Lakers Gameday | 10/26/10 | Rockets

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Houston Rockets 33 29 20 28 110
by Play
Los Angeles Lakers 26 25 26 35 112

Lakers rally past Rockets, 112-110 in opener

Posted Oct 27 2010 1:48AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, newcomer Steve Blake hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 18.8 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Lakers opened defense of their back-to-back NBA titles with a 112-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

Pau Gasol had 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who hung the golden banner celebrating their 16th NBA championship and handed out their impossibly gaudy rings in a heartfelt pregame ceremony.

The champs then fell behind by 15 points before rallying for a fourth-quarter lead behind a 3-point barrage by Shannon Brown, who scored 14 of his 16 points in a 6 1/2-minute span.

The clubs traded the lead four times in the final minute, but Houston's Luis Scola missed a difficult scoop shot with 3 seconds left. After officials used a lengthy video review to award possession of the loose ball to Houston with 2.4 seconds to play, Aaron Brooks' layup attempt at the buzzer was blocked by Lamar Odom.

Kevin Martin scored 26 points and Brooks had 18 of his 24 in the first half of Houston's eighth loss in its last nine regular-season meetings with the Lakers.

Yao Ming had nine points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 6:30 left in his first NBA game since the 2009 playoffs, also against the Lakers. The Chinese center missed last season after surgery on his left foot.

The Lakers didn't make the celebration easy in their first real game at Staples Center since that gut-wrenching, come-from-behind victory in Game 7 of the NBA finals four months ago. Los Angeles trailed by 11 points late in the third quarter before a 21-4 run featuring 12 consecutive points.

But the details of the opener paled in comparison to the pregame festivities for the nine remaining Lakers. The Lakers' rings are ostentatious masterpieces of excess, featuring 16 oversized diamonds for each Lakers title, a three-dimensional rendering of each player's face, and even a small piece of the leather from a basketball used in Game 7 of the NBA finals.

In contrast, the ring ceremony was small and heartwarming. NBA commissioner David Stern and Lakers executive Jeanie Buss stood at center court waiting for coach Phil Jackson, who accepted his 11th ring and said a few kind words before introducing forward Luke Walton, who introduced Odom, who introduced Ron Artest - all the way to Derek Fisher introducing Bryant to thunderous applause.

``This is what we play for,'' Jackson said.

Yao largely looked good in his 24-minute limit mandated by coach Rick Adelman, missing his opening jump-hook but battling in the paint with Gasol and Odom. The Rockets took the lead and held it with their guards, who both had 20 points by the middle of the third quarter.

Brooks scored 15 points in the first quarter with a slick succession of jumpers and drives, while Martin also showed what he can do when healthy as Houston pushed to a 15-point lead in the second quarter.

The Lakers hung in with scoring from Bryant and Gasol, and Blake hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minute of the third quarter to trim Houston's lead to five points entering the fourth.

Brown's layup put the Lakers ahead 88-86 with 9:08 left near the end of the Lakers' big run. The backup guard who turned down bigger contracts elsewhere for his shot at a third ring then really went to work, hitting four 3-pointers in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the quarter to raucous cheers.

Houston took a 108-107 lead with 53 seconds left after Brad Miller's free throws capped a 6-0 run. Gasol and Scola traded baskets before Blake came open on the perimeter and confidently hit a 3-pointer - the new backup point guard's third of the night.

NOTES: Walton missed the opener with a strained hamstring, while Houston F Chuck Hayes played through a sprained right ankle. ... Houston earned a season-opening win at Staples Center three years ago, before the Lakers acquired Gasol and began their run to three straight NBA finals. ... For the 27th straight year, Jeffrey Osborne sang the national anthem at the Lakers' opener. Courtside fans included Denzel Washington, David Beckham, Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith. Shaquille O'Neal's estranged wife, Shaunie, watched from one row behind Lakers executive Jeanie Buss.

