Author Archive for Mike Trudell

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Young Poised to Return

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami HeatHaving completed a week’s worth of practices without a setback of the injured left knee that’s kept Nick Young out of 16 of the last 17 games, the swing man is expected to return for Friday night’s game against Washington.

“I’ll be out there against the Wizards,” said Young after Thursday’s practice. “I’ve been waiting. It’s tough to sit in the back and watch these games. I’ve been wanting to get out there from the time the second half of the season started.”

Young suffered a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise after hyperextending his knee at Cleveland on Feb. 5. He returned to play 20 minutes off the bench against Brooklyn on Feb. 23, but has been out since after experiencing further soreness.

Mike D’Antoni said Young will return to his role off the bench, but tempered expectations for Friday evening.

“It depends on him,” said the coach. “You never know. He could be rusty, he could be rusty the third game, the first game, the second game, the second half, who knows. You just play it by ear and as long as he’s playing well, then he’ll stay on the floor. If not, then we’ll sub him in and out. It’s good to get him back and good to get him back in the flow.”

D’Antoni suggested that Jordan Hill could also be available to use against the Wizards, but will see how his knee responds to Thursday’s practice at Friday’s shootaround.

Young, who ranks second on the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game (Pau Gasol, 17.8), appears good to go.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I had a couple days to get a couple practices in and test it out and see how I feel out there.”

LAL 109, Spurs 125: 3/19 Running Diary

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles LakersBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against San Antonio 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 Gasol
Spurs: Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan and Splitter

FIRST QUARTER


San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers
SECOND QUARTER



THIRD QUARTER


San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers
FOURTH QUARTER

Lakers Injury Update: March 17

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio SpursThe Lakers received some unfortunate injury news during Monday’s practice in El Segundo, where Jordan Farmar strained his right groin, adding to what’s already the league’s highest injury total for one team in years:

LAKERS GAMES MISSED TO INJURY:
Kobe Bryant: 60
Steve Nash: 54
Jordan Farmar: 30
Xavier Henry: 27
Steve Blake: 26
Nick Young: 16
Pau Gasol: 10
Chris Kaman: 6
Jordan Hill: 6
Jodie Meeks: 5
Wesley Johnson: 1
TOTAL: 241

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles LakersPrior to Monday’s practice, it looked like the Lakers were on the verge of getting a couple of healthy bodies back in the short term: both Nick Young (knee) and Jordan Hill (also knee) returned to the court.

Young has played in just one of the last 17 games (20 minutes on Feb. 23 vs. BKN), while Hill’s been out since Feb. 28. Neither was cleared for full participation in a potential 5-on-5 scrimmage setting, however, so a potential return for Wednesday’s game against San Antonio is uncertain.

What’s less certain is the availability of Farmar, according to the information team spokesman John Black relayed on Monday afternoon:

Jordan Farmar suffered a right groin strain today in practice. He will see Dr. Podesta either later this afternoon or tomorrow morning and we will have an update on his condition and how long he will be out after he sees Dr. Podesta.

It’s no doubt a frustrating setback for Farmar. The point guard has shown flashes of excellent basketball this season, but has now been interrupted by injury on three separate occasions. First came a tear of his left hamstring on Dec. 1 that kept him out until Dec. 31, when he tore a different part of the hamstring.

He dropped eight three pointers in his return against Cleveland on Feb. 5, but re-aggravated the hamstring in the process. His latest return came on Feb. 19, and he’s averaged 12.7 points and 4.0 assists on 46.3 percent field goals and 48.4 percent from three in 22.6 minutes per game while splitting time with Kendall Marshall.

Stay tuned for more news on the groin, and how long it will keep him on the shelf.

Particularly if Farmar misses a few games or more, don’t rule out a potential return to the court for Steve Nash, who has continuing to work on his nerve root issues to stay ready should he be needed.

LAL 85, Spurs 119: 3/14 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio SpursBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at San Antonio 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 Gasol
Spurs: Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan and Splitter

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
FOURTH QUARTER

LAL 102, Thunder 131: 3/13 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City ThunderBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at Oklahoma City 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 Gasol
Thunder: Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder
FOURTH QUARTER

Lakers Draw Thunder, Again

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles LakersFresh off one of their best games of the season, a 114-110 victory over Oklahoma City at Staples Center, the Lakers draw … Oklahoma City.

