Monthly Archive for December, 2013

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Injury Update: Steve Nash

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemSteve Nash, who has missed more than a month with nerve root irritation, is expected to be out at least four more weeks, according to Lakers PR.

“Hopefully that’s a really good timeline where I can get healthy and get my back in a position where it can protect itself and survive,” Nash said post practice. “I’m making strides, for sure. The biggest thing is durability. There’s such a fine line. When I do get up to speed where I can do a lot of stuff, to be able to sustain it is the key right now.”

Certain movements, like sprinting, is something the 17-year NBA veteran can’t quite put himself to the test fully just yet.

“That’s still hit or miss,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do it right now. It could set me way back. I’m just waiting to get a lot of confidence to do that and then do that for a long time and be able to incorporate and integrate myself into some practice sessions and then be able to sustain that.”

Staying patient, according to Nash, has been one of the more difficult tasks throughout this whole process as he tries to work his way back. In spite of all this, he remains optimistic.

“I just want to play,” Nash said. “That’s what gets me through everyday. I want to play, I still love to play, I still feel like I have the skills to do it and I’d like to end my career on a positive note. Just fighting everyday to get that little bit of joy for playing basketball, being one of the guys, running up and down the court and trying to beat somebody.”

Injury Update: Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis GrizzliesLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemKobe Bryant is expected to miss approximately six weeks after undergoing an MRI that revealed a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee.

“You hate it for Kobe,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s worked so hard getting back, but he’ll be back. We just have to weather the storm till he gets back.”

Bryant, who hyperextended his knee late in the third quarter at Memphis, returned to finish the game in the Lakers 96-92 win. He played six-and-a-half minutes in the fourth, draining a key three-pointer from 28 feet out with 2:39 left. Bryant tied his season high with 21 points, to go along with five rebounds and four assists.

“I knew he got scared because he hyperextended his knee, but he shook it off,” Pau Gasol said. “He continued to play until the very end, which again, shows how tough Kobe is, how much he’s able to play through and what he’s able to play through.”

Bryant made his season debut on Dec. 8 against Toronto, nearly eight months after tearing his Achilles in April of last season. In six games, Bryant averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds. On Monday at Atlanta, he surpassed Elvin Hayes (54,160) and John Stockton (54,162) for fifth all-time in regular season and playoff minutes combined in NBA history.

With Steve Blake (elbow), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) still out, the Lakers have just three healthy guards on their roster: Xavier Henry, Jodie Meeks and Nick Young.

“It’s been rough, it’s been rough,” Gasol said. “I was hoping this season (we were) going to be healthier than (we were) was last season, but it’s been one (injury) after another. But it’s not an excuse for us not to go out there and do our best and continue to compete and try to get wins.”

Henry, who had been handling backup point guard duties, moves into the starting lineup alongside Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill and Gasol.

Kobe Bryant Sparking Pau Gasol’s Improved Play?

LA Lakers v Charlotte BobcatsThrough the first 20 games of the season, Pau Gasol struggled mightily from the floor, averaging 14.2 points on 41.8 percent field goals.

Over the last five games, however, the 7-foot Spaniard has shown marked improvement, particularly on the most recent road trip.

Gasol’s averages in the last five: 17.0 points on 56.7 percent field goals.

His improved play has also come about with Kobe Bryant’s return to the court, with coach Mike D’Antoni electing to sub the two in and out of the game together. Both have seen the floor an equal amount of minutes over the last five contests.

Coincidence?

After the team’s loss at Oklahoma City, D’Antoni understood well what Bryant could do to aid Gasol’s play.

“(He) and Kobe have a little special thing together,” he said. “I think we can continue on that.”

Despite struggling from the floor (6 of 18) in the Lakers 88-85 win at Charlotte, Gasol came up big down the stretch with a huge block on Al Jefferson and two key free throws. He also scored seven of the last 12 Lakers points in the fourth to close out a win at Memphis. Over the last two games, he scored 37 points total on 16 of 21 field goals (76.2 percent), operating much more out of the post and around the basket.

Below is a look at his short chart over the last five games.
*All stats used are courtesy of NBA.com/stats.

Shot chart in last five games:
- Restricted area: 20 of 28 (71.4 percent)
- In the Paint (non-restricted area): 8 of 18 (44.4 percent)
- Mid-range: 6 of 14 (42.9 percent)
- Above the break 3-pointer: N/A
blog_131217gasolshotchartL5

Nearly half his shot attempts (28 of 60) have come inside the restricted area, whereas in the first 20 games, almost half (136 of 273) his looks came from mid-range and extended.

Shot chart in first 20 games:
- Restricted area: 34 of 57 (59.6 percent)
- In the Paint (non-restricted area): 31 of 80 (38.8 percent)
- Mid-range: 46 of 127 (36.2 percent)
- Above the break 3-pointer: 3 of 9 (33.3 percent)
blog_131217gasolshotchartF20

Lakers-Grizzlies Postgame Numbers

Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis GrizzliesWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 96-92 win at Memphis:

40.7
Percentage of field goals made for Memphis. Zach Randolph scored 18 points, but was held to 7 of 22 shooting, including a 5 for 15 performance in the third and fourth quarters. Lakers center Robert Sacre played key minutes down the stretch defending Randolph, blocking three shots and grabbing three boards.

