Lakers Gameday | 03/21/10 | Wizards
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Kobe, Lakers send Wizards to 11th straight loss
By GREG BEACHAM
Posted Mar 22 2010 12:01AM
LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant scored 20 of his 24 points on a variety of jump shots during a dynamic second quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers sent the Washington Wizards to their 11th straight loss, 99-92 Sunday night.
Pau Gasol had 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who won their sixth straight after a three-game skid. The defending NBA champions had little trouble with woeful Washington in the first three quarters, jumping to a 26-point halftime lead after another memorable quarter by Bryant.
After hitting four 3-pointers and scoring 16 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes before halftime alone, Bryant fell one point shy of matching Alex English for 12th place on the NBA's career scoring list when he scored just two points in the second half.
Former USC guard Nick Young matched his season high with 22 points for the Wizards, who are two losses shy of tying the worst skid in franchise history, established in 1967 and matched in 1995.
Al Thornton had 18 points, and Andray Blatche added 16 points and 12 rebounds as Washington wrapped up a four-game road trip with its seventh straight loss to the Lakers.
Bryant's perimeter accuracy propelled the Lakers on a 25-6 run to a 59-33 halftime lead. He did it all on shots longer than 12 feet, including three consecutive 3-pointers in the final minutes.
Bryant then shut it down in the second half, taking his only shot in the opening moments of the third quarter. Washington outscored the Lakers 32-17 in the fourth to trim the margin of victory.
The Lakers played the first of several games without starting center Andrew Bynum, who could be out for more than two weeks after straining his left Achilles' tendon in Friday's win over Minnesota. Bynum, the Lakers' third-leading scorer (15.0) and rebounder (8.3), might be sidelined until shortly before the playoffs with his third significant injury in three years.
Lamar Odom took Bynum's spot in the Lakers' starting lineup, getting four points and 13 rebounds. Ron Artest scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Bynum's absence also meant 19 minutes for Josh Powell, who scored five points.
Los Angeles improved the Western Conference's best record to 52-18 with a league-best 32nd home victory. The Lakers lead Denver by five games in the conference standings with 12 to play.
The Lakers got a comfortable win before starting the biggest remaining test of their regular season: They'll open a five-game road trip in San Antonio on Wednesday, with future stops in Oklahoma City and Atlanta. The Lakers play just four of their final 12 games at Staples Center.
NOTES: Thornton played his first game back at Staples Center since the Clippers traded him on Feb. 17. ... Lakers coach Phil Jackson said they can't predict a timetable for Bynum's return. He missed 46 games during the 2007-08 season with a dislocated left knee, and he sat out 32 games last season with a torn ligament in his right knee. ... Courtside fans included actors Gerard Butler and Adrien Brody, and California's first lady, Maria Shriver.
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 Ron Artest:
“He played very well tonight. He knocked a lot of balls loose. I don’t know what he got for steals but certainly he was in a position to actively do some things wise. It gave us a turnover advantage.”
On if he considered putting Kobe back into the game in the fourth quarter:
“He played enough minutes. I didn’t want him to play a lot of minutes. He played 39 minutes. In the ball game when you’re leading by 22 in the third quarter, you really shouldn’t have to go out there and play big minutes and finish the game off.”
On what he wants out of the upcoming road trip:
“5 and 0. 4 and 1 is acceptable but that’s not what champions look for when you go on the road. And these are all tough games.”
On solidifying the top spot in the West:
“It’s one of the things which you have to play for. What you try to do is you try to get through the season without injuries. We already know that we had the injury. We sustained a couple injuries but that hurt our team a little bit. You really want to piece it and sustain the effort at some level. Unfortunately for us, Dallas and Denver lost which gives us some margin of error. I just hope that they players don’t feel that.”
On Lamar Odom:
“I like his rebounding and I thought he blocked a couple shots in the situations that were important defensively. But offensively, just didn’t seem to be involved. Just didn’t feel comfortable out there.
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on what the Lakers did well tonight:
“I think we did a great job defensively. We held them to 33 points in the first half. We just turned it up and then I got hot and I got shots and extended the ballgame.”
On whether the Lakers made any adjustments because of the loss of Andrew Bynum:
“We adjust things. Our depth changes. Our rotations change. We have to be able to adapt to it. We’ve obviously become accustomed to adapting to playing through injuries and things like that so that helps somewhat.”
On whether he was disappointed at all in the way the Lakers finished the game:
“We did a good job. I saw what I wanted to see. We didn’t close the game out the right way but I liked what I saw.”