Copyright 2010 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

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3 Three-pointers sunk by Steve Blake in his first game as a Laker, all three of which were important, none more than a go-ahead bomb with 18.8 seconds remaining. Blake finished with 10 points and three assists without a turnover. Shannon Brown added four triples himself in the fourth quarter alone, providing a huge boost for L.A.

7 Combined three-pointers made by Houston's Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin, though only one came in the second half, compared to L.A.'s second-half-seven from Blake and Brown.

9 Houston's edge on the glass (53-44), thanks in part to early foul trouble from Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum's being in street clothes. L.A. countered by committing only 12 turnovers to Houston's 21, eight of which were caused by Brown and Ron Artest's four steals apiece.

37 Kobe Bryant's minute total. Phil Jackson had surmised that Bryant was ready to play more than 30 minutes after slowly ramping up his playing time in the preseason, and No. 24 responded just fine while totaling 27 points on 8-of-20 shooting with 11-of-12 free throws. He added seven assists and five boards.

38.9 L.A.'s halftime shooting percentage, mirroring the generally poor shooting from the defending champs throughout the preseason, allowing the 47.9-percent shooting Rockets to claim a 62-51 lead. The Lakers fared a bit better in the second half (45.2 percent), keyed by Blake and Brown's collective 7-of-7 from three.

View More Photos

Points Gasol 29, 11-23 FG
Rebounds Gasol 11, 4 OFF 7 DEF
Assists Bryant 7
Steals Brown, Artest 4
Blocks Gasol, Ratliff 2


Lakers coach Phil Jackson on the play of Shannon Brown and Steve Blake:

"We just didn't seem to find traction until Shannon [Brown] and Steve [Blake] got in the ballgame and changed the contexture of that ballgame. It was a great effort by those two. They gave us a big rally."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on Pau Gasol's performance:
"I thought he played really well. Defensively, I thought he did a good job on Yao [Ming]. There was a couple things that he didn't do late in the ballgame on defensive screen rolls and things that they kind of work at that we had a little trouble with. But he gave us a real nice game.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on Pau Gasol's offensive aggressiveness:
"I thought he had to stay aggressive the first half. We talked about it at the end of the half, he took a couple of opportunities to pass the ball rather than shoot the ball when he had the shot."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson on the difficulties of playing after the ring ceremony:

"I think that the players were emboldened by the ring. I think they were excited about it. So that part of it I thought was good. I just didn't think we played with the right speed and tempo in the first half. We got a lot of shots, not a lot of them good."

Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant on bench down the stretch:
"Shannon Brown came in and did a great job. Steve made a couple of huge 3s for us. Shannon on both ends of the floor was extremely active. We were a deep team last year as well and this year I think you have a little better chemistry in terms of the pieces fitting better together off the better."

Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant on playing 37 minutes:
"I told [Phil Jackson] I was ready to go so I knew this morning. I feel good."

Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant on Blake's last shot:
"We executed at the right time. It was something we talked about at the timeout."

Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant on the ring ceremony and Derek Fisher:
"It's always fun when this night comes. You get a chance to enjoy it and tonight were an even more special one because we all introduced each other. You know the bond we share together so for him to bring me out that was special."

Lakers' forward Pau Gasol on emotions after the ring ceremony:
"We started off strong, obviously very excited about the game and the ring ceremony, but then we went into a period where we weren't very sharp. We still have to get a feel for being back in the competition. By the third quarter we finally settled down and understood what we needed to do to make things happen."

Lakers' forward Pau Gasol on feeling pressure to score more:
"When you ask me to score, or score more, it's never going to be a problem. We just need to do a better job defensively, that's more important than the offense."

Lakers' Shannon Brown on Lakers' bench play tonight:
"That's what we're supposed to do coming off the bench…it's our job to come out there and keep pushing. If the leads up to push it even further, and if we're down to bring us up."

Lakers' Shannon Brown on what brought him back for another season with the Lakers:
"Championships. This ring ceremony is so special—it's history. It's something that nobody can ever take away, it's going to hang in these rafters for as long as basketball is around. It's a great group of guys, great coaches, I love the Lakers."

