SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers swept last season’s series with New York 2-0 for the 4th consecutive year. Dating back to the Minneapolis era, this will be the two teams’ 274th meeting and the 183rd since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season. In their last 10 overall games, the Lakers have gone 8-2 against the Knicks and have won eight straight against New York. At home, the Lakers are 9-3 all-time against the Knicks at STAPLES Center. In New York, the Lakers have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games at Madison Square Garden. On 2/2/09, Kobe Bryant scored a Madison Square Garden record 61 points (19-31 FG) while converting a franchise record for free throws made without a miss (20). Bryant’s 20 free throws without a miss tied for 2nd most in NBA history without a miss behind Dominique Wilkins’ 23-23 effort in December of 1992. It was the 5th time Bryant has scored 40+ points at MSG, with his 61 points surpassing Michael Jordan’s 55-point opponent record and Bernard King’s 60-point building record. On January 31, 2006, the Lakers established a series record for largest margin of victory with a 130-97 win over the Knicks at MSG. In that contest, Bryant led all scorers with 40 points while tying his own franchise record with 23 free throws made. Additionally, Bryant’s 23 made free throws set an MSG record while his 26 attempts tied the building record. In 28 career games (24 starts) against the Knicks, Bryant is averaging 26.5 points. Additionally, Devin Ebanks (born in Queens, NY) is a native of New York while Andrew Bynum and rookie Derrick Caracter are from nearby New Jersey. Ron Artest was born in Queensbridge, NY, teamed with Elton Brand and Lamar Odom on the same AAU team in the city as a teenager and attended both high school (La Salle Academy) and college (St. John’s) in New York, NY. Also, Knicks guard Tony Douglas was selected by the Lakers with the 29th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and was subsequently traded to New York for a future 2nd round draft pick and cash considerations while both Tyson Chandler (Dominguez HS) and Baron Davis (Crossroads HS, UCLA) grew up and played locally in high school/college in the Los Angeles area.
BRYANT 49 POINTS SHY OF 28,000 FOR HIS CAREER
With 26 points December 27th vs. Utah, Kobe Bryant (27,951) moved to within 49 points of 28,000 for his career. Bryant, the youngest player in league history to score 23,000 – 27,000 points, will be 33 years, 128 days old on Thursday, December 29 when the Lakers face New York. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, currently the youngest player to score 28,000 points in league history, reached the milestone back on April 13, 1982 when he was 34 years, 363 days of age. Wilt Chamberlain (34 years, 109 days), Michael Jordan (34 years, 333 days), the only guard in NBA history to score 28,000 points, Karl Malone (35 years, 212 days) and Shaquille O’Neal (37 years, 319 days) round out the top five. Additionally, in reaching 28,000 points, Bryant (1,106 games played thru 12/27/11) would become just the 6th player in NBA history to do so and is on pace to become the 5th fastest in terms of games. Chamberlain was the fastest to reach 28,000, doing so in 825 games, followed by Jordan (886), Kareem Abdul- Jabbar (1,008), Karl Malone (1,070) and Shaquille O’Neal (1,154).
Last season, Bryant reached the 27,000 point milestone with his 28th point January 30 vs. Boston. In doing so, Bryant became the youngest to 27,000 points in NBA history (32 years, 160 days), surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (32 years, 202 days) who reached the milestone back on March 11, 1969. 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). The youngest player in league history to accumulate 18,000 – 20,000 and 23,000 – 27,000 points, Bryant was the 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, 8th fastest to 26,000 points and 5th fastest to 27,000 points in terms of games.
UNCOMMON 0-2 START
With their loss at Sacramento on December 26th, the Lakers fell to 0-2 to start a season for the first time since opening the 2002-03 campaign with a pair of losses. The only team in the NBA that has gone longer since its last 0-2 start is Phoenix, who last started a season with two losses in 1996-97. This was the 11th time the Lakers have started a season 0-2 (2011-12, 2002-03, 1990-91, 1984-85, 1981-82, 1978-79, 1969-70, 1960-61, 1957-58, 1956-57 and 1953-54). In three of the previous 10 seasons in which they have started 0-2, the Lakers went on to win the NBA Championship (1954, 1982, 1985).
BRYANT NEARING SHAQUILLE O’NEAL FOR 5th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
Last season, Kobe Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Moses Malone (27,409) 3/8/11 at Atlanta, Elvin Hayes (27,313) 2/27/11 at Oklahoma City, Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28/11 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7/11 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4/11 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant (27,951) are Shaquille O’Neal (5th/28,596), Wilt Chamberlain (4th/31,419), Michael Jordan (3rd/32,292), Karl Malone (2nd/36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st/38,387). Among the top six scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform.
Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. In 2009-10, 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).