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Beat LA? Not this time for Celtics
By JIMMY GOLEN
Posted Jan 31 2010 6:27PM
BOSTON(AP) Kobe Bryant sank a go-ahead fallaway jumper with 7.3 seconds left to give the Los Angeles Lakers a 90-89 victory over Boston on Sunday and send the struggling Celtics to their sixth loss in eight games.
The Celtics, who led by 11 points in the fourth quarter, nursed a one-point lead until Paul Pierce was called for an offensive foul for pushing off as he jumped to shoot with 28 seconds left.
Bryant, who shot just 8 for 20 in the game, dribbled down the shot clock before stepping back from defender Ray Allen and making a basket to give Los Angeles the lead.
Bryant finished with 19, and Andrew Bynum had 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Rajon Rondo had 21 points and 12 assists for the Celtics.
The Celtics led 81-70 before the Lakers made the next four baskets. Rasheed Wallace hit a 3-pointer - his only basket of the game - to stop the run, and it was still a three-point game with less than two minutes left when Bryant hit a pair of free throws to make it 87-86.
It was 89-88 when Pierce was called for pushing off. Bryant, who complained of a sore ankle after Friday night's win in Philadelphia, gave the Lakers the lead, then Allen's 3-point attempt at the final buzzer bounced harmlessly off the rim.
Pau Gasol had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who won their fourth straight game and beat Boston for the third consecutive time since losing Game 6 of the 2008 NBA finals to watch the Celtics clinch their 17th championship.
Pierce scored 15, Kevin Garnett had 10 with nine rebounds and Kendrick Perkins finished with eight points and 10 boards for the Celtics, who were coming off losses to Orlando and Atlanta - two of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference - that left them at 6-10 since beating the Magic on Christmas Day.
Garnett missed 10 of those games with a hyperextended right knee, and Boston was 4-6 without him. But Garnett's return hasn't solved all the Celtics' problems.
The Celtics fell behind 22-10 in the first quarter, when Bynum scored 12 points, and trailed 40-34 midway through the second before scoring the next 15 points. Rondo had nine points and eight assists in the quarter and was in double digits in both by halftime.
NOTES: Garnett finished the game with 21,773 career points, 18 behind Larry Bird for 24th on the NBA scoring list. ... Bryant is 28 points behind Jerry West for No. 1 on the Lakers' all-time list. ... Wallace and Gasol picked up technical fouls late in the first. It's Wallace's 14th for the season; 16 is an automatic suspension. ... The Lakers outscored Boston on points in the paint 18-0 in the fourth quarter. ... Allen was 2 for 10 from the field.
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
LAKERS HEAD COACH PHIL JACKSON
(What was the deciding factor of the game)
“I think the little things. The turnovers, the extra possessions that we got, even the ball that hit the backboard (it hit behind the backboard), but we didn’t get that one back. We did get an extra possession after that. That was the key for us. Some of the offensive fouls went against them, and we got possession because of that.”
(Van Gundy thought that the play was reviewable, did you ask if it was)
“Well, we asked about it, and they just said there was no doubt about it in their minds. Sometimes you can’t convince them.”
(Why is there so much disparity between the first and second quarter)
“Well, we made a couple turnovers, and we missed a couple free throws. I think that Tony Allen got a rebound that he took away from Lamar, and it turned the crowd on and it really chews them up. Rondo got going and that changed the ball game, literally he changed the ball game, in a matter of about four minutes.”
(How did you slow Rondo down)
“I had Shannon on him in the second quarter and we had Kobe back on him, and we did some things that we thought were better in the second half.”
(Is this your best road win of the year)
“I thought we played a game in Dallas that was maybe a little bit better than this, but this is a big game because of the rivalry that goes back with the Celtics in the playoffs a couple of years ago. It was an excellent win for us.”
(This was a playoff feel atmosphere type of game)
“Ya, I thought that there was a lot of bantering, a little bit of stance from both teams. You have that feel of a challenge from both of the teams, so it was a good game right down to the stretch. We were lucky to come away with it.”
LAKERS GUARD KOBE BRYANT
(Re: the last shot)
“I just tried to create space and get to a spot where I could elevate and knock it down.”
(Re what he said to Phil Jackson before the shot)
“I didn’t say give me one more chance, I said give me the damn ball. I never really give him much of a choice. All we talked about was really just the execution of it, where I was going to catch the ball. That was the only difference. Throughout the course of the game I was pretty much a decoy because of all the traps and everything I did wrong, but if I catch it at the top of the floor, it’s a different story.”