Lakers' Steve Blake on leaving in a hot shooter:
"All coaches do it. If you got it going they leave you in there. Try to get it going, try to be consistent and hit shots.

Lakers' Steve Blake on the Lakers' second unit:
"Just play basketball. Defensively try to get our hands active. Shannon was able to hit clutch shots. Everyone on the second unit was a true team player. That's the type of game we have to bring every night.

Coach Rick Adelman on Kevin picking up his fourth foul and the team getting out of rhythm:

"No I don't think it was so much him, it's just we just stopped moving the ball. But we still had ten, eleven point lead with I don't know how much time, four minutes to go. They made shots and we got very stagnant. At seven minutes where we didn't play that way, then we picked it up and came back after the fourth quarter. We got to sustain it, we can't get…we just get really stagnant out there… we really did. And we stopped defending them. We gave up open looks at threes that we should not have given up…"

Coach Rick Adelman's opinion on best offensive option:
"It's going to be Aaron or Kevin. With those two guys on the floor we did some really good things. In the last three minutes we got to the middle of the court, we found open shooters. We at least got a lot of points because the way we spaced it. But that's something we're going to keep finding out. We're going to have to find out where we're going to score."

Coach Rick Adelman on an early tough loss this quickly in the season:
"We knew it was a tough game when we came in here. They're the world champs, and we knew it was going to be tough. But I thought we responded pretty well. Like I said, I think about seven minutes we just didn't play the way we're capable of and they got back in the game."

Coach Rick Adelman on Yao's performance:
"He did fine, he did fine. His timing has to get better as he goes on. You just have to keep judging as we go"

Rockets center Yao Ming on if he had a lot of shots that he wanted, but they just weren't falling:
"I'm a not worried about that. Those will take a little bit of time. I feel pretty good out there. I'm running up court, up and back, and I'm helping the team on defense."

Ming on the opportunity to face Pau Gasol, and how he felt going up against him:
"It's always tough to play against Pau Gasol at any time. And especially from the last two years, he's been playing on a great team. It's great experience for him. I think he's on a totally different level compared to a couple years ago."

Ming on the Rockets' offensive flow becoming stagnant:
"I think turnovers. That would be a big key for us. We had 20 turnovers in the entire game, and that killed our offense on the other side. When running to our defense [the turnovers] didn't give us enough time to get back."

Aaron BrooksRockets guard Aaron Brooks on what happened on his layup attempt to try and tie it:
"I think that the angle I was at to get the pass [affected it]. I was a little further in the back than I thought. When I caught the ball I didn't know exactly where I was on the floor. Then I took a dribble and realized where I was, and then I tried to gather and my leg kind of slipped a little bit."

Brooks on if the game got away from them:
"There was a time when Steve Blake and Shannon Brown came in and hit some big 3's. We didn't respond back. Our offense got a little bit stagnant, a little bit on my part. We need to run a little more offensive sets [and] a little more pick-and-rolls."

Aaron BrooksRockets forward Shane Battier on tonight's game and what the team needs to do:
"It was a really good effort. It's the same message that we've been preaching for two years now — when we push the ball all over, be aggressive early in the shot clock we're better served."

Battier on the Brooks' layup attempt at the end of the game:
"[We did it] just like we drew it up. We knew they were going to overplay Aaron, and [he] was going to have a backdoor layup attempt. It was a tough pass, but we made the pass. We were probably a foot from completing that play."



While so much attention during the NBA offseason was focused on the happenings in South Beach, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers were preparing to make a run for their third straight title in what could be the final season for coach Phil Jackson.

Bryant, Jackson and the Lakers will watch as the franchise's 16th championship banner is raised Tuesday night before taking on Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets in the season opener.

Despite being the defending champions, the Lakers (57-25) spent most of the summer overshadowed in terms of media and fan attention by the decisions of free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade with Miami.

While the Heat's moves were aimed at challenging Bryant and the Lakers, Los Angeles doesn't seem concerned.

"We're confident in ourselves," said Bryant, who averaged 27.0 points during the regular season and earned finals MVP honors for the second straight year. "I'm not a guy, and we're not a team, that worries about what other people are doing."

