GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score San Antonio Spurs 22 20 24 23 89
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 18 24 21 25 88


Spurs beat Lakers on McDyess' buzzer-beating tip

By GREG BEACHAM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Antonio McDyess tipped in Tim Duncan's missed jump shot right before the buzzer, and the San Antonio Spurs survived the Los Angeles Lakers' late rally for an 89-88 victory Thursday night.

Tony Parker scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, and Richard Jefferson added 18 in a meeting of the Western Conference's top two teams.

San Antonio nursed a small lead through most of the second half until Lamar Odom's 3-pointer with 1 minute to play and Pau Gasol's free throws with 22.7 seconds left put the Lakers ahead.

Manu Ginobili missed an open 3-pointer and Tony Parker missed a floater in the lane on the Spurs' final possession, but San Antonio twice got the ball back. Duncan's shot after an inbounds play then bounced high off the back rim, but McDyess slipped inside to tip it home an instant before the buzzer sounded.

Gasol scored 19 points after being named to the All-Star team earlier in the day, and Kobe Bryant added 16 points on 5-for-18 shooting along with 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who trailed by five points with less than three minutes to play.

Los Angeles held the Spurs scoreless in the final 1:53 - until McDyess' improbable tip set off a joyous on-court celebration.

The game featured a full third of the West All-Star team for the game at Staples Center on Feb. 20. Bryant, the leading vote-getter, was joined by Gasol, Duncan and Ginobili when the West reserves were named earlier Thursday.

McDyess finished with eight points and eight rebounds - including six offensive boards - while All-Star selection Manu Ginobili had 14 points and eight assists in San Antonio's 12th win in 14 games. Parker was left off the All-Star team, but the French point guard kept the Spurs ahead in their second win this season over Los Angeles.

Odom scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Lakers, who again came up small in a big game. The two-time defending NBA champions dropped to 1-5 against the four teams above them in the overall standings, including two losses to San Antonio.

Despite the Spurs' steady success and the Lakers' recent struggles, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich claimed before the game that Los Angeles is the best team in the West. Popovich credits the Spurs' superior record to the fewest injuries for any contending team.

Andrew Bynum had 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high six assists in his return to the Lakers' starting lineup after missing one game with a bone bruise in his knee.

But the Lakers had a downbeat ending to their final home date before a seven-game road trip leading up to All-Star weekend at Staples Center, which will be occupied by the Grammy Awards next week.

Popovich was thrilled to hear Duncan had been selected for his 13th straight All-Star team, while Lakers coach Phil Jackson was disappointed Odom wasn't chosen. Jackson thinks Odom should be the commissioner's selection as a replacement for Houston's injured Yao Ming.

"I'd like to see him have a weekend off, personally," Jackson said of Odom. "Pau is great in a forum like that. He won't play that hard, anyway."

NOTES: The Spurs made the second of nine stops on their annual rodeo road trip. ... San Antonio's Gary Neal beat the first-quarter buzzer with an acrobatic, quick-release 15-footer from the baseline after grabbing a loose ball. ... Jackson and Popovich are the only active NBA coaches with multiple championships. ... Fans near courtside included Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Lawrence, Jonah Hill, director Guillermo del Toro and Andy Garcia.


Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



0:00.3 What the game clock showed as Antonio McDyess tipped in Tim Duncan's missed 15-footer, winning the contest for the Spurs after L.A. had battled back to take the lead on two Pau Gasol free throws with 22.7 seconds left. Manu Ginobili then missed a three, but McDyess grabbed that miss and fed Parker for a missed leaner. Ron Artest hit the ball out of bounds trying to clear the defensive board, setting up the final stanza. Four shots in 22.7 seconds for the Spurs, bound to have one go down.

7.5 Games between the two teams in the Western Conference standings, after it appeared to be 5.5 had the Lakers lasted another 0.00.3 seconds.

10 Assists for Kobe Bryant, in facilitator mode for much of the game as the Spurs' D shifted his way. He was one rebound away from a triple double, grabbing nine boards to go with the assists and his 16 points, though he struggled from the field while making just 5-of-18 field goals.

14.3 Percent from three-point range for the Lakers, who made only two of 14 shots from distance, though Odom did get the biggest one to fall with one minute left to cut San Antonio's lead to one.

