SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers split last season's series with Charlotte 1-1, after losing the 2008-09 series with the Bobcats 0-2. The two teams have met 12 times in all with the Lakers trailing the all-time series 5-7. The Bobcats are one of only two teams in the NBA that the Lakers have a .500 or losing record against (Boston). At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 3-3 all-time against the Bobcats while in Charlotte, Los Angeles has gone 2-4 overall. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 3-7 against Charlotte. In their first meeting last season at STAPLES Center, the Lakers defeated the Bobcats 99-97, snapping a 3-game home and overall losing streak to Charlotte. In their most recent meeting, the Lakers scored a series low 83 points and lost by a series worst 15 points on 3/5/10. In 2008-09, the Bobcats defeated the Lakers 110- 117 in double-overtime at STAPLES Center, marking the third OT contest (2nd multi- overtime game) between the two teams in the brief series history. In 2006-07, the Lakers lost on the road to the Bobcats 124-133 in triple overtime to conclude a six- game road trip. It was the Lakers third ever triple-overtime game in the Los Angeles era and the team's longest game since a four-overtime contest in January of 1980 at Cleveland. In 11 career games against Charlotte, Kobe Bryant is averaging 30.7 points with a high-game of 58 points coming in the triple-overtime contest 12/29/06. On February 7, the Lakers acquired Shannon Brown, along with Adam Morrison, from Charlotte in exchange for Vladimir Radmanovic. Additionally, Bobcats Chairman Michael Jordan won six NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls under current Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. Bobcats center Kwame Brown played 136 games for the Lakers from 2005-08, averaging 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds, before being included in a trade that brought Pau Gasol from Memphis to the Lakers.
GONE FOR THE GRAMMYS
On Friday, February 4th, the Lakers headed to New Orleans, embarking on their annual Grammys Trip. Since STAPLES Center opened prior to the 1999-2000 season, the venue has been host to the Grammy Awards each winter, with the exception of the 2003 Grammy Awards, which were held at Madison Square Garden.
Monday's game against Charlotte is the first of a back-to-back set with the Magic and Bobcats. This season, the Lakers are 7-4 in the first game and 9-1 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.
THE COMEBACK KIDS
In their 92-86 victory at Boston February 10, the Lakers overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat the Celtics at TD Garden. The Lakers only other road come from behind victory when trailing by at least 15 points over the past six seasons came with a 16-point comeback win at Chicago on March 21, 2009. Furthermore, the game against the Celtics marked just the second regular season game between the two teams in the last 20 seasons in which each team entered the game at least 20 games above .500. The other matchup occurred on February 5, 2009 at TD Garden, when the Celtics held a 41-9 record and the Lakers were 39-9. The Lakers went on to win that contest with a 110-109 overtime victory.*
In the Lakers 101-95 victory at New Orleans February 5, both Pau Gasol (34) and Kobe Bryant (32) scored 30-plus points in the same contest for the first time since March 1, 2009 at Phoenix, and for the sixth time since becoming teammates in February of 2008. The Lakers are now 5-1 when Bryant and Gasol both score 30-plus points in the same contest. Back on February 4th, 2009, Bryant and Gasol became the first Lakers teammates to post back-to-back 30-point games together since Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal did so on April 10th and 13th, 2003. Bryant and O'Neal both scored 30-plus points in the same contest 33 times as teammates, with the Lakers posting a 27-6 record in those games.
LAKERS COMMIT JUST FOUR TURNOVERS WHILE LIMITING OPPONENT TO A FRANCHISE-LOW FOUR FREE THROW ATTEMPTS
In the Lakers 101-95 victory at New Orleans February 5, the Lakers committed just four turnovers, with New Orleans failing to record a single steal. The last time the Lakers had only four turnovers in a game came in a 110-90 victory over Minnesota on March 6, 2009. The Lakers committed a franchise-low three turnovers in a game on December 30, 2001 in a 114-90 victory vs. Houston. Furthermore, the Hornet's four free throw attempts marks a Lakers opponent franchise-low for free throw attempts in a game in the shot clock era. The previous franchise-low of five opponent free-throw attempts occurred twice, 4/7/06 at Phoenix and 1/6/02 at Toronto.
BRYANT PASSES HAKEEM OLAJUWON FOR 8th ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With a fast break dunk at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter 1/28 vs. Sacramento, Kobe Bryant moved past Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) for 8th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Earlier this month, Bryant moved past Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7 vs. New Orleans and Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4 vs. Detroit on the all-time list. Should he continue to score anywhere near his current pace (25.4 ppg), Bryant (27,185) would move to 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant are Elvin Hayes (7th/27,313) and Moses Malone (6th/27,409). Among the top eight scorers in NBA history, more than half (5) have worn the Lakers uniform (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st), Karl Malone (2nd), Wilt Chamberlain (4th), Shaquille 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).
