GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT Final
Box Score Houston Rockets 23 25 26 24 8 106
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 31 23 20 24 16 114


Kobe, Lakers hold off Rockets 114-106 in OT

By GREG BEACHAM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 32 points, Pau Gasol hit the go-ahead layup with 1:04 left in overtime, and the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from consecutive home losses with a 114-106 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

Gasol had 26 points and 16 rebounds, and Lamar Odom had 20 points and a season-high 20 rebounds in his return to the Lakers' starting lineup.

The two-time defending NBA champions finished their first overtime of the season on a 10-2 run, barely holding off injury-depleted Houston after losing to Sacramento and Boston in the previous four days.

Luis Scola hit a tying layup with 5.5 seconds left in regulation for the Rockets, who have lost three straight.

Kevin Martin scored 30 points while hitting four 3-pointers, and Scola added 24 points and 15 rebounds as Houston launched a season-high 38 3-point attempts. The Rockets made just 10 3-pointers on the third stop of a four-game road trip.

Odom fell two rebounds shy of his career high in another standout game in the absence of starting center Andrew Bynum, who sat out with a bone bruise in his left knee.

Los Angeles nursed a small lead through most of the fourth quarter, but after Scola's layup with 53 seconds left trimmed Los Angeles' lead to two points, Bryant missed two shots around a clutch rebound by Odom. Aaron Brooks then found Scola inexplicably unguarded beneath the Lakers' hoop for the tying score.

The Lakers got the ball to Odom on their final possession of regulation, but he simply held the ball before missing a long, off-balance jumper.

Houston went ahead 104-100 on Scola's jumper with 2:48 left in overtime, but Gasol scored four straight points to tie it. After Gasol's layup in traffic put the Lakers ahead 108-106, Scola missed a halfhearted hook shot and Bryant made a layup with 38 seconds left.

Martin has kept the Rockets largely competitive in the absence of injured Yao Ming, Brad Miller and Jared Jeffries, but Houston has lost 12 of 18 overall.

Bynum missed his first game since developing soreness in his left knee during the loss to Boston. The 7-foot shot-blocker missed Los Angeles' first 24 games while recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee.

Coach Phil Jackson isn't certain how long Bynum will be out, suggesting he also might miss Thursday's visit from San Antonio. Bynum's fragile knees are a constant concern for the Lakers, but Odom played an inspired inside game in his absence, while Gasol took on additional minutes.

With Ron Artest and Derek Fisher hitting all the open shots they missed against the Celtics, Los Angeles jumped to a 12-point lead in the first half. Bryant embraced his role as an offensive catalyst, getting seven assists in the first quarter alone, while Gasol shouldered the extra burden of Bynum's absence with 16 points and eight rebounds.

NOTES: Rockets F Jordan Hill apparently sprained his ankle during the first half after landing on another player's foot. Hill played just three minutes. Backup swingman Courtney Lee played with an apparent case of the flu. ... Jackson used rookies Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter for brief stretches, attempting to give a little rest to his depleted lineup. ... Fans near courtside included actors Paul Scheer and Dennis Haysbert and Bengals LB Keith Rivers.


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5,000 Career assist plateau reached by Kobe Bryant in the first quarter with one of his seven early dimes.

141 Combined minutes played by Bryant (45), Pau Gasol (47) and Lamar Odom (49).

20 Rebounds for Odom, a season high, alongside his 20 points and three assists.

16 Bench points for the Lakers, which doesn't look great on paper but was more significant since Shannon Brown and Steve Blake were very good early in the fourth quarter, and Blake the entire overtime while matching up with Aaron Brooks. The stat also reflected how few minutes were afforded to Lakers bench players with Odom starting in Andrew Bynum's absence and playing huge minutes.

11 Free throws attempted by Kevin Martin, who herks and jerks his body in all different ways throughout the game trying to draw fouls. He managed to get both Lamar Odom and Devin Ebanks to foul him on three-point attempts. Martin, however, did not attempt a free throw after the third quarter.

10 First quarter assists for the Lakers, matching their total for the entire game against Boston on Sunday. The Lakers finished with 22 assists on 44 field goal makes.

