Lakers Gameday | 01/21/10 | Cavaliers

Box Score
Play by Play

25,000 Point-mark hit by Kobe Bryant in his incredible career, which came on a free throw with 3:00 left in the second quarter. He became the youngest of 15 players to ever reach the mark, and finished with 31 points on 31 shots.

33 Wins for the Cavs, the league’s most. L.A.’s 10 losses remain the fewest in the NBA.

15 Offensive rebounds for the Lakers to just six from Cleveland, but the Lakers had more opportunities by shooting just 38.6 percent to Cleveland’s 47.9 percent.

9 Missed free throws for the Lakers, including two huge ones from Gasol with 23.4 left that would have tied the game at 89. Gasol was also a very uncharacteristic 5-of-14 from the field.

4 Fourth quarter threes hit by the Lakers, from four different players.

Mike Trudell,

Lakers 87, Cavs 93: Running Diary

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Kobe Drops 25,000
2010 All-Stars: Kobe Bryant


LeBron leads Cavaliers over Kobe and Lakers 93-87


Posted Jan 21 2010 11:08PM

CLEVELAND(AP) The Cavaliers haven't lost their holiday spirit.

Cleveland showed its Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers was no gift as LeBron James scored 37 points, including 12 straight down the stretch, and the Cavs, playing their first game without injured Mo Williams, beat Kobe Bryant and the NBA champions 93-87 on Thursday night.

J.J. Hickson grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and Anderson Varejao made three free throws in the final 20 seconds as Cleveland swept the season series between the league's top two teams. That could give the Cavs home-court advantage if they meet the Lakers in June's NBA finals.

A lot can happen between now and then, but the win gave Cleveland confidence it might be able to survive despite losing Williams, their All-Star point guard who will miss at least one month with a shoulder sprain. Williams scored a team-high 28 in Cleveland's Dec. 25 win at Staples Center.

Bryant finished with 31 points but was only 4-of-15 in the second half as the Lakers lost the opener of an eight-game road trip. Pau Gasol scored 13 for Los Angeles.

Bryant surpassed 25,000 career points in the first half, but he was unable to match James in the fourth quarter as both teams turned to their superstars.

With the score tied 80-all, James hit a 3-pointer from the left side, and after a miss by Bryant, the reigning MVP dropped another jumper to put Cleveland ahead by five. James then hit another shot to make it 87-80 with 2:48 left and the Cavs looked to be in control.

But Ron Artest hit a big 3 for the Lakers and Bryant made two free throws and a quick jumper to tie it 87-87 with 1:32 remaining.

James then blasted down the left side for a layup with 40.5 seconds to go, prompting chants of ``M-V-P'' from the raucous Quicken Loans crowd. After Gasol missed two free throws that would have tied it, the Cavs called a timeout and before play resumed, James was caught by cameras rapping to Eminem's song ``Forever'' before the ball was inbounded.

James then split a pair of free throws, but Varejao grabbed the rebound on the miss and was fouled by Artest. Varejao, a 66 percent shooter from the line, made both attempts for a 92-87 Cavs lead with 20.7 seconds left. Bryant misfired on an off-balance 3-point attempt and James saved the long rebound, flying into Cleveland's bench to make the save.

As Varejao went to the line again with 4.1 seconds left, James popped his maroon Cavs jersey, making sure everyone knew who came out on top.

James wanted this win badly. While trying to run down a loose ball in the third quarter with the Cavs down two, he leaped over the head of Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen and hurdled two rows of chairs before landing in the lap of an unsuspecting female Cavs fan, whom he hugged before returning to the floor.

Moments later, Cleveland took its first lead when Anthony Parker drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner with 4:42 left in the quarter.

James and Bryant both hit jumpers in the final 1:33 of the quarter, which ended with Bryant and Gasol exchanging in a somewhat heated conversation as they returned to the bench. Bryant would stay seated for the first 6:37 of the fourth, and when he returned the Lakers trailed 83-80.

