Lakers Gameday | 04/13/10 | Kings
Play by Play
65 Pau Gasol’s shooting percentage in his last five games, during which he’s averaged 27.6 points, nearly 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He went for 28 points, eight boards, three assists and a block against the Kings.
Lakers Bench, Gasol Key Victory over Kings
- GAME RECAP
- HAMBLEN PREVIEW
- GAME PREVIEW
- INJURY REPORT
- GAME NOTES
Lakers wrap up home slate with win over Kings
By GREG BEACHAM
LOS ANGELES(AP) Pau Gasol had 28 points and eight rebounds, Shannon Brown scored 24 points and Kobe Bryant rested as the Los Angeles Lakers finished their regular-season home schedule with a 106-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
Sasha Vujacic scored 13 points for the Lakers, who lost six of nine before Gasol and the reserves pulled away in the second half of their sixth straight win over the Kings, their formerly fierce Pacific Division rivals.
Tyreke Evans scored 10 points before his remarkable rookie season ended with a third-quarter ejection as the Kings wrapped up their fourth straight losing season with their 11th defeat in 12 games.
Bryant sat out to rest his litany of injuries, including a sprained ankle and a broken finger, while center Andrew Bynum missed his 12th straight game with a strained Achilles' tendon. Both starters should be ready to play this weekend when the top-seeded Lakers open defense of their NBA title.
After wrapping up the regular season Wednesday night on the Clippers' red-and-blue court, the Lakers are expected to open the playoffs Sunday against Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder.
Backup guard Jordan Farmar also shut it down for the season after straining his left hamstring in the first half, while Gasol played just 33 minutes - though he had to return in the final 3 1/2 minutes to help the Lakers hold off the Kings, who got within four points late before Brown's jumper with 28 seconds to play.
Beno Udrih scored 21 points and Jason Thompson had 19 points and 16 rebounds as the Kings finished 14th in the Western Conference at 25-57, an eight-win improvement on last season's NBA-worst team. Sacramento will have another strong shot at a top-five draft pick a year after dropping to fourth in last year's lottery.
Evans was tossed in the third quarter by referee Derek Richardson, who whistled back-to-back technical fouls when Evans apparently said something unsavory to him. Evans had just hit consecutive layups to pull Sacramento within 67-66, and apparently was angry about a foul not being called.
Evans is the leading candidate for the NBA's rookie of the year award, entering the game averaging 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists. Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the only other NBA rookies to average a 20-5-5.
Evans had 10 points, three assists and one rebound before his ejection.
The Lakers remain optimistic Bynum will be back for the playoff opener. The 7-foot center, who was hurt in late March, is expected to practice Friday and Saturday after running on a treadmill two days in a row.
NOTES: Ron Artest is finishing the regular season as just another California blond: The Lakers' attention-seeking forward and reserve center DJ Mbenga dyed their hair dark yellow. Coach Phil Jackson said Artest and Mbenga were getting plenty of grief from their teammates for their dye jobs. ... Vujacic hit buzzer-beating jumpers after the first and third quarters. ... Brown had the fourth 20-point game of his career. ... Sacramento finished 7-34 on the road, losing eight of their last nine away from Arco Arena.
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Lakers’ Coach Phil Jackson on tonight’s game:
“Got that game competitive after getting a little 13 point lead at the end of the third quarter. Had to kind of dig in a little bit at the end of the game to sustain that victory. Good game by Pau Gasol and Shannon. They led us in the scoring tonight and we had some help off the bench.”
On Sasha Vujacic:
“He’s an offensive rebounding machine. That’s what he is now.”
On Jordan Farmar’s injury:
“He’ll dress tomorrow. He’s played 81 games this year. I want him to dress and be on the active roster for tomorrow’s game.”
On the fallout of Jordan Farmar leaving tonight’s game early:
“I wanted to have short minutes for Derek. He ended up playing less than 20 but extended Shannon’s minutes and obviously Sasha’s minutes and had Lamar have to come out and play that guard role.”