Bryant and the Lakers have good reason to be upbeat. They return nine players from their championship team, which defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games, while adding free agents Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff.

"This team is still a juggernaut," forward Lamar Odom said. "We have so many people that can do it inside and out. No matter who's the first, second or third option, we're still one of the best offensive teams in the league."

Coaching Los Angeles' roster, which features an NBA-high payroll around $95 million, will be the 64-year-old Jackson, who put off retirement for at least another season.

The 11-time NBA champion coach has a .705 regular-season winning percentage, a record 225 postseason victories and two more titles than former Celtics coach Red Auerbach. While health issues caused him to consider retirement after last season, Jackson returned despite a pay cut.

The chance to win three consecutive titles for the fourth time enticed Jackson, while the responsibility of being defending champs caused several players to make key offseason decisions.

Pau Gasol skipped summer duties with the Spanish national team while Bryant and center Andrew Bynum each underwent knee surgery. Bynum will be sidelined for at least another month, with Odom starting in his place.

Bryant had his right knee surgically repaired, but chose not to undergo surgery on his right index finger after he fractured it last December. Although the finger still bothers Bryant, the recovery time would have taken longer than he wanted.

Bryant played through the injury last season, but at times struggled with his shot. He shot 45.6 percent during the regular season - his worst in four seasons - and 40.5 percent in the finals.

Jackson is likely to limit Bryant's minutes early on. He averaged almost 39 minutes per game last season, seventh in the NBA.

"I'm not as concerned about his shot as him just having the overall ability to have the energy he wants to play with," Jackson said. "His shot will come as soon as he gets that. He's the best caretaker of his own health I've ever seen. ... I think he just needs to play some ball, and he'll be fine."

One of the teams looking to challenge the Lakers in the West is Houston, which was busy after going 42-40 last season while missing the playoffs for the first time in four years.

The absence of Yao was a major factor, but the seven-time All-Star center appears set for his first action since May 8, 2009, when he broke his foot in the Rockets' loss to the Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.

"I am very excited," Yao said. "I am just looking forward to playing a great season. I think I can count on my foot now."

The 7-foot-6 Yao, however, has missed time over the last four seasons due to leg and foot injuries, and concerns remain about how healthy he is. Coach Rick Adelman said he will limit Yao's minutes to no more than 24 per game.

"I'm just going to have to take the stance that I want to bring him along as he feels comfortable, and how it fits into our team," Adelman said. "It's got to be something that's positive for him.

"That's a long answer to say, I don't know how it's going to work out."

It should help that Yao, who has averaged 19.1 points and 9.3 rebounds in seven seasons, isn't expected to do it all. Aaron Brooks, the NBA's most improved player last season, is hoping for another big season after averaging 19.6 points and 5.3 assists, and Luis Scola is back after averaging 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds.

The Rockets re-signed reserve point guard Kyle Lowry to join Brooks in the backcourt and acquired 7-foot Brad Miller to back up Yao.

Houston remains in transition after trading away Tracy McGrady and acquiring Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries on Feb. 18. The Rockets also dealt swingman Trevor Ariza and added guard Courtney Lee during the summer.

Adelman hopes the increased depth will help. Only three Rockets players saw action in all 82 games last season and 13 other players missed a total of 208 games to injuries.

"I like our depth all the way through," Adelman said. "I don't think anybody should have to play 40 minutes. ... We have quality guys coming off the bench."

The Lakers won three of four against the Rockets last season, although they lost 101-91 at home Nov. 15.

Copyright 2010 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 - Rockets Ring Night Preview
10/24 Injury Update: Andrew Bynum
Lakers 105, Warriors 102: Preseason
Injury Update: Odom, Walton & Caracter

Lakers Kobe Bryant (right knee surgery) is probable.
Andrew Bynum
(right knee surgery) is out.
Derrick Caracter
(back spasms) is probable.
Luke Walton (strained right hamstring) is out.