ODOM & GASOL ENJOY RARE NIGHT FOR LAKERS TEAMMATES
In their 114-106 overtime victory February 1st against the Rockets, Pau Gasol (26 points, 16 rebounds) and Lamar Odom (20 points, 20 rebounds) became the first Lakers teammates in exactly 38 years to the day to post at least 20 points and 16 rebounds in the same game. On February 1, 1973, Wilt Chamberlain (25 points, 19 rebounds) and Bill Bridges (20 points, 16 rebounds) both posted 20-point, 16-rebound games in the Lakers 120-106 victory at Phoenix.
With 41 points January 30th vs. Boston, Kobe Bryant scored 40+ points for the 106th time (regular season) in his NBA career and the second time this season. Bryant's other 40+ point game this season came in a 92-95 loss 11/28 vs. Indiana (41 points). Last season, Bryant eclipsed the 40-point mark eight times, with the Lakers going 7-1 in those games. In the history of the NBA, only two players have more career 40-point games: Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173). The Lakers are now 72- 34 all-time in games that Bryant scores 40+ points. Bryant holds the Lakers franchise record for 40-point games in a single season, recording 27 during the 2005-06 campaign. Bryant also holds the franchise record for most consecutive 40-point games (9), established during the 2002-03 season. Only Wilt Chamberlain (14 twice, 10 once) has had longer consecutive 40-point game streaks in league history than Bryant.
BRYANT YOUNGEST IN NBA HISTORY TO 27,000 POINTS; 8th EVER TO REACH MILESTONE
With his 28th point January 30th vs. Boston, Kobe Bryant reached 27,000 for his career. In doing so, Bryant became the youngest to 27,000 points in NBA history (31 years, 160 days), surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (32 years, 202 days) who reached the milestone back on March 11, 1969. Michael Jordan, the only guard in NBA history to score 27,000 points, reached the milestone November 5, 1997 when he was 34 years, 261 days of age. 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).
Earlier this season, with his 17th point November 11th at Denver, Bryant reached 26,000 for his career. In doing so, he became the youngest to do so in NBA history (32 years, 80 days), surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (32 years, 114 days) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33 years, 331 days). Additionally, Bryant became the 12th player in NBA history to score 26,000 points and the 8th fastest to do so (1,030) in terms of games, behind Shaquille O'Neal (1,022). Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest to reach 26,000, doing so in 734 games. Among the remaining top five scorers in NBA history (Chamberlain and O'Neal already mentioned), Michael Jordan reached 26,000 points in 815 games, Abdul-Jabbar in 925 games and Karl Malone in 997 games. The youngest player in league history to accumulate 17,000 – 20,000 and 23,000 – 27,000 points, Bryant was the 20th fastest to 17,000, 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 and 8th fastest to 26,000 points in terms of games.
KOBE BRYANT IS TOP VOTE GETTER IN 2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY T-MOBILE
On January 27th, the NBA announced that Kobe Bryant is this year's leading vote-getter in the All-Star Balloting program presented by T-Mobile with 2,380,016 votes. It is the second time Bryant, who was the youngest All-Star in NBA history in 1998, has led all players in NBA All-Star balloting (2003) as well as his 13th consecutive All-Star selection; only Jerry West, Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O'Neal have more been selected more times consecutively (14 times each). In league history, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19), O'Neal (15), Michael Jordan (14), Malone (14), West (14) and Garnett (14) have more NBA All-Star selections. Andrew Bynum (974,546) finished 2nd among West centers behind Yao Ming (1,146,426) while Chris Paul (1,281,591) will start at guard alongside Bryant in the West. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, the second leading vote-getter overall with 2,099,204, led the Eastern Conference in balloting. Starting alongside Howard in the East are LeBron James (2,053,011) and Amar'e Stoudemire (1,674,995) at forward and Dwyane Wade (2,048,175) and Derrick Rose (1,914,996) in the backcourt.
With the 2011 results in, Bryant has now led the Western Conference in all-star balloting in each of the last four seasons. Last season, Bryant received 2,456,224 votes, finishing second overall to Cleveland's LeBron James (2,549,693). In 2008-09, he accumulated 2,805,397 votes, finishing third in overall balloting behind Dwight Howard (3,150,181) and James (2,940,823). In 2007-08, Bryant garnered 2,004,940 votes to finish fourth in overall voting behind Kevin Garnett (2,399,148), James (2,108,831) and Howard (2,066,991). In 2006-07, when he earned his second All-Star MVP, Bryant finished third overall in balloting behind James and Yao Ming. A three-time All-Star MVP (2002 Philadelphia, 2007 Las Vegas, 2009 Phoenix), Bryant is now a 13-time All-Star. He had started 11 consecutive All-Star games before missing last year's contest due to a sprained left ankle.