Bryant went just 11 of 25 from the floor, not much of an improvement from his 11 of 33 effort against Cleveland last month.

Delonte West, who started in place of Williams, spent most of the fourth guarding Bryant.

Shaquille O'Neal scored 13 and Hickson, who had just two points in the first meeting with L.A., had 11 and was the difference inside.

While media members, fans and even the league have pushed to portray the Cavaliers and Lakers as a budding rivalry, Bryant isn't buying it - not yet anyway.

``No,'' he said coldly when asked if the team's were adversaries before the game. ``Not at all.''

He may now be warming up to the idea.

NOTES: Bryant is the 15th player to surpass 25,000 points. Up next for Bryant at No. 14 on the list is Lakers legend Jerry West (25,192). ... Rapper 'Lil Wayne sat courtside to see two of the game's biggest stars match moves. .... James was the leading vote getter in fan balloting for next month's All-Star game. He received 2,549,693, becoming the first player get at least 2.5 million votes three times. Bryant was second with 2,456,224, pacing Western Conference players. ... Lakers G Jordan Farmar won $1,200 from his teammates in a half-court shooting contest at the conclusion of the morning shootaround.

Copyright 2010 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


(On the end of the game)
“Pau had a chance to give us a lead. I guess that’s execution. He had a couple of shots. They scored the next time and we had a chance to tie. They made some shots and we didn’t. Pau had a hand in a lot of that. One thing that bothered me was the foul at the end with the rebounding foul. The missed free throw by LeBron, I didn’t like that. I thought it was Varejao’s foul. When they blew the whistle, I thought they were going to call Varejao for coming over the back, but they called the foul on Ron for grabbing him. Rebound situation foul like that at the end of the game, to make that call, is kind of weird.”

(On this game being compared to first meeting)
“No, not at all. A totally different game. There’s nothing to that (losing twice to Cavs).”

(On the Lakers)
“Leads come and go in a game and momentum swings. We just didn’t shoot the ball well, we didn’t shoot free throws well.”

(On Kobe Bryant)
“He kept us in it. He kept looking for guys. They made some real good adjustments and made him take some tough shots.”


(On keys in the second half for Cavs)
“Their bigs were very active and very physical and wore us down.”

(On disappointed in losing twice to the Cavs)
“Yeah, it’s a test for us. We’ve got another test later on this trip, and we’ll see how we respond to a physical team against Boston. I’m not worried about it (possible Finals matchup vs. Cavs with two losses). We have to make some adjustments and we have to make some improvements. The mentality has to change a little bit playing against these teams. These teams are physical, tough-minded and hard-nosed type of teams and we have to make some decisions. This is what they (Cavs) do and we have to try to step up to match that. That’s not part of our DNA. We have to step up and match that and still play skillful basketball.”

(On what happened down the stretch)
“There were a couple of assignments defensively and there were little things and fundamentals will bite you.”

(On difference in Cavs winning twice vs. Lakers vs. last season when Lakers swept Cavs)
“Last year, we were probably a little hungrier and played a little harder. This year, they were the hungrier team. I think they sensed that they want to win a championship and want to go after it, so they’re playing with a sense of urgency that we played with last year.”


(On his two missed free throws and the sequence)
“I let a couple of actions carry over in my mind. I wasn’t able to be effective in the last four minutes. When I got to the line, I was still thinking a couple of times that I could have finished a play and I let it linger in my head. Obviously, it had a total negative effect. Hopfully, the next time I am in that position and things don’t work out a couple of times, I’m able to shake that off and step up to the plate and convert whatever the situation is.”

(On late foul, Artest on Varejao on free throw attempt)
“I think Varejao came in really hard on the rebound and then he said that Ron grabbed him on the shirt. I didn’t see that, but it could have gone either way. But, the referee called it that way. We should have boxed him out better and kept him out of the lane. There were two guys there trying to pinch him, the ball bounced over our heads and it went kind of his way and he got it.”