Mavs Chuck Hayes (sprained right ankle)
Kyle Lowry (back spasms)

10/26 - HOU @ LAL
12/01 - LAL @ HOU
02/01 - HOU @ LAL

Welcome back! As we embark on another season it is probably good that we are opening with a familiar opponent running a familiar offensive scheme. We have seen Head Coach Rick Adelman's system for over a decade and it is so popular with NBA teams that the generic term for the sequences is "Sacramento Action" due to his success with it in northern California.

Read Full Scouting Report @ Lakers Courtside Connection


The Lakers took last season's series from Houston 3-1 after sweeping the 2008-09 season series with the Rockets 4-0 for the first time since 2001-02 (4-0). The two teams have met 188 times in all with the Lakers holding a 127-61 series advantage (105-55 since the Rockets moved to Houston). The Lakers are 8-2 against the Rockets in their last 10 games overall. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 13-8 all- time against the Rockets and 5-5 in their last 10. In Houston, the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 road games and are 9-4 all-time at Toyota Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 27-11 against Houston in 38 regular season meetings. Kobe Bryant holds the series scoring record with two 53-point games. Both games broke his own series mark of 52 established at STAPLES Center in February of 2003. In 46 career games (41 starts) versus Houston, Bryant is now averaging 26.7 points per game. Lakers forward Ron Artest played the 2008-09 season in Houston, averaging 17.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.52 steals in 35.5 minutes while setting single season career-highs in 3-point field goals made (153) and attempted (383) in 69 games (55 starts). In the postseason, the Lakers are 5-3 in eight meetings with the Rockets, most recently defeating the Houston 4-3 in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals.

For the 18th time since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season, the Lakers will be opening the regular season at home. In those games, the Lakers have a record of 13-4. Overall, Los Angeles has a mark of 35-15 in their 50 REGULAR SEASON openers. The Lakers have won 6-of-their-last-7 opening night games and are 16-2 in their last 18 opening night games overall dating back to 1992. This will be the fifth consecutive season that the Lakers have opened the regular season at home, most recently defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 99-92 on opening night 10/27/09.

The Lakers have opened the regular season against the Rockets on five occasions, three at home, going 1-4 in those games. Most recently, the Lakers lost to the Rockets 93-95 at STAPLES Center to open the 2007-08 season (10/30/07). The Lakers lone opening night victory against Houston came in a 99-91 win at the Great Western Forum on opening night of the 1998-99 season (2/2/99). The two teams also faced off in season openers 11/1/91 @ Houston (121-126 OT), 11/1/86 @ Houston (102-112) and 10/30/81 (112-113 2OT).

In HOME OPENERS (first home game of the year), the Lakers are 33-17 since moving to Los Angeles, most recently defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 99-92 at STAPLES Center 10/27/09. With their victory over the Clippers last season, the Lakers improved to 15-3 in their last 18 HOME openers overall.

The Lakers have opened their home schedule against the Rockets four times (three times on opening night), going 2-2 in those meetings. Most recently, the Lakers lost to the Rockets 93-95 at STAPLES Center to open the 2007-08 season (10/30/07). The other home opener games against Houston include a 99-91 victory at the Great Western Forum to open the 1998-99 season (2/2/99), a 112-113 double-overtime loss to the Rockets 10/30/81 (also a season-opener) and a 114-103 victory 10/12/80.

Since the NBA's inaugural season in 1946-47, 21 of 64 winners of the NBA Finals have followed their championship seasons by winning the NBA Finals. Among the other 43 teams, nine lost in the NBA Finals, 17 lost in the Conference Finals, 10 lost in the Conference Semifinals, five lost in the First Round and two failed to make the playoffs. Five teams have managed to defend their title two or more times consecutively, with Minneapolis winning three straight titles from 1952-54, Boston winning eight straight titles from 1959-66, Chicago winning three straight titles from 1991-93 and again from 1996-98 and the Lakers winning three straight titles from 2000-02.

