Lakers Gameday | 11/22/09 | Thunder
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- GAME RECAP
- CLEAMONS PREVIEW
- GAME PREVIEW
- INJURY REPORT
- GAME NOTES
Kobe's 26, circus shots and celebs highlight Lakers win
By Bryan Chu, for NBA.com
Posted Monday November 23, 2009 1:37AM
LOS ANGELES (NBA.com exclusive) -- Just when things couldn't get any better for those in attendance during a Lakers' 101-85 blowout victory over the Thunder Sunday at Staples Center, the entire crowd erupted and cheered and both benches looked on during a timeout with nine minutes remaining in the game.
With the Black Eyed Peas' hit song "I Gotta Feeling" blaring and several artists and celebrities seated courtside after attending the American Music Awards across the street at the Nokia Theatre, Will.i.am grabbed a mic and began belting out the lyrics with Fergie, Alex Rodriguez and Cypress Hill's B-Real by his side.
"I haven't seen it before, but it was cool," said Kobe Bryant, who had a shout-out from Will.i.am when he said 'Kobe for Most Valuable Player.' "It was awesome.
"One of the greatest groups of all time. You can't see that anywhere else but in LA."
The solo performance came amidst a bevy of mind-numbing plays by the Lakers (10-3), who have now won 11 straight over the Thunder (7-7).
Most notable was a pair of trick shots in the first quarter by Bryant, who had a game-high 26 points.
The first was when Bryant was bumped by James Harden and found himself behind the glass. He arched it over the backboard and swished it. The second play came with the ball loose and less than a second remaining when Bryant flicked the ball from 13 feet out, using his left hand and banked it in to give the Lakers a 35-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Even Bryant had to smile after that basket, beaming as he made a beeline to the bench.
"It was pretty crazy tonight," he said. "We had our rabbit foot on."
Caught in the midst of all the commotion were the superb play by the Lakers early and the Thunder's rough shooting night. The defending champs jumped out to an 18-0 run early and virtually closed the game out as they preserved their double-digit lead throughout.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum had a lot to do with that. Despite missing two straight practices with a jammed right ankle, Bynum finished with 25 points on an efficient 9-for-11 from the field. In his second game back from a right hamstring injury, Pau Gasol chipped in 15 points and six assists.
Despite hanging tough in their first meeting, which the Lakers took in overtime, 101-98, back on Nov. 3, the Thunder showed up. They shot just 37.2 percent after scoring 127 points, the most in the franchise since 2001, against the Wizards on Friday.
The backcourt duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, struggled as they finished with 19 points and 14 respectively, but on a combined 13-for-36 shooting. Rookie James Harden, who set career-highs in back-to-back games, shot 2-for-15 and missed all 10 of his 3-point attempts.
"We didn't handle their physical toughness tonight," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "They got into us. We set the offense too far out and turned the ball over. And they capitalized on every mistake.
"Any time you play against the Lakers it's a humbling position to be in."
Oklahoma City turned the ball over 19 times to the Lakers' nine and was outscored in the paint 60-44.
"That's why we lost," said Thunder forward Jeff Green of the turnover disparity.
However, the game was likely lost in the first quarter. During the Lakers early run, the Thunder missed eight straight shots and had five minutes of scoring silence. Durant picked up two early fouls and didn't score a point in the first quarter, going 0-for-5.
About all the Thunder could do was trade baskets with the Lakers in the second half. At one point, Los Angeles' lead swelled to 28 points.
About the only positive to take from the Thunder's performance was recording 15 blocks and the play of reserve Serge Ibaka, who tallied 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
But on Sunday, the memorable night was all about the spectacular plays. To cap it all off was a play late in the fourth quarter, which sent the crowd in a frenzy.
Lakers guard Jordan Farmar fed an alley-oop to high-flyer Shannon Brown, who reached far back, his head rim high, and slammed it down.
"He jumps higher than me," Bryant said. "He jumps higher than Michael [Jordan]. He jumps higher than all of us. We're 6-foot-6; he's 6-foot-1 barely. He's leaping through the roof."
