GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 23 15 17 32 87
Play by Play Golden State Warriors 14 29 29 23 95


Warriors hand Lakers second straight loss, 95-87

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) That remarkable start after the All-Star break for the Los Angeles Lakers suddenly seems like a distant memory.

Monta Ellis scored 26 points, David Lee had 22 points and 17 rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors held on to beat the sluggish Lakers 95-87 on Wednesday night.

The Lakers looked awful in defeat for the second straight night against an inferior opponent and third game overall. They lost all chance of catching the Spurs for home-court advantage in the playoffs.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson was short on words after the loss but vowed he wouldn't rest his starters over the final four games, even though there's nothing at stake.

"They rested tonight," Jackson said.

Kobe Bryant had 25 points and Pau Gasol scored 18 for the Lakers, who also lost at home to short-handed Utah on Tuesday night. Los Angeles, which started 17-1 after the All-Star break, also lost to the Warriors for the first time in 12 games.

"We went on the crazy win streak. Now we just took a couple lumps on the head," said Lakers guard Shannon Brown, who had five points on 1 of 5 shooting. "We'll be back."

Stephen Curry added 20 points, six rebounds and five assists to help the Warriors build a 19-point lead in their third straight victory - all against playoff-bound teams. They have beaten Dallas, Portland and Los Angeles in perhaps their best stretch of wins all season.

Bryant brought the Lakers within eight points in a frantic rally in the fourth quarter, but all that did was make the final score seem close. The Warriors trounced Los Angeles for most of the game and relished every second of it afterward.

"They're committed to going against teams that we have no shot against and saying, 'You know what, we have a shot,"' Warriors coach Keith Smart said. "And that's all we need. As I said to them before the game, we have a free swing tonight. If we go out and play and get blown out by 20, we get blown out. But we have a free swing."

Instead, the Lakers were the team that missed.

A night after a lazy loss at home to the depleted Jazz, the Lakers might have played even worse in ending any chance of earning the top seed in the Western Conference. San Antonio's victory over Sacramento, combined with the Lakers' loss, gave the Spurs home-court advantage throughout the West playoffs.

The Lakers were in constant confusion and made mistake after mistake - often in glaring fashion - with Bryant shouting at teammates seemingly after every one. Some passes went into the stands, shots weren't falling and there was little hustle.

Not exactly the kind of performances the two-time defending champions wanted in the home stretch of the regular season.

The Warriors, who handed out "Beat LA!" posters to every fan, withstood Bryant's burst in the first quarter that put Los Angeles ahead by 12 points early. Golden State controlled most of the first half with solid performances on both ends of the court.

"We've just been playing both halves," Ellis said. "Mainly I think it's our defense, limiting teams to one possession versus getting second-chance points. And then getting out and running and making shots."

Curry even added some flair with a half-court underhand pass to Al Thornton during a run that pushed Golden State's lead to seven in the second quarter. The Lakers scored the first six points of the third quarter only to watch another hot start evaporate.

Dorell Wright hit a 3-pointer - and another one in the fourth to finish with 185 on the season - to break Jason Richardson's club record of 183 set in the 2005-06 season. Ellis and Curry also added jumpers, and Golden State went ahead 72-55 after three quarters.

The lead was big enough that Lakers coach Phil Jackson didn't even bring Bryant in the game until a little more than 6 minutes left. He sat along with Ron Artest and Derek Fisher for heavy minutes watching another miserable late-season defeat, and by the time they returned, it was far too late.

"They played well, give them credit," Artest said. "I'm not worried about us. We'll be all right."

NOTES: Warriors C Andris Biedrins missed his 11th straight game with a sprained left ankle. It is becoming increasingly likely he will not play again this season. ... Warriors G Acie Law will have season-ending surgery Thursday on the bone spurs in his right wrist, the team said. ... Rapper and Oakland native Too Short performed with the Warrior Girls during a timeout in the first quarter. ... A video tribute was played during a timeout in the second quarter to honor former Warriors star Chris Mullin, who was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday.

 


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




20 Rebounds averaged by Andrew Bynum in L.A.’s back-to-back. He had 17 against the Warriors, though just two in the second half, after setting his career high with 23 against Utah.

18 Turnovers for the Lakers, who managed just 17 assists, the third straight game in which they failed to register more assists than turnovers. They committed 19 turnovers with 19 assists against Utah, and 20 turnovers with 20 assists against Denver. In related news, all three were losses.

10 Points for Matt Barnes, the second time he’s reached double figures since returning from his knee injury on March 6. Barnes has been a low volume shooter, of course, so points aren’t the focus, but his spark caused Phil Jackson to leave him in during crunch time.