On what in particular he liked about the Lakers performance:
“We didn’t miss too many assignments defensively. We did a really good job.”
On what the Lakers need to focus on in the upcoming 5-game road trip:
“Our defensive execution and rebounding the basketball. That’s what we really need to take good care of.”
Lakers’ Pau Gasol on seeing pictures of his face all around Staples Center tonight:
“It is a little weird. But it was cool, I guess, because it doesn’t happen every game… The fans enjoyed it.”
On the performance of “Los Lakers” tonight:
“Los Lakers had a very good first half. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep it up in the second half and we kind of let the Wizards get back in the game and gain momentum… We don’t want to finish games like that. It leaves a bad, bitter taste in your mouth.”
Lakers’ Lamar Odom on how they were able to dominate tonight:
“We just moved the ball, played de(fense), you know, Kobe got hot in the second quarter especially.”
On how the upcoming five-game road trip would be successful:
“Five wins… we look forward to winning every game we play.”
Wizards Coach Flip Saunders on tonight’s game:
“We didn’t come out with the energy that we needed to early on. Our “bigs” were kind of not energetic inside. We didn’t give enough resistance early in the game. They thought they weren’t going to be threatened at all and they got into too good of a rhythm, especially as far as the second quarter”
On coaching the Wizards in their matchup against the Lakers:
“It’s tough. I told our guys at halftime, you have to go out and compete. If you don’t go out hard and compete then you have no chance. Good teams can sense those things. Sure it’s tough but I give our guys credit. We didn’t give up and we came back in the second half.”
On Kobe’s performance in tonight’s game:
“When Kobe doesn’t shoot a free throw in the first half, but still comes out and scores 22 in the first half, you know he’s in such a great rhythm. He had an unbelievable rhythm. He had about three of his 3’s that went it, kind of spun around and hit the backboard, and then went back in. So he was in an unbelievable rhythm. “
“We’ve competed most of the time. We get caught because sometimes we’re undermanned or we get a little bit tired, but our guys haven’t totally quit challenging as far as in halftime, they responded. We got to find a way to squeak out a win here somewhere. It doesn’t get any easier because we go home and then we’re back on the road again.”
On the Wizards:
“We’re learning some things from some of our guys. You know, Shaun [Livingston] had some great spots tonight. He played well. Some other guys played well. Nick [Young] played well. Some guys are getting the opportunity to show us what they can do.”
Wizards’ Forward Al Thornton on losing tonight’s game:
“We are competitive and we want to win. You don’t lose and smile about it because it hurts but you have to find a way to get a win. We can make up for mistakes with our hustle and our passion and we are a young team so you have to expect some mistakes. We can control how well we play and how well we defend.”
On the Lakers playing without Andrew Bynum:
“They definitely lose another scorer and another defender. He is a shot blocker and I think they [Lakers] missed him at the basket.”
On the Wizards’ run in the fourth quarter:
“I think all of us just stepped up the intensity. I definitely think the whole team stepped up at the second half. It was the intensity on defense that let us get back into the game.”
Wizards’ Guard Nick Young on his performance tonight:
“It has been hard for me all year and tonight was a great confidence booster. It is something to look back on and feel good about.”
On playing the Lakers:
“It is not easy playing the Lakers. They are a great team and the champion team, they have great role players and they just play great. Tonight was unbelievable and unreal. I grew up watching the Lakers with Showtime, Kobe and Shaq, and it is just really fun to play against them because I have watched them all my life.”
Wizards’ Forward Andray Blatche on playing the Lakers:
“They were a team that we knew we had to come out with a sense of urgency. We had to play aggressive on defense and share the ball. We played great the second half.”
On looking to the future:
“Nothing is easy or given in this league. We have to keep fighting and stay together. That is the most important thing. We need to stay positive and keep fighting.”
Lakers vs. Wizards Game Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
Posted Mar 20 2010 12:45PM
Clinching a playoff berth was always going to be the least of the Los Angeles Lakers' concerns. The health of Andrew Bynum, though, has become one of them again.
It's unclear whether Bynum will be available when the Lakers try to win their sixth straight Sunday night and hand the visiting Washington Wizards an 11th consecutive loss.
Los Angeles (51-18) clinched a fifth straight appearance in the postseason with a 104-96 win over Minnesota on Friday, but reaching the playoffs was a mere formality for the defending NBA champions. The Lakers' stated goal is to repeat, and they are hoping that Bynum - the team's third-leading scorer at 15.0 points per game - will be a big part of that push.