(Re even now is it as much fun to beat the Celtics as it was when he was younger)
“Oh sure. Oh sure. I mean it’s a great team. It’s a great basketball city. Very knowledgeable basketball city. So it’s fun to come in here and win.”
(Re what decided the fourth quarter)
“ We got big points when we needed them, off our defense – we got our hands on the ball. We were very active. And made some good free throws down the stretch, gave ourselves a chance.”
(Re encouraging Bynum)
“I thought he performed exceptionally well. He was aggressive, wasn’t passive at all and didn’t back down from the contact. I felt like this was a steppingstone for him.”
(Re did he think about his last shot in Toronto which was a good look bun not a clean look)
“I didn’t think about that. I thought about being here last year and having a chance to win in at the end of regulation and having to fo into overtime and do it. So I kind of wanted to redeem myself for that.”
LAKERS GUARD SHANNON BROWN
(Re: How did the Celtics hurt you tonight?)
“They hurt us by penetration, you know, Rondo was dishing the ball and he was scoring. Paul Pierce was hitting shots and being aggressive, and you know they did get some second chance points.”
(Re: Rondo matchup)
“We were just trying to make him do everything, you know, if they were going to win, then he was going to have to pretty much do everything. We tried to just have a role man be able to help.”
(Re: What did you guys do well in the second half?)
“I mean I think we played them pretty much the same way, we made him do everything but I think in the second half Paul Pierce got a little more aggressive because he didn’t play much in the first quarter because of foul trouble.”
(Re: Were you guys trying to slow it down a little bit, the pace of the game)
“I mean, not slow it down, I mean we want to run every chance we get but we wanted to execute, we didn’t want to take quick shots, we didn’t want to take bad shots, we just wanted to execute and get the ball from side to side.”
LAKERS FORWARD RON ARTEST
(Re: His play tonight)
“You know I know I have 100% and that’s it. I just gave 100% to play and um, did he push me? I mean it was the referees call, I was trying to get over the screen and got hit with the screen, he was trying to get a screen from Paul, and I got a little shove, and the momentum carried me out of bounds.”
(Re: What about the game on the whole, happy with defending Pierce?)
“I mean I was more focused, and more upset with some of the team defense I played, you know there were times where I left him open and we as a team didn’t play smart the whole time. I was more focused on how we were going to team defense, rather than focus on just one person, but you know if Kobe don’t hit that shot, we lose, and he only has 15 points, and the game could have gone the other way, so basically there were a lot of things that we could have done better.”
(Re: You sound like you guys lost, happy with win on the road?)
“I mean even if we lost that game, there were still things that we could have done better. We won by one point, you know it’s not like we won by twenty, we only won by one. We were humbled a little bit.”
LAKERS CENTER ANDREW BYNUM
(Re: Happy to win one out of LA)
“We needed to do that, especially here against the Celtics who beat us in the championship, we had to prove that we could come out and play tough basketball on the road.”
(Re: Do you hate the Celtics?)
“I don’t hate anybody. I love the NBA and I’d be happy to play for anybody.”
(Re: Conscious effort to be effective and rebound down low)
“Well you mean there was an effort on my end tonight to kind of come out and do those things but at the end of the day, you know we got up by 12 or 11 and me and Pau were kicking their ass on the inside so to go away from it is kind of crazy, especially him, you know, he passes it a lot more then I do on the block, so I don’t know sometimes why we kind of go away from that..”
(Re: Doubling Pau so much, opening you up)
“I was sticking my nose in their on defense, and you know I love to play traditional center, and that’s when you stay closer to the basket, because it’s easier to do that and I love to be able to do that. Every time I’m lifted it’s like I’m starting to do this and it’s just kind of harder to get rebounds.”
