Lakers Gameday | 12/04/09 | Heat
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Kobe's 3 at buzzer sends Lakers past Heat
By GREG BEACHAM
Posted Dec 05 2009 1:51AM
LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant banked in a 3-pointer over Dwyane Wade's defense at the buzzer, ending the superstars' sensational duel and sending the Los Angeles Lakers to their eighth straight victory, 108-107 over the Miami Heat on Friday night.
Bryant scored 33 points, but his off-balance bank shot from straightaway over Wade's outstretched hand likely will rank among the most incredible shots of his career.
Wade scored nine of his 26 points in the final 2 minutes, but missed a free throw with 3.2 seconds left to give Los Angeles one last chance.
Bryant went for the win, and his improbable shot kept the Lakers atop the overall NBA standings while sending Miami to its eighth loss in 12 games.
The matchup between U.S. Olympic teammates was the center of an action-packed game featuring a shoving match between Jermaine O'Neal and Lamar Odom, leading to Odom's ejection. Neither star was perfect, with Wade struggling to a 7-of-21 shooting performance and Bryant missing the basket entirely on a potential tying shot with 24 seconds to play.
Both came up big in the final seconds, but Bryant was just a bit bigger in front of his raucous home crowd.
O'Neal had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who rebounded from an 18-point loss in Denver one night earlier with an impressive effort against the defending NBA champions.
After Wade put Miami ahead 102-100 with 49 seconds left on an awkward one-handed shot from the baseline, Miami appeared to sew up its first road win over the Lakers in five tries when Wade's two free throws put the Heat up 106-102 with 9.3 seconds to play. Instead, Fisher's 3-pointer set the stage for Bryant's heroics.
Pau Gasol scored 22 points and Andrew Bynum added 19 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who had won seven straight games by double digits while surging to the top of the standings. After several games against struggling opponents, they seemed headed to a narrow defeat in their toughest test in weeks - but Bryant wouldn't allow it.
The duel didn't start out with much excitement: Wade scored one point in the first quarter and didn't manage a field goal until throwing down two stellar dunks in the final 2:04 before halftime. Eluding Bryant's defense by running off picks, he threw down a two-handed jam with 40 seconds left to trim Los Angeles' lead to one point.
But Bryant wrapped up the first half with a stunner, drawing contact from two defenders before somehow banking home a jumper at the buzzer while sprawling onto his back. Bryant gave an icy stare to the referees who didn't call a foul while Staples Center roared.
The Lakers made just one turnover in the first half, but 1-for-10 3-point shooting allowed Miami to keep it close. Wade went cold again in the third, going without a field goal until back-to-back scores put the Heat ahead late in the period.
Los Angeles rose to the top of the NBA standings in the past month with a curiously generous schedule that has kept the defending champions at Staples Center for 14 of their first 18 games, with three more home games coming up in the next week.
NOTES: Gasol fell to the court writhing in pain with 6:03 to play after Odom poked him in the left eye while both players tried to block a layup by Quentin Richardson. Gasol eventually got up and sat on the bench for more treatment, but returned moments later when Odom was ejected. ... Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he discussed Ron Artest's recent admission of drinking alcohol during games a decade ago - not to talk about Artest's drinking, but about his decision to discuss it with the media. ... Leonardo DiCaprio, Dustin Hoffman and golfer Ian Poulter were among the fans in attendance.
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
Lakers’ Coach Phil Jackson on tonight’s game:
“I thought they made a nice comeback in the 4th quarter. I thought we got a little out of whack with the two incidents that happened out there with Pau getting smacked in the eye and Lamar’s technical which took him out of the ball game. We lost our coverage defensively and they made a number of very good plays down the stretch and to win that ball game you have to be lucky and we were tonight.”
On what happened when we started to lose momentum:
“Well the last two plays were obviously guard on guard which I thought was illegal but the referees did not see it that way, but outside of that they started stretching us out a little bit farther and they either got offensive rebounds, interior plays or outside shots with Quentin Richardson hitting the outside three. Those plays really set out defense on edge, we will go back and review that, we have worked on it all week long, but we will have to continue working on it.”