(General thoughts on tonight’s game)
“I thought we did a decent job of grinding this game out. It wasn’t a pretty game; it was an ugly game, but our guys had a physical presence, especially defensively, throughout the ballgame. That’s something that we want to continue trying to do. We want to continue trying to have a physical presence defensively and doing it without fouling. We got a lot of solid performances from guys. Delonte’s stat line wasn’t pretty, but I thought his toughness and the way he ran the team was terrific. Obviously, we went to Shaq throughout parts of the game and he delivered for us. Andy was great for us, especially down the stretch. I don’t say this much, but I thought that J.J. Hickson was big for us. It was great to see the young fella come up with the double-double tonight, with the 14 rebounds, and I thought that he was aggressive trying to finish around the basket. Obviously, LeBron willed this win for us. He has been doing that for us lately, for us the right way down the stretch, no matter who our opponent is.”

(On what it means to beat the Lakers in both meetings during the regular season)
“Obviously, they have the best record in the league and it could give guys some confidence. It is a win and it’s one of 82. You feel good about it because we won the game and I thought we won the game the right way. Other than that, I don’t know how much weight it carries.”

(On having Shaq’s presence against bigger teams)
“I said last year that I thought a couple of teams gave us problems because of their size. The Lakers were one of those teams. Orlando was another, Houston with Yao and you can kind of throw Boston in there too. Bringing Shaq in here has helped bolster (our) front line. It has also given us an inside presence. As the game went along, Bynum was long and big and Gasol was long. We didn’t really do anything tricky; we just threw the ball in to him and spaced the floor and we spaced the floor correctly. I thought that we moved when they dug or they went to double and that helped out. The big fella just went in and got us buckets inside that paint. Not only on the defensive end is it great to have somebody like that in the paint for you, but offensively he is a guy that we feel has a chance to score on anybody in the league on that low block. It’s fun to see the big fella out there.”

(On buckling down on defense after the first quarter)
“We had started to double Kobe because he got into a nice rhythm. We started to come after him a bit and that helped us out some because he still scored his points and he is a tough cover. Other than that, at the beginning of the game, they got a lot of long rebounds for putbacks and they got some easy baskets because we lost our man in transition, we lost our man on second (chance) opportunities and they made a back cut or two. They got some easy buckets around the rim. As the game went along, we tried to do a better job of cleaning that up. Our guys understood that if we trust our defense, especially in the half-court, we will be able to come up with some stops and be able to get out and go the other way with it…and that happened. We took away their easy (baskets) and forced them to play into our half-court defense a little bit more.”


(On closing out the game)
“That’s what it’s about. We know that’s money time. We know that 85% of the time, the game is won in the fourth quarter. In our case, it’s probably about 95% of the time. It’s a big win for us. We played well. We just have to keep the momentum going.”

(On Shaq’s impact)
“What he does for us is allow us to not double-team in the post. In the past, we’ve been undersized, undermanned…he allows us to stay home on a lot of shooters and play a team straight up. Offensively, he puts a lot of pressure on other bigs by getting them in foul trouble and getting easy baskets.”

(On J.J. Hickson tonight)
“He was great. He used his energy, athleticism, speed and quickness to counter their height. We’re a very talented team and we are very good in the frontcourt when he plays at a high level.”

(On sweeping the Lakers)
“I don’t look too far into it. You don’t want to look too far into beating one team twice. The championship still goes through L.A. It doesn’t matter if you beat the team four times, you still have to beat them in the Finals to take that trophy away from them. It’s a huge win and I can’t sit here and say it’s just a normal game because it’s not. It is just one win, but we’re happy we got better tonight.”

(On playing without Mo)
“It (getting off to a slow start) had a little bit to do with it. When you lose your quarterback, it can really hurt you. We were able to settle down, get some good shots and some easy buckets.”


(On beating a quality team like the Lakers)
“We always play well against the good teams. I said coming in that we match up well with anybody. We knew it was going to be a tough test for us and we stood up to the test. LeBron had a fabulous game and the other guys who came off the bench had fabulous games.”