The play happened so fast even Brown had a hard time recollecting the play.
"I honestly don't know how high the ball was," he said. "I knew (Farmar) was going to throw it, so I made eye contact."
Lakers’ Coach Phil Jackson on tonight’s game:
“I thought there were some inspiring basketball actions tonight. There were some things that we felt we did really well defensively. We kept this young team off balance that’s very athletic. [The game] was entertaining in some ways to watch.”
On Ron Artest’s defense in tonight’s game:
“I really like the way Ron plays defense. He got out there and really shut down some of their scorers and it really helped us.”
On taking care of the basketball in tonight’s game:
“We took care of the basketball. They had 15 blocked shots tonight. That’s remarkable. A lot of it is just knowing where they’re at. They’re a high flying team. When they help each other, they retreat defensively and keep playing.”
On his opinion of Shannon Brown being comparable to Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan in terms of dunking abilities:
“Sure. He’s way up there. There was some spectacular action and some real remarkable things. They combined a nice run-out. Shannon had a run-out that was a little bit later that was pretty good too.”
On Bynum and Gasol playing together:
“I like their ability to play together. I think Pao does a really nice job of passing post to post. Andrew looks for him and that helps. With the abilities of the bigs to set screens to run operation things and skills outside really helps too.”
On Andrew Bynum:
“His knowledge is increasing as far as knowing where to go and how to play with his teammates. You know, those things. Also his ability on the post I think is better. Significantly better because he’s got confidence. He can move guys and get to where he wants to get to shoot shots.”
Lakers Kobe Bryant on whether the return of Pau Gasol takes some of the pressure off him:
“No question. He can facilitate offense for everybody else too. He’s not just a great scorer. He’s a great passer. He has great IQ, great vision. Not only me, it makes everybody’s job a lot easier.”
On whether everything is beginning to fall into place:
“Yeah. Everybody is in their natural positions. The second unit it playing with the same unit they did last year, pretty much. Things are starting to fall back into place a little bit.”
On if he has ever made this many “H-O-R-S-E” type shots:
“No, it was pretty crazy tonight. Pretty crazy. We had our rabbit foot on.”
Lakers Pau Shannon Brown on tonight’s game:
“We came out with a lot of energy. We came out and executed on both ends of the floor and we tried to take them out of what they wanted to do. Ron did a great job on Durant, Fisher too, we were just trying to play great team defense.”
On his dunk assisted by Jordan Farmar:
“I don’t know, I honestly didn’t know how high the ball was. I knew he was going to throw it, so I made eye contact. I saw him make an undercut on one side so I did an undercut on the other side and when he threw it up there I just tried to get it.”
Lakers Andrew Bynum on the combination in the post of him and Pau Gasol:
“As the season goes on both of us are going to do better together. I think we’ll be a stronger team because everybody will be scoring. We’ll be able to get more assists, a lot less double teams and we’ll be able to be more efficient.”
Lakers vs. Thunder Game Preview
By MATT BECKER
Posted Nov 21 2009 8:58PM
The Oklahoma City Thunder gave the Lakers nearly all they could handle earlier this month, but Los Angeles was missing a key part of its championship team.
That will no longer be the case when they meet this time.
After missing the first three weeks of the season with an injury, Pau Gasol looks to build on an impressive debut and help the Lakers win their 11th straight over the Oklahoma City franchise Sunday night at Staples Center.
Gasol was instrumental to Los Angeles' championship run in June, but suffered a right hamstring injury early in the preseason and missed the first 11 games for the Lakers (9-3).
The two-time All-Star made his season debut in Thursday's 108-93 victory over Chicago and didn't seem to miss a step, scoring 10 of Los Angeles' first 13 points. Gasol finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds in 34 minutes, moving easily on his injured leg.
"I wasn't really expecting to be as effective as I was," he said. "You know, I just played and had fun. I took advantage of the opportunities. I went to the glass pretty well. My teammates found me a couple of times and my legs felt a little better than I thought."