1 Overtime games played this season by the Lakers, who hadn't gone to an extra session once in their first 48 contests.




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Points Bryant 13-25 FG 32
Rebounds Odom 8 OFF 12 DEF 20
Assists Bryant 11
Steals Fisher 3
Blocks Gasol4

POSTGAME QUOTES

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on tonight's game:
"I didn't like the way we closed the game. Defensively, we couldn't get stops at the end. It was a little disappointing but we came back and found a way to defend better in the overtime."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on Lamar Odom's performance tonight:
"I wasn't happy with Lamar's performance in the first half. The second half, he came back and had the game we expected from him."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on what was the difference defensively between the end of the game and the overtime:
"We got a hold of what they were doing. Obviously, there were some things they were doing that were effective against us. We did a little better job with that. We didn't give up second shots. We gave up a lot of second shots in the third quarter that put them back in the ball game."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on if Andrew Bynum could have taken advantage of this Rockets team and if the Lakers missed his presence:
"Yes, it's a small team. But they're effective. Still, Lamar and Pau had big games for us."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on the importance of Thursday's game against the Spurs having lost to Boston and Miami:
"It's just important anyway. It's just an important game. They're in first and we're in second. So it's an important game for us. They won the first one down there. We had a good quarter and didn't play well after that. We have to find a way to play them."



Lakers' Kobe Bryant on the difference between tonight's game and Sunday's loss to the Celtics:
"We made some shots today, and that helps. I guess the Celtics, we weren't very good from the perimeter, they were. Obviously we got some key stops when we needed to; against Boston we got no stops down the stretch. So I think those two things.

Lakers' Kobe Bryant on preparing for Thursday's game against San Antonio:

"Do what we do. Everybody's just doing their jobs, getting in moves."





Lakers' Lamar Odom on the Lakers' communication:
"We've been playing together for so long; all of us have been playing for so long. We're not playing the game of basketball the way it should be played. We're not communicating with each other."

Lakers' Lamar Odom on the concept of "chatter":
"If you pass a park in my neighborhood and you see guys playing 3-on-3, all you hear is chatter—that's what they call it in baseball. We don't have any chatter right now and it's hurting us defensively. We find it at times during the game, but I know it's something we can do consistently. It'll make us a much better team."

Lakers' Lamar Odom on communicating and relationships:
"Yeah, it's communication you know. Things are always better when you communicate. If you have a girlfriend or girl, you know that -- you know what I mean. We need to communicate with each other better. It just makes us stronger."






Lakers' Pau Gasol on his 3 years as a Laker:
"Obviously it's been a magnificent 3 years. My life has changed radically from that moment on and I'm still very thankful to this day."

Lakers' Pau Gasol on the remainder of the season and winning at home:
"We've got to continue to play better and play well and continue to win games. Defending our home court is crucial and vital."

Lakers' Pau Gasol on his conversation with Kobe Bryant before tonight's game:
"I've just got to be more aggressive. I've got to get more involved offensively. Otherwise, if I'm not involved I can't produce and I can't maximize my talent so I've got to stay aggressive the whole time I'm out there."





Rockets' coach Rick Adelman on the game tonight:

"They beat us. We didn't make the plays down the stretch, they did."

Rockets' coach Rick Adelman on his most frustration throughout the season:
"We haven't been winning games. Lost games like this in the fourth quarter, down stretch; that gets frustrating after awhile."

Rockets' coach Rick Adelman on what he takes from this game against the Lakers:
"Our guys played hard the whole game. We made a poor decision. We were down two I thought and I wanted to run pick-and-roll and missed it, then that was the game. But we made plays in regulation. We made a couple great plays in regulation to tie the game. We just couldn't finish it off."

Rockets' coach Rick Adelman on running pick-and-roll and passing the ball to Luis Scola:
"We wanted to run pick-and-roll. Our guards got to be…I didn't want wasted time out there, I was trying to get their attention, and they threw it down and post them up. That's not a good play against the two guys they have, and we wanted to open them up. That's how we got back in the game, by attacking their big guys with the pick-and-roll."

Rockets' coach Rick Adelman on their performance and execution in the fourth quarter:
"If we play like that we're going to be fine, it's just we got to start winning some games. We can't continue to lose games, but our effort was terrific. After a couple of days off we came at them, we fought them every inch of the way, we just didn't do enough to win it."





Rockets' guard Kevin Martin on if his team had momentum going into overtime after a 4th quarter rally:
"Yeah, it was one of those overtimes where it was going back and forth. And the first team that got the roll, which they did, was probably going to pull away. It happens like that sometimes, but we played a good game."

Rockets' guard Kevin Martin on the Lakers defense toward the end of the game:
"We did miss shots at the end of the night. But they were keying in on our scorers, and we didn't make the plays at the end."

