Monthly Archive for February, 2014

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LAL 108, Rockets 134: 2/19 Running Diary

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles LakersBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against Houston with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Johnson, Kelly and Kaman
Rockets: Beverley, Harden, Parsons, Jones and Howard


FIRST QUARTER



SECOND QUARTER


Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers
THIRD QUARTER



FOURTH QUARTER


Post-Break Injury Update

blog_injuryLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemThe Lakers suffered a remarkable 191 games missed due to injury before the All-Star break, by far the most in the NBA:

Kobe Bryant: 47
Steve Nash: 41
Jordan Farmar: 30
Steve Blake: 26
Xavier Henry: 22
Pau Gasol: 9
Chris Kaman: 5
Jodie Meeks: 5
Nick Young: 4
Wesley Johnson: 1
Jordan Hill: 1
TOTAL: 191

On Tuesday in El Segundo, L.A. returned from the All-Star break; here’s an update on each player either returning from injury or still in line to miss games moving forward:

JODIE MEEKS:
Meeks sprained his ankle on Feb. 4 in the first quarter at Minnesota and missed the remaining five games prior to the All-Star break, but is the lone Laker expected to return from the pre-break injured list against Houston on Wednesday. Meeks said the ankle was feeling good, and he’s ready to play.

KOBE BRYANT:
According to the Lakers, Kobe Bryant continues to have swelling and pain in his knee, and thus does not have an MRI scheduled in the immediate future. Bryant was last examined prior to the Lakers vs. Pacers game on Jan. 28, when a similar conclusion on the left knee where he suffered a fracture at Memphis on Dec. 17 was reached. His subsequent rehabilitation has been limited mostly to work on a stationary bike. Bryant recently addressed the media in advance of the 2014 All-Star Game on Sunday and gave another general update on where he’s at in his recovery and rehab process.

PAU GASOL:
Gasol practiced in full on Tuesday, and said afterwards that he felt “a lot better,” if still not 100 percent in his first action in approximately two weeks. He’ll most likely be listed as “questionable” for Wednesday’s game, waiting to see how his body responds to Tuesday’s work out. Gasol underwent an MRI on Feb. 1, which revealed a strained right groin. He received a PRP injection on Feb. 3, but was sidelined for the team’s last six games before the All-Star break.

JORDAN FARMAR:
Farmar is listed as “doubtful” for Wednesday’s game despite practicing in full on Tuesday. He returned from a one-month absence at Cleveland on Feb. 5 before exiting with cramps in his calf. He was listed as day-to-day, according to coach Mike D’Antoni, but missed the final five games leading up to the All-Star break. Two separate hamstring tears kept him out of most of December and January, and the left hamstring got tight once again in that win at Cleveland. Post practice, Farmar acknowledged the hamstring “feels fine,” and remains optimistic he will be back on the court soon.

XAVIER HENRY:
Henry had his right knee drained of fluid and received a cortisone shot on Feb. 12, and expected to be out another four weeks. He originally injured his knee on Dec. 29 vs. Philly, but is expected to be re-evaluated on Friday.

NICK YOUNG:
Young injured his left knee at Cleveland on Feb. 5 and underwent an MRI the following day in Philly. He was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise, and expected to be out a minimum of two weeks before being re-evaluated. Young was unable to practice on Tuesday, and will not play against Houston.

Kendall Marshall Sittin’ Courtside

Over All-Star Weekend, Kendall Marshall had a little free time to see his alma mater, North Carolina, upset No. 25 Pittsburgh 75-71 on Saturday in Chapel Hill.

He also had a little fun with the student section, got some air time on radio and caught up with another former Tar Heel Sean May.

Steve Nash: The Finish Line

Since breaking his leg in just his second game with the Lakers, Steve Nash has been fighting a battle against his own body to get back onto the floor at, or at least near, an evasive level that used to come so easily.

Grantland took an in-depth look at both the mental and physical challenges Nash continues to face.

Inside Kendall Marshall’s Assist Numbers

Coming into the league, Kendall Marshall was known as a pass-first point guard. That sentiment has been largely evident during his stint in L.A. thus far.

In his first start with the Lakers, Marshall finished with career highs of 20 points and 15 assists to help L.A. snap a six-game skid with a 110-99 win over Utah on Jan. 3. In the following home game vs. Denver, Marshall registered a new career high with 17 dimes. The 32 assists over his first two starts were most by a Laker since at least 1970-71 when stats were recorded.

“That’s my strength,” Marshall said postgame. “That’s what I try to do – to get guys involved every night.”

Over the next 13 games in January – all starts with Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), Steve Blake (elbow) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) sidelined – Marshall reached double-digit assists in nine of those contests. That included a five-game stretch of at least 10 points and 10 dimes, a feat duplicated only by Chris Paul and Ty Lawson this season.

