Lakers Gameday | 12/06/09 | Suns
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Lakers beat Suns 108-88 for 9th straight victory
By GREG BEACHAM
Posted Dec 07 2009 12:08AM
LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Ron Artest added 15 points and five steals, and the Los Angeles Lakers raced away from the Phoenix Suns in the second half of their ninth straight victory, 108-88 Sunday night.
Pau Gasol scored 14 points for the well-rested Lakers, who improved to an NBA-best 16-3 with their second home win in 24 days over road-weary Phoenix.
Two nights after Bryant banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer in a one-point win over Miami, the defending NBA champions didn't need another lucky shot. They made a 15-1 run late in the third quarter, holding Phoenix without a field goal for 3 1/2 minutes while jumping to a 23-point lead.
Amare Stoudemire had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Suns, who scored their fewest points of the season while playing their sixth game in six cities over the past 10 days.
Bryant had nine points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer that put the Lakers up by 21. The Suns trimmed the lead to 14 points in the fourth before Shannon Brown hit back-to-back 3-pointers, finishing with 12 points.
Steve Nash had 12 points and 10 assists for the Suns while playing just 29 minutes, and Grant Hill had 12 points. Both veterans sat out the fourth quarter along with Stoudemire, taking a break in a demanding stretch of travel for the surprising Suns (15-6), who have lost three straight road games by an average of more than 21 points.
The Lakers realize their fast start is a partial product of an exceptionally generous early-season schedule. Los Angeles hasn't played outside of California since Nov. 13, with 15 of its first 19 games at home overall - and two more games still remaining in a six-game homestand.
Los Angeles also met its closest pursuers in the Pacific Division under fortunate circumstances twice this season. On Nov. 12, the rested Lakers beat Phoenix at home 121-102, one night after the Suns played a tough home game - just as they did Saturday night against Sacramento.
The Lakers played their league-high 15th home game, while Phoenix had its league-high 14th on the road.
Los Angeles had a superior jump from the opening tip. The Lakers raced to an 11-point lead in the first quarter and hit six 3-pointers in the half, taking a 54-44 halftime lead with late 3-pointers by Artest and Derek Fisher.
A meeting of two high-scoring teams took on a physical bent in the third quarter, with aggressive defensive play by Lamar Odom and Amare Stoudemire catching on with both clubs. Artest also played with visible aggression, harassing Phoenix's star scorers while hitting his outside shot.
NOTES: Referee David Jones left the game in the first quarter after a bout of dizziness. He was taken to a hospital, and the game continued with two referees - Kevin Fehr and Derrick Stafford. ... After Friday's home game against Minnesota, 19 of the Lakers' next 28 games are on the road. ... Gasol missed the Lakers' first meeting with Phoenix with a hamstring injury. Los Angeles is 8-0 since his return to the lineup.
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:
“Well we kind of pushed ourselves into the win tonight. I thought that we played adequately in the first half. We wanted to come out and push them a little bit in the third quarter and we did. We had a good quarter. It was ignited by Artest’s steal in the back court. It sprung us out to a little bit of a run there in the last four minutes or so of the quarter. It was a good game for us. A good win…defensively. Anytime you hold Phoenix under 100 points, you know that you did good.”
On the key to keeping the Suns under 100 points:
“Probably the fact that they played last night. But you know, they didn’t shoot well from the three, they had a little amount of shots from the 3 line. We didn’t get strung out defensively even though we made some switches that were big on small. And we were able to control everybody. But Stoudemire had a pretty good run.”
On whether the fact that the Suns played game back-to-back games affects their performance against the Lakers:
“You know, given that there not a young team over there for two of their starters at least. It makes a difference, I think to them. Maybe those two guys, Hill and Nash. But for the other guys, they’re young players. They’re probably fine in recovery. It’s the mental fatigue more than sometimes physical fatigue in that regard. It has worked our favorable for us.”