29 Minutes played by Andrew Bynum after he missed a game due to a bone bruise in his left knee. He appeared to be moving just fine, going for 10 points with 10 rebounds, not to mention a career-high six assists and three blocks. "He said he was fine," said Phil Jackson of Bynum's health.




View More Photos


Points Gasol 8-10 FG 19
Rebounds Bynum 3 OFF 7 DEF 10
Assists Bryant 10
Steals Artest 2
Blocks Bynum 3

POSTGAME QUOTES

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on Antonio McDyess' game winning tip-in:
"He should've boxed him out. Too many opportunities at the end of the game. They had four attempts and it cost us."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on the Lakers play:
"It was a good game. Defensively we played well; it got away from us a little with some screen-rolls in the 4th quarter. We had to fight our way back into it."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on Ron Artest's extended minutes especially in the 4th quarter:
"I thought he did a great job on [Manu] Ginobili. I don't know even what Ginobili scored but I thought he was the one that was creating stops."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on shooting 14.3% from downtown:
"We were competitive but our shooting is not good. You have to give some credit to the defense but there was a lot of open shots that we missed tonight and our three-point shooting was really bogus."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on Kobe Bryant's offensive performance (16pts, 9 rbs, 10 ast):
"Not a good shooting night for him – he'll be better. You have to do that with this team and if he wasn't shooting the ball well he's going to find a way to make a play."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on the upcoming road trip:
"Yes, I am curious. It's always fun to go out and have to take on a series of teams on the road. We're playing well on the road as a basketball team and we know it but we just have to keep playing that way."



Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant on the last play of the game:
"They just got a great bounce. It bounced right to him."

Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant on tonight's game:
"It was an ugly game. I think both teams didn't shoot the ball particularly well. They shot it better in stretches than we did. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game, they just got a great bounce."





Lakers' forward Lamar Odom on losing at the buzzer:
"It's a tough game that we wanted. Anytime you lose a game like this it hurts a little bit."

Lakers' on if tonight's loss has any effect on the upcoming road trip:
"We don't really get too down or too up. We kind of stay even keel and prepare for the next game. We play New Orleans next, that's our focus."

Lakers' forward Lamar Odom on San Antonio's defense:
"They're a tough defensive team. They know what they want to do. Obviously they have experience, and they're well-coached and disciplined team. They make you work for every basket."

Lakers' forward Lamar Odom on Antonio McDyess' tip-in:
"It was a team effort. It goes to show you that the game is a team game. And you put yourself in position to make a play, then you make it. Tonight, San Antonio made it."






Lakers' forward Pau Gasol on how big of a setback tonight's loss was:
"I don't know how big it is, but obviously it is a setback. It was a game that we would have loved to win. We did a lot of good things tonight. We had the game in our hands and couldn't grab that rebound at the end."

Lakers' forward Pau Gasol on if tonight's game was positive at all:
"It feels a lot better to have a chance to win the game than to lose by ten plus points. It's tough when you're struggling. We're hitting the road and we'll have an opportunity to get it together and get back on the right track."





Lakers' forward Ron Artest on the difference at the end of the game:
"The game was basically even. Today they got a tip-in… [But] we'll get a crack at them again."

Lakers' forward Ron Artest on moving past tonight's loss:
"For me it's try to get the next one. You put it behind you, try to get the next one, and go hard. Just play harder, try to make less mistakes and just go back and execute once again."





Lakers' center Andrew Bynum on tonight's game:
"We needed to win this game. It sucks that we didn't. But now we're going on the road and we're just going to have to establish something out there, away from home."





Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on the final seconds of tonight's game:
"I guess that's why they play the games…you never know what's going to happen. We obviously were fortunate, but, you know, neither team could really score tonight. It looked like we were both struggling to get the ball in the bucket. You saw the jumpers that they were taking and the ones that we were taking, and nothing was dropping. Fortunately McDyess went to the offensive board and got it done."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Tony Parker's performance:
"Tony [Parker] was great. He kept us together like he has all year long, and just did a fantastic job. Didn't get big numbers, I don't keep the ball in his hands as much, there's a lot of other point guards, and he just keeps on motoring, and again, did a great job tonight."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on their defense in tonight's game:
"It was alright. I'll look at the film. It wasn't stellar; we didn't amaze anybody with our defense. But we played, we continued to play throughout the night, we didn't give in. Both teams played hard. As I said, nobody could make a shot it seemed, and we just plowed through it, we played physically, and everybody gave effort on both teams. We shot the last shot I guess. Had there been one more shot maybe they would've won."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on their defense on Kobe Bryant:
"I thought we did as good a job as you can do on Kobe Bryant. You know, he's the best player on the planet and we showed 'em a crowd, and after that you've got to live with what you get."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on the shots in the last possession of tonight's game:
"Yeah. Yeah, you know, we had a lot of good shots down the stretch, but I thought they did too. But, we got what we wanted, we didn't drop, and the unexpected thing happened. Nobody drew up McDyess to go to the hole and tap it in, obviously. So we were fortunate."



Spurs' Tony Parker on the last play of the game:
"Had a penetration, had a great look from Manu [Ginobili], had a great look for a three pointer. Then the ball came to me, that's my shot, teardrop, you know, in and out…we all missed, and [Antonio] McDyess saved us."

Spurs' Tony Parker on what it took to get his offense going:
"It was just one of those games, just weird, the flow of the game. I didn't get many opportunities at the beginning of the game. I missed a couple shots and the team was playing well. I didn't get anything in the second half…"

Spurs' Tony Parker on if this is their best character win of the year:
"You can put it in the top three. It's definitely a great feeling. Lakers are still the best team and they're the team we want to beat. The record doesn't mean anything, you have to win championships."




Spurs' Richard Jefferson on the game tonight:
"Last time we played against them I got a bunch of them up just because the way the rotations are and they're such a great shift team. They make you shoot from the outside. So I kind of came in to this game mentally ready to just shoot them. Whether you make them all, miss them all. Tonight more went in…"

Spurs' Richard Jefferson on if this win is a character win for the team:
"It's pretty high. That's a great team over there. They're the best team in the NBA. Regardless what everybody says, who's playing well. They're the best team…there won't be a new champion until they [Lakers] lose in the playoffs, regardless of any drama that people try and stir up around here. That's a great team over there."







Spurs' Antonio McDyess on the game tonight:
"Very exciting, especially after the lost against Portland [Trailblazers] the other night. So it's pretty good to get a win like that."








LAKERS VS. SPURS GAME PREVIEW

By MATT BEARDMORE, STATS Writer

The San Antonio Spurs couldn't stop a young big man in their last game. It's uncertain which starting center they'll face when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Spurs look to rebound from a rare loss Thursday night at Staples Center, where the Lakers could be without Andrew Bynum for a second straight contest.

Opening a season-high nine-game trip Tuesday, San Antonio (40-8) was denied a fourth consecutive victory, losing 99-86 to Portland. Tim Duncan had 15 points and seven rebounds and DeJuan Blair posted his second consecutive game with 14 points and 12 boards, but the Spurs frontcourt could not containLaMarcus Aldridge. The Trail Blazers forward scored a career-high 40 points and received a handshake from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich afterward.

"I think we held him to 40," Popovich joked. "I stopped counting after a while."

The Lakers (34-15) were counting on Bynum to remain in the starting lineup after he missed the first 24 games following offseason right knee surgery, but the oft-injured center suffered another setback as an MRI on Tuesday revealed a bone bruise on his left knee.

"I'm not so sure it's just going to be one game, but it's a game-by-game decision," coach Phil Jackson said prior to a 114-106 overtime victory over Houston on Tuesday. "It's a bone bruise, and sometimes those things take more than one game."

If Bynum is out, Lamar Odom will likely start again. Making his first start since scoring nine points with eight rebounds in a 97-82 loss at San Antonio on Dec. 28, Odom had 20 points with a season-high 20 boards versus the Rockets.

"He's been doing that for us all year," said Kobe Bryant, averaging 54.0 percent shooting over the last seven games. "People forget how well he was playing when Drew was down. He's capable of doing that and stepping in and having huge games like this."

So is Pau Gasol, who had 26 points and 16 rebounds to help the Lakers avoid a third straight home loss. His 20 field-goal attempts were his most since shooting 22 times against Toronto on Nov. 5.

"I've just got to be more aggressive," said Gasol, following Bryant's advice to be "more selfish." "I've got to be more involved. If I'm not, I can't contribute, can't live up to my potential."