(On his effectiveness in the paint)
“They were coming to me, throwing it to me every time. I’m at the age where people are not going to double. I’ve been shooting at 50-60 percent my whole career so if I miss one, I’m not going to miss too many.”

(On J.J. Hickson’s performance)
“J.J. played fabulous. He played his role to a ‘t’.”

(On whether this was a statement win)
“For us, it’s just two of 82. We just want to get better every game. We want to be one of the top echelon teams, especially going into the playoffs.”

(On Mo’s injury)
“Mo is a big part of our offense, but I know Delonte is going to step up.”

(On whether this is a championship caliber team)
“We lost 11 games and I’m going to go on the record and say we gave eight of those away. For us it’s still a learning process and we still have to get adjusted (to each other).”


(On the difference between his performance this year versus L.A. and tonight)
“I think it was a lack of effort on my side (last season). I really tuned in and I told myself I was going to box out if I didn’t do anything else, because I think that’s what hurt us as a team when they came in and beat us last year. I was locked in and got a lot of rebounds.”

(On getting more time and improving throughout the season)
“That’s major. Getting more time shows that my teammates and everyone on the coaching staff trusts me on the court. I played a lot of good minutes tonight and I’m looking forward to playing a lot more.”

(On what he’s improved on the most this season)
“I think I’m being more consistent on the defensive side. Mike Brown is a big defensive guy so I think I’m being more consistent on defense. With me being more consistent, it’s going to allow me to play more minutes on the court.”

(On his first career double-double)
“When you rebound, it opens up other parts of your game. I think I had only two offensive rebounds, but my rebounding got me in rhythm.”

Lakers vs. Cavaliers Game Preview


Posted Jan 20 2010 7:13PM

CLEVELAND (AP) Seconds after LeBron James and his Cavaliers teammates dismissed the Toronto Raptors, one excited Cleveland fan began a solitary chant.

``Beat L.A., Beat L.A.,'' he screamed.

Dude, chill. It's January.

But maybe not too early to dream about June.

After all, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are coming.

In possible NBA finals preview Thursday night, Cleveland will host the Los Angeles Lakers, who have a score to settle after being embarrassed 102-87 by the Cavs on Christmas Day. It was a lump-of-coal-in-the-stocking-loss that ended with irate Lakers fans tossing foam fingers - and a few filled water bottles - onto the Staples Center court in anger.

With Mo Williams scoring 28 points, James adding 26 and Shaquille O'Neal acting as their enforcer, the Cavaliers bullied the defending NBA champions, whose frustration level led to them retaliating with some cheap shots and being slapped with several technical fouls.

``We didn't like that Christmas game,'' Lakers center Pau Gasol said. ``It was very disappointing on our part. We've got to try to get that ballgame when we play them again. We need to do that. You never want a team to get the confidence they can beat you, especially when it's somebody you might see down the road in the playoffs.''

The stop in Cleveland begins a demanding, eight-game road trip for the Lakers (32-9), who have the league's best record in part because of a favorable schedule. They've played just 15 road games - compared to 25 for the Cavs - and the imbalance has helped Los Angeles open a five-game lead over Dallas in the Western Conference.

That could change depending on how the Lakers handle a stretch of eight games in 13 days, including three sets of back-to-backs. Last season, Los Angeles went 6-0 on a similar Eastern trip that helped propel the Lakers to a title.

First, though, they want to erase the memories of an unhappy holiday that was particularly hazardous for forward Ron Artest.

``That Christmas game was tough, and then that whole day wasn't too good for me, anyway,'' said Artest, who suffered a concussion in a fall at home hours after the loss to Cleveland. ``We feel like we're a better team now than when we played them before.''

The Cavaliers believe they are better, too.

At 32-11, Cleveland has the best record in the East, and with 23 of their final 39 games at home, the Cavs have a chance to run away from Boston, Orlando and Atlanta, their closest competitors in the conference. They just returned from a West Coast trip, where they displayed some bad habits - a tendency to rely too heavily on James - and also some new offensive wrinkles with O'Neal on the floor.