On Kobe’s final 3-point shot:
“I thought he had really good balance on it and he set it up really well and what do you want me to say about it? It’s Kobe.”
On Ron Artest:
“I thought he did a good job, especially when Pau was hit, Ron could have stepped in bounds, as one of the options and go in and get the ball himself, but that was pretty good patience. And we had the three-pointer before that with Fisher which made a big difference with getting back into this game. Both of those two guys helped do it.”
On Lamar’s game ejection:
“We saw it on replay, but the idea is that you hold onto the rim to protect yourself, but when he came down he shoved Lamar, which set off the incident. Lamar was an innocent bystander to some degree, but he already had a technical, which I thought was undeserved, and so they rung up and he was out of the ball game. That hurts us because Lamar is a critical player for us down the stretch.”
Lakers’ player Kobe Bryant on shot:
“Actually I did. Because it felt good. I didn’t think I would make that shot.”
“I liked my chances if I squared up and got the shot I wanted, but I slipped, Haslem doubled, and it was just a runner. And like I said it felt good; I just couldn’t believe it. This ball might go in on this shot.”
On this shot compared to other great shots of his:
“This was my luckiest shot.”
Lakers’ player Andrew Bynum on getting the shot off down low late in the fourth:
“I had to get it because I was in the lane for so long. Luckily, they didn’t call three seconds. So I had to get it.”
On Fisher’s three in the 4th:
“Always. That’s big-shot-Fisher over there. He’s been doing it his whole career.”
Lakers’ player Pau Gasol on this close of a game:
“It was different. We haven’t, lately, had a chance [for a game like this]. We should get a lot of positives out of [this], and we should be motivated… to be stronger and better as a team.”
Lakers’ player Derek Fisher:
“I mean had I hit a couple of more earlier the game wouldn’t have been in that situation. But it’s L.A. and why not have it as dramatic as it was? It was just a great regular season game.”
Heat’s Coach Erik Spoelstra on tonight’s game:
“Heck of a game. So many different players stepping up and then in the end, Bryant and Dwyane going back and forth, back and forth making plays. There’s nothing for our guys to feel ashamed about with this game. It was a terrific effort. If you look at things in a proper context, we’re close. We’re close to having a break-through right now. Other than the Denver game, we’re had 3 out of our last 4 against top-notch teams were we’ve competed and played at an extremely high level. Those are the things we need to take with us as we move on now to Sacramento. But I think everybody, the fans and the TV audience, I’m sure they got their money’s worth tonight on this game. And of course the ending, which was just an incredible shot. I thought we defended that as well as we could. Got him going to half-court, stumbling with the ball. A lot of times you see that some guys stumble with the ball, a lot of times it leads to a better look than if you would’ve just got it cleanly. But I thought Dwyane had a terrific contest on it, forced him into a one-footed bank-shot at the buzzer. You got to give him credit, give the Lakers credit.”
Miami Heat Guard Dwyane Wade on putting the end of the game in perspective:
“We did what we was supposed to do. Fisher hit an unbelievable three. Kobe hit that shot. We’ve done the same thing to other teams. I’ve been on the other end of it. It’s the game of basketball.”
On the miraculous ending of tonight’s game:
“If you told me before the game that the game would be decided by Kobe shooting a left, one-legged backboard three, I’d have took that. We did a great job. We did what we supposed to do on the road. We gave ourselves a chance to win.”
On how the Heat played Kobe on the final possession:
“Just to put pressure on him. You got to be careful. You don’t want to get a foul as well so we made it tough for him to get the ball and forced him out. Made him take a tough shot, which he did. Everything was drawn up as planned.”
Miami Heat Forward Michael Beasley on how missed free throws hurt the Heat:
“It hurts. Obviously, we should have hit free throws. There’s no reason we should be missing 15 free throws or any free throws for that matter. I think we played hard. Kobe Bryant showed why he’s great.”
