SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers have split the first two games of their 3-game season series with the Mavericks 1-1 after splitting last season's series 2-2 and sweeping the '08-09 season series with Dallas 3-0. The Lakers last lost a season series to Dallas in 2006-07 (1- 3), their first series loss to the Mavericks since the 1986-87 season and only the third ever (1983-84). This will be the 128th overall meeting between the two franchises. In their first meeting last season (10/30/09), the Lakers lost for just the 11th time at home against the Mavericks, ending a 6-game win streak against Dallas as well as a 4-game home win streak against the Mavs. In their most recent home meeting (1/3/10) at STAPLES Center, the Lakers established a new series record for margin of victory over Dallas, defeating the Mavericks by 35 (131-96), surpassing the old 33- point margin of victory established 12/1/93 (124-91). Overall, the Lakers are 7-3 against the Mavericks in their last 10 games. In Dallas, the Lakers have gone 4-6 in their last 10 games at American Airlines Center. The Lakers are 17-4 all-time against the Mavericks at STAPLES Center and 7-3 in their last 10 home games overall. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 27-13 against the Mavericks. In their first meeting of the 2008-09 season, Jason Kidd posted his 101st career triple-double and his fourth ever against the Lakers. In December of 2005, Kobe Bryant established a new series record with 62 points against the Mavericks in a 112-90 victory at STAPLES Center. In that contest, Bryant single-handedly outscored the Mavericks 62-61 through three quarters. In 2007-08, Bryant again went over the 50-point mark against the Mavericks, scoring 52 points in the Lakers 108-104 overtime victory March 2 at STAPLES Center. Mavericks forward Caron Butler played the 2004-05 season with the Lakers, averaging 15.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.44 steals in 35.7 minutes over 77 games. Mavericks center Tyson Chandler played locally at Dominguez High School in Compton, CA where he helped the Dons to three straight CIF Div. II state championships.
BRYANT BECOMES FRANCHISE LEADER IN GAMES PLAYED
Currently in his 15th season and already the longest tenured Laker in franchise history ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West (14 seasons), Kobe Bryant became the franchise leader in games played with the Lakers win over New Orleans on March 27. Entering the season 72 games behind Abdul-Jabbar (1,093), Bryant's 73rd game this season gave him 1,094 for his career. Bryant now holds the franchise mark for games played in both the regular and postseason (198).
ALL-STAR PERFORMANCE AFTER THE BREAK
With their victory over New Orleans on March 27, the Lakers became just the fifth team since the league introduced the All-Star Game in 1951 to post a 15-1 record out of the break. Of the other four teams to do so, three (Detroit in 1989-90, Chicago in 1990-91 and the Lakers themselves in 1999-2000) went on to win the NBA Championship.*
ODOM 14 POINTS SHY OF 12,000 FOR HIS CAREER
Needing 14 points to reach 12,000 for his career, Lamar Odom is poised to become just the 23rd player in NBA history to reach 12,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists and the 9th fastest to do so in terms of games. Only Larry Bird (680 games), Kevin Garnett (681 games), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (691 games), Wilt Chamberlain (691 games), Chris Webber (695), Elgin Baylor (716 games), Bill Russell (748 games) and Charles Barkley (762 games) will have reached those totals faster than Odom, who has currently played in 820 career games entering the Lakers' March 31st game vs. Dallas.
Thursday's contest with the Mavericks is the first of a back-to-back set with Dallas and Utah. 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 NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR 28th TIME
After three Western Conference Player of the Week awards in each of the past three seasons, Kobe Bryant earned his FIRST WC Player of the week award this season for games played Monday, March 21 through Sunday, March 27. The award is the 28th of Bryant's career (26 Western Conference POW, 2 NBA POW), further surpassing Magic Johnson's 18 NBA POW awards as the franchise's all-time leader. Johnson, however, earned each of his Player of the Week nods before the award was separated by Conference prior to the 2001-02 season. Bryant paced the league in scoring, averaging 36.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists, leading the Lakers to a 3-0 week. Leading the Lakers in scoring in all three contests, on March 22, Bryant posted his 107th career 40-point game (season-high 42 points) to go along with 12 rebounds and nine assists in a 139-137 triple-overtime win over Phoenix. Bryant's other WC POW honors came in weeks ending: 11/4/01, 1/20/02, 11/3/02, 12/8/02, 1/12/03, 2/2/03, 2/23/03, 2/17/04, 3/22/04, 11/13/05, 12/18/05, 12/25/05, 1/22/06, 4/16/06, 3/18/07, 3/25/07, 1/13/08, 3/2/08, 4/6/08, 12/28/08, 1/11/09, 3/15/09, 11/22/09, 12/20/09, 12/27/09 and 3/27/11. His two NBA Player of the Week honors came in weeks ending 4/16/00 and 12/24/00. The NBA began the Player of the Week award in 1979-80.
With their 112-104 victory over the Clippers on March 25, the Lakers recorded their league-leading 10TH wire-to-wire win of the season. This season, the Lakers (10) lead the NBA in wire-to-wire victories, followed by the Celtics (9), Nuggets (9), Spurs (9) and Heat (8) through games played 3/28/11. 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), Jazz (1/25 vs. Utah) and Hawks (2/22 vs. ATL). 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).