Lakers Gameday | 03/09/10 | Raptors
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Lakers snap 3-game skid on Bryant's late jumper
By GREG BEACHAM
Posted Mar 10 2010 1:33AM
LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant hit a 17-foot fallaway jumper with 1.9 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied in the fourth quarter to snap their three-game losing streak with a 109-107 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
Chris Bosh hit a 3-pointer with 9.5 seconds left to tie it for the Raptors, who outplayed the defending champions for most of the first three quarters before losing on another big shot by Bryant, who scored 14 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter.
Bryant, who missed a shot at the buzzer in Los Angeles' loss at Toronto in January, got the ball on the wing before eluding Antoine Wright's defense and gliding nearly to the baseline for a graceful jumper. Wright's failed desperation shot set off a celebration for the Lakers, who haven't lost four straight since April 2007.
Andrew Bynum scored 22 points and Pau Gasol had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who returned from a winless road trip to beat Toronto for the eighth straight time at Staples Center.
Bosh scored 22 points in his second game back from a seven-game injury absence, and Andrea Bargnani had 21 as the Raptors opened a four-game road trip by struggling from the field in the final minutes of their sixth loss in seven games. Jarrett Jack added 18 points.
Lamar Odom had 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists and several big fourth-quarter plays for the Lakers, who pushed their suddenly tenuous lead over Dallas atop the Western Conference standings back to three games while winning their only home game in a 16-day stretch.
Bryant put the Lakers ahead on two free throws with 3:54 left, and Derek Fisher stole Hedo Turkoglu's pass and hit two free throws with 30 seconds left to put Los Angeles up by four. Odom missed a free throw moments later to give Toronto a chance to tie it, and Bosh coolly nailed his second 3-pointer of the game after hitting just six all season previously.
An only-in-L.A. moment also factored in the final decision moments earlier, when Toronto's Jose Calderon went racing to the sidelines to save a loose ball with 1:48 to play. Before Calderon could get there to attempt an out-of-bounds save, the ball was tipped away by Lapo Elkann, the Fiat heir and international playboy watching from a courtside seat.
Elkann got a loud ovation when he was shown on the overhead scoreboard moments later.
Los Angeles lost at Miami, Charlotte and Orlando over the previous five days, with an embarrassing blowout loss to the Bobcats sandwiched between two tight games in Florida. Bryant's various injuries and his teammates' struggles both played roles in the slide, which allowed the streaking Mavericks to eliminate most of Los Angeles' conference lead.
In a good sign the Lakers were getting back to business, Ron Artest had shaved his head bald. On Sunday in Orlando, the colorful forward unveiled a Rodmanesque yellow dye job with the word ``Defense'' apparently written into it in purple in three languages.
The Lakers will finish the regular season with 11 of 17 on the road, including Friday's game in Phoenix to open a three-game trip.
Toronto took a 58-50 lead into halftime with 15 points from Bargnani, who hit two 3-pointers and played his usual up-tempo game. The Raptors maintained their lead in the third quarter with 13 points from Jack, and Gasol became enraged in the final seconds when Amir Johnson got away with grabbing a fistful of Gasol's shorts while the Lakers All-Star attempted a putback.
Gasol and Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen both received technical fouls after the quarter ended.
NOTES: Turkoglu returned from a one-game absence to rest his sprained left ankle. ... Lakers G Sasha Vujacic returned from an eight-game absence with a sprained right shoulder, playing just three minutes. ... Besides Elkann, courtside fans included actors Eddie Murphy, Jason Statham, Mark Valley, Russell Brand and Noah Wyle.
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’ Coach Phil Jackson on tonight’s game:
“Well Toronto kept us on our heels. You know, we flip flopped at halves, [they] made free throws second half, we made free throws the first half. Long game, extended game. Those type of things can happen.”
On Kobe Bryant’s game-winning shot:
“When [Chris] Bosh stepped out and hit that three, everybody’s heart sunk a little bit, but we were able to get the ball to a place where [Kobe Bryant] wanted to shoot it and he made the shot again.”
On whether he was happy with the Lakers’ performance tonight:
“There were points in the game where I was very happy. The aggressiveness, the defense. You know, they started getting a piece of the ball, a piece of the guys getting through the picks, they were doing a good job. You know, they tested us in all of those sequences and areas.”
On giving Andrew Bynum a lot of minutes in tonight’s game:
“He was playing well. If you’re a coach and he’s playing well, you better have him in the game…Andrew [Bynum] played well.”