In Tuesday night's win over Toronto, O'Neal was the difference maker on both ends as the Cavs beat the improved Raptors for the 10th straight time at home. It's taken longer than expected, but Cleveland coach Mike Brown may have finally figured out how to best utilize the super-sized center, whose offensive game isn't what it once was but whose defensive presence remains unmatched.

O'Neal hammered Raptors guards Jarrett Jack and DeMar DeRozan with hard-but-clean fouls in the third quarter that ignited Cleveland's defense, which gave up 60 points in the first half.

``He's a guy from the old school,'' Brown said of O'Neal, who also surpassed 28,000 career points in the win. ``He's not going to give up anything easy around the basket.''

That was the case when the Lakers and Cavaliers met last month. Bryant scored 35 points, but few were easy and he finished just 11 of 32 from the field. And, on more than one occasion, he ran into O'Neal, his former, formidable teammate.

``He definitely had a presence in the game,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ``I do know it was a factor on Kobe. (Shaq) knocked him down about four times without a call.''

Down the stretch against Toronto, the Cavaliers ran their offense through O'Neal, who couldn't be stopped by any of the Raptors. Brown ran four consecutive plays to O'Neal in the low post and he produced two assists and a dunk in a 9-2 spurt to put the game away.

``It is great to have that luxury,'' James said. ``Shaq is an unselfish guy and it is great to have that interior presence.''

Jackson doesn't want his team to get too caught up in Thursday's matchup or the Lakers' upcoming trip, which will take the club to New York on Friday and won't conclude until Feb. 1 in Memphis.

``Last year's road trip jump-started our season,'' he said. ``I'm setting a low bar for this team, though. We don't need to put too much emphasis on the entire trip as a whole. We just need to play good, solid games and avoid injuries, starting in Cleveland. We don't assign a whole lot extra importance to that game, even though it is an interesting game.''

Copyright 2010 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

Kobe Bryant
(back spasms / avulsion fracture, right index finger) is probable.
Sasha Vujacic
(strained right hamstring) is probable.
Luke Walton
(pinched nerve, back) is probable.

Maurice Williams (strained shoulder) is out.
Jamario Moon (left abdominal strain) is out.
Leon Powe
(left knee surgery) is out.

The Lakers trail their current season series with Cleveland 0-1 after sweeping last season’s series with the Cavaliers 2-0. This will be the 97th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers holding a 57- 39 series advantage. Last season, the Lakers snapped a 5-game losing streak to the Cavaliers with a 105-88 victory 1/19/09. In their last 10 overall meetings, the Lakers are 3-7 against the Cavaliers. In Cleveland, the Lakers have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games, most recently snapping a 4-game road losing streak in Cleveland with a 101-91 victory 2/8/09. The Lakers are 8-3 all-time against the Cavaliers at STAPLES Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 12-7 against Cleveland. In 25 games against the Cavaliers (22 starts), Kobe Bryant is averaging 22.5 points per game including a series record 47 points 1/30/01 at Cleveland. In his last nine games against the Cavaliers, however, Bryant has averaged 29.2 points per game (263). In his last trip to Cleveland (2/8/09), Bryant played through the effects of flu-like symptoms. In their prior meeting on 1/19/09, Bryant suffered a dislocated ring finger on his shooting hand but continued to play, marking the 3rd time Bryant has been injured against the Cavs. In 2004, Bryant suffered a sprained right shoulder that limited him to 17 minutes, five of which came after injuring his shoulder in the final seconds of the 1st quarter (1/12/04). Bryant tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, playing five 2nd quarter minutes predominantly left handed. The following season, Bryant suffered a severely sprained right ankle when he landed on Ira Newble’s right foot with 5:39 remaining in the first period (1/13/05) and did not return until the Lakers/Cavs next meeting that season. In two of his last six games against the Lakers, LeBron James has established new team Lakers/Cavs series scoring records, posting 38 points 2/15/07 and then surpassing that with 41 points 1/27/08. In 13 career games against the Lakers, James is averaging 27.2 points per game (353) with his team posting a 7-6 record in those contests. In Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s NINE career head-to-head meetings, Bryant is averaging 34.8 points (313), 6.6 rebounds (59) and 4.4 assists (40) while O’Neal is averaging 19.0 points (171), 9.9 rebounds (89) and 1.33 blocks (12). Bryant’s Lakers have won 4-of-their- last-6 games in which O’Neal has played and are 4-5 overall in nine meetings. O’Neal played eight seasons with the Lakers, averaging 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.49 blocked shots, and ranks among franchise leaders in points (7th/13,895), rebounds (5th/6,090), blocked shots (2nd/1,278) and FG percentage (2nd/.575). Last season, Bryant and O’Neal shared MVP honors at the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix, AZ.