Rockets' guard Kevin Martin on tonight's loss:
"It was a great performance by everybody tonight. We came in with a chip on our shoulder from the San Antonio game, and we knew they [the Lakers] were going to be ready…So we knew we were going to get their best, so we just tried to give them our best. Unfortunately we came down on the wrong end of it."



Rockets' guard Aaron Brooks on his team's execution down the stretch of games:
"We got to be better at closing out overtime, fourth quarter games, not going to sleep in the middle of games. I mean there is a lot of tweaking that we can do. I'm not going to put it all out on closing out games. I think we can get better at it, but we'll see."

Rockets' guard Aaron Brooks on Lamar Odom's performance tonight:
"It's Lamar Odom. He's a good player. I'm just impressed with the way he's shooting the ball, he's really shooting it well from the outside, making all of those shots. That helps them out a lot."





Rockets' forward Shane Battier on reaching overtime:
"Well, I'm proud of the way we fought in the second half and to be in the ballgame. But we couldn't get that last defensive stop in overtime."

Rockets' forward Shane Battier on playing the Lakers and his team's record:
"It's easy to get up for these guys. They're the defending world champions, and Staples Center is great…so it's easy to get up. We're looking for some consistency, we're looking for a signature win to sort of propel us. We're going through a tough spot right now, but we're better than our record indicates."








LAKERS VS. ROCKETS GAME PREVIEW

By MATT BECKER, STATS Senior Writer

While the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers have had virtually no success against the NBA's best teams, a bigger concern for Phil Jackson is how his squad is also struggling against some of the league's bottom feeders.

Coming off a disappointing performance in a NBA finals rematch, Jackson hopes the Lakers can shake some of their struggles Tuesday night when they host a Houston Rockets team that has already defeated Los Angeles once this season.

The Lakers (33-15) were hoping to pick up a marquee win in Sunday's matchup with Eastern Conference-leading Boston, but faded down the stretch and wound up losing 109-96. Kobe Bryant tried to carry Los Angeles, scoring 41 points, but the other four starters combined for just 31 as the Lakers lost for the fourth time in seven games.

"We need to elevate our level and need to get better if we're to defend our throne," said Bryant, who has totaled 79 points in his last two games. "There's no other option but that."

Los Angeles is now 1-5 against top contenders Boston, Miami, Chicago, San Antonio and Dallas, but has also had its share of problems with several beatable opponents.

The Lakers lost at home to Sacramento on Friday. They have also fallen to losing teams Milwaukee and Indiana at Staples Center this season, as well as middling Memphis. They're 18-7 at home, matching their loss total at Staples from all of 2009-10.

"It's probably more of a disappointment to me that we haven't taken care of the teams that we should take care of," Jackson said. "The inconsistency is what bothers me the most. … (But) we have two years of pretty good records in the playoffs, don't we? That's what makes me optimistic."

A demanding upcoming schedule may try Jackson's confidence.

After facing the Rockets (22-27), Los Angeles hosts NBA-best San Antonio on Thursday before embarking on a seven-game road trip while the Grammys take over Staples Center.

Houston rallied for a 109-99 home win over the Lakers on Dec. 1, closing the game on a 25-8 run.

The Lakers also had trouble against the Rockets in their Oct. 26 season opener, needing a 27-foot 3-pointer from Steve Blake with 19 seconds remaining to win 112-110.

Bryant scored 27 points in each game for Los Angeles, which has won eight of the last 10 in the series.

Houston's Kevin Martin totaled 48 points in this season's first two meetings with the Lakers, but finished with 10 points while shooting 4 of 13 from the field in Saturday's 108-95 loss to the Spurs.

"I just lost the rhythm," said Martin, who averages a team-best 23.0 points. "I don't know how I lost it, but I just lost the rhythm."

Martin has alternated good and bad outings in his last six games. He's averaged 31.0 points on 50.0-percent shooting in three of those games, but 12.0 while shooting 28.6 percent in the other three.

The Rockets have lost four of six overall and six of nine away from Houston.






Lakers Matt Barnes (right knee surgery) is out.
Derrick Caracter
(sprained left ankle) is questionable.
Theo Ratliff
(left knee surgery) is doubtful.

Jared Jeffries (hyper-extended right knee) is out.
Brad Miller
(sore left knee) is out.
Yao Ming
(stress fracture in left ankle) is out.