It’s the rare home-road back-to-back contest against the same squad amidst the 82-game schedule, never an easy task for the team winning the first of the pair.

The difference in Sunday’s game was a career day for Jodie Meeks, who erupted for 42 points on only 18 field goal attempts. He outscored OKC 20-19 all by himself in a 36-19 edge for L.A. in the third quarter.

The Lakers also played the Thunder tough on Feb. 13 at Staples Center, leading Kevin Durant and Co. by 10 heading into the fourth quarter before ultimately falling 107-103 when Durant helped OKC outscore L.A. 35-21 in the fourth quarter. The MVP co-favorite with LeBron James scored 19 of his 43 in that final period (though Meeks can feel good that Durant needed 15 more shots to score one more point).

Earlier in the season, on Dec. 13, the Lakers were blown out 122-97 in Oklahoma City. That night, Kobe Bryant actually played point guard, as Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar were all hurt, and Kendall Marshall was still in the D-League. Bryant managed to dish 13 assists in his 23 minutes, but OKC was in control from the beginning.

Below are some Thunder notes ahead of the fourth and final meeting between the two teams:

1) OKC entirely dominated the Lakers on the offensive glass on Sunday, grabbing 19 offensive boards to a single one for the Lakers, leading to 19 more field goal attempts. That edge was only five at 20-15 in the December loss. They were 38-6 when out-boarding an opponent overall until Sunday’s loss (59-36 advantage).
2) Typical starters Kendrick Perkins (left groin strain) and Thabo Sefolosha (left calf strain) remain out with injuries. Steven Adams and Perry Jones made the start on Sunday, but combined for only seven points with six boards and one steal. Reggie Jackson, Derek Fisher and Caron Butler all played more individual minutes than both Adams and Jones.
3) Despite consecutive road losses, OKC is tied with the Spurs and Pacers for the most wins in the NBA this season at 46 heading into its Tuesday night game against Houston.
4) Kevin Durant has posted 25 or more points in 28 consecutive games, one game shy of his career-best stretch (29 games from 12/22/2009 – 02/23/2010). He averaged 35.9 points per game on 54.9 percent shooting in January with Russell Westbrook out, and became the third player in the last 30 years to score 30+ points in 12 consecutive games, joining Kobe Bryant (16 straight games in Jan. and Feb. of 2003) and Tracy McGrady (14 straight in March/April of 2003). Bryant’s longest streak of at least 25 points was 19 (once in 2005-06, once in 2006-07).
Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder5) If Durant maintains his 31.7 point per game average, it’d be the NBA’s highest mark since Bryant averaged 35.4 during the 2005-06 season. He’s also on pace to become the seventh player in NBA history to average at least 31 points, seven boards and five assists: Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Oscar Robertson (twice), Jerry West, Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Durant also became the sixth player ever to reach the 40-50-90 club, of which Steve Nash is the president (four times), and Dirk Nowitzki is the only other player to reach it in the last 20 years.
6) OKC has limited its opponents to the fourth worst FG percentage in the NBA at 43.5 percent. The Thunder is currently 14-2 this season when holding the opposition to below 40 percent shooting.
7) Russell Westbrook has missed 30 of OKC’s 63 games this season due to three separate surgeries of his lateral meniscus, and is averaging 21.2 points, 7.1 assists and 5.8 boards with 1.9 steals. He’s shooting right at his career average of 43.2 percent, though his 33.8 percent from three is a career high (career 30.7 percent from three).
8) How improved is Serge Ibaka this season? He’s averaging career-highs with 15.2 points per game, 8.8 boards per game, 37.2 percent from three and 78.1 percent from the foul line and 32.7 minutes per game. He ranks second in the NBA (behind Anthony Davis) in blocks per game at 2.6.
9) Reggie Jackson’s proven himself a capable NBA scorer, averaging 13.3 points on 43.6 percent field goals, plus 4.0 assists and 3.7 boards with 1.1 steals per night. He started the 30 games Westbrook missed before moving back to his sixth man role. He matched a career high of 27 points in one of those starts (vs. SAS).
10) Derek Fisher’s been very good for the Thunder this season, hitting 40.4 percent of his three-pointers and playing his typically tough perimeter defense fighting through screens and making the proper rotations. Here’s what Durant had to say about Fish:

Q: On the time Derek Fisher has been with the team and what he’s gained from being around him and if there’s any extra appreciation from playing with him:
Durant: His toughness. He doesn’t take (stuff) from anybody, no matter who he’s guarding, no matter who’s in front of him, and it rubs off on everybody here. Of course people know about his veteran leadership, but it’s just his aura he brings to the team, just the aura of a winner. The guy has done so much in this league and he’s striving to do more. He could easily just hang them up and say: ‘I’ve won five championships, I’ve played with the best players ever to play this game.’ But he wants more. I love a player like that. I just love being around him. He’s a big brother to me and somebody I’ve enjoyed playing with him these past few years.

Q: On Fisher’s impact on the team with his shooting ability the last month:
Durant: He’s been knocking that thing down. He puts in so much work on his game. He makes big plays for us on offense and defense. When he’s not making shots, he impacts the game so much. But he knows one night he may get 10 or 11 shots, one night he may get two or three shots, but he’ll still be the same Fish with his intensity on defense, making winning basketball plays (that) a lot of people don’t see in the stat sheet or just from watching the game or people that don’t know the game can see the impact he has on our team, and I’m very grateful to have him.

LAL 114, Thunder 110: 3/9 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, Meeks, Johnson, Kelly and Gasol
Thunder: Westbrook, Jones, Durant, Ibaka and Adams

FIRST QUARTER


Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
SECOND QUARTER



THIRD QUARTER


Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
FOURTH QUARTER

LAL 126, Nuggets 134: 3/7 Running Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Johnson and Gasol
Nuggets: Lawson, Foye, Chandler, Faried and Mozgov

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets


Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets
FOURTH QUARTER

LAL 94, Clippers 142: 3/6 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against the Clippers with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Johnson and Gasol
Clippers: Paul, Collison, Barnes, Griffin and Jordan 

FIRST QUARTER




SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
FOURTH QUARTER

Bazemore’s Emergence

bazemore_quote1When the Lakers traded Steve Blake for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks, they got in Bazemore a player that had flashed some versatile talent in the NBA Summer League, but had barely played enough actual NBA minutes to prove it.

As an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012, even making the Warriors roster was very much an exception to the typical rule. The now 24-year-old played only 4.4 minutes per game in 61 games (a total of only 267 minutes), but showed enough promise to be re-signed for 2013-14. His playing time increased only slightly to 6.1 minutes per game (a total of 268 minutes in 44 games) this season in Golden State.

But since the trade to Los Angeles, Bazemore has nearly surpassed his total minutes in either season for the Warriors in only seven games. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has been impressed enough with Bazemore’s play to not only start the Old Dominion product, but play him a team-high 32.5 minutes in those contests.

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles LakersHe’s used that playing time to put up 15.8 points per game on efficient shooting numbers for a wing – 46.5 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from three – while adding 3.7 boards, 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

“It’s been pretty good just being able to play and show what I’ve been working on since the day I stepped in the league,” said Bazemore. “It’s been fun especially coming into this situation where our back is against the wall. I’m very familiar with that. I grew up this way with not much going for you so you gotta fight and claw, and that’s how you bring the best out yourself. When things are not going well for you, how do you react? So this is a great situation for myself.”

His athleticism and energy has helped the Lakers score 24.0 fastbreak points per game, compared to the 12.7 they averaged before he entered the starting lineup, a mark which ranked 17th in the NBA*.
*Phoenix’s 18.9 FB points per game is a league high, but 5.1 shy of L.A.’s mark with Bazemore.

In related news, L.A. are also scoring more points in the paint, up to 50.7 in the last six games, which would rank fourth in the NBA, thanks in part to Bazemore’s transition game, plus his ability to get to the hoop in the halfcourt. For the season, the Lakers rank 20th at 39.9 a night.

A positive young player who’s quick to credit – and very outwardly root for – his teammates, Bazemore said he’s already taken quite a bit from his six games in Los Angeles.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned that is that I belong,” he said. “I’ve faced guys that I’ve watched destroy the league. I played against a lot of good players and (held my own). The confidence of me being able to play, I think I do belong. I still have a lot of room to grow and still have a lot of room as a player. There are a lot of things I want to fix, so that’s the fun and the challenge.”