Since the NBA's inaugural season in 1946-47, 12 teams have advanced to the NBA Finals three or more consecutive seasons with the Lakers doing so on six separate occasions (1952-54; 1968-70; 1982-85; 1987-89; 2000-02; 2008-10). The Lakers franchise record for consecutive Finals appearances is four, done so once from 1982-85. Among the other teams to advance to three or more consecutive Finals, only the Celtics did so more than three straight seasons (New York: 1951-53; Boston: 1958-66; Boston: 1984-87; Detroit: 1988-90; Chicago: 1990-92; Chicago: 1996-98).

With his 29th point February 1, 2010 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. Additionally, having scored all his points with the Lakers, Bryant moved to sixth on the NBA's franchise career points list. On February 24, 2010 at Dallas, Bryant moved past Reggie Miller (25,279) for 5th on this list. To date, only four players in league history have scored more points for a single franchise than Bryant.

This year, the Lakers will play 15 sets of back-to-back games as opposed to the 20 sets they faced a season ago. The only other time the Lakers have played 15 or fewer sets of back-to-back games 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.


The Lakers finished the 2010 preseason with a 4-4 record. Since the Lakers first year of complete preseason records in 1982-83, their best preseason finish was a 7-1 mark in 1987-88. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have had three winning preseasons, going 6-2 in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Overall, Jackson's Lakers teams have posted preseason records of 4-4 (2010-11), 6-2 (2009-10), 6-2 (2008-09), 3-4 (2007-08), 4-4 (2006-07), 6-2 (2005-06), 3-5 (2003-04), 4-4 (2002-03), 4-4 (2001-02), 3- 5 (2000-01) and 3-5 (1999-2000).

For the second time in team history, the Lakers traveled abroad to Europe in the preseason, this time as part of 2010 NBA Europe Live presented by EA Sports. The Lakers only other trip to Europe came in October of 1991 when the team played two games in Paris, France in the McDonald's Open. With Hall-of-Famers Magic Johnson and James Worthy leading the way, the defending Western Conference Champions defeated Limoges CSP 132-101 (10/18/91) and Joventut Badalone 116-114 (10/19/91) in the two-game exhibition. This year, the Lakers fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-92 on October 4 at London's 02 Arena before traveling to Barcelona for an October 7 meeting with Regal FC Barcelona at Palau Sant Jordi. In the latter contest, the Lakers' Pau Gasol, a two-time Most Valuable Player with FCB, recorded 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 92-88 loss against his former team. Renowned as one of the most formidable teams in European basketball history, FCB, who recently claimed the 2010 Euroleague title, counts 15 Spanish League titles and 21 Spanish National Cup titles among its accomplishments.

With back-to-back double-doubles in Team USA's semifinal win against Lithuania (13 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks) and gold-medal game victory over host-nation Turkey (15 points, 11 rebounds), Lamar Odom helped give the Americans their first World Championship trophy since 1994. Odom, named co-captain of the 2010 United States FIBA World Championship team by head coach Mike Krzyzewski, predominantly played the center position throughout the tournament. In nine games (all starts), Odom averaged 7.1 points (.538 FG%) and 7.7 rebounds en route to becoming the first United States player to hold an NBA and FIBA World Championship title at the same time.

The 2010-11 Lakers preseason roster includes nine players from last season's NBA Championship team, three fewer than the Lakers returned from their 2009 NBA Championship team (12) and two fewer than in 2008-09 when the Lakers brought back 11 players from the Western Conference Championship squad. This will be the first time since the 2005-06 preseason that the Lakers did not return at least 11 players from the previous season (12 in 2009, 11 in 2008, 12 in 2007 and 11 in 2006). Only Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher remain from the Lakers 2000-02 Championship run with Fisher rejoining the team prior to the 2007-08 season after spending the previous three years in Golden State and Utah. The longest tenured Laker beyond Bryant and Fisher is Luke Walton, who joined the team as a rookie out of Arizona in 2003-04. Ron Artest, Shannon Brown, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Sasha Vujacic all return from last season. New faces include free agent signees Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Theo Ratliff and Lakers 2010 draft picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter.

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