CELTICS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS
(Re does he have the “let it slip away” feeling)
“I mean, it was just a good game. I don’t know if we let it slip away. Only thing I thought, with five minute left we went into the stall mode offensively, walked the ball up the floor, took forever to run stuff. That’s just not who we are. And I got on them about that. And then the two offensive rebounds – the one with Shannon Brown, you know that’s what we’ve talked about. We had a big discussion about it today, about timely rebounds; offensive rebounds are killing us. And that hurt us. But they made some unbelievable shots. Kobe (Bryant)’s shot was as difficult of a shot you can make. Ron Artest’s shot, I don’t even know how that thing went in. Didn’t think Ray (Allen) fouled Kobe on the one strip play. I thought that was as clean as you’re going to get. He exposed the ball. Then, I didn’t think the guy was in position to make the call. But it was made and you know that’s part of the game. So I don’t know if we let it slip away. It was a good game. We had opportunities. We didn’t cash in on them.”
(Re Paul Pierce’s foul at the end of the game)
“I haven’t seen it yet, honestly. I just think at that point it’s got to be unbelievable, but I didn’t see it so I really can’t give an opinion on it. You know, I do know Kobe pushes off a lot.”
(Re two baskets and five turnovers in the last nine minutes)
“That’s because of the speed we played. I called a time out, tried to get them the urge to push it up. You know, Rajon Rondo had a great game. But he also, he had a couple shots we just got to take. The travel call on him, and a couple of them, he’s shooting the ball so well and he was shooting the ball well tonight. That’s going to happen a lot for him. And that’s a growth – some of the growth part for him that he still has to get through. He will. I have no, I mean, I have complete confidence in that. We’ll watch the film and he’ll see that. But they’re going to do that. They’re going to leave him. I mean, they left him by himself sitting in the middle of the free throw line. And he will make those shots. He’s been making them every day in practice.”
(Re not thriving in the fourth quarter)
“No. We just, you know I don’t know what it is honestly. Tonight it was that we didn’t play well. I thought we tried to hold on to the game. What disappointed me about that is I told our guys, ‘we can’t act like we’re surprised to be up.’ We should have been up, and we should’ve been up more. So that was tough.”
(Re is he hoping the team will get angry and focus more)
“I don’t know. I thought we were pretty damn focused tonight. I think we are. Tonight I thought we played well. And we just didn’t win the game. But I thought overall we did a lot of great things. And you know could we have done things better? Yeah. We could’ve made a couple more shots, could have got a stop. The thing that – I don’t know if ‘concerns’ the word – is: we haven’t been able to get timely stops to end games. And that’s – if anything bothers me over the turnovers and the offensive part – we’ve been able in the past to lean on our defense when we go cold offensively. The Atlanta game down the stretch they scored every time, the Orlando game down the stretch they scored every time. And tonight. The biggest quarters over the last three games offensively, for the most part, have been the fourth quarters by the other teams. And that we have to reverse.”
(Re relying on defense)
“I still will. But we just haven’t gotten the stops.”
(Re Kobe’s hitting a late shot)
“He can. We put them in that situation. And so it’s tough. And as a staff, we always look – we went back and forth from putting Tony (Allen) in the game at the end, but I just think a last play you’d rather have a star guarding a star. You don’t want, you know, anyway.”
(Re Ray Allen’s last shot)
“He got a great look. Yeah, he got a great look. And just didn’t make it. They did a good job on Paul on that play. It’s why Ray got the shot. We thought coming out of the pick and roll with Ray and Paul, either Paul was going to get a good look or Ray was going to get the good look. I’ll take either one.”
(Re Tony Allen)
“Tony was fantastic. I thought he got a little fast in the third quarter and turned the ball over and all that. The first half, him and Rondo singlehandedly got us back in the game, with their energy. Forget the bait and made baskets and the defense. I just thought they came in the game and played with energy. We told Rondo before the game we were going to sub him early because I wanted him against their second unit. I thought it’d be a good change for our second unit to have Rondo with the second unit. Because it gives us a ball handler. And I thought that was big for us.”
(Re does this game change how other teams see Rondo)
“No. No. Listen, this is the NBA. They’re going to make you show them for three years. Andre Miller had 52 last night. Tomorrow they’re going to leave him wide open.”
(Re any slippage in the team’s confidence)
“No. I don’t – the only thing that I didn’t like is we didn’t finish the game with our normal speed. I thought we got a lead and then we tried to sit on it, and in the NBA, you know 24 second clock, you’re not sitting on the lead.”
(Re concern about Tony Allen at the end of the third quarter)
“I thought he was getting too fast. I thought he was getting too fast. And you know, just remember, you’ve got to always make a decision: Ray or Tony. Most of the time you go with Ray, I think, especially in the fourth quarter. That’s what he is. Ray has proven – he didn’t tonight – but time and time again that he’s a fourth-quarter player and that’s why you want him in the game.”
