SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers lead their season series with New Jersey 1-0 after sweeping last season's series with the Nets (2-0) for the second consecutive year. Overall, the Lakers have lost just four total season series to the Nets since their first season in the NBA (1976- 77), the last coming in 2005-06 (0-2). This will be the 74th meeting between the Lakers and Nets with Los Angeles leading the all-time series 54-19. The Lakers have won 8-of-their-last-9 games against the Nets including the last six straight and are 8-2 in their last 10 meetings with New Jersey overall. The Lakers are 7-4 at STAPLES Center all-time against the Nets. In New Jersey, the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are winners of their last five straight in the Garden State. In their first meeting of the year in 2008-09, the Lakers defeated the Nets 120-93 11/25/08 at STAPLES Center, with the 27-point differential surpassing the old mark of 25 points (3/24/97) as the Lakers largest margin of victory ever against the Nets. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 15-6 against New Jersey. In 22 games including 18 starts against the Nets, Kobe Bryant is averaging 22.2 points, his lowest average against any team in the NBA. Three seasons ago, Pau Gasol made his Lakers debut against the Nets, totaling 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, 12 rebounds and four assists 2/5/08 at New Jersey. Andrew Bynum was born in Plainsboro, NJ and attended St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, NJ. At St. Joseph, Bynum averaged 22.0 points, 16.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks as a senior and was named a 2005 McDonald's High School All-American. Derrick Caracter was born in Fanwood, NJ and played through his junior year at St. Patrick HS in Elizabeth, NJ, where he was named the Star-Ledger Junior of the Year. Nets guards Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic were teammates with the Lakers from 2006-10, both winning two NBA Championships while with the team. Farmar was drafted by the Lakers with the 26th selection in the 2006 NBA Draft and averaged 6.9 points and 2.1 assists in four seasons with the team. Vujacic was also drafted by the Lakers with the 24th selection in the 2004 NBA Draft and averaged 4.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in six-plus seasons in Los Angeles. Farmar left the team via free agency in 2010 while Vujacic was part of a three-team trade that brought Joe Smith to the Lakers from New Jersey earlier this season.
A FOURTH QUARTER FIRST
Trailing by six entering the fourth quarter of their January 12th contest with Golden State, the Lakers outscored the Warriors 46-35 en route to a 115-110 victory at ORACLE Arena. The 46-point total marked the first time in franchise history (shot clock era) that the Lakers have scored 46 or more points in the fourth quarter of a road game. The last time the Lakers scored 46 or more points in any quarter on the road was on November 26, 1966 at St. Louis (48 points, first quarter). Overall, it was the Lakers highest scoring quarter since posting 46 points in the fourth quarter of a 127-99 victory 11/29/07 vs. Denver.
KOBE BRYANT LEADS ALL PLAYERS AFTER 4th ROUND OF ALL-STAR BALLOTING
On January 13th, the NBA announced its FOURTH and final returns update of 2011 NBA All-Star balloting before the official starting lineup announcement January 27th live at 7:00 pm EST on TNT. Kobe Bryant (1,757,216) continues to LEAD all players in All-Star voting, ahead of Dwight Howard (1,537,619) and LeBron James (1,518,807). Pau Gasol (851,456), who made his third All-Star team last season as a reserve, ranks 3rd among forwards in the West behind Kevin Durant (1,270,729) and Carmelo Anthony (945,720). Andrew Bynum (660,576) ranks 2nd among West centers behind Yao Ming (928,928), while Chris Paul (949,049) ranks 2nd among West guards behind Bryant. In the East, James and Amar'e Stoudemire (1,143,391) lead the forward voting, Dwyane Wade (1,499,768) and Derrick Rose (1,225,575) 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.
With their record setting 112-57 victory vs. Cleveland on January 11th, the Lakers recorded their league-leading SEVENTH wire-to-wire win of the season. Getting to seven wire-to-wire victories in just 39 games matches the Lakers regular season total from all of last season. This season, the Lakers lead the Celtics (6), Spurs (5), Hawks (4) and Bucks (4) in wire-to-wire victories through games played 1/12/11. The Lakers other wire-to-wire victories this season came against the Warriors (10/31 vs. GS, 11/21 vs. GS), Grizzlies (11/2 vs. MEM), Wizards (12/7 vs. WAS), Pacers (12/15 @ IND) and 76ers (12/31 vs. PHI). 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 MOVES PAST OSCAR ROBERTSON FOR 9th ON THE NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With a running jumper at the 1:09 mark of the third quarter 1/7 vs. New Orleans, Kobe Bryant moved past Oscar Robertson (26,710) for 9th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Just days early, also at STAPLES Center 1/4 vs. Detroit, Bryant connected on a driving lay-up in the third quarter to move past Dominique Wilkins (26,668) for 10th. Should he continue to score anywhere near his current pace (25.2 ppg), Bryant (26,799) 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). Among the top nine scorers in NBA history, more than half (5) have worn the Lakers uniform (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant).
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 surpassed 7,000 rebounds for his career, 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.
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).
FAN VOTING BEGINS FOR LA SPORTS AWARDS
Southern California sports fans can cast their ballot for the 2010 LA Sports Awards, the annual televised awards show celebrating the greatest sports moments of the year in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. Through balloting at www.lasports.org, fans can vote on 14 different award categories. Voting takes place through January 31; winners will be revealed during the sixth annual LA Sports Awards on Thursday, February 24 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. For voting purposes, each of the area's professional sports teams, major universities and associations has nominated its top moments from 2010 for fans to vote on. The top Lakers moments nominated include: Kobe Bryant becoming the Lakers franchise scoring leader, Phil Jackson becoming the Lakers all-time winningest coach, Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss being elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Lakers winning their 16th NBA Championship with a thrilling 83-79 win over the Boston Celtics in game 7 of the NBA Finals at STAPLES Center. To vote, go to www.lasports.org and click on the Greatest Moments icon at the top of the home page. The awards gala will be televised on Prime Ticket, with the initial airing on February 25, and will include special appearances by many of the athletes and coaches whose achievements helped make 2010 such a memorable year in sports. The awards ceremony will also feature a countdown of the year's Top 10 moments in ranked order as selected by a blue-ribbon media panel. Additionally, Derek Fisher will be receiving the prestigious 2010 Sportsman of the Year award, given yearly to the local male athlete whose performance and character best exemplified the ideals of sportsmanship during the calendar year, while the naming of Sportswoman, Coach and Sports Executive of the Year will also take place.
LAKERS HISTORIC ROUT
With their 112-57 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 11th, the Lakers established a new franchise record for fewest points allowed in the shot clock era, eclipsing the old mark of 66 established 3/12/02 vs. Charlotte. The 55-point margin of victory was the third largest in Lakers franchise history (regular season) as well as the largest league-wide since the Pacers defeated the Trail Blazers 124-59 in February of 1998. The Indiana-Portland game was the only contest in NBA history in which one team doubled up an opponent, with the Lakers falling one basket shy of becoming the second team in league history to score at least twice as many points as its opponent. The Lakers led by 51 entering the fourth quarter against Cleveland and by as many as 56 on the night, marking the first time the Lakers led by at least 50 points in a game since 1/9/04 vs. Atlanta when they defeated the Hawks 113-67 and led by as many as 53 points in the contest. For the Cavaliers, 57 points are the fewest scored in franchise history while the 55-point margin of defeat also establishes a new Cleveland franchise mark.
This season, the Lakers are 6-2 in the first game and 7-1 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.
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)).
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 (26,799): 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 Jersey, Derek Fisher has played in 453 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 331 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.
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.
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 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.