Lakers Gameday | 12/29/09 | Warriors
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Kobe's 44 push Lakers past Warriors 124-118
By GREG BEACHAM
Posted Dec 30 2009 1:26AM
LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant had a season-high 44 points and 11 assists while making all 16 of his free throws, and the Lakers survived Golden State's 55-percent shooting for a 124-118 victory over the Warriors on Tuesday night.
Pau Gasol had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who relied even more heavily than usual on Bryant to avoid their third loss in four games over the past five days.
Bryant came through with 17 points in the fourth quarter, clinching his seventh 40-point game of the season on two free throws with 4:04 left. He has 103 40-point games in his career, third-most in NBA history.
Corey Maggette scored 25 points and Monta Ellis added 22 for the Warriors, who beat Phoenix and Boston in the previous three days during the best stretch of another rough start to a season.
Golden State shot superbly and ran its uptempo offense well, but had nobody who could guard Bryant in the Warriors' seventh straight loss to the Lakers. The Warriors haven't won three straight games yet this season.
The Lakers still have the NBA's best record (25-6) despite two 15-point losses in the previous three days, including their 102-87 Christmas flop against Cleveland. They also played their third straight game without starting forward Ron Artest, who gave himself a concussion and a deep cut on his left elbow when he tripped and fell at his home on Christmas.
In their first home game since their fans littered the court with foam hands in response to the Lakers' gripes about the officiating, Bryant and Lamar Odom both got technical fouls for arguing calls in the final 4:16. Los Angeles' complaining helped the Warriors keep within three points down the stretch until Bryant followed up Ronny Turiaf's two missed free throws with two foul shots of his own with 1:05 to play.
C.J. Watson scored 14 points while hitting four 3-pointers for the Warriors, who went 14 for 22 in the first quarter while opening with a clear burst of energy, perhaps still rolling from their impressive 103-99 win over the Celtics.
Pushing the tempo and finding Maggette for open shots, the Warriors scored 29 points the first 8:03 to take an 11-point lead that grew to 15 in the second quarter. Los Angeles rallied after halftime and took the lead midway through the period, but the Warriors hung around with scoring from Maggette and Ellis, whose layup in traffic evened it at 104 with 5:24 to play.
NOTES: Warriors C Andris Biedrins, who returned Monday from a lengthy absence with an injured groin, had six points and eight rebounds before fouling out. ... Artest plans to run on a treadmill Wednesday to see how his body responds, saying he might try to play Friday against Sacramento. ... Vladimir Radmanovic scored 11 points for the Warriors. Los Angeles traded him to Charlotte last season in a deal netting Shannon Brown and Adam Morrison from the Bobcats. Brown threw down a one-handed dunk in Radmanovic's face in the final minute of the first half. ... Courtside fans included John McEnroe, Mario Lopez and Nicole Richie. Her longtime partner, rocker Joel Madden, wore a T-shirt reading ``RIP The Rev'' to honor Avenged Sevenfold drummer Jimmy ``The Rev'' Sullivan, who was found dead in Huntington Beach on Monday.
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
LOS ANGELES HEAD COACH PHIL JACKSON
On his thoughts of the team’s performance in the last three quarters:
“I already told them they have to get better. Obviously defensively, you have to cover so many different areas of the Warriors’ game. Some of it is the pace of game, how we pace the game. Turnovers, defensive transition. Those things are areas that I thought we were not very good, even second half. We got better offensively.”
On Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacics’ performances tonight:
“Jordan was active and aggressive. I thought he played a pretty good game tonight. Sasha had matchups that we could use. It was the direction that we wanted to do things out there and I thought we played ok.”
On Pau Gasol’s performances:
“Pau was very good tonight. Even though he had some situations where guys were blocking his shots. He looked like he was struggling to recapture the ball. There were some times where they came down and trapped him. But he played a good fight.”
On whether it’s better to be resilient rather than good:
“Yea that’s what gets teams the big wins is to find a way to win these types of games. You know, when you have someone like Kobe or Pau or guys that can carry teams in these tough nights when the mud is pretty heavy on the floor. You know, that’s what gets teams over the hump.”
On missing Artest in terms of him being a facilitator:
“Well he certainly is someone that people have to play. You know, he’s a three point shooter and he’s got the range. That in itself helps us out.”
