SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers won last season’s series with Rockets 2-1 and have now taken each of the last three season series from Houston (2009-10 (3-1), 2008-09 (4-0)). The two teams have met 191 times in all with the Lakers holding a 129-62 series advantage (107-56 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 15-8 all- time against the Rockets and 7-3 in their last 10. In Houston, the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 road games and are 9-5 all-time at Toyota Center. 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 49 career games (44 starts) versus Houston, Bryant is now averaging 26.8 points per game, 4th highest among all teams behind Charlotte, Toronto and Portland. Lakers forward Metta World Peace 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). He was also teammates in Sacramento from 2005-08 with current Rocket Kevin Martin. Jason Kapono played alongside Houston center Samuel Dalembert during the 2009-10 season in Philadelphia. Rockets forward Luis Scola has played internationally for the Argentinean national team as far back as 1999, competing against both Kobe Bryant (Team USA) in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and throughout the years against Pau Gasol and the Spanish national team. 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.
BRYANT YOUNGEST IN NBA HISTORY TO 28,000 POINTS; 6th EVER TO REACH MILESTONE
With a free throw at the 10:43 mark of the third quarter January 1st at Denver, Kobe Bryant reached 28,000 points for his career. In doing so, Bryant became the youngest to 28,000 points in NBA history (33 years, 131 days), surpassing Wilt Chamberlain (34 year, 109 days) who reached the milestone back on December 8, 1970. Michael Jordan (34 years, 333 days), the only other guard in NBA history to score 28,000 points, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (34 years, 363 days), Karl Malone (35 years, 212 days), and Shaquille O’Neal (37 years, 319 days) round out the top six. Additionally, in reaching 28,000 points in 1,109 games, Bryant became just the 6th player in NBA history to do so and 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 – 28,000 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.
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 (28,012) 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).
BRYANT NOW 3RD ON NBA FRANCHISE CAREER POINTS LIST
During the 2009-10 season, with his 29th point on February 1, 2010 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. In the history of the NBA, only two players have scored more points with a single franchise than Bryant (28,012): Karl Malone (1st/36,374) and Michael Jordan (2nd/29,277). Last season, Bryant moved past Hakeem Olajuwon (26,511) 12/19/10 at Toronto and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago into third on this list.