On defending Kobe Bryant in the final possession:
“We had two guys on him. Just what we wanted. Forced him into a tough shot. It didn’t work out the way we thought or the way we had hoped.”
Lakers vs. Heat Game Preview
By BRETT HUSTON
Posted Dec 04 2009 2:38AM
Currently enjoying a home-heavy stretch full of subpar opponents, Phil Jackson said the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers would get a better idea of where they stand when they face the Miami Heat.
Miami, however, has hardly looked like a litmus test for anyone lately.
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers look to add to their NBA-best record with an eighth straight victory Friday night at Staples Center against Dwyane Wade and the Heat, losers of seven of their last 11.
Los Angeles (14-3) was handed a peculiar schedule to start the season, playing 17 of its first 21 games at home as it begins defense of its NBA title. The champions have taken advantage thus far, beginning and ending November with six-game winning streaks.
The Lakers kept their latest run going to kick off December. Los Angeles raced to a 20-point halftime lead over New Orleans on Tuesday en route to a 110-99 win.
The Lakers have had Pau Gasol back in the lineup for six of those wins, and the combined record of their opponents during the streak - their longest in-season run since winning 10 in a row from Feb. 8-28, 2008 - is 40-85.
"We're playing pretty good basketball, but you really can't measure it,'' Jackson said. "I think we'll get a measure of this team, where we are at this point in the season, with Miami and Phoenix (on Sunday).''
Beginning with Miami (10-8), Los Angeles will play four more home games before embarking on a five-game trip.
"We don't draw up the schedule,'' said Lamar Odom, who's averaging 6.5 points in just 24.5 minutes since Gasol returned from a strained hamstring. "When you're playing against teams you feel might be a lesser opponent, we just want to concentrate on doing things just like we do them in practice.
"We want to play the same way against everybody, and for the last couple of games we've been able to do that.''
Los Angeles had three seven-game winning streaks last season.
Stretching its latest streak to eight after two days off seems like a strong possibility, particularly considering the Heat will be concluding a back-to-back and playing their third game in four days.
Miami began its four-game Western road trip in fine fashion Tuesday, beating Portland 107-100, but struggled Thursday in Denver. The Nuggets opened a 16-point halftime lead and didn't look back in a 114-96 victory that dropped the Heat to 4-7 since winning six of their first seven.
"The bottom just fell out,'' coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We couldn't put together any kind of stops and offensively we weren't executing with any kind of pace, energy or passion. We're better than this. We've shown that.''
The win over the Trail Blazers was Miami's only one by more than a point in its current stretch.
While Bryant is shooting a season-best 48.9 percent and has increased his scoring average two points from last season - his 28.8 points are second in the league - Wade seems to have taken a step back.
The NBA's reigning scoring champion is shooting a career-low 42.7 percent, and his average has dropped 3.5 points from his career-high 30.2 last season. He's averaging 23.8 points on 40.2 percent from the field in his last nine games.
Wade averaged 31.0 points and Daequan Cook chipped in 15.5 points as the Heat and Lakers split two games last season - each winning at home - while Bryant was held to 23.5.
The Lakers are 12-0 this season when Bryant scores at least 21.
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
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out.
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers split last season’s series with Miami 1-1 after sweeping the 2007-08 series with the Heat 2-0. This will be the 43rd meeting between the two franchises with the Lakers holding a 28-14 all-time lead. The Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10 meetings with the Heat but have won 4-of-their-last-5 overall. The Lakers have gone 6-1 in their last seven home games against Miami and are 7-3 all-time against the Heat at STAPLES Center. In Miami, the Lakers are now 5-5 in their last 10 games against the Heat after Kobe Bryant’s jumper to tie the game rattled in and out at the buzzer in their last trip to AmericaAirlines Arena (12/19/08). Under head coach Phil Jackson, Los Angeles is 12-6 versus Miami. Also, Lakers forward Lamar Odom played one season for the Heat, averaging 17.1 points and 9.7 rebounds in 80 games. Following that season, Odom was acquired from the Heat by the Lakers along with Caron Butler, Brian Grant and a future first round draft pick in exchange for Shaquille O’Neal. In 23 games including 19 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 23.9 points against Miami and holds the high individual game for the series with 42 points on Christmas Day against the Heat in 2004. Heat guard Dwyane Wade played alongside Kobe Bryant on the gold medal winning US Men’s Olympic Basketball Team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Heat guard/forward Quentin Richardson played three seasons alongside Lakers forward Lamar Odom with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2000-03 while Lakers forward Ron Artest played from 2002-06 with Heat center Jermaine O’Neal in Indiana. Heat guard/forward Yakhouba Diawara, a native of Paris, France, played locally at Pepperdine University from 2003-05.