Lakers Kobe Bryant on coming back in the second half:
“We just had to get a feel for what they were doing. We had to settle on our defense and make a couple adjustments.”
On Lamar Odom tonight:
“He just has to remember sometimes what a great player he is. He kind of starts to doubt himself too much, which he shouldn’t.”
On Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic closing the game:
“They came in a played well and gave us some really good minutes tonight. That’s what we need from them on a consistent basis.”
Lakers Pau Gasol on tonight’s game:
“It was kind of a toss-up game in the last several minutes. We closed well, the second half we definitely played a lot better. We just did our part and focused on what we had to do to stop them. We forced them to make some tough shots in the second so we have to do a better job at coming out in games and making sure we do what it takes to control the game and not to wait till the end of the game in that type of situation.”
Lakers Lamar Odom on playing the Small Forward position:
“My last time starting a game at the Small Forward was when I was with the Clippers. It makes no difference though. Usually you play a little bit more outside, especially on defense – and offense. To me, basketball is basketball.”
On what made the difference for the Lakers:
“It was defense – everybody getting involved, making plays. The defense stepped up.”
Lakers Jordan Farmar on the fact that he finished out the game:
“I was probably the most surprised person out of everybody out there. But happy. Very fortunate to be in that situation. I wanted to make the most of it and just tried to stay aggressive, make some things happen defensively.”
On the difference between how the Lakers played in the second half today and how they played against Cleveland and Phoenix lately:
“I think everybody took responsibility here at halftime. We weren’t playing like we should’ve been for quite a while now. Just look in the mirror and say ‘what can I do differently to step it up and help this team play the way we should?’”
Warriors coach Don Nelson on tonight’s game:
“We did a couple of silly things: missed two free throws, made an error defensively; can’t do that down the stretch. But we battled, we played, you know, another good basketball game and that’s what we’re after, playing good games, and hopefully the wins will take care of themselves.”
On if he knew that the Lakers would come back from behind:
“Well, you never know anything. You assume that they’re capable of doing that, most nights they will. But some nights, you know, you get lucky that they don’t make the same shots.”
On playing a high scoring game against the Lakers:
“Well, that’s the way we play, I mean, we try to do that every night. We don’t have the inside game and presence that they have so we do what’s best for our team and I thought it was good enough there for a long time.”
On Kobe Bryant playing with an injured finger and having a great performance:
“That guy is amazing. You know, to be able to shoot like he did with the finger problems that he has on his shooting hand, it’s amazing. 16 free throws for 16, take a game over like that, make jump shots; you know it’s not the same shot that he’s been shooting with that big ball of tape on his hand. That guy is amazing! You know, I love watching him play and it’s always a pleasure to coach against him.”
Golden State Warriors’ Monta Ellis on the game tonight:
“I’m excited how we played. We fought all the way to the end and we were right there.
On the team’s play the last 3 games:
“We got big guys back, big bodies, big presence in there. Rebounds, getting out running. Everybody’s playing good, everybody’s playing together. Passing the ball, moving the ball, getting out running.”
Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry on playing the Lakers tonight:
“It was an experience. First time in Staples Center playing against the Lakers. It’s a great stage to play on and a lot of fun. Especially as a team, we were right there with them. We just got to figure out how to finish it out and close it. It was a great experience for me.”
Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry on being out-scored tonight:
“It’s tough. They have a lot of different threats. Kobe can give you 30 a game. Then Pau and Andrew Bynum and Odom, all three of those guys present match-up problems. If Kobe gets a shot, Pau and Bynum crash the boards. It’s tough to keep them in check. You just got to do your best and it’s tough to do that for 48 minutes.”
Lakers vs. Warriors Game Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
With two 15-point losses in their last three games, the Los Angeles Lakers could use an easy time to finish off a stretch of four games in five nights. A home game against Golden State would seem like an ideal matchup for the defending NBA champs to get back on track, but the Warriors suddenly don't look like pushovers.
Los Angeles looks to avoid back-to-back home losses for the first time since the end of the 2007-08 season Tuesday night when it faces a Golden State team seeking its third straight upset of a playoff contender.