2 Games ahead of Dallas in the West in the race for the No. 2 seed. The Mavs have lost four straight games, the Lakers three, which also dropped L.A. even with the Celtics for potential home court advantage in the Finals.

0 Crunch time minutes for Ron Artest and Pau Gasol, as Jackson went with Barnes and Bynum.




View More Photos


Points Bryant 25, 10-20 FG
Rebounds Bynum 17, 4 OFF 13 DEF
Assists Odom 5
Steals Bryant 4
Blocks Barnes 1


POSTGAME QUOTES



Head Coach Phil Jackson:

On the Lakers’ Perfomance:
“I’m really concerned about the way we were shooting the basketball, second we need to start playing in rhythm. We got off to a good start tonight and we need to keep that momentum going.”

On the Lack of Rebounding:
“Some of that is just about penetration, everyone is going to stop the ball and no one is there to rebound… They had 18 second chance points to our 6 or 8 so that was the difference.”

On Player’s Limited Minutes:
“They rested today. Kobe played 31 minutes, Pau played (28) minutes, they didn’t play heavy minutes.”

On Preserving Players:
“Season carries on and it wears guys down. You start looking beyond the regular season to the playoffs and the matchups and you have to be careful at this time that you don’t fall prey to that.”







Ron Artest:

On The Warrior’s Performance:
“They (Warriors) played well tonight, give them some credit. They played well and made shots, so give them all the credit.”

On Bouncing Back from Tonight’s Loss:
“We’ve got another game, so it’s not like it was the playoffs and game over, so we got to continue to go out there and play and try to win.”






Shannon Brown:

On What Needs to Improve:
“Getting into our sets quicker, flowing a little bit better, making the pass to the open man instead of trying to force stuff. We’ve had two nights of crazy turnovers so we need to protect the ball and get more shots.”

On Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis:
“They’re a good backcourt, they’re a great backcourt. They (Curry & Ellis) play well together, people didn’t think they could. They get shots up… they both can handle the ball. They’re both a good combination.”







Pau Gasol:

On Not Executing:
 “We haven’t been really getting into a good flow out there, just committing too many turnovers at times, not executing really well, sometimes not willing to make that extra pass. It adds up, as you go on during the games you want to do it on your own and you try to do too much individually and it disrupts our system when that happens.”








Head Coach Keith Smart:

On His Expectations before Tonight’s Game:
“I knew we were going to compete. I just hope we would have enough gas from last night’s game with the traveling day from a back-to-back game...I just hoped we were going to have enough. Sometime you start off real lethargic because you have that rest day and you come into the gym a little out of sync, but I thought they were just as bad. There wasn’t really any separation and we managed to keep ourselves together where we couldn’t make a shot, couldn’t do anything well. But defensively we stayed there, rebounding we stayed there, and the score never got away from us. If it did get away from us we could have been in trouble. We spotted them 14-16 points, but I knew we would have a chance to get back into the game and we had and ballgame down the stretch. The bench came in, Vladdy (Vladimir Radmanovic) made some plays…always ready and (Lou) Amundson came in and has been playing great basketball doing the dirty work and getting fouled. Just playing a physical game, that’s what he does and he’s done a good job with that role he has been in.”

On the Three Wins in a Row against Playoff Bound Teams:
“I think when you get a chance to play people may say, ‘Well they are not playing for anything’ well the starters are playing…they’re playing for something.  They know what we are trying to do… those people in that locker room know what we are trying to do. Those guys know what we are trying to do. If you are in that room, you would know what we are trying to do as well.”

On Why the Team Has Played so Well of Late:
“I think the commitment for our guys to want to defend one-on-one…putting ownership on themselves. I think the fact that we have another big guard has helped because I can move players around. That could also be one reason. But I just think they are committed to what they are trying to do. They are committed to going up against teams that we have no shot against, and saying ‘You know what? We have a shot’. That’s all we need. As I told them before the game, ‘We have a free swing tonight”. If we get blown out by 20, we get blown out but we have a free swing’. We are playing for something; we are creating an identity for our basketball team. So far defensively we’ve done a good job keeping teams under 100 points and we’ve been pretty successful when we’ve done that (18-4). That’s the commitment we are trying to get.”







Monta Ellis:

On Finishing Strong:

“We are just trying to finish the season off strong.  Like I’ve been saying we still have a job to do, we still have games so we just treat every game like it’s the beginning of the season.”

On Last Three Games:
“We’ve just been playing both halves.  Mainly I think it’s our defense.  We’ve been limiting teams to one possession versus getting second chance points and were getting out and running.”

On David Lee:
“He’s been great the whole season.  Just the last few games he’s been playing like an animal.  It’s really good to see that he’s back to his normal self.”