The often-injured center, though, strained his left Achilles' tendon early in the third quarter and left with 11 points and five rebounds.
Bynum has played in a career-high 65 games this season, missing two with a strained right elbow and two with a bruised right hip. He was limited to a total of 85 games the previous two seasons, and missed the entire postseason two years ago when the Lakers fell to Boston in the NBA finals.
The Lakers are 4-0 this season without Bynum.
"The guys on this team, we've been playing together for a while, so that's not a problem. You just continue to play," guard Kobe Bryant said. "We're used to playing through injuries and things like that. I saw him after the game and he wasn't limping too much, so hopefully it's not that serious and he won't miss any time.
"But we need his rebounding and his defense. We throw the ball into him a lot, and he gets easy buckets for us with his size."
Los Angeles probably won't need Bynum on Sunday. The Lakers have won six straight over the Wizards (21-46), who own the fourth-worst mark in the league.
Washington is tied for the third-longest skid in franchise history. The Wizards are three shy of a 13-game slide set Dec. 17, 1966-Jan. 8, 1967, when the club was in Baltimore and matched March 13-April 13, 1995.
The Lakers turned in their second-best shooting performance of the season in a 115-103 win at Washington on Jan. 26, connecting at 58.7 percent. Bryant and Pau Gasol each scored 26 as Los Angeles cruised after building a 16-point halftime lead.
Bryant had 22 points and a season-high 13 assists against the Timberwolves, making 4 of 11 shots. The Lakers have won 18 of the last 19 games in which Bryant has had fewer than 20 field-goal attempts.
"It just depends on the defense they're playing against you," Bryant said. "You just make them pick their poison."
The Wizards are wrapping up a four-game trip after falling 76-74 at Portland on Friday. Washington rallied from a 16-point deficit before losing on Brandon Roy's jumper with 0.9 seconds left.
Mike Miller, the lone current starter for the Wizards who started in their opener, had a team-high 16 points. James Singleton scored 10 and grabbed 16 boards.
"It's always the ones you fight back from that hurt the worst," Singleton said. "But I'm happy with the effort we put into the game tonight."
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) will play.
Shannon Brown (sprained right thumb) will play.
Kobe Bryant (avulsion fracture, right index finger) will play.
Andrew Bynum (left Achilles strain) is out.
Sasha Vujacic (sprained right shoulder) is probable.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out indefinitely.
Earl Boykins (viral illness) is questionable.
Josh Howard (torn left ACL) is out.
SEASON & SERIES
The Lakers currently lead the season series with Washington 1-0, after sweeping last season’s series with Washington 2-0 for the second consecutive year. This will be the 176th meeting between the two franchises with the Lakers leading the all-time series 112-63. Over the past 30 years, the Lakers have lost just two season series to Washington (1975-76; 1-3 and 2004-05; 0-2). The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 overall meetings with the Wizards but have taken their last six straight from Washington. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 8-2 all-time against the Wizards. In Washington, the Lakers have won four straight and have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games at Verizon Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, Los Angeles is 15-4 against Washington. On December 17, 2006 at STAPLES Center, Gilbert Arenas and Kobe Bryant became only the seventh pair of opponents to put up 60-plus points and 45-plus points in the same game. In that game, Arenas became just the 8th player to score 60+ points against the Lakers while establishing a series record for points. Bryant’s Los Angeles series record 55 points against Washington came against the Michael Jordan-led Wizards in March of 2003 at STAPLES Center. In 23 career games including 19 starts, Bryant is averaging 25.1 points against Washington. Additionally, Luke Walton and Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas played collegiately together at the University of Arizona. Wizards guard Javaris Crittenton was drafted by the Lakers with the 19th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and played one season with the Lakers (2007-08), averaging 3.3 points in 22 games. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak was a member of the 1977-78 Washington Bullets NBA Championship team. Wizards assistant coach Mike Wells was an assistant coach on the Lakers bench for the 2004-05 season.
BRYANT 25 POINTS SHY OF ALEX ENGLISH FOR 12th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With 22 points 3/19 vs. Minnesota, Kobe Bryant moved within 25 points of Alex English (25,613) for 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant (25,588), who earlier this season moved past Jerry West (25,192) for 1st 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 2/24 at Dallas. Next on the all-time list ahead Bryant are 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.
