L.A. failed to properly rotate (Earl Clark) after double-teaming Duncan inside. The lead was 14, the home team already in considerable trouble.

0:00 The Spurs machine was clicking once again on offense, but their D may have been better. They were sitting on Gasol and Howard inside, refusing to allow easy entry passes, a big part of L.A.’s way-too-high 16 turnovers in the first half. The visitors thus took a 52-34 lead into the second half, L.A. scoring only 14 points in the second quarter.

9:51 Howard’s season very likely ended in a sour way, his second technical foul coming from ref Rodney Mott as he complained about a no call on Spurs big man Aron Baynes as the two jostled for position.

8:19 Moments later, a roar from the crowd continued to rise into a standing ovation … Kobe Bryant had come out on to the court, with the aid of crutches, to sit in the second row behind the bench. As the crowd continued to chant, L.A. rode the quick energy wave to a 7-2 run, yet still trailed by 16.

0:00 With Bryant using the aide of his crutches to talk to his teammates during time outs, then stand up from his seat behind the bench to motion the young guards to run up and down the floor, L.A. cut the margin to as few as 17, before the Spurs – as they have all series – closed the quarter well to take a 78-58 into the fourth. Barring a miracle, the Lakers had 12 minutes left in their 2012-13 season.

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game FourFOURTH QUARTER
6:30 L.A. was still fighting, but San Antonio hadn’t let up focus for even a minute of this series, so consecutive buckets from Hill and Goudelock were answered by the Spurs, who kept a 91-74 lead as the time clicked down in L.A.’s season.

3:08 With 16 points (8 of 12 field goals), eight boards and five assists, Gasol checked out for the final time this season. He received a classy standing ovation from the fans, appreciative of what he gave not just this season in battling through injuries, but in season’s past, the key piece in helping Kobe lead the Lakers to three straight Finals trips and two straight championships for Dr. Jerry Buss.

And it’s on that note that we end the 2012-13 season, one full of expectations and then injuries: RIP to Dr. Jerry Buss, the greatest owner in sports history.

MWP Joins List of Lakers Out for Game 4

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game ThreeLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemDue to a bothersome cyst on his left knee that Metta World Peace had drained prior to Game 3, the starting small forward will miss Sunday’s Game 4 against San Antonio, joining the large list of Lakers unavailable for the contest.

World Peace did not play in the second half of Game 3′s loss, watching from the bench as L.A. fell behind 0-3 in the series. Sitting next to him were Steve Blake (strained hamstring), Jodie Meeks (sprained ankle) and Steve Nash (back/hip/hamstring issues), as they will once again on Sunday (Kobe Bryant watched from the locker room).

Mike D’Antoni confirmed that none of those players will be available, leaving Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock as the starting backcourt for the second straight game. Earl Clark will slide into the starting line up for World Peace.

Goudelock scored 20 points with three steals in 40 minutes, while Morris went for 24 points and six assists in the losing effort.

Lakers – Spurs Postgame Numbers

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game ThreeWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 120-89 Game 3 loss against San Antonio:

Field-goal percentage for San Antonio towards 120 points. Tim Duncan (12 of 16 field goals) and Tony Parker (9 of 14) led the way, the two combining for 46 points on 21 of 30 field goals.

Minutes for Andrew Goudelock in his first career NBA start. A former 2011 second-round pick of the Lakers, Goudelock was presented with a trophy for being named MVP of the D-League. He scored a career-high 20 points (12 in the second quarter) and recorded three steals.

Points for Darius Morris, a career-high. Morris, selected a few spots ahead of Goudelock in the second round,dished out six assists, tying a career-high. He and Goudelock combined for 44 of the 89 Lakers points.

Different starting lineups the Lakers have used this season, including the second one in this series. Every player on the roster has started because of countless injuries.

Triple-doubles for Pau Gasol this year, all coming in the last two weeks. Gasol recorded 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his first playoff career triple-double.

Second-half minutes and points for Metta World Peace. Prior to the game, World Peace had his knee drained, perhaps a side effect of returning just 12 days after surgery on his left knee. The St. John’s product shot 0 of 6 and has struggled all series long on both ends of the floor.