David Lee:

On Tonight’s Win
:
“I thought our team played well as a team.  We were able to out rebound those guys for the first time probably ever and controlling the paint was huge for us.  We were able to hit some shots down the stretch too.  But the fact that we won despite only shooting 38 percent says a lot about our defense too.”

On Where Did The Defense Come From:
“I think tonight was all about effort.  Some games teams start hitting every shot, and then they went cold as the game went on.  We are just trying to scramble and the bigs are playing good heads up defense while the guards are keeping guys from getting by them and getting to the whole.”





Stephen Curry:

“I feel we are just playing well. We’ve had streaks during the season where we played well, it’s not like we can’t be a good team.  Right now it’s just clicking.”

On David Lee:
“He’s playing big for us.  He’s rebounding and being physical on defense.  Three straight games we’ve played against teams that have a big that really know how to score and he’s taking that challenge on.”













LAKERS VS. WARRIORS GAME PREVIEW

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN, STATS Senior Writer

After having one lengthy streak end, the Los Angeles Lakers don't seem too concerned about their ability to extend another.

Losers of consecutive games for the first time since the All-Star break, the Lakers try to beat the Golden State Warriors for the 13th straight time Wednesday night.

Los Angeles (55-22) appeared poised to gain the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference while riding a nine-game win streak heading into Sunday's home game with Denver, trailing San Antonio by 1 1/2 games at the time.

However, the Lakers fell 95-90 to the Nuggets and 86-85 at home to Utah on Tuesday, and now trail the Spurs by 3 1/2 games. Los Angeles holds a two-game lead for the No. 2 seed over Dallas with five games left for each team.

Tuesday's loss was surprising since the Lakers had won 17 straight at home against Utah, which has already been eliminated from playoff contention.

"This was our worst game of the year," forward Lamar Odom said. "We didn't deserve to win, (but) we've had no problem bouncing back all year. We'll be fine. Our energy was just bad all the way around. … You can't dissect this game. Nothing is there."

Kobe Bryant struggled to make 6 of 18 shots for 20 points and is shooting 35.6 percent over his last two games. The Lakers' 37.8 percent shooting was their worst performance at home this season.

Los Angeles had not lost two straight since a three-game slide Feb. 13-16. The Lakers must win every remaining game to reach 60 victories for the 12th time in their history and third under coach Phil Jackson. Jackson has notched seven total 60-win seasons, winning a championship each time.

Bryant owns a 27.7 scoring average while playing in 11 of the Lakers' 23 consecutive victories over the Warriors (34-44).

The win streak has coincided with Pau Gasol's arrival in Los Angeles. Gasol missed the first two meetings after being acquired from Memphis due to injury, but has averaged 23.5 points and 11.7 rebounds in 11 matchups - he's never lost to the Warriors since joining the Lakers.

The Spanish big man played through a bone bruise in his right knee Tuesday and scored 12 of his 19 points in the first quarter.

Andrew Bynum, who had left Sunday's loss with a knee injury, returned to face the Jazz and finished with 12 points and a career-high 23 rebounds.

The Lakers frontcourt will try to contain David Lee after the Warriors power forward had 29 points and a season-high 20 rebounds in Tuesday's 108-87 victory at Portland.

Golden State also got a big performance from its backcourt as Monta Ellis scored 30 points andStephen Curry had 28.

"We're looking for something bigger now. We're trying to do something bigger," coach Keith Smart said. "We're trying to establish a way of how we play, an identity of how we want our team to move forward, and that's what those young men are doing."



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 Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle) will play.
Devin Ebanks (stress fracture, left tibia) is out.
Pau Gasol (bone bruise, right knee) is day-to-day.
Theo Ratliff (left knee surgery) is questionable.

Andris Biedrins (sprained left ankle) is out.
Acie Law (bone spurs in right wrist) is out.


10/31 - GSW @ LAL W 107-83
11/21 - GSW @ LAL W 117-89
01/12 - LAL @ GSW W 115-110
04/06 - LAL @ GSW


The Golden State Warriors play a fast paced free-wheeling kind of game as a matter of habit. So as they wind down their season with only a few games left we expect to see more of the same as the Warriors will simply let their shots fly. We are coming off of a pair of disappointing losses and if we don't improve our effort level and defensive communication we will get rocked. Golden State will not run any special offensive play sets and they will not usually dazzle with their execution of complex formations. We will see simple screen and roll basketball. Coach Smart will put the ball in either Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry's hands and spread the floor. As teams over-commit to stop this action it opens up lanes for David Lee or Louis Amundson to crash the offensive boards. All five of our defenders must be on the same page and we must help the helper tonight if we want to win.

