SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers have swept each of their last three season series with the Timberwolves (2009-10: 3-0, 2008-09: 4-0, 2007-08 3-0). The two teams have met 80 times in the regular season, with the Lakers holding a 59-21 advantage. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 17-4 all-time against the Timberwolves, are 8-2 in their last 10 home games and have won their last eight straight in Los Angeles. In Minnesota, the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 road games and have won five straight at Target Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 26-12 against Minnesota. In 48 career games including 40 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 23.3 points versus Minnesota. In their last trip of 2009 to Minnesota (2/22/09), Bryant surpassed Elgin Baylor for 20th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. In 2007, Bryant scored 50 points 3/18/07 vs. MIN, becoming the first Laker since Elgin Baylor in December of 1962 to post consecutive 50-point games as well as the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1963 to follow a 60-plus point scoring night with 50-plus points. Additionally, Bryant's 50-point effort matched Cedric Ceballos' series record 50-point game posted on December 20, 1994. Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis played nine seasons with the Lakers, averaging 4.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 569 games while winning four NBA Championships (1982,'85,'87,'88). Most recently, Rambis served as an assistant coach on Phil Jackson's bench from 2001-04 and 2005-09, helping lead the team to two NBA titles (2002, '09). Timberwolves assistant coach Dave Wohl served as a Lakers assistant coach in Rambis' playing days on Pat Riley's staff from 1982-85. Minnesota big men Kevin Love and Ryan Hollins both played collegiately at UCLA. Additionally, the Lakers and Timberwolves have met twice in the postseason (2003 First Round, 2004 Conference Finals). The Lakers defeated the Wolves 4-2 both times despite Minnesota holding home-court advantage in both series.
With their victory over Portland on November 7th, the Lakers improved to 7-0 for the 5th time in franchise history dating back to their days in Minneapolis. The Lakers most recent 7-0 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 7-0 or better three times (2010-11, 2008-09, 2001-02). With the Bulls, Jackson opened the season 7-0 once, going 12-0 to open the 1996-97 season. Below are a list of the Lakers longest undefeated streaks to start a season:
1987-88 – 8-0
2001-02 – 7-0
2010-11 – 7-0
1997-98 – 11-0
2008-09 – 7-0
A ONE-TWO PUNCH TO START THE SEASON
With 30 points from Pau Gasol and 23 points from Kobe Bryant in the Lakers November 5th victory over Toronto, the two became the first pair of teammates to both score at least 20 points in each of their team's first six games of a season since Larry Kenon and George Gervin did so over the first seven games for the 1979-80 San Antonio Spurs. Bryant and Gasol are the first pair of Lakers to do so since Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West scored 20+ points each in their first six games of the 1970-71 season.
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, in the first quarter of the Lakers November 5th victory over Toronto, Bryant passed 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 goals made & attempted (2nd), free throws made &
attempted (2nd), 3-point field goals made & attempted (1st) and free throw % (2nd).
ODOM KICKS OFF THE SEASON ON A HOT STREAK
Over the first five games of the season, Lamar Odom 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 of 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 did so was Wilt Chamberlain, who shot 49-of-70 (.700) over the first five games of the 1968-69 season.
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.
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 (1,105-460), 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. Minnesota, Derek Fisher has played in 420 consecutive regular season games dating back to April 15, 2005, second among all active NBA players behind Portland's Andre Miller 620 consecutive games (began season at 612). Additionally, Fisher has started 298 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.