SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers split last season's series with Toronto 1-1 after sweeping the 2008-09 season series with the Raptors 2-0 for the second consecutive year. The two teams have split six season series while the Lakers have swept the other eight (2-0). This will be the 29th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 22-6. 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 8-2 in their last 10 overall games against the Raptors. The Lakers are 9-2 all-time against the Raptors at STAPLES Center and are winners of their last eight 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 16-4 when facing Toronto. In 24 career games (20 starts) against Toronto, Kobe Bryant is averaging 28.5 points. 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.
ODOM ON THE MARK
Over the first five games of the season, Lamar Odom has shot 35-for-50 (.700) from the field, ranking first in the NBA. The last player to shoot 70% from the field through the first five games a season (min. 50 FGA) was Charles Barkley, who shot 43-for-60 (.716) over the first five games of the 1991-92 season. The only other time a Lakers player has done so was Wilt Chamberlain, who shot 49-of-70 (.700) over the first five games of the 1968-69 season.
With their victory in Sacramento on November 3rd, the Lakers improved to 5-0 for the 7th time in franchise history dating back to their days in Minneapolis. The Lakers most recently 5-0 start came in 2008-09 when they won seven straight to open the season before suffering their first loss. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have now started the season 5-0 or better four times (2010-11, 2008-09, 2003-04, 2001-02). With the Bulls, Jackson opened the season 5-0 twice, going 5-0 to start the 1995-96 season and 12-0 to open 1996-97.
BRYANT'S FRANCHISE MILESTONES
In first quarter of the Lakers November 3rd victory at Sacramento, Kobe Bryant passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (37,492) for first on the Lakers all-time minutes played list (regular season). Additionally, Bryant has moved within THREE field goals (9,013 FGM) of Jerry West (9,016 FGM) for 2nd on the franchise's all-time field goals made list (regular season). Abdul-Jabbar ranks 1st in franchise history with 9,935 field goals made. In all, Bryant now ranks 1st or 2nd on the Lakers all-time list in points (1st), games (2nd), minutes (1st), steals (2nd), field goal attempts (2nd), free throws made & attempted (2nd), 3-point field goals made & attempted (1st) and free throw % (2nd).
With 30 points from Kobe Bryant and 22 from Pau Gasol in the Lakers November 3rd victory at Sacramento, the two became the first pair of teammates to both score at least 20 points in each of their team's first five games of a season since Steve Francis and Cuttion Mobley did so for the 2002-03 Rockets (also a five-game streak). Bryant and Gasol are the first pair of Lakers to do so since Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West scored 20 or more points each in their first six games of the season in October 1970.
ODOM 10TH FASTEST IN NBA HISTORY TO 11,000 POINTS, 6,000 REBOUNDS AND 3,000 ASSISTS; 29th EVER TO DO SO
With 17 points 11/2 vs. Memphis, Lamar Odom recorded his 11,000th career point, becoming just the 29th player in NBA history to reach 11,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists and the 10th fastest to do so in terms of games. Only Larry Bird (527 games), Chris Webber (667 games), Kevin Garnett (681 games), Oscar Robertson (688 games), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (691 games), Wilt Chamberlain (691 games), Elgin Baylor (716 games) Alvan Adams (718 games) and Bill Russell (746 games) reached those totals faster than Odom, who did so in 751 career games.
GASOL IN GOOD COMPANY
Through the first four games of the season, Pau Gasol amassed 97 points and 44 rebounds while shooting .533 from the field. Since the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1960, only four other Lakers had at least 90 points and 40 rebounds while shooting over .500 from the floor over the Lakers' first four games of a season. Gasol joins Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal, who last did it in 2001.
With their 124-105 victory over Memphis on November 2, the Lakers won in wire-to-wire fashion for the second straight game, after claiming their first wire-to wire victory of the season in a 107-83 victory over Golden State on October 31st. Last year, the Lakers claimed NINE wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed); seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City). During their previous championship run in 2008-09, the Lakers claimed 11 wire-to-wire victories; nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston). Last season, the Lakers also lost twice in wire- to-wire fashion (98-107 1/8/10 @ POR and 75-91 3/26/10 @ OKC).
This season, the Lakers are 1-0 in the first game and 1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs. On the year, the Lakers will play 15 sets of back-to-back games as opposed to the 20 they faced a season ago. The only other time the Lakers have played 15 or fewer sets of back-to-back games came in the team's first ever NBA season (1948-49) when they also played 15 sets of back-to-backs. Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2010-11 while Oklahoma City (17), Phoenix (16) and the Lakers (15) will play the fewest sets this season.
GASOL NAMED WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK; 7th CAREER HONOR
On November 1, the NBA announced that Pau Gasol had earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors for games played Tuesday, October 26 through Sunday, October 31. The award is the 7th of his career (previous awards came for weeks ending 3/21/10, 2/22/09, 2/8/09, 3/26/06, 3/2/06 and 1/2/05) and 4th as a Laker. One of four Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Shaquille O'Neal) to win the award since it became separated by Conference and one of nine to win the weekly honor overall since its inception, Gasol averaged 25.3 points (.525 FG%), 10.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.00 blocks in helping lead Los Angeles to a 3-0 week: 10/26 vs. HOU: 29 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks; 10/29 @ PHX: 21 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks; 10/31 vs. GS: 26 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks.
GASOL STUFFING THE BOX SCORE
With 21 points, eight rebounds and nine assists October 29 at Phoenix, Pau Gasol became the first Lakers starting center to reach those levels in those three categories in a game since Shaquille O'Neal posted 22 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists against Philadelphia on February 20, 2000.
JACKSON BECOMES FASTEST COACH TO 1,100 CAREER VICTORIES
With the Lakers victory at Phoenix November 29, Phil Jackson became the fastest coach in NBA history to the 1,100 career victories, doing so in his 1,560th regular season NBA game. Of the four other coaches who have amassed at least 1,100 career victories, Pat Riley was previously the fastest to do so, needing 1,639 games. Of the remaining three, Jerry Sloan needed 1,823 games, Don Nelson took 1,931 games and Lenny Wilkens earned career win 1,100 in his 1,996th game on the sidelines.
Jackson (1,103-460), already the fastest coach to 1,000 career victories, established the Lakers franchise record for coaching wins in February of 2010 (534th victory 2/3/10 vs. Charlotte). The only coach in league history to win better than 70 percent of his games (.706), Jackson currently ranks 5th all-time in regular season victories, 12th in regular season games coached, 1st in playoff games coached (323), 1st in playoff games won (225) and 1st in playoff win percentage (.697). Earning induction in his first year of consideration, on September 7, 2007, Jackson was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Owning a record 11 NBA Championships as a head coach, only Jerry Sloan (4th), Pat Riley (3rd), Lenny Wilkens (2nd) and Don Nelson (1st) have more career victories than Jackson. Of the top five, Jackson has coached 900+ fewer games than Wilkens, 800+ fewer games than Nelson, 400+ fewer games than Sloan and 300+ fewer games than Riley.
Entering the Lakers game vs. Toronto, Derek Fisher has played in 418 consecutive regular season games dating back to April 15, 2005, second among all active NBA players behind Portland's Andre Miller 617 consecutive games (began season at 612). Additionally, Fisher has started 296 consecutive regular season games dating back to January 15, 2007, tops among all active players by more than 40 games (2nd - Andre Iguodala). Former Laker A.C. Green holds the NBA record for most consecutive games played with 1,192 dating from 11/19/86 – 4/18/01 while a member of the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.