(Re how the team responded after recent losses)
“I thought we came out to play today. I just didn’t think we played very well. And then we actually had to get subs in to get the energy going. So I liked the way we came out against Orlando as well. Atlanta was Atlanta. You know, back to back, that’s tough.”
CELTICS FORWARD PAUL PIERCE
(Re committing offensive foul on second to last play)
“I thought I made a good move. I got to my sweet spot. I guess the ref saw it differently and he made the call. That’s part of the game, that’s why you have referees and, hey, I thought I made a great move though.”
(Re how the last offensive play unfolded)
“Well it’s a play we run a lot, me and Ray up top screen and roll. Once I saw Kobe kinda hedge out and I knew Ray would be open and ten time out of ten times when you have Ray open like that I’m gonna give it to him for the game. I thought he got a good look at it and some days they fall, some days they don’t”
(Re happy with energy and focus despite the loss)
“I’m happy with our effort tonight but it’s gotta be consistent. We rebounded the ball well today which is a major emphasis and we just gotta continue to do that throughout the rest of these games in the second half of the season. Our defense was strong for the most part of the game. I thought we defended Kobe really well, the scorers really well. We get into a grind out situation like that we expect to win those games. But hopefully we can learn from these lat three games against the top teams and move forward.
(Re taking something from the losses)
“You always learn something. We learn things in wins and losses. In these last span of games with these contending teams, the thing we learn is our composure and togetherness. I think that’s what it’s all about. We always talk about it. We stay together. It’s easy with losing teams to point the finger when you go through a tough stretch, but we’re not that team. We’re in the locker room, we talk about it, and we move forward.”
(Re losses setting a pattern)
“We know we lost these games. The good thing about it we play all of those teams except for Atlanta again. So we have some ground to make up. Definitely we lost ground iin this race at this point in the season. But we’re a fighting team that’s going to get back in it.”
CELTICS FORWARD KEVIN GARNETT
(Re any lack of confidence)
“We don’t lack any confidence. Our spirits are high. We have a little saying, to work hard. You put into it what you want to get out of it and just as of late we haven’t been producing wins but we’re a hard working group. We’re going to continue to work and that’s the only way to come out of this. Just unfortunate we haven’t been on top of a lot of these games as of late but Doc tells us that nothing worth acquiring is easy. We’re just going to continue to grind.”
(Re letting Lakers hang around in game)
“Anytime you have a team down you want to put them away. Take care of the ball, situations where you got a team on the ropes you got to knock them out. I thought for the most part we were aggressive and then we started to walk the ball up, trying to use some of the clock, instead of just ramming the ball down their throat a little bit. Live and learn, live and learn.”
(Re importance of emphasis on this one game)
“Little bit. Obviously the Lakers are a very good team. They’re one of the premier teams in the league. You know its gonna be like a fight when you play these teams. Its two good teams going at it. It’s not the playoffs, it’s not the finals, none of that.”
CELTICS FORWARD RASHEED WALLACE
(Re: Down the stretch)
“Questionable down the end, they got some stops we got some stops. But they just got one extra bucket than we did down the end. It was a good game, tough game, but it’s a learning experience, just have to take something from it.”
(Re: Closing teams out)
“We have been beating ourselves. We’ve been having double digit leads, coming in there and losing those leads. Teams eventually winning it in the end. I don’t know I guess we just have to go a little bit harder, step on the peddle a little bit harder.”
(Re: Tony Allen’s spark to the team)
“TA to me had a good game tonight, he played some good D on Kobe, hit some good shots, went to the hole, drew some fouls, went to the line a little bit. I think TA played a good game if you ask me.”
(Re: How disappointing is it to come up just short of the elite teams)
“It’s not disappointing, its just some thing that we have to do. This is possibly a team we could see down the road, so we have to go and do what we are capable of doing to go and get some W’s.”
(Re: Psychological advantage winning reg. season games helping in postseason)
“Me personally I was never one with that, because postseason is a whole different season. It’s the added on season where all the shots are bigger, that’s when you see who has the biggest machismo, I don’t want to say the other word, but that’s what it comes down to. Regular season yeah you got a few big games where anybody can hit some shots then, but when its for the hardware, some cats don’t want to take those shots. So I don’t think it’s a psychological advantage if you dominate or beat a team in the regular season.”