Los Angeles (24-6) will take the court at Staples Center for the first time since its 11-game home winning streak was snapped, 102-87 to Cleveland on Christmas Day. The Lakers, who haven't lost two straight at home since a three-game slide March 23-28, 2008, have won six straight meetings with the Warriors overall, and 27 of the last 30 matchups between the teams in Los Angeles.
The Western Conference-leading Lakers return home from a 1-1 trip that easily could have been 0-2 if it weren't for Kobe Bryant's two clutch 3-pointers in the second overtime of Saturday's 112-103 victory in Sacramento.
Los Angeles shot 43.5 percent and trailed by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter of a 118-103 loss at Phoenix on Monday. The Lakers needed six unanswered points in the final 1:12 to avoid their most lopsided loss of the season.
"I wasn't comfortable with my starters or my bench,'' said coach Phil Jackson, whose reserves were outscored 52-31 by the Suns' bench. Making his second straight start for the injured Ron Artest, Lamar Odom had nine points and 13 rebounds. The Lakers, though, miss Artest's energy on both ends of the floor.
"It's a big adjustment because we're a team that thrives on chemistry,'' said Bryant, averaging 36.8 points in his last four games.
Artest could return Tuesday after suffering a concussion and injuring his left elbow in a fall at his home on Christmas night.
Artest had 19 points and six other Lakers scored in double figures in a 130-97 victory over the Warriors in Oakland on Nov. 28. That win stands as Los Angeles' highest scoring output of the season.
While the Lakers look to improve upon their 16-3 home mark, Golden State (9-21) will try to snap a five-game road losing streak.
The Warriors rallied from an 18-point first-quarter deficit at home Monday and beat Boston 103-99. Golden State, which defeated Phoenix on Saturday, hasn't won three in a row since April 1-5.
"It was a wonderful game for us,'' Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "Wins are hard to find anyway, especially against two quality teams in a row."
Monta Ellis looks to continue his red-hot shooting after going 15 of 26 against the Celtics and finishing with 37 points. The point guard is averaging 32.2 points and shooting 53.4 percent over his last six games.
Ellis, who will try to score 30 or more points in four straight games for the first time in his career, had 27 as the Warriors lost 114-106 on March 19 in their visit to the Lakers. He led Golden State with 18 points in last month's defeat to Los Angeles.
Andris Biedrins has missed the Warriors' last three games versus the Lakers due to injury. The center played Monday for the first time since Nov. 8 due to inflammation in his right groin, but failed to score. He had four rebounds.
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
Ron Artest (laceration to head and left elbow) is doubtful.
Kobe Bryant (avulsion fracture, right index finger/strained right elbow) will play.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out.
Ronny Turiaf (left knee sprain) is probable
Andris Biedrins (osteitis pubis) is questionable
Kelenna Azubuike (left patellar tendon injury) is out.
Raja Bell (left wrist) is out.
Mikki Moore (bone spurs, right heel) is out.
Brandan Wright (shoulder surgery) is out.
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers currently lead the season series with Golden State 1-0 after sweeping last season’s series with Golden State 4-0 for the third time in the last four seasons. The Lakers and Warriors have met 292 times in the regular season during the Los Angeles Era with the Lakers leading the all-time series 183-107. Including their time in Minneapolis, the Lakers and Warriors have met a total of 381 times with the Lakers holding a 234-147 all-time series advantage. The Lakers have not lost a season series to the Warriors since they were defeated 2-3 over five games during the 1994-95 season. The Lakers are 20-3 in their last 23 games against Golden State. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 18-2 all-time against the Warriors. On the road, the Lakers have gone 8-2 against the Warriors in their last 10, winning 8-of-their-last 9 at ORACLE Arena. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 30-7 against the Warriors. In 49 career games including 40 starts against the Warriors, Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.5 points with a high- game of 51 points. Additionally, Lamar Odom posted his first triple-double as a Laker with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against the Warriors back on 4/11/06. In 2007-08, Odom pulled down a career-high 22 rebounds on 3/23/08 vs. Golden State and just one day later, posted 23 points, 21 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 rebounds at Golden State, becoming the first Laker in 13 years to record consecutive 20-rebound games and just the fifth player of the decade in the NBA to post at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and five blocked shots in a single game. Lakers guard Derek Fisher played two seasons for Golden State, where he averaged a career-best 13.3 points during the 2005-06 season. Warriors forward Ronny Turiaf played 3 seasons with the Lakers from 2005-08, averaging 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.13 blocks in 15.6 minutes.
