SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers swept last season's series with New York 2-0 for the 3rd consecutive year. Dating back to the Minneapolis era, this will be the two teams' 272nd meeting and the 181st since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season. In their last 10 overall games, the Lakershavegone8-2againsttheKnicksandhavewonsixstraightagainstNewYork. Athome, the Lakers are 8-3 all-time against the Knicks at STAPLES Center. In New York, the Lakers have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games at Madison Square Garden. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 15-5 against New York. On 2/2/09, Kobe Bryant scored a Madison Square Garden record 61 points (19-31 FG) while converting a franchise record for free throws made without a miss (20). Bryant's 20 free throws without a miss tied for 2nd most in NBA history without a miss behind Dominique Wilkins' 23-23 effort in December of 1992. It was the 5th time Bryant has scored 40+ points at MSG, with his 61 points surpassing Michael Jordan's 55-point opponent record and Bernard King's 60-point building record. On January 31, 2006, the Lakers established a series record for largest margin of victory with a 130-97 win over the Knicks at MSG. In that contest, Bryant led all scorers with 40 points while tying his own franchise record with 23 free throws made. Additionally, Bryant's 23 made free throws set an MSG record while his 26 attempts tied the building record. In 26 career games (22 starts) against the Knicks, Bryant is averaging 26.3 points. Additionally, Lamar Odom (Christ the King HS in Queens, NY) and rookie Devin Ebanks (born in Queens, NY) are natives of New York while Andrew Bynum and rookie Derrick Caracter are from nearby New Jersey. Ron Artest was born in Queensbridge, NY, teamed with Elton Brand and Odom on the same AAU team in the city as a teenager and attended both high school (La Salle Academy) and college (St. John's) in New York, NY. Head Coach Phil Jackson was originally drafted by the Knicks in the 2nd round of the 1967 NBA Draft and was a member of New York's 1970 and 1973 NBA Championship teams. New York's Ronny Turiaf was drafted by the Lakers in the 2nd round of the 2005 NBA Draft (37th overall) and played three seasons with Los Angeles (2005-08), averaging 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.13 blocks in 15.6 minutes. Also, Knicks guard Tony Douglas was selected by the Lakers with the 29th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and subsequently traded to New York for a future 2nd round draft pick and cash considerations.
BRYANT PASSES OSCAR ROBERTSON FOR 9th ON THE NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST JUST DAYS AFTER PASSING DOMINIQUE WILKINS FOR 10th
With a running jumper at the 1:09 mark in the third quarter of the Lakers 101-97 victory over the Hornets 1/7, Kobe Bryant (26,720) moved past Oscar Robertson (26,710) for 9th on the 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 him past Dominique Wilkins (26,668) for 10th. Should he continue to score 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 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)).
FISHER NAMED 2010 "SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR" BY LOS ANGELES SPORTS COUNCIL
On January 6th, the Los Angeles Sports Council announced that Lakers guard Derek Fisher will receive the prestigious 2010 Sportsman of the Year award at the 6th annual LA Sports Awards to be held Thursday, February 24th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The LA Sports Awards are presented annually by the Los Angeles Sports Council to celebrate the greatest moments of the year in local sports. The Sportsman award is given to the local male athlete whose performance and character best exemplified the ideals of sportsmanship during the calendar year. Past Sportsman of the Year honorees include Matt Leinart (2005), Elton Brand (2006), David Beckam (2007), Kobe Bryant (2008) and Pau Gasol (2009). The awards show will be televised on FS Prime Ticket (initial airing will be February 25th).
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.*
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 (26,720): 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 York, Derek Fisher has played in 450 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 328 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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.