Archive for the 'Players' Category

Page 5 of 131

Lakers Teamwork off the Court

Teamwork at its finest.

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.”

Henry Expected to Play at Portland

blog_140302_henryAfter playing in two rehab assignment games with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Xavier Henry fully participated in practice on Sunday with the Lakers and is expected return at Portland.

“He practiced and looked good,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s got a couple pounds he needs to get rid of because he hasn’t done any activity in six weeks, but he’ll play some minutes.”

Henry has been sidelined the team’s last 28 games with a bone bruise and an abnormality of the lateral meniscus. He originally suffered the injury vs. Philly on Dec. 29.

The Kansas product recorded 15 points, three rebounds and four steals in 23 minutes with the D-Fenders in Thursday’s 121-103 loss to the Texas Legends. He followed that game up with 19 points and three steals in 26 minutes in Saturday’s 137-126 overtime loss.

“I just wanted to get out there and play really,” Henry said. “I wanted to make it through a game without my knee swelling up, without it getting really stiff, stuff like that. It responded well for both games and the practice, so right now I feel pretty good.”

Prior to his rehab assignment, Henry had his knee drained of fluid and received a cortisone shot on Feb. 12. He had a number of setbacks in his attempt to return earlier, in part due to swelling in the knee.

“When you get a lot of swelling, it forces other things to happen in whatever joint it is,” Henry said. “And they didn’t want anything else to get hurt while my knee was swollen up, so we’d have to hold off, let the swelling get out and try it again.”

Now he maintains his knee feels much better and it’s just a matter of working his way back into game shape.

“I’m pain free, I feel good,” Henry said post practice. “Now it’s all about my wind, my body, trying to eat right, trying to get back in shape. That’s just what comes with two months of not playing basketball.”

#Bazemoring to a Victory


While a member of the Golden State Warriors, Kent Bazemore became known for his work on the bench just as much as his work on the floor. The young guard’s enthusiasm even spawned a phenomenon that became known as #Bazemoring.

In his short time with the Lakers, Bazemore has seen almost as much playing time as he did during his entire rookie season in Oakland, starting four games and averaging 33 minutes, but he’s still found time to make an impact on the sideline as well.

In the above Vine, you can see some of the best #Bazemoring from last night as the Lakers used record setting three-point shooting game to charge back from a big third-quarter deficit. We also got our first taste of Bazemore teaming up with the team’s cheerleading stalwart, Robert Sacre.

The two superpowers of excitement collided on a Ken Griffey Jr-esque homerun scene, but it was more a “game recognize game” situation. When shown the video in the post-game locker room Bazemore wasn’t even aware of Sacre’s presence.

“He’s an elite celebrator, I’m an elite celebrator, that’s just what happens,” said Bazemore.

With chemistry like that, this is just the start.

Inside L.A.’s Record-Setting Night

farmar_recordsFacing their largest deficit of the night at 92-77 with 3:44 left in the third quarter, the Lakers outscored the Kings 49-30 over the final 15-plus minutes to come away with a 126-122 win. In the process, they set a franchise record with 19 three-pointers made in a regulation game (14 for 18 in the second half).

Sparking the rally was Jordan Farmar, who recorded* career highs in points (30) and three-pointers made (eight).
*Shot chart from Farmar’s career night, courtesy of NBA.com/stats:
farmar_shotchart_140228
Postgame, Farmar allowed it’s been tough this season as he’s dealt with hamstring tears on two separate occasions that have kept him out a total of 30 games.

“Every day I feel a little better and better,” he said. “That’s the positive going through my mind. I’m starting to forget about it and think about it less and less. I just try to stay positive all year and continue to work and know that I’d get an opportunity to showcase myself.”

Over the last two contests, the UCLA product looks to be finding his rhythm with averages of 23.0 points, 5.0 assists, 57.7 percent field goals (15 of 26) and 75.0 percent on three-pointers (12 of 16).

Along with Farmar, newly acquired wing MarShon Brooks played a key role in the team’s comeback. Brooks scored a season-high 23 points (21 in the second half) on 9 of 13 field goals and 3 of 3 on three-pointers.

“It’s definitely a great feeling,” Brooks said of being able to contribute. “Since my sophomore year (in the NBA), I was in and out of the rotation and it wasn’t ever because I was playing bad, it was just luck. Then I finally got the opportunity to play here and I just want to try and make the most out of it.”

Brooks and Farmar both did most of their damage in the second half, as they combined for 40 of the Lakers 72 points in the third and fourth quarters. The two combined to shoot 13 of 19 from the floor, including 8 of 9 on three-pointers (L.A. shot 14 for 18 from distance as a team).

Overall, the Lakers became the second team since 1985-86 to shoot at least 70 percent (19 for 26)* from deep while attempting at least 25 shots.
*Shot chart of the Lakers three-point efficiency from the floor, courtesy of NBA.com/stats:
lakers_threes_140228

“I think it’s just contagious,” said Jodie Meeks, who finished with 22 point on 8 of 8 field goals. “When you see someone knock down a couple shots it gives other people on the team more confidence also.”

As such, six players registered double figures, with four scoring at least 20 points (Farmar: 30, Brooks: 23, Meeks: 22, Pau Gasol: 22). That marked the first time in more than 16 years four Laker payers recorded 20 or more in the same game. The last time it occurred was on Feb. 4, 1998 when Eddie Jones (28), Kobe Bryant (26), Nick Van Exel (23) and Shaquille O’Neal (21) did so.

MISC. NOTES
- The Lakers shot 60.0 percent from the floor overall (a season high), including 65.8 percent in the second half.
- The 126 points scored was a season high, surpassing the previous mark of 119 at Cleveland on Feb. 5.
- The team tied a season high with 35 assists, with Kendall Marshall dishing out a team-high 10 dimes.
- The Lakers finished with a season-high 48 field goals made, topping the previous high of 47 vs. Detroit on Nov. 17.
- Farmar’s 30-point effort off the bench was the second this season by a Laker. Nick Young scored 31 at Chicago on Jan. 20.

Nick Young Gettin’ Buckets

Swaggy P. and former Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas went head-to-head in a shooting contest on a Fisher Price basketball hoop.

The two matched each other bucket for bucket.

Who won? You be the judge.

Henry Scores 15 Points in D-Fenders Debut

ts_140227xavier_ds670Xavier Henry, who was assigned to the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Thursday, recorded 15 points, three rebounds and four steals in 23 minutes. The D-Fenders, however, lost to the Texas Legends 121-103.

Henry had been sidelined nearly two months because of a bone bruise and an abnormality of the lateral meniscus. He suffered the injury in the first quarter of the Lakers-Sixers game on Dec. 29 at STAPLES Center four minutes into the contest.

The Kansas product had his knee drained of fluid and received a cortisone shot on Feb. 12. He was evaluated during the Lakers-Celtics game on Feb. 21 and was cleared to practice, just not 5-on-5 contact. He had been working out with the team and with the training staff, but this was his first game action since first injuring the knee.

The Lakers host the Sacramento Kings on Friday at 7:30 p.m. PT, while the D-Fenders face the Texas Legends again on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. PT.

Young Out for Road Trip

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles LakersInjury ReportGuard Nick Young, who returned to the floor Sunday against the Nets after missing the previous six games, is not expected to play on the team’s mid-west back-to-back trip that beings tonight in Indianapolis.

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.