On the impact of Luke Walton:
“He helps. I don’t know if he’s going to be able to sustain the effort in the playoffs and that’s why I have to look at him a little bit and get him some game activity. Offensively he does things that create a little offensive rhythm for us and offensive opportunities.”
On Sasha Vujacic’s solid performance tonight:
“It’s got to make him feel much better about his game. He knows he’s got an opportunity to play some minutes and have some opportunities.”
Lakers’ Guard Shannon Brown on jumpstarting the bench with the tone he set as a starter:
“It’s different starting. When you start, you get to set the tone. Then guys get to play off of what you start off with. We got the ball moving today and then everybody got good looks.”
On tomorrow’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers:
“We definitely got to win this game tomorrow. We have to get better every day. We’re waiting for Andrew [Bynum] to get back and for Kobe [Bryant] to get back so we can get our first couple practices in together as a full unit again.”
Lakers’ Guard Sasha Vujacic on tonight’s game:
“We played great as a team. We played good defense. From my personal view, in the last few games, I’ve been getting more and more minutes and when that happens, you get a feel for the game which is good.”
On most important thing about playing Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs:
“It depends when we play them. They have one player that is individually good, on and off, and now they play great as a team. The coaching staff did a great job and they execute. So we have to take that away from them and we’ll see how they can handle the pressure of the situation.”
On his overall performance this season:
“You just have to stay consistent. This season was from my personal point of view, ups and downs. What is done, is done. It’s behind us. We’re looking to the present and to the future. My focus now is how can I help our team…and how can we win as a team.”
Lakers’ Forward Lamar Odom on tonight’s game:
“I look at it, honestly, like we’re practicing against the other team. You want to run all the sets and do everything the right way. We want to play almost how we play in practice. It’s just a practice in front of 20,000 people.”
Lakers’ Forward Luke Walton on playing in tonight’s game:
“It felt great. It was a lot of fun out there, playing again and being out there and not having pain. To be out there and move and stuff was a lot of fun.”
Kings Coach Paul Westphal on tonight’s game:
“Tonight was not that different from forty or fifty other games this year. We hung around, did a lot of good things and we had a couple of breakouts. We had a lot of good efforts tonight. We felt that Jason Thompson did a lot for us tonight on the boards and offensively, but he had to play the whole game so he didn’t get any vacation until the final horn.”
On the team’s performance this season:
“I am proud of our team and I told every one of them. They only won 25 games, but they really maximized their effort this year. They have heart and they respected the game. We will get better, we will absolutely get better. We will add some pieces, but the first thing we had to learn to do this year was compete and we did that. One of these days we will learn how to win.”
On rookie Tyreke Evans contribution this season:
“This season was one of the best rookie seasons any of us has had, but that is not the only measure of success. We had a great noteworthy season and the thing about Tyreke Evans is he really didn’t play for stats. He plays to win and is a very versatile ball player. He almost never had a bad game. He is a very mature professional and will only get better as he goes about this league. I think everyone will tell you what a good teammate he is and that says something about his future with the Kings.”
On recapping the season:
“Honestly I am sorry our season is over. We knew we had a climb, but this team is only just beginning. The team last year was the worst team in the league winning only 17 games, as well as the worst defensive team and the worst rebounding team. This year we are in the top half rebounders now, we are out of the bottom third in defense, we added eight more wins and some players that we can build around. By any measure there was improvement and we are optimistic that there will continue to be improvement. I am sorry it is over, I really like this team.”
Sacramento Kings’ Beno Udrih on the assessment of this season:
“The whole year we’ve been playing, trying to compete at the end of the game and that’s a step forward from last year, definitely. We’ve just got to get better with closing the close games down and winning a couple ones. Hopefully we’ve learned something this year for next year and we think we can win a couple more games.”
On taking this game into the offseason:
“The Lakers, they’ve been together for awhile they know exactly how to finish games. It’s a long process for us but we want to be like… young teams that are rebuilding and trying to get to the playoffs and we’ve just got to learn.”