LAKERS CLINCH 57th PLAYOFF BERTH
With their victory over Minnesota and the Rockets loss to Boston on March 19, the Lakers became the 1st team in the West to clinch a playoff spot, marking their 57th postseason appearance in 62 NBA seasons as well as their 29th playoff berth in 31 seasons since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the team prior to the 1979-80 season.
EFFICIENT FROM THE FLOOR & ON THE GLASS
In the Lakers 106-99 victory over Sacramento March 16, Pau Gasol scored 28 points on 12-of-14 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds. Gasol is the third different player this season to shoot at least 85% from the field (minimum 10 attempts) while recording at least 10 rebounds in a game. Earlier this season, Andrew Bynum totaled a season-high 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting and 12 rebounds 1/27 vs. Indiana. Dwight Howard has had two such games this season as well: 2/24 at Houston (30 points, 11-11 FG, 16 rebounds) and 3/14 vs. Charlotte (27 points, 12-14 FG, 16 rebounds).
50 WIN SEASONS
With their victory over Sacramento March 16, the Lakers reached the 50-win mark for the 31st time in franchise history (30th time since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season and the 28th time since the NBA adopted an 82-game schedule prior to the 1967-68 campaign). Since Dr. Jerry Buss took over the team prior to the 1979- 80 season, the Lakers have posted 22 50+ win seasons. It is Phil Jackson’s 16th 50-win season in 19 seasons as an NBA head coach.
BRYANT AMONG WINNINGEST LAKERS OF ALL TIME
With their victory at Sacramento March 16th, the Lakers recorded their 671st regular season victory with Kobe Bryant in the lineup, moving him ahead of Earvin “Magic” Johnson (670) as the 2nd winningest Laker ever. In the franchise’s history, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (743) has won more games in a Lakers uniform than Bryant (672).
LAKERS ESTABLISH NEW FRANCHISE REBOUNDING RECORD
With a 56-25 rebounding advantage in their victory at Golden State March 15, the Lakers collected 69.1 percent of the game’s rebounds, a percentage that is the highest the Lakers have ever had in any game since the NBA introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954. The Lakers percentage was the second highest by a team this season, with Philadelphia grabbing 69.4 percent of the rebounds in a 117-101 victory over the Warriors on December 14, 2009.
Additionally, in outrebounding the Warriors by 31, the Lakers posted their largest rebound advantage since outrebounding the Washington Bullets by 33 (61-28) in a 129-94 victory in Los Angeles on 3/16/94. More recently, the Lakers outrebounded Don Nelson’s Warriors by 30 (63-33) in a 115-113 victory in Los Angeles on 3/25/07.
TURNING IT OVER
In the Lakers recent victory 3/15 at Golden State, the Lakers committed 24 turnovers to the Warriors five. The last time the Lakers had 19 or more turnovers than their opponent came back in 1985, when Los Angeles committed 20 more turnovers than Portland (30-10) in a 135-133 overtime victory in Los Angeles (4/7/85). League-wide, the last time that a team had 19 or more turnovers than their opponent in a game came on 1/4/06, when the Celtics defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 109-106 despite committing 19 more turnovers than Charlotte (24-5).
In their 102-96 victory at Phoenix, all five Lakers starters scored 15+ points for the first time since December 7, 2003 when Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, Devean George, Slava Medvedenko and Shaquille O’Neal all scored 15+ points in a 94-92 victory over the Utah Jazz.
For the 6th time this season, Kobe Bryant helped secure a victory for the Lakers in the final seconds on a 17-foot fade-away jumper with 1.9 seconds remaining 3/9 vs. Toronto (109-107). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the stat began being tracked prior to the 2000-01 season, Bryant now has the most game winning field goals of any player in a single season over the last 10 years (FGM in last 10 seconds of the 4th quarter or overtime). Carmelo Anthony ranks second on this list with five game-winning field goals made during the 2005-06 season. Bryant’s game winning shots this season include three shots at the buzzer with no time remaining (3-point FG 12/4 vs. Miami (108-107), FG in overtime 12/16 at Milwaukee (107-106), FG 1/1 vs. Sacramento (109-108)) and three shots in the final seconds (7.3 seconds left 1/31 at Boston (90-89), 4.3 seconds left 2/23 at Memphis (99-98), 1.9 seconds left 3/9 vs. Toronto (109-107)). In all, Bryant has 20 field goals that have given his team the lead within the last 10 seconds of a fourth quarter or overtime since the start of the 2000-01 season, the most in the league over that span (second most is 13 by Vince Carter).