Read Full Scouting Report @ Lakers Courtside Connection


GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers currently lead their season series with Golden State 3-0 after taking last season's series from the Warriors 4-0. The Lakers have swept four of the last five season series with the Warriors and have not lost a season series to the Warriors since they were defeated 2-3 over five games during the 1994-95 season. The Lakers and Warriors have met 296 times in the regular season during the Los Angeles Era with the Lakers leading the all-time series 189-107. Including their time in Minneapolis, the Lakers and Warriors have met a total of 387 times with the Lakers holding a 240-147 all-time series advantage. The Lakers are 26-3 in their last 29 games against Golden State and have won their last 12 straight. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 22-2 all-time against the Warriors. On the road, the Lakers have gone 9-1 against the Warriors in their last 10 games at ORACLE Arena. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 36-7 against the Warriors. In 54 career games including 45 starts against the Warriors, Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.9 points (1451) with a high-game of 51 points. Additionally, Lamar Odom posted his first triple-double as a Laker with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against the Warriors back on 4/11/06. In 2007-08, Odom pulled down a career-high 22 rebounds on 3/23/08 vs. Golden State and just one day later, posted 23 points, 21 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 rebounds at Golden State, becoming the first Laker in 13 years to record consecutive 20-rebound games and just the 5th player of the 2000's decade in the NBA to post at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and five blocked shots in a single game. Lakers guard Derek Fisher played two seasons for Golden State, where he averaged a career-best 13.3 points during the 2005-06 season. Warriors forward Vladimir Radmanovic played for the Lakers from 2006-09. Radmanovic owns the franchise record for three-point field goal percentage in a season (min. 100 attempts), shooting .441 from behind the arc over 46 games during the 2008-09 season.

BACK-TO-BACK
Wednesday's game against Golden State is the second of a back-to-back set with the Jazz and Warriors. This season, the Lakers are 9-5 in the first game and 11-2 in the second of back-to-backs. Last night's loss was the Lakers first in Home/Road back-to-backs all year (12-1, 6-1 in first game (home), 6-0 in second game (road)). 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.

LAKERS TURNOVERS STREAK ENDS
The Lakers 9-game overall and 10-game home win streaks were not the only streaks snapped with their April 3rd loss to the Nuggets. Entering the game against Denver, the Lakers had committed fewer turnovers than their opponent in each of their previous 13 games, the longest streak of its kind for Los Angeles since the NBA began officially tracking turnovers in 1970 and the longest by any NBA team since Cleveland had fewer turnovers than its opponent in 13 consecutive games in 2008-09.*

ALL-STAR PERFORMANCE AFTER THE BREAK
With their victory at Utah on April 1, the Lakers became just the 4th team since the league introduced the All-Star game in 1951 to post a 17-1 record (or better) out of the break. The 1999-2000 Lakers won their first 16 straight games after the All-Star break, eventually moving to 27-1 before recording their second loss. The only other two teams to win 17 games before recording their second loss after the All-Star Break were the 1990-91 Chicago Bulls (19-1) and 1997-98 Utah Jazz (17-1).

BRYANT NAMED KIA NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE MONTH
On April 1st, Kobe Bryant was named Western Conference Player of the Month for March 2011. The award is Bryant's 13th Western Conf. Player of the Month honor and 14th Player of the Month award overall. Bryant was also named NBA Player of the Month for December of 2000, a year before the award was divided into Eastern and Western Conferences for the 2001-02 season. The award is the first of the season for Bryant, who has won multiple Player of the Month awards in a single season four times (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09). Bryant's previous Western Conference Player of the Month awards came in December 2009, January 2009, December 2008, April 2008, February 2008, March of 2007, December 2006, April 2006, January 2006, March 2004, January 2003 and November 2001.
Bryant averaged 25.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists while leading the Lakers to a league-best 12-1 record in March and bringing them to within 2 1⁄2 games of San Antonio for first place in the Western Conference. Bryant achieved several milestones in March: passing Moses Malone for 6th on the NBA's all-time scoring list during a 26- point performance in a win 3/8 at Atlanta as well as passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the Lakers all-time leader in games played in a win over New Orleans 3/27. Bryant also tallied a season-high 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in a 3 OT win over Phoenix 3/22 en route to the Western Conference Player of the Week award on 3/27.

JACKSON NAMED WESTERN CONFERENCE COACH OF THE MONTH
On April 1st, Phil Jackson was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for March 2011. The award is Jackson's fifth Western Conference Coach of the Month honor. Jackson most recently won back-to-back Western Conference Coach of the Month awards for games played in October/November 2008 and April 2008. Jackson also won back-to-back awards for April 2003 and October/November 2003. In March, Jackson led the Lakers to a league-best 12-1 (.923) mark. Prior to these honors, Jackson was last named Coach of the Month in November of 2001 before the award was divided by conference.






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