Sacramento Kings’ Carl Landry on what the Kings have to do to improve:
“I think we just have to play together a little more. We’ve got the pieces here and we’ll add a couple of pieces with the free [agency] and the draft and we’ll be alright. We’re [one of the] youngest teams in the league… so if we just improve our basketball I.Q. I think we’ll be alright.”
On looking forward to the offseason:
“We never really got blown out. We just had a hard time finishing games, probably due to the inexperience of this team but I think this summer we’ll go back to the drawing board and correct those mistakes.”
Sacramento Kings’ Jason Thompson on looking back on the positives of the season:
“We came out, especially early in the year, not a lot of people had high expectations for us and we had five-game win streaks two or three times. We started getting this city going and a lot of people started to notice us.”
Sacramento Kings’ on Jason Thompson on what the Kings have to look forward to this offseason:
“Just knowing that our future is bright. With the trades that we’ve had that are helping us out and… learning how to play with each other. So we’ll get some new additions in the draft, maybe some trades… and hopefully we’ll be on top.”
Lakers vs. Kings Game Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
Their best player is nursing a bevy of injuries, their 22-year-old center has missed the last 11 games and the team has dropped six of nine.
Still, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers aren't concerned their recent stumble will impact them come playoff time.
With Kobe Bryant out for the last two regular-season games and Andrew Bynum also likely sidelined, the Lakers close out the home portion of their schedule Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak at Staples Center in two years.
After sitting in Minnesota on Friday when the Lakers (56-24) clinched the top seed in the Western Conference, Bryant returned from a two-game absence and scored 20 points in Sunday's 91-88 home loss to Portland. Bryant, who has been battling a swollen right knee, a fracture on his right index finger and a sprained ankle, missed 15 of 23 shots and two free throws with six seconds left that would have put Los Angeles up by one.
"I haven't been shooting free throws very well anyway,'' he said.
Bryant will have plenty of time to practice his foul shots after the team announced Monday that the 12-time All-Star will sit out the remainder of the regular season ahead of its first-round playoff series with Oklahoma City, which clinched the No. 8 seed.
"There should be two to three days between our (final) game and the start of the playoffs, so I think he'll find a rhythm," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of Bryant being ready for the postseason.
Bynum is not expected to return until the start of the playoffs due to a strained left Achilles' tendon, but Jackson - the league's all-time winningest coach in playoff history - doesn't seem too concerned with the team's recent slide.
"I think this is an end of the season type of thing that's happened to other ball clubs and other ball clubs I've coached," he said. "I don't think we're quite as worried as (the media) make it out to be."
While Jackson looks to lead his team to a four-game season sweep of Sacramento, Kings coach Paul Westphal hopes for a solid effort in his club's final game.
After opening the season 14-16, Sacramento (25-56) lost 23 of 27 and will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season following an eight-year postseason run. Despite the second-half struggles, the Kings picked up Westphal's option for the 2011-12 season Monday. Westphal signed to a two-year deal with an option after Sacramento went a franchise-worst 17-65 last season.
"It shows that the ownership and management and coaching staff and players have taken a step in the direction that everybody wants this franchise to go," Westphal said prior to Monday's 117-107 loss to Houston.
With the Kings clinching a fourth straight losing season March 7, the development of rookie Tyreke Evans has been one of the few bright spots for the team.
Evans scored 24 points Monday to become the fourth rookie in NBA history to average 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. The first three were Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
"That's just an elite three right there. To have my name added is just a blessing," said Evans, who missed a 109-108 New Year's Day loss at the Lakers with a sprained right ankle.
Los Angeles, which overcame a 20-point deficit in that matchup to win on Bryant's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, has won four straight at home versus Sacramento. The Lakers have not dropped three straight at home since March 23-28, 2008.
Los Angeles needs a win to tie Denver for the West's best home record at 34-7.
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 (left heel bruise/sprained left thumb) will play.
Shannon Brown (sprained right thumb) will play.
Kobe Bryant (avulsion fracture, right index finger) is out.
Andrew Bynum (left Achilles strain) is out.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is probable.