With 24,981 career points, Kobe Bryant is now 19 points shy of 25,000 for his career. Should Bryant reach the 25,000-point milestone, he will become the 15th NBA player in the league’s history to do so. Currently 31 years and 150 days of age as of January 20th, should Bryant reach 25,000 points in the next month-plus, he would become the youngest player in NBA history to do so, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (31 years, 186 days). Karl Malone (33 years, 228 days) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33 years, 249 days) are the second and third youngest respectively to reach the 25,000 points milestone. In terms of games, Bryant (989 games) should become the 9th fastest to 25,000 career points, behind Dominique Wilkins (960) but ahead of Hakeem Olajuwon (1,057). Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest in terms of games to reach 25,000 points, doing so in 691 games. Michael Jordan (782) and Abdul-Jabbar (889) rank second and third behind Chamberlain.

Earlier this season, 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 15,000 – 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.

On January 20th, the NBA released its Most Popular Jerseys list with Kobe Bryant’s #24 once again listed as no. 1, a ranking Bryant has now held since the start of the 2008-09 season. The rankings, based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and since the start of the 2009-10 season, once again list the Los Angeles Lakers as no. 1 in “Most Popular NBA Team Merchandise.” Additionally, Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol (10th) rounds out the top 10 most popular jerseys. (1) Bryant (2) James (3) Howard (4) Rose (5) Wade (6) Garnett (7) Paul (8) Pierce (9) S. O’Neal (10) Gasol / (1) Lakers (2) Celtics (3) Cavaliers (4) Knicks (5) Bulls

Thursday’s game against the Cavaliers is the first of a back-to-back set with Cleveland and New York. This season, the Lakers are 7-3 in the first game and 7-3 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.

On January 18, the NBA announced that Lakers guard Shannon Brown will compete against defending champion Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks, Gerald Wallace of the Charlotte Bobcats and the winner of the NBA’s first ever All-Star Dunk-In between Eric Gordon of the LA Clippers and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors. Brown, who competed in the 2003 High School McDonald’s All American dunk contest against LeBron James, Von Wafer and J.R. Giddens, will be the fourth Laker to ever compete in the NBA’s Slam Dunk contest, joining Michael Cooper (1984), Antonio Harvey (1995) and 1997 Slam Dunk Champion Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers victory over the Magic on January 18th marked the 32nd time this season that they have held a lead in the fourth quarter and gone on to win the game. With 32 wins on the season, the Lakers are the only team in the NBA to not lose a single game when leading at any point of the fourth quarter or in an overtime period thereafter. By comparison, no other team has fewer than four losses after holding a lead at some point during the fourth quarter this season (games through January 20th).

With a victory over the Orlando Magic January 18th, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson (528) moved within five games of Pat Riley’s franchise-record 533 regular season victories with the Lakers. 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, arriving at the mark 11 games earlier than Riley (1,434 career games). Earlier this season, Jackson (1,072) moved past Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown for 5th on the NBA’s all-time coaching win list with a victory over Detroit (11/17/09). Earning induction in his 1st year of consideration, on September 7, 2007, Jackson was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Owning a record 10 NBA Championships as a head coach, only Jerry Sloan (4th), Pat Riley (3rd), Don Nelson (2nd) and Lenny Wilkens (1st) have more career victories than Jackson while of the top five, 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.