CELTICS GUARD RAY ALLEN
(Re: What was difference down the stretch)
“They scored two key possessions, they went to the free throw line, so maybe three possessions where they scored and we didn’t down the stretch. That’s the difference.
(Re: Final Play, shot to win)
“I had a good look, I think maybe I rushed it a little bit, but I did have a look.”
(Re: Lack of stops down the stretch)
“It’s hard to say tonight, you know there’s one play where Kobe went to the free throw line, it was just a judgment call. And then Kobe, the last shot he took, he just shot it over me, it wasn’t like it was bad defense. Obviously we have to keep the ball from going in, that’s getting stops. By any means necessary, whatever that means, we have to do it, and on the other end we have to put the ball in the hole.”
(Re: Key for keeping confidence up)
“We just have to keep forging forward, because it doesn’t get any easier. Teams don’t look at us and think they’re going to come out and not want to beat us, just t he same way every night we play. Its not going to come from other teams, its not going to come from the referees, we just have to do it for ourselves.”
(Re: Turning this into motivation, not frustration)
“Just, when its time to work, everybody has to put their work in. Regardless of what happened yesterday or the day before, moving forward we all have to buckle down and do our jobs. It forces you from definitely not being comfortable, you have to go out there and just fight as hard as you can, what you need to work on and just get ready for the next game.”
Lakers vs. Celtics Game Preview
By JIMMY GOLEN
Posted Jan 30 2010 1:04PM
BOSTON (AP) - Even when things are going well for the Celtics - and they most certainly are not right now - Paul Pierce looks forward to the Lakers' annual visit to Boston.
``It's always a big deal. It is for me,'' the Los Angeles native and longtime Celtics forward said. ``We feel like it's a must-win. These are teams we're going to see in the playoffs so we're giving them psychological edge right now. That's not something that you're going to be able to turn on once the playoffs start. So we've got to turn it around right now.''
And it won't be easy.
The Celtics (29-15) are in a rut unlike any they've seen since assembling the New Big Three in the summer of 2007. They have lost five of their last seven and 10 of their last 16 since beating Orlando on Christmas Day, including back-to-back losses to the Magic and Atlanta Hawks.
That makes Sunday's matchup of the last two NBA champions Boston's third game in four days - all of them against top teams in the league.
``Yeah, and the Lakers are the cherry on the top for us!'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ``It's still fun to play these games, because they're good teams and you enjoy playing them. There's no love lost, and all that stuff's good. It's good for our league. But more importantly, it's just fun in the middle of the season to have days like this.''
The defending Eastern Conference champion Magic overcame a 16-point deficit to beat the Celtics on Thursday night. The Hawks beat Boston 100-91 on Friday night to complete a four-game season series sweep - Atlanta's first over Boston in 11 years - and move one game ahead of the Celtics in second place in the East.
One of the more puzzling aspects of Boston's slump is its home record. While their road mark is one of the best in the NBA - even after the recent road swing that dropped them to 16-8 - the Celtics have struggled at home, going 13-7; in their title-winning season of 2007-08, they lost only six home games all year.
``They're a tough team. They're a championship team. They still have that flavor to them,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ``They're going to be physical and aggressive. You're going to have to play through that. That part's going to be good for the team.''
When the Lakers (36-11) won in Philadelphia on Friday for their third straight victory, guard Kobe Bryant was keeping one eye on the Celtics. Noting their struggles against Orlando and Atlanta, he predicted that they will have things turned around by the time their archrivals arrive.
``I'm looking forward to seeing how they answer that challenge,'' Bryant said. ``Every time we go back to Boston, it's special, because that's where we lost the (2008) championship. All those memories come back.''
Bryant has some personal motivation, too.
With 47 points Sunday - a total he's hit 29 times in his career in the regular season, but never against Boston - he would pass Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer. Jackson noted that West averaged 39.2 points in the higher-scoring days of the NBA, making Bryant's accomplishment even more remarkable.
``That's almost unheard of now to have someone score 30 points a game as an average. The game has changed dramatically,'' Jackson said. ``In that regard - the scoring's not there - Kobe's challenge for points, I think it's a remarkable thing. He's pursuing it, and he's aggressive as an offensive ballplayer and he's going to be scoring for a while.''
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston contributed to this story from Philadelphia and AP freelancer Amy Jinker-Lloyd contributed from Atlanta.