Spencer Hawes (left knee bone contusion) is out.
Dominic McGuire (torn right plantar fascia) - is out.
SEASON & SERIES
The Lakers currently lead the season series with Sacramento 3-0, after taking last season’s series with Sacramento 3-1 for the third straight season. The two franchises have met 272 times overall and 108 times since the Kings moved to Sacramento. The Lakers lead the all-time series with the Kings 186-86 (78-30 vs. Sacramento). In their last 10 meetings, the Lakers are 8-2 against Sacramento. The Lakers are 14-7 all-time against the Kings at STAPLES Center and have gone 7-3 in their last 10 home contests. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 games at ARCO Arena including a 7-1 mark in their past eight trips to the state capitol. In their first meeting this season on 12/26/09, the Lakers defeated the Kings 112-103 in double-overtime at ARCO Arena, while using a Kobe Bryant three-point buzzer-beater to win their second meeting of the season 109-108 at STAPLES Center on 1/1/10. Two seasons ago, on April 6, 2008, the Lakers defeated the Kings by 22 points, their largest victory in Sacramento since a 23-point win 3/23/89. In 2006-07, the Lakers were whistled for 42 personal fouls in their 132-128 overtime victory January 4, 2007 at ARCO Arena, establishing a new Los Angeles era franchise record. The Lakers last committed 42 personal fouls back on 2/17/57 versus St. Louis when the team was still in Minneapolis. Additionally, the Lakers and Kings combined for 80 personal fouls and 102 free throws on the night, which was, at the time, the most fouls committed by two teams in more than seven years. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 26-13 against the Kings. In 50 career games against the Kings including 42 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.3 points. Pau Gasol has also averaged 20+ points for his career against the Kings, posting 21.3 points per game in 32 meetings (all starts). The Lakers and Kings haven’t met in the postseason since the 2002 Western Conference Finals. While Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher both played in that series, no Kings remain on the current roster from that playoff series.
LAKERS CLINCH #1 SEED IN WEST FOR THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON
With their April 9 victory over the Timberwolves, the Lakers clinched the #1 seed in the West to secure home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs for the third straight season. Since the NBA went to the Conference format prior to the 1970-71 season, the Lakers have held the #1 seed 15 times prior to this season (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982-90, 2000, 2008, 2009), winning the West 12 times and the NBA Championship on eight occasions. The Lakers now own the #1 seed for the 11th time since the current format featuring 16 teams was instituted prior to the 1984 NBA Playoffs. Additionally, with a Phoenix Suns loss at Milwaukee 4/3, the Lakers clinched their 21st Pacific Division title in their 40th season in the division. Earlier this season, with a victory over Minnesota and a Rockets loss to Boston on March 19th, 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.
In the Lakers loss at Denver April 8 and victory at Minnesota April 9, Kobe Bryant did not play due to right knee swelling. On February 6th at Portland, Bryant missed his 1st game since 3/7/07, snapping a streak of 235 consecutive games played. Bryant’s streak ranked 5th among active players prior to his absence. So far this season, Bryant has missed seven games, bringing his career total to 93 missed games in this his 14th NBA season. In games that Bryant has not played but been on the team’s roster, the Lakers are 58-35 overall. However, since 2003-04, in 47 games without Bryant, the Lakers are just 22-25.
Tuesday’s game versus Sacramento is the first of a back-to-back set with the Kings and Clippers. This season, the Lakers are 11-8 in the first game and 13-6 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.
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM...USUALLY
With a win at Minnesota 4/9, the Lakers snapped their 13th two-game losing streak since acquiring Pau Gasol on February 1, 2008 (11 regular season, 2 playoff streaks).
Of the 13 two-game skids, only once have the Lakers dropped three straight with consecutive losses 3/4 at Miami, 3/5 at Charlotte and 3/7 at Orlando (their FIRST three- game losing streak since January of 2008). On four occasions, the Lakers played the third game of the streak without Gasol, snapping each of them 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 early March 3-game 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.
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.