The Lakers 112-103 double-overtime win at Sacramento December 26th was the team’s 4th overtime contest of the season, and first double-overtime game since 1/27/09 vs. Charlotte. The Lakers are now 4-0 in overtime games this season, after going 2-1 in three overtime games last season and 4-0 in four overtime games during the 2007- 08 season. During the 2006-07 season, the Lakers’ 10 overtime contests established a new Los Angeles era record for overtime games in a single season. With their overtime win against Sacramento, the Lakers all-time overtime record is now 131-89 (.595)
BRYANT NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR 26th TIME , PASSES 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 SECOND WC Player of the week award this season for games played Monday, December 14 through Sunday, December 20. The award is the 26th of Bryant’s career (24 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 24 awards rank first among all players, three ahead of LeBron James (21).
Bryant led the Lakers to a 4-0 week, which included wins over the Bulls, Bucks, Nets and Pistons, averaging 34.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.50 steals. During the week, Bryant recorded his 5th 40-point game of the season with 42 points 12/15 at Chicago, scored 39 points including a game-winning buzzer beater in overtime 12/16 at Milwaukee, posted a double-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and five assists 12/19 at New Jersey and totaled 28 points, four assists and five steals 12/20 at Detroit; all while playing with an avulsion fracture to his right index finger.
This is the 24th 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, 12/20/09) since the award was separated by Conference. He has twice earned NBA Player of the Week honors (4/16/00, 12/24/00), giving him 26 total career POW awards. The NBA began the Player of the Week award in 1979-80.
GASOL CRASHING THE BOARDS
With eight double-doubles and 126 rebounds over an eight-game span from 12/9/09-12/22/09, Pau Gasol enjoyed the best rebounding stretch of his career. Entering the season with a career-high 19 rebounds 4/9/09 vs. Denver, Gasol bettered his career-high three times during the run (20 reb. 12/11 vs. Minnesota, 20 reb. 12/12 at Utah, 22 reb. 12/16 at Milwaukee). With 26 points and a career-high 22 rebounds 12/16 at Milwaukee, Gasol became the first Laker to record a 20pt/20reb game since Lamar Odom posted 23 points and 21 rebounds 3/24/08 at Golden State. Prior to that, the most recent Lakers player to record a 20/20 game was Shaquille O’Neal in 2004.
Additionally, with 20 rebounds 12/12/09 at Utah and 20 rebounds 12/11/09 vs. Minnesota, Gasol became the first Laker to record 20 rebounds in consecutive games since Lamar Odom posted 22 rebounds 3/23/08 vs. Golden State and 21 rebounds 3/24/08 at Golden State. The only other Laker to record back-to-back 20-plus rebounds in the past 30 years is Vlade Divac, who did so 2/24/95 vs. Charlotte (24 rebounds) and 2/25/95 vs. Los Angeles Clippers (20 rebounds). Prior to that, the most recent Lakers player to post consecutive 20 rebound games was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20 rebounds 1/24/78 vs. Philadelphia, 21 rebounds 1/27/78 vs. Milwaukee).
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points 12/22/09 vs. Oklahoma City, marking the 102nd time in his career that he has scored 40+ points in a game and the 6th time this season, further surpassing his total for all of last season (4). Bryant’s 46 points 2/1/08 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 71- 31 all-time in games that Bryant scores 40+ points and are 6-0 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.
JUST ADD GASOL
Since Pau Gasol made his season debut 11/19 vs. Chicago, the Lakers are now 16-2 while defeating teams by an average of 10.6 points per game (191). Additionally, with Gasol’s return, all five starters have scored in double-figures five 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 102-24 (.810) in the regular season since he joined the team in February of 2008 (22-5 in 2007-08, 64-17 in 2008-09 and 15-2 in 2009-10) and 30-14 (.682) in the playoffs.
Monday’s game with the Suns is the first of a back-to-back set with Phoenix and Golden State. This season, the Lakers are 6-1 in the first game and 5-2 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.