Lakers’ Guard Kobe Bryant on the Lakers’ final possession:
“I was just surveying the floor a little bit. Figured they were going to double me early so I wanted the ball in a position where I could see my cutters. They didn’t come early and that gave me the opportunity to escape baseline once they did come and I knocked down a shot.”
On the high scoring game overall tonight:
“We scored a lot of points tonight. That’s not going to win championships. You’ve got to stop people. We didn’t do a good job of that tonight.”
On whether this game gives them good momentum for the upcoming road trip:
“Not really. We had a great one right before we left against Indiana going on a road trip so we’ve just got to focus on each game at a time.”
On tonight’s win:
“Any victory is a good victory.”
Lakers’ Forward Ron Artest on tonight’s game:
“I am happy we won and I am looking forward to our next game. That’s what I am looking at, looking forward. If you win it’s a good thing. Obviously tonight could have been better, so that’s why I am looking forward. If tonight was that good, people would be talking about how good we are. Moving forward is the most important thing right now.”
On what the Lakers need to work on:
“I think we need to play harder and execute a little better. I thought we were a little better tonight, but overall we are not playing great. We are trying and we continue to try. We had some awesome plays at the end and we just have to make plays like that throughout the entire game.”
On looking toward the championship game:
“We just want to get better and we understand that. We definitely want to get better, even when we are playing great we want to get better. It is not championship time yet. If the league had to stop today and take the two best teams than ok, but it is not that time yet.”
Lakers’ Center Andrew Bynum on tonight’s game:
“This is a stepping stone for us. We need to go out and play better than we did. They got an 8-point lead on us coming out and thanks to Derek Fisher coming in and motivating us at half-time we stepped it up.”
On the fourth quarter performance:
“To me I was just playing hard. That’s all we did. The whole team just went out there and played and that is how we were able to get back into the game.”
Lakers’ Forward Pau Gasol on:
“First half wasn’t that great. Second half we definitely picked it up and it paid off. We had to chase down their lead and get back into the game and give ourselves a chance to win tonight.”
Raptors’ Coach Jay Triano on if they knew it was going to be that play when Kobe Bryant took the last shot for the Lakers:
“We knew it was going to be an isolation. He doesn’t like to have screen-rolls because it brings somebody else there. We ran at him anyway, he saw the trap coming, he escaped away from it and made a tough shot.”
On Kobe Bryant’s ability to make game winning shots:
“He’s a great player. It’s no secret that he’s going to take the shot there and that they’re going to run the play for him and we’ve all seen it happen. He’s put in the time and effort with his work that he’s become pretty efficient at doing that. You know, we dodged one in Toronto, when he had a shot at the buzzer and tonight, we ran two guys at him and he still makes it.”
On not having a timeout after Kobe Bryant made the game-winning shot:
“We needed our timeout before that to get a play to get back, even, with them. So I’m not disappointed with our management of timeouts… We like to give one to the players anyway, if at any time that they need it.”
On if their last score was designed for Chris Bosh to shoot:
“No, it was an option out of it. Once the ball got deflected we wanted to spread out, we wanted to set a screen, and make sure we had five guys around the perimeter. If they overplayed everything we would’ve taken the quick two. But Chris found an open spot on the thing.”
On if there are any positives to take away from tonight’s loss:
“Well the fact that we held them to what, 44, 45% (shooting), that’s back to where we need to be if we’re going to be efficient for the rest of the final 20 games.”
Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan on having 2 close games with the Lakers this season:
“I think we just come out and play hard. I think we play up to our competition. Tonight we came out and tried to play hard, but it’s tough to beat the Lakers team when they come down the stretch doing the stuff they did tonight.”
On Kobe Bryant:
“That’s just him. That’s what he does regularly. It’s tough but at the same time, we’re not going to be the last team he does it against and sure not the first.”
Raptors’ Jarrett Jack on tonight’s game:
“I think we all know how difficult it is coming into this building and play them. They’re just one of the teams who have one of the better home records in the league. But we battled with them. Down the stretch, didn’t go our way but that’s how it goes sometimes. He (Kobe) hit a big shot.”
On Kobe Bryant’s aggressive defense towards the end of the game:
“That’s pretty much what he does. He’s a really good defender.”
Raptors’ Chris Bosh on returning from injury:
“It’s tough. It’s always tough bouncing back. I just wanted to get a feel, I didn’t want to force anything. But I know after a while, I’ll get my feet back under me. I got to the line a couple times so that was really good. I’m just trying to see if I can play the game patiently.”
On the Lakers defense:
“That’s what the teams do. They’re the defending champs for a reason and everything. But they’re going to give you different looks. They gave me a lot of different looks, especially with Bynum. So I was trying to make sure what I was doing, trying to give him different scenarios.”
