SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead their season series with New Orleans 1-0 after taking last season's series from the Hornets 2-1. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Hornets including a 4-1 mark in their last five meetings. The Lakers are also 7-3 in their last 10 homes games against the Hornets and are 12-4 all-time against the Hornets at STAPLES Center. Since the Hornets move to New Orleans from Charlotte prior to the 2002-03 season, the Lakers have gone 8-3 at New Orleans Arena while going 0-2 at Ford Center in Oklahoma City during their temporary relocation from 2005-07. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 20-9 against the Hornets. In 2006, the Lakers and Hornets took part in the city of New Orleans first professional sports game following Hurricane Katrina when they met at the New Orleans Arena March 8, 2006. The Lakers won that contest 113- 107 behind 40 points from Kobe Bryant. In 2006-07, Bryant scored a series record 50 points 3/23/07, becoming just the second player in NBA history to score 50+ points in four consecutive games. In their first meeting of the 2007-08 season (11/6/07), Peja Stojakovic made a Lakers opponent record 10 three-point field goals while Chris Paul became only the 7th Lakers opponent to record at least 21 assists in a game and the first since John Stockton did so in April of 1990. In a January 6, 2009 loss to New Orleans, David West scored a series-high 40 points for the Hornets, surpassing Baron Davis' old mark of 37 established when the team was in Charlotte back in 2002. Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons spent the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons as an assistant coach in New Orleans. Hornets forward Trevor Ariza played 106 regular season games with Los Angeles from 2007-09, averaging 8.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.54 steals during his Lakers career while helping the team to the 2009 NBA Championship. Additionally, Hornets center DJ Mbenga played three seasons with the Lakers from 2007-10, averaged 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds and was a member of two championship Lakers teams (2009, 2010).
DAYS AFTER PASSING WILKINS FOR 10th, BRYANT NOW 15 POINTS SHY OF OSCAR ROBERTSON FOR 9th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST Just days after a driving lay-up in the third quarter of the Lakers victory over Detroit (1/4/10) moved Kobe Bryant past Dominique Wilkins (26,668) for 10th on the NBA's all- time scoring list, Bryant (26,695) now stands 15 points shy of Oscar Robertson (26,710) for 9th on the all-time list. Should he continue to score at anywhere near his current pace (25.1 ppg), Bryant would move to 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant and Robertson (9th/26,710) are 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. Earlier this season, with 23 points at Chicago (12/10/10), he passed John Havlicek (26,395) for 11th. Last season, he 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 Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).
ODOM 9TH FASTEST IN NBA HISTORY TO 11,000 POINTS, 7,000 REBOUNDS AND 3,000 ASSISTS; 23rd PLAYER EVER TO DO SO
With 10 rebounds 1/5/10 at Phoenix, Lamar Odom recorded his 7,000th career rebound, becoming just the 23rd player in NBA history to reach 11,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists and the 9th fastest to do so in terms of games. Only Larry Bird (680 games), Kevin Garnett (681 games), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (691 games), Wilt Chamberlain (691 games), Chris Webber (695), Elgin Baylor (716 games), Bill Russell (746 games) and Charles Barkley (762 games) reached those totals faster than Odom, who did so in 783 career games.
KOBE BRYANT LEADS ALL PLAYERS AFTER 3rd ROUND OF ALL-STAR BALLOTING
On January 6th, the NBA announced its THIRD returns of 2011 NBA All-Star balloting with Kobe Bryant (1,391,597) LEADING all players in All-Star voting, ahead of Dwight Howard (1,205,159) and LeBron James (1,194,091). Pau Gasol (702,859), who made his third All-Star team last season as a reserve, now ranks 3rd among forwards in the West behind Kevin Durant (945,944) and Carmelo Anthony (742,284). Andrew Bynum (493,237) ranks 2nd among West centers behind Yao Ming (754,583), while Chris Paul (724,605) ranks 2nd among West guards behind Bryant. In the East, James and Kevin Garnett (850,687) lead the forward voting, Dwyane Wade (1,167,649) and Rajon Rondo (929,781) are the top two vote-getters at guard and Howard leads all East 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.
RARE HOME STRUGGLES
On Christmas Day, the Lakers lost by 16 points to Miami. In their previous game 12/21 vs. Milwaukee, they lost by 19 points. With both losses coming at home, it was only the 3rd time in franchise history that the Lakers lost back-to-back home games by at least 16 points. The team was in Minneapolis for the previous two, once in January 1959 and once in November/December 1959.* The Lakers, however, snapped the two-game skid with a 102-98 victory over Philadelphia on December 31st, avoiding their first three-game home losing streak (by any margin) since March of 2008: 3/23 vs. GS (111-115), 3/26 vs. CHA (95-108), 3/28 vs. MEM (111-114). The last time the Lakers lost three straight home games, each by double-figures, came in January/February of 1993: 1/18 vs. HOU (90-110), 1/20 vs. SEA (101-111), 2/2 vs. ORL (97-110).
Additionally, with an 85-104 loss 1/2/11 vs. Memphis, the Lakers dropped their second home game of the year by at least 19 points, the first time that has happened since the 2000-01 season when Los Angeles lost 1/7/01 vs. LAC (95-118) and 3/28/01 vs. SAC (84-108). The Lakers haven't dropped three home games by a minimum of 19 points since the 1994-95 season (11/16/94 vs. NY (89-110), 12/9/94 vs. LAC (84-109), 3/17/95 vs. BOS (92-118)).
CLEANING THE GLASS
In the first half of their 103-88 victory 12/29 at New Orleans, the Lakers shot a season-high .676 from the field while limiting the Hornets to seven rebounds. The seven New Orleans' rebounds (4 offensive, 3 defensive) equaled the fewest ever for a Lakers opponent in a half, matching the Mavericks total of seven in a half 2/4/86 vs. Dallas.
In their victory at New Orleans on December 29th, the Lakers posted season-highs for field goal percentage in a quarter (1st quarter/.750), half (1st half/.676) and game (.586) after connecting on only 37.9 percent of their shots in the previous two games combined. Additionally, it was the first time this season that each of the Lakers starters (Artest, Gasol, Bynum, Bryant, Fisher) shot 50 percent or better from the field in the same game.*
BUMP IN THE ROAD
With their loss December 28th at San Antonio, the Lakers saw their five game road win streak come to an end while extending a different, rather dubious streak. In falling to the Spurs 82-97, the Lakers lost three consecutive games by double-figures for the first time since March of 2007, when they lost five consecutive games by 10 or more points (3/6/07 – 3/15/07, 4 road losses, 1 home).
This season, the Lakers are 5-2 in the first game and 6-1 in the second 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.
With their 102-98 victory vs. Philadelphia on December 31st, the Lakers recorded their SIXTH 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), Wizards (12/7 vs. WAS) and Pacers (12/15 @ IND). 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).
BRYANT NOW 3RD ON NBA FRANCHISE CAREER POINTS LIST
Last season, with his 29th point on February 1, 2010 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. In the history of the NBA, only two players have scored more points with a single franchise than Bryant (26,695): Karl Malone (1st/36,374) and Michael Jordan (2nd/29,277). This season, Bryant has moved past Hakeem Olajuwon (26,511) for 3rd on this list (12/19 at Toronto) and John Havlicek (26,395) for 4th (12/10 at Chicago).
Entering the Lakers game vs. New Orleans, Derek Fisher has played in 449 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 327 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.