Archive for the 'Players' Category

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Injury Update: Kobe Bryant

2014 NBA All-Star GameInjury ReportKobe Bryant addressed the media prior to the 2014 All-Star Game and remained optimistic there would be “some improvements” when he returned to Los Angeles. At the same time, he acknowledged: “It’s been a slow process.”

On Friday at STAPLES Center (Lakers hosted Boston), Dr. Steve Lombardo examined Bryant:

The 16-time All-Star last played on Dec. 17 at Memphis, where he suffered a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee.

Bryant missed the team’s first 19 games of the season after recovering from a torn Achilles. He returned on Dec. 8 vs. Toronto and played in six contests before going down with the knee injury.

Cooking Lessons with Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol is indeed multi-faceted.

Bazemore, Brooks Impress in Laker Debuts

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles LakersNewly acquired Lakers, Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks, both played big roles in helping L.A. snap an eight-game home losing streak with a 101-92 win over Boston.

In particular, coach Mike D’Antoni was pleased with Bazemore’s play on the defensive side of the ball.

“Biggest thing was his energy on defense, his disruptability and all that, getting out on the break, running the wings like we told him,” D’Antoni said. “He did everything we talked about. Then he added his confidence and making big shots and making big plays.”

The Old Dominion product finished with a career-high 15 points, to go along with four assists, three rebounds and two steals. He also logged a career-high 33 minutes.

“I was able to get the mistakes out of the way, get in the game flow, knock the rust off a bit, get into a rhythm,” Bazemore said.

Brooks, meanwhile, scored a season-high 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter to spearhead L.A.’s comeback from an 11-point deficit.

“He got us back in the game,” D’Antoni said. “He came up with the big steals. He was very instrumental in winning the game.”

Known more for his scoring ability coming out of college, the former first-round pick of the Celtics was also a difference maker on defense (three steals).

“I like that he cracked back a couple times and showed some energy on defense,” D’Antoni said. “He showed some willingness to concentrate on defense.”

Pau Gasol echoed similar sentiments about his new teammates.

“They just brought energy,” he said. “They both were aggressive and played with confidence. I think they were excited about the opportunity, so I’m sure it felt good for them.”

Gasol also returned to the starting lineup after nursing a strained groin for three weeks. In his first game action since Jan. 31 vs. Charlotte, the Spaniard notched 16 points, seven boards, three assists and two blocks in 22 minutes.

“I feel good,” he said post practice. “Now the rest of the body has to wake up and get back to being on the floor. The groin is good and hopefully it stays that way.”

Along with Gasol feeling better by the day, the Lakers will also get Nick Young (knee) back on Sunday vs. Brooklyn. The USC product has been sidelined the last six games with a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise.

“I didn’t think it was going to be this long, to tell you the truth,” he said. “I’m just happy to be back. I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow.”

Xavier Henry, who was cleared to practice on Friday, went through team drills today. He’s been out of action since Dec. 31 with a bone bruise, but D’Antoni acknowledged he’s at least a week away from returning to game action.

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).

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.

Nash Sits Out Second Half vs. Utah

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemFor the second straight game, Steve Nash exited early because of nerve root irritation. He did not play in the second half after logging 17 first-half minutes.

Nash was forced to leave the Lakers-Bulls game with five minutes in the third quarter after making contact with Kirk Hinrich near the same spot where he suffered the original lower left leg fracture last season.

He went through the non-physical portion of practice on Monday and acknowledged he felt much better, good enough to where he was able to suit up vs. Utah.

He played in six of the Lakers first eight games to begin the 2013-14 season before being sidelined the next 39 contests. He returned on the team’s three-game road trip starting at Minnesota and at Philly, totaling 26 points and 14 assists.

On Set with Kobe Bryant and Richard Sherman

On Monday, Kobe Bryant and Super Bowl champion Richard Sherman were on set for a Nike photo shoot.

Sherman helped anchor a Seattle Seahawks defense that ranked first in the league in opponent passing yards (172.0 per game), total yards (273.6) and points (14.4) during the regular season.

Seattle defeated Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.

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