On whether the Lakers are too big for the Suns:
“Well, they have big bodies. Collins came in…I thought did a good job as a big center. Lopez, you know, was a big guy that they put in there. They choose to play how they choose to play. You know, if we want to exploit the inside, you know, it worked really well early in the game and early in the third quarter and then we got away from it and after we built a 18, 17, 19 point lead and then they broke it down to 11 when we started wandering off and doing other things. Then we got back to what we wanted to do.”
Lakers Kobe Bryant on Lakers defense tonight:
“Tonight we were really aggressive on the ball and we just put them in a situation where they felt trapped.”
On what the Lakers need to improve on:
“Everything that we are doing well, hopefully we can get even better at it. We have to improve if we want to repeat.”
On whether or not there is anything the Lakers need to work on:
“Not really. We are doing well. Whatever we are doing well we just have to get better at it. We have to stay focused and go out and take care of business.”
On next game vs. Utah Jazz:
“I have not looked at tapes yet but we have played them in the playoffs the past two years so we are very familiar with them.”
Lakers Lamar Odom whether the Lakers are too big for the Suns:
“I wouldn’t say that. If we were, I wouldn’t give away our secrets. But, we’d like to get the ball inside.”
On the Lakers’ defense:
“Our defense is playing strong and that’s what is most important -- is our defense -- that we come out with a certain type of disposition, maintain it throughout the game.
Lakers Ron Artest on how the Lakers managed to hold the Suns to under 100 points:
“I’m not sure. They had a back-to-back yesterday so maybe they’re a little tired.”
On the current state of the Lakers’ defense:
“Yeah, it’s getting better everyday day. We’re still not where we want to be. I think every game we’re trying and trying to continue to get better.”
Suns Coach Alvin Gentry on tonight’s game:
“They’re just so long. I think we did a good job the first half. Our goal was to take away, last time we were here obviously they had 78 points in the paint, so we tried to take that away. You take that away, you gotta give up something, so they made 3-point shots and it’s just tough.”
On the Lakers’ defense tonight:
“You know, they’re a long team and they bottle up everything you try to do. You know, they switch and they knock off. We could never really get anything going. We’re not so much a fast-break team but a rhythm team and they just take you out of your rhythm, they really do.”
On playing the Lakers back to back this season:
“I would not like to play them back to back. I don’t know if I’d like to play them anyway and I definitely wouldn’t want to play them back to back. We’ve been out here twice and done that, but you know they’re a great team.”
On how this game got away from the Suns:
“I thought we did a great job the first half, I really did. And it was important for us to kind of get off to a good start. The third quarter, you know, the beginning of the second half, we missed a couple of easy things and before you know it, it goes from 10 to 15 and that’s when you get in trouble with them.”
On his team playing against the Lakers’ bigs:
“I thought we did a good job on Bynum for the most part and Pau creates just all kinds of problems for you; he’s just such a skilled guy, a great passer, and so even when you double he finds the open guy. When you don’t double, you know, he’s skilled enough that he can score on the inside.”
Suns’ Steve Nash on the Lakers tonight:
“I think they’re a little bit better than us right now. They’ve been playing together a little bit longer and are bigger than we are. Probably have a little more talent overall. We got some ground to make up for.”
On the Lakers win tonight:
“They’re very good. I think people got to remember that we weren’t picked to make the playoffs this year. We got all the work to do. A loss is a loss, it’s not two or three losses.”
Suns’ Grant Hill on the loss tonight:
“They’re good. I don’t think we played great but a lot of that is what they’re doing. I don’t know what to say. We’ll see them again.”
On the Suns schedule:
“It seems like we got a lot of tough games back-to-back. I thought tonight we came out, we competed. It kind of got away from us there in the third quarter. We’re on the road a lot; it’s tough. I think we’re a little tired of it but I think it will make up for it. January, February, March look really good. We took care of business early. Won games. Got a nice little start. We’re going through a tough period right now with our schedule. An older guy, you got a little bit of perspective, understand it’s a long season, and a lot of things can happen but as long as we stay together and as long as we keep fighting, better days are ahead.”
