SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail Memphis 1-2 in their season series after taking last season's series from the Grizzlies 2-1. This will be the 60th meeting between the two franchises and the 37th since the Grizzlies moved to Memphis. In that time, the Lakers have lost just two season series to the Grizzlies (2004-05, 2005-06). The Lakers lead the all-time series 43-16 but are just 21-15 versus the Grizzlies since the team moved to Memphis. In their last 10 meetings with Memphis, the Lakers are 7-3 overall but just 2-3 in their last five contests. The Lakers are 4-1 in their last five home games against Memphis, 6-4 in their last 10 and 16-6 all-time at STAPLES Center against the Grizzlies. In Memphis, the Lakers have gone 6-4 in their last 10 road games but have won five of their last seven at FedExForum. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 29-12 against the Grizzlies. In their first meeting of the 2010-11 season, the Lakers scored an all-time series high 124 points in a 124-105 victory on 11/2/10. In their last meeting of the 2008-09 season (4/12/09), the Lakers held Memphis to a series low 75 points, surpassing the old record of 79 points (2/14/05 @ MEM). Individually, Kobe Bryant is averaging 24.9 points for his career against the Grizzlies (53 games, 46 starts). In 2007-08, Bryant scored an NBA season- high 53 points 3/28/08 at STAPLES Center. Four seasons ago in Memphis (3/22/07), Bryant scored a series-high 60 points, becoming only the 3rd player in NBA history to score 50+ points in three consecutive games. Additionally, the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from Memphis in exchange for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie and the draft rights to his brother, Marc Gasol, on February 1, 2008. On December 22, 2008, the brothers Gasol faced off in the NBA for the first time, with Pau (15 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks) bettering his brother Marc's line (8 points,7 rebounds). In eight games against his former team, Pau is averaging 15.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.44 blocks. Both brothers played for Spain in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Pau remains the franchise leader in a number of statistical categories, including points (8,966), rebounds (4,096) and blocks (877), in 6-plus years with Memphis.
In the Lakers 101-95 victory at New Orleans February 5, both Pau Gasol (34) and Kobe Bryant (32) scored 30-plus points in the same contest for the first time since March 1, 2009 at Phoenix, and for the sixth time since becoming teammates in February of 2008. The Lakers are now 5-1 when Bryant and Gasol both score 30-plus points in the same contest. Back on February 4th, 2009, Bryant and Gasol became the first Lakers teammates to post back-to-back 30-point games together since Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal did so on April 10th and 13th, 2003. Bryant and O'Neal both scored 30-plus points in the same contest 33 times as teammates, with the Lakers posting a 27-6 record in those games.
GONE FOR THE GRAMMYS
On Friday, February 4th, the Lakers headed to New Orleans, embarking on their annual Grammys Trip. Since STAPLES Center opened prior to the 1999-2000 season, the venue has been host to the Grammy Awards each winter, with the exception of the 2003 Grammy Awards, which were held at Madison Square Garden.
LAKERS COMMIT JUST FOUR TURNOVERS WHILE LIMITING OPPONENT TO A FRANCHISE-LOW FOUR FREE THROW ATTEMPTS
In the Lakers 101-95 victory at New Orleans February 5, the Lakers committed just four turnovers, with New Orleans failing to record a single steal. The last time the Lakers had only four turnovers in a game came in a 110-90 victory over Minnesota on March 6, 2009. The Lakers committed a franchise-low three turnovers in a game on December 30, 2001 in a 114-90 victory vs. Houston. Furthermore, the Hornet's four free throw attempts marks a Lakers opponent franchise-low for free throw attempts in a game in the shot clock era. The previous franchise-low of five opponent free-throw attempts occurred twice, 4/7/06 at Phoenix and 1/6/02 at Toronto.
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 (27,093) 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.
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.
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, Kevin Garnett 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), West (14) and Garnett (14) have more NBA All-Star selections. 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.
PAU GASOL NAMED WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR FOR 3RD CONSECUTIVE SEASON; 4TH ALL-STAR APPEARANCE OVERALL
On February 3rd, the NBA announced that Lakers' forward Pau Gasol was selected to represent the Western Conference in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game to be played February 20th in Los Angeles at STAPLES Center. Gasol, who will join teammate Kobe Bryant on the Western Conference team, will be making his 4th career All-Star appearance (2006, 2009, 2010). In 2009, Gasol became the 27th Laker in franchise history to be named to an All-Star team, posting 15 points (5-7 FG) and a team-high eight rebounds in the West's 146-119 victory over the East. In his first All-Star game in 2006, Gasol, despite playing a team-low 14 minutes, pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds in the West's two-point loss to the East (120-122). Last season, Gasol, in 20 minutes, totaled 13 points (5-9 FG), six rebounds and a steal in a 139-141 loss to the Eastern Conference 2/14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In selecting the reserves, each of the 30 NBA head coaches must vote for seven players within their conference, including two guards, two forwards, a center and two players regardless of position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their team. In fan voting for this year's starters, Gasol (1,100,772) finished 3rd among forwards in the West behind Kevin Durant (1,736,728) and Carmelo Anthony (1,299,849).
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.*