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 (avulsion fracture, right index finger) is probable.
Sasha Vujacic (strained right hamstring) is probable.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is probable.
Marquis Daniels (left thumb surgery) is out.
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers swept last season’s series with the Boston Celtics 2-0, after being swept by Boston during the 2007-08 season 0-2. With the Lakers 92-83 Christmas Day victory last season, Phil Jackson recorded his 1,000th career victory as an NBA head coach. Under Jackson, the Lakers have swept Boston on five occasions while twice being swept by the Celtics. The two teams have met 179 times since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season with Los Angeles trailing the series 82-97. Including their time in Minneapolis, the Lakers and Celtics have met 270 times in all with Boston leading the all-time series 152-118. The Lakers are 6-4 against the Celtics in their last 10 overall regular season meetings. In Boston, the Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 regular season games at TD Banknorth Garden while in Los Angeles, the Lakers are 7-3 all-time against the Celtics at STAPLES Center (regular season). Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 12-6 against Boston during the regular season. In 21 career regular season games against Boston including 18 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.1 points. Pau Gasol is the next highest scoring Laker career- wise versus Boston, averaging 18.2 points in 13 career games against the Celtics. Celtics forward Paul Pierce grew up in Southern California, attending Inglewood High. Last season, Phil Jackson surpassed legendary Celtics head coach Red Auerbach (9) with his 10th NBA championship as a head coach, an NBA record. Jackson surpassed Auerbach in all-time victories during the 2007-08 season and in games coached during the 2008-09 season. Losing to the Celtics in six games during the 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers and Celtics have now met in 11 NBA Finals dating back to Minneapolis in 1959, with Boston taking the first eight before Los Angeles won in 1985 and 1987.
BRYANT 47 POINTS SHY OF JERRY WEST FOR FIRST ON LAKERS ALL-TIME SCORING LIST (14th ON NBA LIST)
With 22 points 1/5 vs. Houston, Kobe Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Earlier this season, with 41 points 11/6 vs. Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the all-time list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, passed 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 all-time list ahead of Bryant (25,145) are Jerry West (14th/25,192) and Reggie Miller (13th/25,279).
Additionally, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter November 19th vs. Chicago, 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 (25,145), at his current scoring average (28.2 ppg), Bryant would surpass West approximately two games from now 2/1/10 at Memphis.
JACKSON ONE WIN SHY OF RILEY FOR MOST REGULAR SEASON VICTORIES IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
With a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers January 29th, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson (532) moved within one game 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 (1,077) 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.
DOUBLE-DOUBLES FOR EVERYONE
In the Lakers 118-96 victory January 27th at Indiana, Andrew Bynum (27 points, 12 rebounds), Pau Gasol (21 points, 13 rebounds) and Lamar Odom (12 points, 14 rebounds) all posted double-doubles, marking the fourth time this season that three Lakers have recorded double-doubles in the same game (12/19 at New Jersey: Bryant, Gasol, Odom, 12/29 vs. Golden State: Bryant, Gasol, Odom, 1/13 at Dallas: Bynum, Odom, Artest). Prior to this season, three Lakers had last posted double-doubles in the same game back on March 4, 2008 at Sacramento. In the 2007-08 campaign, three Lakers posted double-doubles in the same game three times: 3/4/08 at SAC, 1/29/08 vs. NY and 11/9/07 vs. MIN. Prior to the 2007-08 season, three Lakers had not posted double-doubles in the same game since 3/27/05 vs. Philadelphia: Bryant (34 points, 10 rebounds), Chris Mihm (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Caron Butler (13 points, 10 rebounds).
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
On Wednesday January 20th, the Lakers headed east to Cleveland, embarking upon their longest road-trip of the season. The Lakers 8-game trip is the team’s 11th stretch of eight or more consecutive road games in franchise history and the 5th in the NBA’s modern era which includes the end of neutral court games prior to the 1974- 75 season and the inception of the 82-game schedule prior to the 1976-77 season. On the 8-game trip that takes them through Cleveland, New York, Toronto, the White House and Verizon Center in Washington DC, Indiana, Philadelphia, Boston and Memphis, the Lakers will travel more than 8,469 miles over 13 days through two countries.
* neutral court games included along with road games
Sunday’s game against the Celtics is the first of a back-to-back set with Boston and Memphis. This season, the Lakers are 8-4 in the first game and 9-3 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.