10/26 - HOU @ LAL W 112-110
12/01 - LAL @ HOU L 99-109
02/01 - HOU@ LAL


The best and worst thing of life in the NBA is that in the regular season there simply is not a lot of time to celebrate victories or dwell on defeats. As frustrating as the last two games have been, if we do not bring the right mentality to the game tonight we will find ourselves in another bad spot. The Houston Rockets play hard night in and night out and this will be a battle tonight. Houston has been through their own problems with key players missing lots of time due to injuries. Through it all they still battle. For example, even though Chuck Hayes who is filling in for injured players ahead of him is undersized, he will give a maximum effort on the boards. It will be up to us bring our own energy in order to win the game.

Read Full Scouting Report
@ Lakers Courtside Connection


GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers and Rockets have split the first two games of their season series 1-1 with one game remaining. The Lakers won last season's series with Houston 3-1 and swept the '08-09 series 4-0. The two teams have met 190 times in all with the Lakers holding a 128-62 series advantage (106-56 since the Rockets moved to Houston). The Lakers are 8-2 against the Rockets in their last 10 games overall. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 14-8 all-time against the Rockets and 6-4 in their last 10. In Houston, the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 road games and are 9-5 all- time at Toyota Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 27-12 against Houston in 39 regular season meetings. Kobe Bryant holds the series scoring record with two 53-point games. Both games broke his own series mark of 52 established at STAPLES Center in February of 2003. In 48 career games (43 starts) versus Houston, Bryant is now averaging 26.7 points per game, 5th highest among all teams behind Charlotte, Toronto, Portland and Golden State. Lakers forward Ron Artest played the 2008-09 season in Houston, averaging 17.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.52 steals in 35.5 minutes while setting single season career-highs in 3-point field goals made (153) and attempted (383) in 69 games (55 starts). He was also teammates in Sacramento from 2005-08 with current Rockets Brad Miller and Kevin Martin while Pau Gasol played alongside current Rockets forward Shane Battier from their rookie seasons in 2001-02 through '05-06. In the postseason, the Lakers are 5-3 in eight meetings with the Rockets, most recently defeating the Houston 4-3 in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals.

LACK OF ASSISTS
In their January 30th loss to Boston, the Lakers handed out a season-low 10 assists. That total is the Lakers lowest in a home game since October 25, 1960 (two weeks before the Kennedy-Nixon presidential election) in the team's second home game after moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. In Jerry West's fourth NBA game, Los Angeles was credited with only five assists on 42 field goals in a 120-118 win over the Knickerbockers.*

SHOOTING LIGHTS OUT
In the Lakers January 30th loss to Boston, the Celtics made 44-of-73 shots from the field (60.3%) at STAPLES Center. That was the third-highest field-goal percentage ever posted by the Celtics against the Lakers, at home or on the road, during the regular or postseason, versus the Minneapolis or the Los Angeles Lakers. In the other two games, Boston shot 61.5 percent from the field in a regular season loss at the LA Forum in 1990 and 60.8 percent in a victory in Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals.*

BRYANT PASSES HAKEEM OLAJUWON FOR 8th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With a fast break dunk at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter 1/28 vs. Sacramento, Kobe Bryant moved past 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 (25.5 ppg), Bryant (27,013) would move to 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant are Elvin Hayes (7th/27,313) and Moses Malone (6th/27,409). Among the top eight scorers in NBA history, more than half (5) have worn the Lakers uniform (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st), Karl Malone (2nd), Wilt Chamberlain (4th), Shaquille O'Neal (5th) and Bryant (8th)).

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).

BRYANT YOUNGEST IN NBA HISTORY TO 27,000 POINTS; 8th EVER TO REACH MILESTONE
With his 28th point January 30th vs. Boston, Kobe Bryant reached 27,000 for his career. In doing so, Bryant became the youngest to 27,000 points in NBA history (31 years, 160 days), surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (32 years, 202 days) who reached the milestone back on March 11, 1969. Michael Jordan, the only guard in NBA history to score 27,000 points, reached the milestone November 5, 1997 when he was 34 years, 261 days of age. Additionally, Bryant became the 8th player in NBA history to score 27,000 points and the 5th fastest to do so (1,069) in terms of games. Chamberlain was the fastest to reach 27,000, doing so in 780 games, followed by Jordan (852), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (965) and Karl Malone (1,035).
Earlier this season, with his 17th point November 11th at Denver, Bryant reached 26,000 for his career. In doing so, he became the youngest to do so in NBA history (32 years, 80 days), surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (32 years, 114 days) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33 years, 331 days). Additionally, Bryant became the 12th player in NBA history to score 26,000 points and the 8th fastest to do so (1,030) in terms of games, behind Shaquille O'Neal (1,022). Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest to reach 26,000, doing so in 734 games. Among the remaining top five scorers in NBA history (Chamberlain and O'Neal already mentioned), Michael Jordan reached 26,000 points in 815 games, Abdul-Jabbar in 925 games and Karl Malone in 997 games. The youngest player in league history to accumulate 17,000 – 20,000 and 23,000 – 27,000 points, Bryant was the 20th fastest to 17,000, 16th fastest to 18,000, 15th fastest to 19,000, 15th fastest to 20,000, 12th fastest to 21,000, 12th fastest to 22,000, 11th fastest to 23,000, 9th fastest to 24,000, 9th fastest to 25,000 and 8th fastest to 26,000 points in terms of games.