With their victory over the Hornets December 1st, the Lakers won for the 7th straight time, matching their longest win streak from a season ago. During the 2008-09 season, the Lakers strung together 7-straight victories on three occasions, most recently from 1/30/09 – 2/10/09. The Lakers last won eight straight games during a string of 10 consecutive victories from 2/8/08 – 2/28/08 during the 2007-08 campaign. That 10-game win streak was the team’s 23rd 10+ game win streak in franchise history.
JUST ADD GASOL
Since Pau Gasol made his season debut 11/19 vs. Chicago, the Lakers are 6-0 while defeating teams by an average of 17.3 points per game (104). Additionally, with Gasol’s return, all five starters have scored in double-figures three times whereas in the previous 11 games without him in the lineup, not once did that occur. In games played without Gasol since he joined the Lakers, Los Angeles is 15-7 overall (6-4 in 2007-08, 1-0 in 2008-09 and 8-3 in 2009-10). With Gasol in the lineup, the Lakers are 92-22 (.807) in the regular season since he joined the team in February of 2008 (22-5 in 2007-08, 64-17 in 2008-09 and 6-0 in 2009-10) and 30-14 (.682) in the playoffs.
WITH LAKERS, IT’S HOW YOU START
Through 17 games this season, the Lakers currently hold the best record in the NBA at 14-3 while ranking in the league’s top 10 in scoring (7th/104.2 ppg) and defense (9th/96.1 ppg). Last season, the Lakers finished 3rd in scoring offense and 13th in scoring defense, winning by an average margin of 7.6 points per game. This season, the Lakers are defeating teams by an average of 7.8 points per game, but it’s how they’re getting to that point that is different from seasons past. Through three quarters, this year’s edition of the Lakers is more dominant than the 2009 Championship team, averaging a 10.8 point lead entering the fourth quarter in comparison to last season’s 6.4 point lead through three periods. On average, the Lakers are jumping out to an 8.5 point lead at the half this year in contrast to a 3.2 point lead a year ago. In the second half, the Lakers are being outscored by 0.7 points whereas a year ago, Los Angeles outscored its opponents by another 4.4 points in the final two quarters. Overall, the Lakers most dominant quarter is the opening period, where Los Angeles is outscoring its opponents this season by a 6.4 point margin.
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 (24,310), at his current scoring average (28.8 ppg), Bryant would surpass West approximately 31 games from now 1/31/10 at Boston. 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 (24,310) are Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Jerry West (25,192).
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 (1,055) moved past Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown (1,052) 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 (.707), 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.
With their 130-97 victory at Golden State November 28th, the Lakers posted their 2nd wire-to-wire victory of the season, after posting their first wire-to-wire victory on the year with a 104-88 victory over New Orleans November 8th. Last season, the Lakers claimed nine wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed) during the regular season, tied for 3rd most in the league (Phoenix) behind Cleveland (14) and Orlando (13). The Lakers also won in wire-to-wire fashion twice during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah and 5/17 vs. Houston). Additionally, the Lakers were one of only two teams last season (Cleveland) to never lose in wire-to-wire fashion during the regular season. In the playoffs, however, the Lakers played two games in which they never led, falling twice to Houston in the Conference Semifinals (5/10/09 at HOU and 5/14/09 at HOU). In the regular season, the Lakers have not lost in wire-to-wire fashion since 1/17/08 vs. PHX.