SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail their season-series with Utah 0-1 after taking last season's series from the Jazz 3-1. The Lakers have taken each of the last four season series from Utah: 2006-07 (2-1), 2007-08 (3-1), 2008-09 (2-1), 2009-10 (3-1). The Jazz and Lakers have met 151 times in the regular season (96-55) and 133 times since the Jazz moved to Utah (83-50). The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 regular season games against the Jazz. The Lakers are 18-3 all-time against the Jazz at STAPLES Center during the regular season and have won their last eight straight at home (16 in a row including the playoffs). In Utah, the Lakers have gone 4-6 in their last 10 regular season games at EnergySolutions Arena. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 26-13 against Utah in the regular season. On 12/9/09 at STAPLES Center, the Lakers held the Jazz to the third fewest fourth quarter points (6) in the NBA's shot clock era. In 2006, the Lakers scored a series record 132 points in a 132-102 victory 11/30/06 at STAPLES Center, improving upon the old mark of 131 points achieved at Utah 12/4/86. In that game, Kobe Bryant established a new series-high with 52 points against the Jazz, surpassing his own record of 43 points (3/22/05) while also bettering Adrian Dantley's Jazz mark of 50 established in November of 1979. Bryant's 30-point 3rd quarter tied his own franchise record and is tied for the 4th-highest scoring quarter in NBA history. In 47 games against the Jazz (39 starts), Bryant is averaging 26.2 points. Additionally, Lakers guard Derek Fisher played the 2006-07 season for Utah, appearing in all 82 games, starting 61 and averaging 10.1 points and 3.3 assists in 27.9 minutes. In the postseason, the Lakers and Jazz have met six times (1988, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2009, 2010) with the Lakers advancing on four occasions: 1988 Western Conference Semifinals (4-3), 2008 Western Conference Semifinals (4-2), 2009 Western Conference First Round 4-1 and 2010 Western Conference Semifinals 4-0.
BRYANT 33 POINTS SHY OF HAKEEM OLAJUWON FOR 8th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With 18 points 1/21 at Denver, Kobe Bryant moved to within 33 points of Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) for 8th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Earlier this month, Bryant moved past Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7 vs. New Orleans and Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4 vs. Detroit on the all-time list. Should he continue to score anywhere near his current pace (25.0 ppg), Bryant (26,913) would move to 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant and Olajuwon are 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 (1st/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 2nd/Karl Malone, 4th/Wilt Chamberlain, 5th/Shaquille O'Neal and 9th/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).
GASOL REACHES UNIQUE WELL-ROUNDED MILESTONE
With a four foot hook shot at the 1:00 mark of the second quarter 1/19 at Dallas, Pau Gasol scored his 13,000th career point in his 693rd career regular season game. Among players who debuted since 1973-74 (first season of blocked shots), Gasol, became the 6th fastest player in terms of games to record 13,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and 1,000 blocks. Only Chris Webber (587), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (605), Tim Duncan (640), Kevin Garnett (657) and David Robinson (672) reached those totals faster than Gasol.
GASOL NAMED 2010 EUROPEAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
In January, La Gazzetta dello Sport, one of the premier sports journals in the world, named Pau Gasol European Player of the Year for the THIRD consecutive year. The prestigious award was decided on by a panel of judges comprised of players, coaches and basketball journalists. Gasol beat out Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (2nd), who had won the award five consecutive years from 2002-06, and the Spanish League's Juan Carlos Navarro (3rd) of FC Barcelona. The first Spanish player to win the award, Gasol joins Nowitzki as the only other player to win the award three-straight years. Other notable past winners include Arvydas Sabonis (6-time winner), Toni Kukoc (5-time winner), Drazen Petrovic (4-time winner) and Tony Parker.
30 WINS AT THE MID-POINT
With a 100-88 victory over the New Jersey Nets on January 14th, the Lakers improved to 30-11 on the season, marking the third consecutive year that they have reached the mid-point of their season with 30 or more wins. Last season, the Lakers held a 32-9 record at the halfway point after starting the 2008-09 season with a 33-8 mark. Over the past 10 seasons, the Sacramento Kings from 2001-04 are the only other NBA team to hit the mid-point with at least 30 wins in three consecutive seasons. Since the NBA went to an 82-game schedule prior to the 1967-68 season, the Lakers have now posted at least 30 wins by the mid-point 14 times, having also put together one additional three season streak from 1985-88.*
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.
Entering the Lakers game vs. Utah, Derek Fisher has played in 458 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 336 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 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 1/20/11. 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).
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.