For the first five games in February, Marshall came off the bench with Nash assuming the starting role. Still, Marshall posted double-digit assist efforts at Philly (10 in 20 minutes) and vs. Chicago (11). With Nash out vs. Oklahoma City on Thursday, the North Carolina product again tied his career high with 17 helpers. Below is a shot chart of where Marshall set up his teammates, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
*VIDEO: Watch all of Marshall’s 17 assists.

blog_140213_marshall_assists

Should Marshall qualify* among the league leaders, he would rank second in the NBA in assists (9.5), behind only Chris Paul (11.1). Furthermore, per the new SportsVU tracking data, he trails only Paul (25.0) in points created by assist per game (21.5).
*For a player to qualify, a player must be on pace to play 70 games or distribute 400 assists.

Marshall is not only finding teammates, but he’s taking care of the ball. Marshall currently ranks fourth in assist to turnover ratio (3.5) among all guards, behind Paul (4.4), Dallas’s Jose Calderon (3.9) and Milwaukee’s Nate Wolters (3.8).

Lakers-Thunder Postgame Numbers

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles LakersWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 107-103 loss against OKC:

193
Games missed due to injury/illness for the Lakers before the All-Star break, a league high. With only eight available players against OKC, every starter logged at least 35 minutes, and two – Wesley Johnson and Kendall Marshall – played 42 or more.

43
Points for the NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant, 19 of which came in the fourth quarter. Tied at 87 with 6:47 left, Durant scored 14 of the last 20 Thunder points. He also recorded 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

17
Assists for Marshall, which tied a career high. Marshall also scored 14 points for his 11th double-double this season, to go along with a career-high seven rebounds. He logged a team-high 44 minutes with no other guards available other than Steve Blake, who started at shooting guard.

9
Turnovers for the Lakers in the fourth quarter – 23 overall – that led to 12 Oklahoma City points (26 for the game). The Thunder turned up the defensive pressure in the final 12 minutes, forcing L.A. into 6 of 17 shooting (35.3 percent), including 2 of 10 on three-pointers.

4
Missed free throws for the Lakers in the fourth quarter, including key misses from Chris Kaman and Blake – one apiece – in the final 22.5 seconds. OKC made 21 of 24 free throws overall (87.5 percent), while the Lakers were 13 of 22 (59.1 percent).

LAL 103, Thunder 107: 2/13 Running Diary

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles LakersBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against Oklahoma City with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Blake, Johnson, Williams and Kaman
Thunder: Jackson, Sefolosha, Durant, Ibaka and Perkins

FIRST QUARTER


Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
SECOND QUARTER


Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
THIRD QUARTER



FOURTH QUARTER

Injury Update: Xavier Henry

140212xavierhenry500Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemXavier Henry will have his right knee drained of fluid today and receive a cortisone shot. He is expected to be out approximately four weeks.

Henry originally injured the knee on Dec. 29 vs. Philly. He has been sidelined for the team’s last 21 games, although he has been working out on his own and with some of the Lakers training staff.

Steve Blake, who hyperextended his elbow vs. Utah, expects to play on Thursday vs. Oklahoma City. Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), who did not play in the second half of Tuesday’s game, plans to sit out.

Rivalry Week: Ryan Kelly and Kendall Marshall

This isn’t just a normal week.

There’s a big game with North Carolina hosting No. 8 Duke tonight at 6:00 p.m. PT.

Which also means some friendly trash talking between Duke product Ryan Kelly and North Carolina product Kendall Marshall.

On Monday, Kelly had this to tweet in response to Marshall kicking his sneakers to the floor.

On Tuesday, Marshall posted a picture on his Instagram.

Former rivals and now teammates engaging in some good ol’ trash talking.
*Check out Marshall’s Twitter and see what else he has to say about Duke fans.

Lakers-Jazz Postgame Numbers

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles LakersWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 96-79 loss against Utah:

26
Different starting lineups used for the Lakers this season in their 52nd game. This was also their fourth different starting unit in the last five, as coach Mike D’Antoni elected to use Shawne Williams and Chris Kaman up front, which moved Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre to the bench.

14
Rebounds for Kaman, to go along with 25 points, four assists and three blocks. Over the last three games, the 7-footer is averaging 23.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.7 blocks on 50.8 percent field goals.

10
Second-quarter points for the Lakers, a season low for any quarter this year. L.A. shot just 4 of 18 from the floor, while Utah put up 32 points on 14 of 28 field goals. With only three guards available (before Steve Nash exited), the Lakers struggled to generate any rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.

4
Consecutive three-pointers made to open the game for the Lakers. After falling behind 7-0, the Lakers went on a 12-4 run to take the lead, and led by as much as 15 in the first quarter.

0
Second-half minutes for Steve Nash. For the second straight contest, Nash exited early because of nerve root irritation. He recorded two points, two assists and one rebound in 17 minutes.