Lakers vs. Raptors Game Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
Posted Mar 08 2010 2:39PM
Although Kobe Bryant is among the best clutch players in the NBA, the superstar has been unable to carry the Los Angeles Lakers to victories recently.
Bryant and the Lakers look to avoid their first four-game losing streak in three seasons when they face the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
Bryant is among the league leaders with 27.7 points per game and averaged 33.3 in the last three contests, but was unable to prevent a loss in any of them. Los Angeles (48-18) has dropped three in a row for the first time since Jan. 23-27, 2008.
Playing despite a stomach illness, Bryant scored 34 on Sunday, but missed a 20-footer as time expired and Los Angeles fell 96-94 to Orlando to finish 0-3 on an eastern road swing.
"I didn't release it the way I really wanted to so I tried to compensate for it because I felt the ball slipping," Bryant told the Lakers' official Web site. "That is my shot. You give that to me 10 times and I make it nine times."
Los Angeles has not lost four in a row since April 8-13, 2007.
"I'm worried about what we can do to win ball games, I'm not worried about streaks,'' said forward Pau Gasol, who averaged 12.5 points in his previous four games before scoring 20 on Sunday.
The Lakers have dropped three straight for the first time since Gasol arrived in a trade Feb. 1, 2008.
Los Angeles was on the verge of winning its fifth in a row over Toronto on Jan. 24, but Bryant missed a shot as time expired in a 106-105 defeat. Bryant finished with 27 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and nine assists, but Raptors forward Hedo Turkoglu came through by drawing a foul on Gasol and hitting two free throws with 1.2 seconds left.
Turkoglu missed a 114-101 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday with a sore ankle and is questionable for Tuesday, when the Raptors try to sweep the Lakers for the first time.
Toronto (32-29), though, has lost seven straight road games in the series, and the Lakers are a conference-best 29-5 at home.
The Raptors open a four-game western swing with All-Star forward Chris Bosh in the lineup, but his return Sunday after missing seven games due to a sprained ankle and stomach virus was not enough for Toronto to avoid a fifth loss in six games.
"They were more focused than we were,'' Bosh said after scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
With a one-game lead over Miami for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, the slumping Raptors need to re-focus if they are going to reach the postseason for the first time since 2007-08.
"There's not that much margin for error right now,'' forward Antoine Wright said. "You lose a game like this, you can go from fifth (seed) to seventh or even eighth. You don't want to be fighting to get back in the hunt. We've got to figure some things out."
The Raptors haven't been able to figure out Bryant in Los Angeles. He averaged 43.4 points in the last five meetings at Staples Center, scoring a career-high 81 on Jan. 22, 2006.
The Lakers are looking to reach 30 home wins for the third straight season.
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
Ron Artest (sprained left thumb) is probable.
Kobe Bryant (avulsion fracture, right index finger) is probable.
Sasha Vujacic (sprained right shoulder) is probable.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out indefinitely.
Hedo Turkoglu (sore left ankle) is day-to-day.
SEASON & SERIES
The Lakers currently trail the season series with Toronto 0-1 after sweeping last season’s series with the Raptors 2-0 for the second consecutive year. The two teams have split five season series while the Lakers have swept the other eight 2-0. This will be the 28th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 21-6. In the team’s 20th meeting back on January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant made NBA history, scoring 81 points including 55 points in the second half to bring the Lakers back from 18 down to defeat the Raptors 122-104 at STAPLES Center. Only Wilt Chamberlain in March of 1962 scored more points in a game (100) and points in a half (59) than Bryant. In addition, Bryant eclipsed Elgin Baylor’s franchise record 71 points in a game and his own franchise record for points in a half (42) in what was ultimately the Lakers largest come-from-behind victory of the season. The 122 points scored by the Lakers in the contest were the most ever scored by Los Angeles against Toronto, eclipsing the old mark of 120 points established in the teams’ first ever game back on December 8, 1995. Two seasons ago on February 1, 2008, the Lakers matched their largest margin of victory against Toronto with a 121-101 victory at Air Canada Centre. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 overall games against the Raptors. The Lakers are 8-2 all-time against the Raptors at STAPLES Center and are winners of their last seven straight at home. When visiting Toronto, the Lakers are 10-4 all-time against the Raptors and 7-3 in their last 10 visits to Air Canada Centre. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have gone 15-4 when facing Toronto. In 23 career games including 19 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 28.3 points against Toronto. Lakers center Pau Gasol and Raptors guard Jose Calderon have both played for Spain internationally as members of both the 2008 Olympic silver medal team and the gold medal winning Spanish 2006 FIBA World Championship team. Additionally, Raptors forward/center Chris Bosh and Bryant played on the United States’ 2008 Olympic gold medal team that defeated Calderon and Gasol’s Spanish team in Beijing
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM...USUALLY
With consecutive losses at Miami, at Charlotte and at Orlando, the Lakers are in the midst of their FIRST three-game losing streak since January of 2008. Since the acquisition of Pau Gasol on February 1, 2008, the Lakers had yet to lose three consecutive games until dropping their March 7th contest at Orlando. With Gasol, the Lakers have only lost two-straight games 11 times overall (9 regular season, 2 playoff streaks) including their current 3-game skid. Of the 11 two-game losing streaks, the Lakers played the third game of the streak without Gasol four times, snapping two-game losing streaks with victories 3/18/08 at Dallas, 3/30/08 vs. Washington in overtime, 11/17/09 vs. Detroit and 1/10/10 vs. Milwaukee. Prior to their current skid, the Lakers last three-game losing streak came just a week before the trade, with consecutive losses at San Antonio, at Dallas and vs. Cleveland from 1/23/08 through 1/27/08.
