SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead their season series with Toronto 1-0, after splitting last season's series with the Raptors 1-1. The two teams have split six season series while the Lakers have swept the other eight (2-0). This will be the 30th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 23-6. 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 10-2 all-time against the Raptors at STAPLES Center and are winners of their last nine 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 17-4 when facing Toronto. In 25 career games (21 starts) against Toronto, Kobe Bryant is averaging 28.2 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.
3-TIME ALL STAR GAME MVP KOBE BRYANT LEADS ALL PLAYERS AFTER 1st ROUND OF ALL-STAR BALLOTING
On December 16th, the NBA announced its FIRST returns of 2011 NBA All-Star balloting with Kobe Bryant (722,682) LEADING all players in All-Star voting, ahead of Orlando's Dwight Howard (611,561) and Miami's LeBron James (607,994). Pau Gasol (390,808), who made his third All-Star team last season as a reserve, ranks 2nd among forwards in the West behind Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (470,881). Andrew Bynum (198,044) ranks 2nd among West centers behind Houston's Yao Ming (430,984), while New Orleans' Chris Paul (386,649) ranks 2nd among West guards behind Bryant. In the East, James and Boston's Kevin Garnett (456,111) lead the forward voting, Miami's Dwyane Wade (570,489) and Boston's Rajon Rondo (497,141) are the top two vote-getters at guard and Howard leads all Eastern Conference centers in balloting.
In each of the last three seasons, Bryant has led the Western Conference in all-star balloting. Last season, Bryant received 2,456,224 votes, finishing second overall to Cleveland's LeBron James (2,549,693). In 2008-09, he accumulated 2,805,397 votes, finishing third in overall balloting behind Dwight Howard (3,150,181) and James (2,940,823). In 2007-08, Bryant garnered 2,004,940 votes to finish fourth in overall voting behind Kevin Garnett (2,399,148), James (2,108,831) and Howard (2,066,991). In 2006-07, when he earned his second All-Star MVP, Bryant finished third overall in balloting behind James and Yao Ming. A three-time All-Star MVP (2002 Philadelphia, 2007 Las Vegas, 2009 Phoenix), Bryant is a 12-time All-Star and had started 11 consecutive All-Star games before missing last year's contest due to a sprained left ankle. Bryant, who was the youngest All-Star in NBA history in 1998, led all players in NBA All-Star balloting in 2003. Gasol has made three All-Star appearances (2006, 2009, 2010) and in 2009 became the 27th Laker in franchise history to be named to an All-Star team.
BRYANT NEARS 3RD ON NBA FRANCHISE CAREER POINTS LIST
With his 29th point February 1, 2010 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. In the history of the NBA, only three players have scored more points with a single franchise than Bryant (26,494). With nine points at Philadelphia on December 17th, Bryant is now 17 points shy of equaling Hakeem Olajuwon's total with the Rockets (26,511). Earlier this month on December 10th at Chicago, Bryant moved past John Havlicek (26,395) for 4th on this list. Should Bryant pass Olajuwon, he will trail only Karl Malone (1st/36,374) and Michael Jordan (2nd/29,277) for most points with a single franchise in league history.
With their 109-94 victory in Indiana on December 15th, the Lakers recorded their FIFTH wire-to-wire win of the season. The Lakers other wire-to-wire victories came against the Warriors (10/31 vs. GS, 11/21 vs. GS), Grizzlies (11/2 vs. MEM) and Wizards (12/7 vs. WAS). 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).
NO REST, NO PROBLEM
In their second game of a back-to-back set with the Wizards and Pacers, Kobe Bryant scored 31 points in a 109-94 victory at Indiana. Bryant's average of 29.0 points per game in the second of back-to-back games is the highest in the NBA this season. The Lakers have played five sets of back-to-back sets on the year, with Bryant scoring 30 points 11/3 @ Sacramento, 33 points 11/17 @ Detroit, 27 points 12/1 @ Houston, 24 points 12/8 @ LA Clippers and 31 points 12/15 @ Indiana (all second of back-to- back games).*
BRYANT PASSES JOHN HAVLICEK FOR 11th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With 23 points at Chicago (12/10/10), Kobe Bryant (26,494) passed John Havlicek (26,395) for 11th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Should he continue to score anywhere near his current pace (26.1 ppg), Bryant would move to 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant are Dominique Wilkins (10th/26,668), Oscar Robertson (9th/26,710), Hakeem Olajuwon (8th/26,946), Elvin Hayes (7th/27,313) and Moses Malone (6th/27,409).
Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years and last season alone, passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West's retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195), Gary Payton (21,813) and Larry Bird (21,791).
This season, the Lakers are 4-1 in the first game and 4-1 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-backs 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.