Suns’ Amare Stoudemire on playing the Lakers tonight:
“It was fun. I think it’s always fun when you come to L.A. and play the Lakers. On the flip side of it, it’s not always fun to lose.”
Thoughts on the game:
“I think Lakers got a great team. They did a great job out there, shot the ball well. For the most part, we did a good job on the boards. It was tough to beat them out there tonight.”
Lakers vs. Suns Game Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
Posted Dec 06 2009 12:59AM
Back-to-back games are always tough in the NBA. That's especially true when the second game is against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers - something the Phoenix Suns are well aware of.
Bryant will try to lead the Lakers to their ninth straight victory Sunday night when they host the Suns, who are facing Los Angeles for the second time this season under similar circumstances.
Los Angeles (15-3) last played Friday when Bryant's banked desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Lakers a 108-107 victory over Miami. It will likely rank among the most incredible highlights of his career - even if Bryant refused to take too much credit for it.
"It was the luckiest shot I've ever taken, by far," said Bryant, who scored 33 points. "It felt good, (but) I just couldn't believe this ball might go in on this shot."
The Lakers are on their longest run since winning 10 straight from Feb. 8-28, 2008. They'll have the advantage of playing a Phoenix team that used its starters extensively in a 115-107 home win over Sacramento on Saturday.
The Suns (15-5) had lost two straight road games by an average of 22.0 points before beating the Kings.
"We are a little bit tired from the travel," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "I'm not making excuses, this is just the facts. We are a little tired right now and not quite as energetic as we've been. We'll get back there, but now we are just a little bit spent."
This matchup is somewhat similar to when these teams met Nov. 12 in a 121-102 home victory for the Lakers, who had three days off before that contest. Phoenix won at home the night before over New Orleans - although it was able to rest its starters more than Saturday - and was plagued by fatigue.
"Unfortunately, we just didn't have the legs tonight to give them a good shot, so we can look back and throw this one away," said Suns guard Steve Nash after the loss. "We didn't give them any resistance tonight."
The Lakers continue to enjoy a season-opening stretch in which it plays 17 of its first 21 games at home. Seven of their victories in this streak have come at home, and the last seven have featured the first action of the season from Pau Gasol.
Gasol did not face the Suns last month due to a hamstring injury, and he's been solid with averages of 18.3 points and 10.0 rebounds since returning. He's formed a dominant frontcourt with center Andrew Bynum, who had 26 points and 15 rebounds in the victory against Phoenix.
Friday's victory marked the first in this streak in which Los Angeles did not win by double digits. The Lakers were sluggish throughout and forward Lamar Odom was ejected in the fourth quarter before Bryant's heroics rescued them.
"That's Black Mamba," forward Ron Artest said of Bryant. "We knew it was going in."
Nash scored 32 points and Amare Stoudemire had 18 and 21 rebounds Saturday for Phoenix, which has played the most road games in the NBA, going 8-5.
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.
Leandro Barbosa (sprained left ankle) is out.
Lou Amundson (flu) is not with the team.
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead their current season series with Phoenix 1-0 after having won each of the previous two season series with the Suns by a 3-1 margin. The Lakers series victory in 2007-08 snapped a run of three consecutive losing seasons to the Suns from 2004-07. This will be the 211th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 123-87. The Lakers are 15-6 against the Suns all-time at STAPLES Center and 6-4 in their last 10 regular season home games against Phoenix. On the road, the Lakers have gone 3-7 in their last 10 regular season visits to Phoenix but have won three of their last four at US Airways Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 24-13 against the Suns during the regular season. In 46 career games against the Suns including 39 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.7 points and on February 20, 2008 at Phoenix, surpassed 1,000 career points against the Suns. Last season, Bryant shared MVP honors with Shaquille O’Neal at the NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. Additionally, last season, the Lakers defeated the Suns by 26 points 2/26/09 at STAPLES Center. The 26-point margin of victory was the Lakers largest over the Suns since January 4, 2002 when Los Angeles defeated Phoenix 118-86 at STAPLES Center. Suns forward Jared Dudley was a teammate in Charlotte with both Shannon Brown and Adam Morrison while Lakers forward Luke Walton and Suns center Channing Frye were teammates at Arizona for two seasons (2001-02, 2002-03). Also, Suns assistant coach Bill Cartwright won three championships as a center for Phil Jackson’s Bulls from 1990- 92 and served as an assistant coach under Jackson from 1996-98 when the Bulls won their final two championships of the 90’s.