With Gasol back, the Lakers can finally begin building team chemistry around him and Kobe Bryant. Los Angeles is still missing key reserve Luke Walton (back surgery), but can now create mismatches in the paint with 7-footers Andrew Bynum and Gasol on the floor at the same time.
"We have our squad now,'' said Bryant, who finished with 21 points Thursday to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,276) for second place on the Lakers' career scoring list, trailing only Jerry West (25,192). "Obviously, we can't wait to get Luke back, but having Pau back is huge. We didn't miss a beat, either. We have a bunch of guys that can post. We have the advantage.''
Bryant's presence alone can usually give the Lakers enough of an advantage over most teams, but Los Angeles needed overtime to beat the Thunder 101-98 on Nov. 3. The 11-time All-Star, who had suffered from flulike symptoms earlier that day, finished with a game-high 31 points and connected on a turnaround jumper from the left side with 2:29 to play to put Los Angeles ahead for good.
Bryant is averaging 34.3 points during the Lakers' 10-game winning streak over the Thunder since a 117-101 loss on Nov. 5, 2006, when the franchise was based in Seattle.
Gasol is averaging 18.0 points and 10.8 rebounds in four games against Oklahoma City since being acquired the Lakers acquired him from Memphis in 2008.
The Thunder (7-6) arrive in Los Angeles winners of four of their last six, including Friday's 127-108 victory over Washington.
Kevin Durant scored 35 points and Russell Westbrook added 26 to lead Oklahoma City to its highest scoring output of the season.
Despite that effort, coach Scott Brooks would like to see his team play better defense. Oklahoma City has allowed 108 points in each of its last two games after yielding an average of 91.0 in its first 11.
"Sometimes we have to continue to get better at playing our style of basketball," Brooks said. "We have to do things who we are, and we are a defensive team that gets stops and gets excited on the defensive end.''
Copyright 2009 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Andrew Bynum (jammed right ankle) is day-to-day.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out.
Shaun Livingston (left knee) is out.
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead currently lead their season series with Oklahoma City 1-0 after sweeping last season’s series with the Thunder (3-0) for the second straight year, having gone 4-0 against the Thunder in 2007-08. The Lakers have won each of the last four season series with the Thunder and have now won 10 straight overall against Oklahoma City. The two teams have met 215 times but just four times since the Thunder relocated to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008- 09 season. Los Angeles leads the all-time series 132-83. The Lakers are 11-1 in their last 12 games against Oklahoma City and are winners of 10 straight against the Thunder. At home, the Lakers have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Thunder and are 12-7 all-time against Oklahoma City at STAPLES Center. On the road against the Thunder, the Lakers have gone 8-2 in their last 10 overall and are 8-1 in their last nine games as the visitor. The Lakers have now played five times during the regular season at Ford Center in Oklahoma City, going 0-2 against the New Orleans Hornets while the team was temporarily relocated from 2005-07 but 3-0 against the Thunder. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 24-11 against the Thunder. In 2006-07, Kobe Bryant established a Lakers series record with 46 points 4/6/07 at KeyArena only to surpass it nine days later with 50 points 4/15/07 at home against the Thunder. In those games, he surpassed the old mark of 45 points established by himself in January of 2003 and Jerry West in December of 1970. In 47 career games including 40 starts, Bryant is averaging 25.0 points against the Thunder.
BRYANT MOVES PAST ABDUL-JABBAR ON LAKERS ALL-TIME FRANCHISE SCORING LIST
With his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter November 19th vs. Chicago, Kobe Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list. While only Jerry West (25,192) has scored more points with the Lakers than Bryant (24,182), at his current scoring average (30.2 ppg), Bryant would surpass West 34 games from now 1/26/10 at Washington. Earlier this month, with 41 points November 6th against Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson (24,020) for 16th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, moved past Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th, Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th, Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th, Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th, Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st, Gary Payton (21,813) for 22nd and Larry Bird (21,791) for 23rd. Next on the NBA’s all-time list ahead of Bryant (24,182) are Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Jerry West (25,192).