Known for his clutch shooting, Derek Fisher delivered once again for the Lakers in their 87-86 victory over the Clippers on December 8th, this time in game-winning fashion with a running three-foot layup high off the glass as the buzzer sounded. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the stat began being tracked prior to the 2000-01 season, Fisher now has five game winning field goals, four in the regular season and one in the playoffs (FGM in last 10 seconds of the 4th quarter or overtime). Only two, however, have actually come with the Lakers; the other being his famous 0.4 second buzzer beater 5/13/04 at San Antonio (74-73 win). Fisher's other game winners came with Utah (2/10/07 vs. NY (104-102 win) and Golden State (3/25/05 vs. MIL (118-117 win), 12/28/05 vs. BOS (111-109 win)).
Last season, teammate Kobe Bryant connected on six game-winners; the most game winning field goals of any player in a single season over the last 10 years (Carmelo Anthony ranks second on this list with five game-winning field goals in 2005-06). Since the start of the 2000-01 season, Bryant has 20 field goals that have given his team the lead within the last 10 seconds of a fourth quarter or overtime, the most in the league over that span.
EMPHATIC END TO LOSING STREAK
The Lakers ended their first 4-game losing streak since April of '07 with a 113-80 victory over Sacramento (12/3/10). It's the second-largest margin of victory to end a losing streak of at least four games the Lakers have ever had. The Lakers ended a four-game losing streak by beating the Hawks by 46 points on January 9, 2004 (113-67).*
Entering the Lakers game in Toronto, Derek Fisher has played in 440 consecutive regular season games dating back to April 15, 2005, the longest consecutive games streak among all active NBA players. Fisher moved into the top position after Portland's Andre Miller (632) missed the Blazers game against Phoenix (12/7/10) due to NBA suspension. Additionally, Fisher has started 318 consecutive regular season games dating back to January 15, 2007, tops among all active players by more than a season's worth of games (2nd – Luis Scola). 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.
With 41 points November 28th versus Indiana, Kobe Bryant scored 40+ points for the 105th time (regular season) in his NBA career. Bryant last topped the 40-point mark in the regular season back on February 1, 2010 at Memphis when he scored 44 points while passing Jerry West to become the Lakers all-time leading scorer. Last season, Bryant eclipsed the 40-point mark eight times, with the Lakers going 7-1 in those games. In the history of the NBA, only two players have more career 40-point games: Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173). The Lakers are now 72-33 all-time in games that Bryant scores 40+ points. Bryant holds the Lakers franchise record for 40- point games in a single season, recording 27 during the 2005-06 campaign. Bryant also holds the franchise record for most consecutive 40-point games (9), established during the 2002-03 season. Only Wilt Chamberlain (14 twice, 10 once) has had longer consecutive 40-point game streaks in league history than Bryant.
GASOL'S PERFECT SHOOTING NIGHT
With 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists while shooting 10-for-10 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line on 11/21 vs. Golden State, Pau Gasol became just the third player in the NBA's shot clock era to record a perfect shooting night from the field and the line with at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. The only other players to accomplish this rare feat are Gary Payton in January of 1995 (32 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists (14-14 FG, 3-3 FT)) and Charles Barkley in March of 1989 (31 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists (10-10 FG, 9-9 FT)). Additionally, Gasol became the fifth Laker in franchise history to convert at least 10 field goals without a miss in a single game and the first to do so since Byron Scott went 10-for-10 2/26/86 at Dallas. Wilt Chamberlain converted a franchise record 14-of-14 field goals without a miss 3/11/69 vs. Detroit with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (11-11 FG twice) and Mitch Kupchak (11-11 FG) rounding out the list.
PERFECT NIGHT FOR BARNES
In the Lakers 112-95 victory 11/19 at Minnesota, Matt Barnes came off the bench to score 24 points on a perfect night from the field and free-throw line (7-7 FG, 5-5 3FG, 5-5 FT). Since the NBA instituted the three-point shot prior to the 1979-80 season, only two other bench players have been perfect from the free-throw line and from three- point range with at least five attempts in each category in the same game. New Jersey's Bostjan Nachbar shot 6-for-6 from three-point range and 5-for-5 from the free- throw line on 4/15/07 and Craig Ehlo shot 5-for-5 from three-point range and 7-for-7 from the charity stripe for Atlanta on 1/30/96.*
BARNES JOINS BARKLEY FOR UNIQUE DISTINCTION
With 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists 11/19 at Minnesota on a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line, Matt Barnes joined Charles Barkley as the only other player in NBA history to post a minimum 20-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist night while not missing a single shot, with a minimum of 5 field goal attempts AND 5 free throw attempts. Barkley posted 31 points, seven rebounds and six assists on a perfect 10-of-10 from the field and 9-of-9 from the free throw line in a 135-122 victory over the Spurs back on March 24, 1989 with the 76ers. Ironically, just one game later, Pau Gasol became the third player in NBA history to do so, posting 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists on 10-of-10 shooting from the field and 8-of-8 shooting from the foul line in the Lakers victory 11/21 vs. Golden State.*