With their victory over the Heat December 4th, the Lakers won for the 8th straight time, surpassing their longest win streak from a season ago, where the Lakers strung together 7-straight victories on three occasions, most recently from 1/30/09 – 2/10/09. The Lakers last won nine 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 7-0 while defeating teams by an average of 15.0 points per game (105). 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 93-22 (.809) in the regular season since he joined the team in February of 2008 (22-5 in 2007-08, 64-17 in 2008-09 and 7-0 in 2009-10) and 30-14 (.682) in the playoffs.
WITH LAKERS, IT’S HOW YOU START
Through 18 games this season, the Lakers currently hold the best record in the NBA at 15-3 while ranking in the league’s top 10 in scoring (7th/104.4 ppg) and defense (9th/96.7 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 7.7 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 10.2 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 8.2 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 0.8 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 5.9 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 (24,343), at his current scoring average (29.1 ppg), Bryant would surpass West approximately 30 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 (24,343) 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 (1,056) 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.
BRYANT NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR 25th TIME , TIES JORDAN FOR MOST POW AWARDS ALL-TIME
After three Western Conference Player of the Week awards in each of the past two seasons, Kobe Bryant earned his FIRST WC Player of the week award this season for games played Monday, November 16 through Sunday, November 22. The award is the 25th of Bryant’s career (23 Western Conference POW, 2 NBA POW), tying Michael Jordan (23 NBA POW, 2 Eastern Conference POW) for the most Player of the Week Awards all-time while further surpassing Magic Johnson’s 18 NBA POW awards as the franchise’s all-time leader. Jordan and Johnson, however, earned the majority/all of their Player of the Week nods before the award was separated by Conference prior to the 2001-02 season. Since the Player of the Week was separated by Conference, Bryant’s 23 awards ranks first among all players, two ahead of LeBron James (21).
Bryant led the Lakers to a 3-0 week, which included wins over the Pistons, Bulls and Thunder, averaging 29.0 points on 48 percent shooting, 6.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists, 1.67 steals. During the week, Bryant recorded his 4th 40-point game of the season with 40 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals 11/17 vs. Detroit, nearly missed a triple-double with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists 11/19 vs. Chicago and totaled 26 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists including a HORSE-like, Larry Bird-esque shot from behind the backboard 11/22 vs. Oklahoma City.
This is the 23rd time Bryant has earned Player of the Week honors (11/4/01, 1/20/02, 11/3/02, 12/8/02, 1/12/03, 2/2/03, 2/23/03, 2/17/04, 3/22/04, 11/13/05, 12/18/05, 12/25/05, 1/22/06, 4/16/06, 3/18/07, 3/25/07, 1/13/08, 3/2/08, 4/6/08, 12/28/08, 1/11/09, 3/15/09, 11/22/09) since the award was separated by Conference. He has twice earned NBA Player of the Week honors (4/16/00 and 12/24/00), giving him 25 total career POW awards. The NBA began the Player of the Week award in 1979-80.