KOBE BRYANT IS TOP VOTE GETTER IN 2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY T-MOBILE

On January 27th, the NBA announced that Kobe Bryant is this year's leading vote-getter in the All-Star Balloting program presented by T-Mobile with 2,380,016 votes. It is the second time Bryant, who was the youngest All-Star in NBA history in 1998, has led all players in NBA All-Star balloting (2003) as well as his 13th consecutive All-Star selection; only Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal have more been selected more times consecutively (14 times each). In league history, only Kareem Abdul- Jabbar (19), O'Neal (15), Michael Jordan (14), Malone (14) and West (14) have more NBA All-Star selections. Pau Gasol (1,100,772), who made his third All-Star team last season as a reserve (2006, 2009, 2010) and in 2009 became the 27th Laker in franchise history to be named to an All-Star team, finished 3rd among forwards in the West behind Kevin Durant (1,736,728) and Carmelo Anthony (1,299,849). Andrew Bynum (974,546) finished 2nd among West centers behind Yao Ming (1,146,426) while Chris Paul (1,281,591) will start at guard alongside Bryant in the West. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, the second leading vote-getter overall with 2,099,204, led the Eastern Conference in balloting. Starting alongside Howard in the East are LeBron James (2,053,011) and Amar'e Stoudemire (1,674,995) at forward and Dwyane Wade (2,048,175) and Derrick Rose (1,914,996) in the backcourt.

With the 2011 results in, Bryant has now led the Western Conference in all-star balloting in each of the last four seasons. 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 now a 13-time All-Star. He had started 11 consecutive All-Star games before missing last year's contest due to a sprained left ankle.

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.*

DEREK FISHER AMONG PLAYERS ELIGIBLE FOR FAN VOTE IN 2011 TACO BELL SKILLS CHALLENGE
On January 27th, the NBA announced that for the first time, the league and Taco Bell are giving fans the opportunity to determine participants in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of the "Choose Your Squad" program. In addition to adding a fan vote, the 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature an expanded field from four to five participants. Beginning today and running through 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 14, fans can log on to NBA.com/chooseyoursquad to choose from among eight players to determine four of the five participants in the 2011 event in Los Angeles. The players taking part in the vote include: Stephen Curry, Baron Davis, Tyreke Evans, Derek Fisher, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook. The four finalists will compete against "Choose Your Squad" spokesman Chris Paul.

The event includes a new charitable twist from NBA Cares & Taco Bell Foundation for Teens' "Graduate to Go" program, a national initiative helping teens graduate from high school through real-world experiences. Each of the five participants will be matched with a teen member of a local Boys & Girls Club. The teen paired with the event winner will receive a 4-year college scholarship. The other scholarship winners each receive an educational scholarship courtesy of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.

Introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta – the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge will feature five players competing in a two-round timed "obstacle course" consisting of dribbling, passing, and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The two players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first-round times. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, which will also feature the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, Haier Shooting Stars, and Sprite Slam Dunk. TNT and ESPN Radio's national coverage will begin at 8 p.m. EST from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

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.

IRON MAN
Entering the Lakers game vs. Houston, Derek Fisher has played in 461 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 339 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.

WIRE-TO-WIRE
With their record setting 121-90 victory vs. Utah on January 25th, the Lakers recorded their league-leading EIGHTH wire-to-wire win of the season. Getting to seven wire- to-wire victories in just 39 games matched the Lakers regular season total from all of last season, while their eighth in 46 games surpassed that total. This season, the Lakers (8) lead the NBA in wire-to-wire victories, followed by the Celtics (7), Spurs (5) and Bucks (5) through games played 1/30/11. 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), 76ers (12/31 vs. PHI) and Cavaliers (1/11 vs. CLE). 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 Fox Sports West (initial airing will be March 4th).

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.





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