18
Points for Nick Young off the bench. During the road trip, Young led the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game and shot 13 of 24 from the three-point line (54.2 percent). He currently ranks third in the NBA in bench scoring at 14.9 points behind Jamal Crawford (16.0 points) and Rodney Stuckey (15.2).

12
More rebounds for Memphis, including a plus-10 edge on the offensive glass. Despite 16 more shot attempts than the Lakers and a plus-eight advantage in second-chance points, the Grizzlies dropped their fourth game in a row.

10
Field goal attempts for Pau Gasol from within nine feet or less, according to NBA.com/stats. The 7-foot Spaniard made 9 of 12 field goals towards 21 points and scored seven of the team’s final 12 points down the stretch. In the last two games, Gasol is shooting 16 for 21 (76.2 percent). Below is a shot chart of his efficiency from the floor in the last two contests, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
blog_131217gasolshotchart

3
Three-pointers for the Lakers in the fourth quarter, the last one coming from Kobe Bryant from 28 feet out to push L.A.’s lead to six points with 2:39 remaining. Overall, the Lakers hit just 7 of 22 from beyond the arc, but converted on timely shots from the three-point line to hold off Memphis in the fourth quarter.

LAL 96, Grizzlies 92: 12/17 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis GrizzliesBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at Memphis with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Bryant, Meeks, Johnson, Hill and Gasol
Grizzlies: Bayless, Allen, Prince, Randolph and Koufos

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies
FOURTH QUARTER

Lakers-Hawks Postgame Numbers

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta HawksWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 114-100 loss at Atlanta:

54,175
Minutes played – regular season and playoffs combined – for Kobe Bryant, fifth-most in NBA history. The only players ahead of him? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Jason Kidd and Wilt Chamberlain.

67
Second-half points for Atlanta, a season high for any half this season. The Hawks went on a 23-8 run to start the third and outscored the Lakers 35-19 in the quarter to turn a seven-point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead heading to the fourth. After intermission, Atlanta shot 52.1 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent on three-pointers (8 of 16).

34
Assists for the Hawks on 45 made field goals. Atlanta has recorded at least 20 dimes in 23 of 25 games, and also has four games of 30 or more helpers, a league high.

22
Second-chance points for Atlanta, 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter. The Hawks grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, but had 11 after halftime, as they repeatedly got multiple opportunities to put the ball in the hoop. “We did not compete in the second half the way that (the Hawks) did,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They upped their intensity and we didn’t match that.”

5
Three-pointers made for Nick Young towards a team high 23 points. Outside of Young, however, the Lakers were 0 of 14 from distance. In the last five games, L.A. is shooting just 29.2 percent from beyond the arc after converting at a 40.7 percent clip in the previous 19 games.

LAL 100, Hawks 114: 12/16 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta HawksBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at Atlanta with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Bryant, Meeks, Johnson, Hill and Gasol
Hawks: Teague, Korver, Carroll, Millsap and Horford

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks
THIRD QUARTER



FOURTH QUARTER

Robert Sacre and Nick Young Havin’ Fun


We’ve heard numerous times from the players and the coaching staff how this year’s 2013-14 Lakers squad is a good group of guys.

After the Lakers 88-85 win at Charlotte, Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell was conducting interviews in the locker room and witnessed some lively postgame banter between Robert Sacre and Nick Young.

Sacre called Young “the Screech of the league.” Young poked fun at Sacre’s hair, or lack thereof. Sacre fired back, of course. Just some teammates havin’ some good ol’ fun.

Lakers-Bobcats Postgame Numbers

LA Lakers v Charlotte BobcatsWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 88-85 win at Charlotte:

32
Minutes for Kobe Bryant, a season high. He recorded 21 points (also a season high), eight assists and seven rebounds. Bryant drained his first and second three-pointers of the year, too, as he acknowledged postgame that he feels fine, even after a back-to-back. “My foot is feeling a lot stronger,” he said. “My Achilles feels fine. It’s just the other muscles around there that are just getting used to running and jumping.”

14
Plus-rating for Nick Young, a team high. Young scored 13 points, which included a key three-pointer in the fourth that spurred the Lakers 9-0 run to end the game.

10
Made free throws for the Lakers out of 10 attempts in the final quarter, including two each from Bryant and Pau Gasol down the stretch to seal the win. As a team, L.A. shot 21 of 23 from the line (91.3 percent) compared to a 5 of 8 showing from Charlotte (62.5 percent).

2:50
The Lakers held the Bobcats without a point in the final 2:50 of the game (0 of 8 during that span). With about a minute left, Gasol came up with a key block on Al Jefferson that led to two go-ahead free throws from Bryant. Overall, the Lakers limited Charlotte to just 17 points on 7 of 20 field goals in the fourth quarter. “We played pretty well defensively,” Bryant said postgame. “We did a good job of making them hold the ball longer and take hero shots. It kept us in the game.”

0
Fastbreak points for Charlotte in the final 12 minutes, after the Lakers allowed 16 through the first three quarters. At halftime, L.A.’s coaching staff made it a point of emphasis for the team to get back in transition and limit easy opportunities for the Bobcats.

LAL 88, Bobcats 85: 12/14 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte BobcatsBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at Charlotte with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Bryant, Meeks, Johnson, Hill and Gasol
Bobcats: Walker, Henderson, Taylor, McRoberts and Jefferson

FIRST QUARTER



SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Bobcats
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Bobcats
FOURTH QUARTER