SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers and Clippers have split the first two games of their season series 1-1 with two games to remaining after splitting last season's series 2-2. The two teams have met 187 times overall and on 121 occasions since the Clippers moved to Los Angeles. The Lakers lead the all-time series 139-48 (93-28 vs. LAC). Overall, the Lakers have lost just two season series in franchise history (1992-93 & 1974-75) to the Clippers. The Lakers are 7-3 overall in their last 10 games against the Clippers. The Lakers are 18-4 all-time against the Clippers in home games at STAPLES Center and have gone 8-2 in their last 10 home contests. On the road against the Clippers, the Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10 games as a visitor at STAPLES Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 32-10 versus the Clippers. In their first meeting this season, Derek Fisher connected on a layup at the buzzer to give the Lakers an 87-86 victory 12/8/10. Last season, for the third time in as many years, the Lakers established a new largest margin of victory against the Clippers since they moved from San Diego to Los Angeles prior to the 1984-85 season, defeating the Clippers by 40 points (126-86) on 1/15/10. (previous largest margin of victories were 38 (117-79, 10/29/09) and 37 (119-82, 3/7/08). In their meeting on January 21, 2009, Andrew Bynum recorded a career-high 42 points while becoming the first Lakers player other than Kobe Bryant to record 40-plus points since 2003. In addition, Bryant posted his 16th career triple-double in that game with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. In 55 career games versus the Clippers (47 starts), Bryant is averaging 25.1 points. Additionally, Bryant has posted two 50-point games against the Clippers, most recently 4/12/07 vs. LAC (other: 50 points 1/7/06 @ LAC). Lamar Odom played for the Clippers from 1999-2003, averaging 15.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Also, Lakers guard Steve Blake posted his first career triple-double (23 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) as a member of the Clippers (4/14/10) in last year's season finale against the Lakers. Blake averaged 6.8 points and 6.1 assists in 29 games (10 starts) with the Clippers a season ago.
BRYANT 34 POINTS SHY OF ELVIN HAYES FOR 7th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With 37 points in the Lakers overtime victory 2/23 at Portland, Kobe Bryant moved within 34 points of Elvin Hayes (27,313) on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Earlier this season, Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10 at Chicago on the all-time list. At his current pace (25.2 ppg), Bryant (27,279) is poised to move into 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant and Hayes (7th/27,313) are Moses Malone (6th/27,409) and Shaquille O'Neal (5th/28,590). Among the top eight scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st), Karl Malone (2nd), Wilt Chamberlain (4th), 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).
With their 104-80 victory vs. Atlanta on February 22nd, the Lakers recorded their league-leading NINTH 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 (9) lead the NBA in wire-to-wire victories, followed by the Celtics (7), Heat (7), Spurs (6) and Nuggets (6) through games played 2/23/11. 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), Cavaliers (1/11 vs. CLE) and Jazz (1/25 vs. Utah). 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).
This season, the Lakers are 8-4 in the first game and 9-3 in the second of back-to-backs. On the year, the Lakers will play 15 sets of back-to-back games as opposed to the 20 they faced a season ago. The only other time the Lakers have played 15 or fewer sets of back-to-backs came in the team's first ever NBA season (1948-49) when they also played 15 sets of back-to-backs. Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2010-11 while Oklahoma City (17), Phoenix (16) and the Lakers (15) will play the fewest sets this season.
BRYANT EARNS RECORD 4TH ALL-STAR GAME MVP
On February 21st, Kobe Bryant was named MVP of the 60th NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. With a game-high 37 points, game-high 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals, Bryant's MVP performance tied him with Bob Pettit (4) for the most NBA All-Star Game MVP awards in league history, surpassing Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar Robertson (3). In earning the honor, Bryant became the 7th player in the last 44 years to be named MVP of an All-Star game that was played in his own home arena, joining Jerry West (1972, Great Western Forum), Michael Jordan (1988, Chicago Stadium), Karl Malone & John Stockton (co-MVPs in 1993, Delta Center) and Shaquille O'Neal, who did it twice (2004, STAPLES Center & 2009, US Airways Center). Bryant's 37 points were tied for the 4th most points scored in All-Star Game history with Kevin Garnett (2003), trailing only Wilt Chamberlain (42 points, 1962), Jordan (40 points, 1988) and Rick Barry (38 points, 1967).
Additionally, Bryant's 37-point night and Kevin Durant's 34-point effort marked just the second time that two All-Stars on the same team scored 30-or-more points in the same game. The only other time that happened was in the 1977 game when Julius Erving and Bob McAdoo each scored 30 points for the Eastern Conference. Also, Bryant and Tim Duncan appeared on the same side in an All-Star game for the 12th time on Sunday night, marking the most appearances in an All-Star game as teammates for any two players in NBA history, surpassing Dolph Schayes and Bob Cousy (11 All-Star appearances as teammates).*
STRONG ALL-STAR SHOWING FOR GASOL
With an All-Star Game career-high 17 points (8-13 FG), seven rebounds and two blocks, Pau Gasol helped the West hang on down the stretch for a 148-143 victory over the East in the 60th NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center. Logging the most minutes of any Eastern or Western Conference reserve (24:22), Gasol posted the game's second highest plus/minus with +10, equaling Atlanta guard Joe Johnson's +10 and one behind Denver forward Carmelo Anthony's +11 on the night.
With 30 points (8-15 FG, 14-14 FT) and 20 rebounds February 16th at Cleveland, Pau Gasol posted the first 30-point/20-rebound game of his career while becoming the 10th Laker in franchise history ever to do so, joining Shaquille O'Neal (10), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19), Happy Hairston (1), Wilt Chamberlain (21), Rudy LaRusso (1), Elgin Baylor (77), Larry Foust (1), Clyde Lovellette (1) and George Mikan (10) in the 30/20 club (number in parentheses is with Lakers only). The last Laker to record a 30/20 game prior to Gasol was Shaquille O'Neal, who posted 31 points and 26 rebounds in an overtime victory over Milwaukee on March 21st, 2004.