Gasol and the Lakers didn't do that in the Dec. 28 loss to the Spurs. Gasol scored nine points, Bryant had 21 on 8-of-27 shooting - missing 13 straight at one point - and Los Angeles made a season-low 35.4 percent from the field.

The Lakers, who open a seven-game trip Saturday, have fared much better at home against the Spurs, winning five of seven. San Antonio, though, snapped a four-game road skid in the series with a 100-81 victory April 4 to clinch its 13th consecutive playoff berth.

With Tony Parker sidelined with a broken ring finger in that matchup, Manu Ginobili scored 32 and Duncan added 24 points and 11 rebounds. The Spurs posted their most lopsided road win over the Lakers since a 110-82 victory in Game 6 of the 2003 Western Conference semifinals.

The last time San Antonio lost two in a row was Jan. 4-5.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited






Lakers Matt Barnes (right knee surgery) is out.
Andrew Bynum
(bone bruise, left knee) is probable.
Theo Ratliff
(left knee surgery) is doubtful.

Matt Bonner (sore right knee) is doubtful.



12/28 - LAL @ SAS L 82-97
02/03 - SAS @ LAL
03/06 - LAL @ SAS
04/12 - SAS @ LAL


San Antonio Brings a 40-8 record into tonight's game and that is the best mark in the league. They lost on Tuesday night in Portland and we will be trying to give them only their second two game losing streak of the season. The scariest part of the Spurs having the best record right now is that they traditionally have used this part of the season (They are in their 'rodeo road trip' where they hit the road for a couple weeks while a rodeo takes over their arena) to ramp up their effort and production. The big three of Duncan, Parker, Ginobili still lead this team and any game plan to beat them must feature ways to minimize the impact of the penetration of Parker and Ginobili as well as the low post threat of Duncan. It has been well documented that the Spurs are running with more efficiency this season and are an improved team on the offensive end. They are still a lock down defensive team as they showed us in our first match this season.

Read Full Scouting Report @ Lakers Courtside Connection


GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail their season series with San Antonio 0-1 after splitting last season's series with the Spurs 2-2. In their last 10 overall games, the Lakers are 5-5 against the Spurs. At home, the Lakers are 4-1 in their last five meetings with San Antonio but just 5-5 in their last 10 games against the Spurs in Los Angeles. Overall, the Lakers are 10-11 all-time against the Spurs at STAPLES Center. In San Antonio, the Lakers are 4-6 in their last 10 meetings with the Spurs. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 18-21 against San Antonio in the regular season. In the postseason, Jackson is 15-7 against the Spurs, advancing to the next round in four of five series meetings. Jackson (11) and Popovich (4) are the only two active coaches to have won multiple NBA Championships. In 49 career games including 44 starts against San Antonio, Bryant is averaging 24.4 points per game. On February 8, 2010, Pau Gasol helped defeat the Spurs with 21 points, 19 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 blocks, marking just the 7th time a player has accomplished that feat (at least those totals in each category in a single game) in league history. Spurs guard Manu Ginobili played for Argentina in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but suffered a foot injury in their August 22 meeting with Kobe Bryant's United States team. Bryant scored 12 points as the U.S. defeated defending champion Argentina 101-81 to advance to the gold medal game while Ginobili played just six minutes due to injury. Additionally, Luke Walton and Spurs forward Richard Jefferson were roommates at the University of Arizona while playing three years together for the Wildcats.

ODOM & GASOL ENJOY RARE NIGHT FOR LAKERS TEAMMATES
In their 114-106 overtime victory February 1st against the Rockets, Pau Gasol (26 points, 16 rebounds) and Lamar Odom (20 points, 20 rebounds) became the first Lakers teammates in exactly 38 years to the day to post at least 20 points and 16 rebounds in the same game. On February 1, 1973, Wilt Chamberlain (25 points, 19 rebounds) and Bill Bridges (20 points, 16 rebounds) both posted 20-point, 16-rebound games in the Lakers 120-106 victory at Phoenix.

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 (25.6 ppg), Bryant (27,045) 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.

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.*

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. San Antonio, Derek Fisher has played in 462 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 340 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 2/1/11. 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).





Pick n Roll

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