Additionally, the Lakers loss at Orlando marked the first time that Los Angeles has been swept on a three-game road trip since April of 2005 when they lost 4/2 at San Antonio (94-95), 4/3 at Memphis (82-102) and 4/5 at Phoenix (99-125). They did, however, go 0-4 on a four-game road trip in March of 2007, falling 3/4 at Phoenix (94-99), 3/6 at Minnesota (107-117 2OT), 3/7 at Milwaukee (90-110) and 3/9 at Philadelphia (92-108).
The last team to lose three straight regular season games and win a NBA Championship was the 2007-08 Boston Celtics, who suffered one 3-game losing streak in February of ‘08. The last Lakers team to lose three straight games and win a NBA Championship was the 2001-02 Lakers, who dropped three in a row in February of ‘02.
ARTEST POSTS FIVE OR MORE STEALS IN THREE CONSECUTIVE GAMES
With six steals 2/28 vs. Denver, five steals 3/2 vs. Indiana and five steals 3/4 at Miami, Ron Artest grabbed at least five steals in three consecutive games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest such streak for any NBA player since Chris Paul had a three-game streak for New Orleans in March 2009. The last NBA player to have five or more steals in four consecutive games was Baron Davis in 2003. Furthermore, the last Laker to post three consecutive games with five or more steals was Magic Johnson in March 1981. Johnson also holds the Lakers franchise record with four straight games with five or more steals in October 1980.
The Lakers 111-114 overtime loss 3/4 at Miami was the team’s 5th overtime contest of the season. The Lakers are now 4-1 in overtime games this year after going 2-1 in three overtime games last season and 4-0 in four overtime games during the 2007-08 campaign. 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 loss at Miami, the Lakers all-time overtime record is now 131-90 (.593).
DOUBLE-DOUBLES FOR EVERYONE
In the Lakers 95-89 victory February 28th vs. Denver, Lamar Odom (20 points, 12 rebounds), Pau Gasol (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Kobe Bryant (14 points, 12 assists) all posted double-doubles, marking the 5th time this season that three Lakers have recorded double-doubles in the same game (12/19 at NJ: Bryant, Gasol, Odom; 12/29 vs. GS: Bryant, Gasol, Odom; 1/13 at DAL: Bynum, Odom, Artest; 1/27 at IND: Bynum, Gasol, Odom). 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).
BRYANT MOVES TO 13th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
Kobe Bryant, who earlier this season moved past Jerry West (25,192) for first on the Lakers all-time scoring list and 14th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, passed Reggie Miller (25,279) for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with his first field goal of the night 2/24 at Dallas. Next on the all-time list ahead Bryant (25,454) are Alex English (12th/25,613), John Havlicek (11th/26,395) and Dominique Wilkins (10th/26,668).
Bryant passed West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number). Less than a month earlier, with 22 points 1/5 vs. Houston, Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In November, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter 11/19 vs. Chicago, Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list while 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.
BRYANT NOW 5th ON NBA FRANCHISE CAREER POINTS LIST
With his 29th point February 1 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. Additionally, having scored all his points with the Lakers, Bryant moved to sixth on the NBA’s franchise career points list. On February 24 at Dallas, Bryant moved past Reggie Miller (25,279) for 5th on this list. To date, only four players in league history have scored more points for a single franchise than Bryant.