POINTS IN THE PAINT
In their 121-102 victory over Phoenix November 12, the Lakers converted 39-of-57 shots in the paint for a total of 78 points, outscoring the Suns by 30 down low and posting their highest total in the paint since scoring 80 points in a 109-106 victory over Sacramento March 12, 2000 at STAPLES Center. Additionally, the Lakers 78-point total was the highest amount of points in the paint league-wide to date this season and the most in the NBA since Phoenix posted a 90-point total 2/27/09 vs. Toronto.
This season, the Lakers are 3-0 in the first game and 2-1 in the second game of back-to-backs. On the year, the Lakers will play 20 sets of back-to-back games, the most the team has played in a single season since playing 22 sets of back-to-backs during the 1999-00 campaign. Last year, the Lakers played 19 sets of back-to-backs, going 14-5 in the first game and 14-5 in the second as well. Charlotte, Detroit and Milwaukee lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2009-10 while New Orleans (15) and San Antonio (17) will play the fewest sets this season.
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. 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.
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.
VUJACIC COMPLETES 6TH FOUR-POINT PLAY OF CAREER, 28th IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
In the fourth quarter of the Lakers November 8th victory over New Orleans, Sasha Vujacic converted the 28th four-point play in Lakers franchise history (regular season and playoffs included). With his three-pointer and free throw, Vujacic is now responsible for six of the team’s 23 regular season four-point plays and 28 overall. Kobe Bryant owns the most four-point plays in team history with 10 overall (7 regular season, 3 postseason), followed by Vujacic (6), Derek Fisher (5) and Eddie Jones (2).
BRYANT YOUNGEST IN NBA HISTORY TO 24,000 CAREER POINTS; 17th EVER TO REACH MILESTONE
With a second-quarter basket November 6th against the Grizzlies, Kobe Bryant (31 years, 75 days) became the youngest player in NBA history to score 24,000 points, reaching the milestone ahead of Wilt Chamberlain (31 years, 113 days). In terms of games, of the 17 players to now have scored 24,000 points, Bryant is the 9th fastest to do so in terms of games (954). Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest in league history to score 24,000 points, doing so in just 653 games.
Last season, with 34 points February 10 vs. Oklahoma City, Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score 23,000 points (30 years, 171 days), reaching the milestone FIVE days younger than Wilt Chamberlain (30 years, 176 days). In terms of games, of the 21 players to score 23,000 points, Bryant was the 11th fastest to do so, reaching the mark in 917 games. Earlier in the year, with 28 points December 2 at Indiana, Bryant became the 22nd player in NBA history to score 22,000 points and in doing so, became the 2nd youngest player ever to 22,000 points (30 years, 101 days), one day older than Wilt Chamberlain (30 years, 100 days) who scored his 22,000th point on 11/26/66. The youngest player in league history to accumulate 14,000 – 20,000 and 23,000 – 24,000 points, Bryant became the 12th fastest to 22,000 points in terms of games, reaching the mark in 881 career games. Through his career, Bryant has been 29th fastest to 15,000, 22nd fastest to 16,000, 20th fastest to 17,000, 16th fastest to 18,000, 15th fastest to 19,000, 15th fastest to 20,000, 12th fastest to 21,000, 12th fastest to 22,000 and 11th fastest to 23,000 points in terms of games.
The 2009-10 Lakers preseason roster includes 12 players from last season’s NBA Championship team, one more than in 2008-09 when the Lakers brought back 11 players from the Western Conference Championship squad. This will be the 4th consecutive season in which the Lakers have returned at least 11 players, having brought back 12 players to start the 2007-08 season and 11 to start the 2006-07 campaign. However, only Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher remain from the Lakers 2000-02 title runs with Fisher rejoining the team prior to the 2007-08 season after spending the previous three years in Golden State and Utah. The longest tenured Laker after Bryant and Fisher is Luke Walton, who joined the team as a rookie in 2003-04. Shannon Brown, Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Pau Gasol, DJ Mbenga, Adam Morrison, Lamar Odom, Josh Powell & Sasha Vujacic all return from a year ago while Ron Artest is the lone new addition to the Lakers roster.