BRYANT RETAINS NO. 1 SPOT ON NBA’S MOST POPULAR JERSEYS LIST
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 NBAStore.com 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
BRYANT YOUNGEST IN NBA HISTORY TO 25,000 CAREER POINTS; 15th EVER TO REACH MILESTONE
With a free throw at the three minute mark of the 2nd quarter January 21st at Cleveland, Kobe Bryant scored his 25,000th career point, becoming the 15th NBA player in league history to do so as well as the youngest ever to reach the milestone at 31 years and 151 days of age. Bryant surpassed Wilt Chamberlain (31 years, 186 days) in terms of youngest to 25,000, with Karl Malone (33 years, 228 days) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33 years, 249 days) ranking 3rd and 4th respectively. In terms of games, Bryant (989 games) became the 9th fastest to 25,000 career points, behind Dominique Wilkins (960) but ahead of Hakeem Olajuwon (1,057). Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest to reach 25,000, doing so in 691 games. Michael Jordan (782) and Abdul-Jabbar (889) rank 2nd and 3rd 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 – 25,000 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.
BRYANT LEADING VOTE-GETTER IN WEST, WILL START 12th CONSECUTIVE ALL-STAR GAME
On January 21st, the NBA announced the starters for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas, TX. Kobe Bryant (2,456,224), who led all players in All-Star voting for the first four returns of balloting, finished second overall to Cleveland’s LeBron James (2,549,693) in total votes but still topped the Western Conference for the third consecutive season. Joining Bryant in the West are Carmelo Anthony (2,137,560), Tim Duncan (1,156,696), Amar’e Stoudemire (1,824,093) and Steve Nash (1,222,235). In the East, James will be joined by Kevin Garnett (1,978,116), Dwight Howard (2,360,096), Allen Iverson (1,269,568) and Dwyane Wade (2,327,550).
Pau Gasol (1,051,784), who made his second All-Star team last season as a reserve and became the 27th Laker in franchise history to be name an All-Star, ranked 4th in balloting among West forwards behind Anthony, Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki (1,093,005) but ahead of Kevin Durant (870,567) while Andrew Bynum (981,355) ranked 2nd among West centers behind Stoudemire. In selecting the reserves, the 30 NBA head coaches must vote for seven players within their conference, including two guards, two forwards, a center and two players regardless of position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. After the coaches select the reserves, if a player is unable to participate in the All-Star Game, NBA Commissioner David Stern will select a replacement. Reserves will be announced 1/28/10 on TNT.
In each of the last two seasons, Bryant has led the Western Conference in all-star balloting. Last season, he accumulated 2,805,397 votes, finishing third in overall balloting behind Dwight Howard (3,150,181) and LeBron James (2,940,823). In 2007-08, Bryant garnered 2,004,940 votes to finish fourth in overall voting behind Kevin Garnett (2,399,148), James (2,108,831) and Howard (2,066,991). In 2006-07, when he earned his second All-Star MVP, Bryant finished third overall in balloting behind James and Yao Ming. A three-time All-Star MVP (2002 Philadelphia, 2007 Las Vegas, 2009 Phoenix), Bryant is now a 12-time All-Star and will start his 12th consecutive All-Star game on Sunday, February 14. Bryant, who was the youngest All-Star in NBA history in 1998, led all players in NBA All-Star balloting in 2003.
LAKERS FORWARD PAU GASOL NAMED WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR
On January 28, the NBA announced that Lakers forward Pau Gasol was selected to represent the Western Conference in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game to be played February 14 in Dallas. Gasol, who will join teammate Kobe Bryant, will be making his third career All-Star appearance (2006, 2009). Last year, Gasol became the 27th Laker in franchise history to be named to an All-Star team, posting 15 points (5-7 FG) and a team-high eight rebounds in the West’s 146-119 victory over the East in the 2009 All-Star game in Phoenix. In his first All-Star game in 2006, Gasol, despite playing a team-low 14 minutes, pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds in the West’s two- point loss to the East (120-122). In selecting the reserves, each of the 30 NBA head coaches must vote for seven players within their conference, including two guards, two forwards, a center and two players regardless of position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their team. If a player is unable to participate in the All-Star Game, NBA Commissioner David Stern will select a replacement.
SHANNON BROWN TO PARTICIPATE IN 2010 SPRITE SLAM DUNK
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.