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points 11/17/09 vs. Detroit, marking the 100th time in his career that he has scored 40+ points in a game and the 4th time this season, matching his total for all of last season (4). Bryant’s 46 points February 1, 2008 at Toronto moved him past Elgin Baylor (88 40+ games) for 3rd all-time and into 1st in Lakers franchise history. In the history of the NBA, only two players have more career 40-point games: Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173). The Lakers are now 69-31 all- time in games that Bryant scores 40+ points and are 4-0 in such games this season. Bryant holds the Lakers franchise record for 40-point games in a single season, recording 27 during the 2005-06 campaign. Bryant also holds the franchise record for most consecutive 40-point games (9), established during the 2002-03 season, which is tied for the fourth longest such streak in NBA history (Michael Jordan) behind Wilt Chamberlain, who twice posted streaks of 14 and once had a 10-game streak.
JACKSON PASSES LARRY BROWN FOR 5th ON THE ALL-TIME COACHING VICTORIES LIST
A season after earning his record 10th NBA Championship as a head coach, Phil Jackson (1,050-438) moved past Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown (1,048-855) for 5th on the NBA’s all-time coaching win list with a victory over the Detroit Pistons on November 17th. The only coach in league history to win better than 70 percent of his games (.706), Jackson ranks 12th in all-time regular season games coached and 1st in playoff games coached (300), won (209) and playoff winning percentage (.697). Last season, Jackson became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 career victories, needing 1,423 games to reach the mark. Earning induction in his first year of consideration, on September 7, 2007, Jackson was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Only Jerry Sloan (4th), Pat Riley (3rd), Don Nelson (2nd) and Lenny Wilkens (1st) have more career victories than Brown and Jackson while of the top six, Jackson has coached 1,000+ fewer games than Wilkens, 800+ fewer games than Nelson, nearly 500 fewer games than Riley and roughly 400 fewer games than Sloan and Brown.
BYNUM’S STRONG START
With 44 double-doubles and 13 20+ point games entering 2009-10, Andrew Bynum has already posted EIGHT double-doubles and FIVE 20+ points games in 10 games this season. Among the top 10 leaders in double-doubles, Bynum, who currently ranks 3rd league-wide behind Chris Bosh (10) & Carlos Boozer (9), has played the fewest games. Additionally, with his current averages of 19.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.70 blocks over 37.8 minutes, Bynum ranks 6th league-wide in efficiency (minimum 10 games) with a 24.9 rating behind LeBron James (30.7), Chris Paul (29.3), Bosh (29.2), Dirk Nowitzki (28.0) & Carmelo Anthony (24.9). NBA.com evaluates all players based on the efficiency formula: ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((FG Att. - FG Made) + (FT Att. - FT Made) + Turnovers)).
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM
With a victory over Detroit on November 17, the Lakers snapped their FIRST two-game losing streak of the season. Last season, the Lakers suffered just FOUR two-game losing streaks all season, a mark which was historically good. According to Philadelphia 76ers stats guru Harvey Pollack, no team has gone through a season without a single two-game losing streak; six teams have had just one two-game skid, 13 teams (including the 1949-50 and 1986-87 Lakers) have had two two-game losing streaks, 11 (including the 1971-72, 1989-90 and 1999-00 Lakers) have had three two-game streaks and five teams, including last season’s 2008-09 Lakers championship squad, went through a season with four two-game losing streaks total.
Since the acquisition of Pau Gasol on February 1, 2008, however, the Lakers have yet to lose three consecutive games. Los Angeles has now lost two-straight games NINE times overall since acquiring Gasol (7 regular season, 2 playoff streaks). Of those nine two-game losing skids, the Lakers have played the third game of the streak without Gasol three times, snapping two-game losing streaks with victories 3/18/08 at Dallas, 3/30/08 vs. Washington in overtime and 11/17/09 vs. Detroit. In games played without Gasol since he joined the Lakers, Los Angeles is now 15-7 overall (6-4 in 2007-08, 1-0 in 2008-09 and 8-3 in 2009-10). The Lakers last three-game losing streak came just a week before the trade, with consecutive losses at San Antonio, at Dallas and vs. Cleveland from 1/23/08 through 1/27/08.