Posts tagged Los Angeles
The Lakers have won 11 of 12 games since the All-Star break, but Friday night’s win against the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves may have been the toughest victory of the bunch.
The Lakers overcame Kobe Bryant’s struggles with his sore ankle, and Andrew Bynum’s fourth quarter ejection to beat the Wolves 106-98 at Staples Center.
Pau Gasol scored 25 points and four blocks on 12-17 from the field, as the Lakers battled back from an early 10-point deficit. Bryant struggled with his shot most of the night but did finish with 18 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Bynum had 10 points and 14 rebounds before he was tossed in the fourth quarter after a Flagrant 2 foul call on Michael Beasley.
Bynum, who again was dominant on the defensive end again, struggled a bit offensively and was clearly frustrated late in the game after missing a dunk and committing an offensive foul.
As Beasley drove to the rim, Bynum jumped up and threw out his hip and elbow into Beasley who went crashing to the floor, but did get up angrily very quickly. Bynum was ejected after officials checked the replay. Beasley made both foul shots, but left the game moments later with a sore hip. At the time the Wolves still held the lead.
Bryant who scored just six points in the first half, scored 12 in the second half, and hit some crucial jump shots late to get the Lakers back out in front. He didn’t start the second half, as it appeared he was getting extra work done on his sprained ankle during halftime. Shannon Brown started the third quarter and finished with 14 points off the bench.
With the Wolves clinging to an 89-88 lead, the Lakers went on a 12-6 run, highlighted by a Lamar Odom three-pointer with just over 1:30 left in the game that put the Lakers up by their biggest margin of the night 100-94. Minnesota could get no closer than five in the final minute as the Lakers extended their winning streak over the Timberwolves to 15 games. The Wolves haven’t beaten the Lakers since March of 2007.
For the game, the Lakers shot 47.6% (40-84) from the field, including 8-19 (42.1%) from beyond the arc. They held Minnesota to 44.3% (39-88) from the floor and just 7-21 (33.3%) from long range. The Wolves did win the rebound battle 45-44, but actually held a double-digit rebound lead early in the game.
Wesley Johnson led all scorers with 29 points on 11-21 from the floor for Minnesota. Michael Beasley had 18 points and seven rebounds before he left the game, and Kevin Love tallied another double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The win put the Lakers in sole position of second place in the Western Conference at 49-20, one full game ahead of Dallas, who lost to San Antonio 97-91 on Friday.
The world champs continue their seven-game homestand on Sunday night against the surging Portland Trail Blazers. Los Angeles has beaten Portland twice already this season. They could however be without the services of Bynum, who may face a league suspension for his flagrant foul on Beasley. That could pose a problem against the suddenly very big and healthy Trail Blazer team.
It didn’t start out as a thing of beauty though, as the Lakers struggled through most of the first half. They trailed by as many as 16 early in the second quarter before the second unit made a run, keyed by Trevor Ariza and Jordan Farmar, who scored 16 off the bench.
The Lakers finally took the lead near the end of the half and led 50-48 at the break. Kobe Bryant took over early in the second half, and wound up finishing with 23 points, and two spectacular blocks on Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Pau Gasol had his best game of the season, scoring 20 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and blocking three shots.
The Rockets’ “Big 3″ of Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, and Ron Artest managed only 23 points combined, and shot a putrid 9-33 (27.2%) from the field. McGrady made only 1-11 shots from the floor, a 3-pointer early in the first half. The highlight of the night for the Rockets were the 20 points off the bench from second year guard Aaron Brooks, who hit 8-15 shots, including 3-6 from the arc.
The Lakers now go out on a tough two-game trip this week, playing at Dallas on Tuesday, and then in New Orleans Wednesday as part of a back-to-back. They return home on Friday to host to the Detroit Pistons and their newly-acquired superstar Allen Iverson.
This is the Lakers first 5-0 start since 2003-04.
In a game most figured would be close, the Los Angeles Lakers pounded the Indiana Pacers 99-77 Sunday night at Staples Center, in a battle of two teams with the NBA’s best records.
The win for the Lakers was their 25th straight at home, setting a Los Angeles franchise-record. The previous record of 24 was set 15 years ago.
In a quiet night, Kobe Bryant added 12 points and 7 assists and Gary Payton took just 7 shots, scoring 8 points. But on this night, their offensive output wasn’t needed, as the Lakers got solid efforts from the entire roster.
The Laker defense was smothering, forcing the Pacers into 23 turnovers and shooting just 39.1% from the field.
On the other hand, the Lakers shot 48.0% from the floor and 42.9% from beyond the arc, as they scored 99 points against the league’s best defense. Before the game the Pacers were allowing just 80.4 points per game.
The Lakers led the game 46-37 at the half, with O’Neal plagued with foul trouble. In the second half with him back on the court, the Lakers surged to a 68-51 lead after three quarters, and never looked back. The Lakers have beaten their last six opponents by an average of just under 20 points.
The Pacers were led by Al Harrington, who scored 18 points off the bench. Their leading scorer, Jermaine O’Neal, had foul problems of his own and scored just 14 points.
The Lakers now head to on the road for a “Texas-Two-Step.” They’ll play Wednesday night against in San Antonio against the World Champion Spurs, a team they just beat by 16 two days ago, then Thursday at Dallas, before heading home.
The Los Angeles Lakers, and their new cast of players, including Karl Malone and Gary Payton, scored an easy 107-89 win over the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night in Hawaii, in both teams’ exhibition opener.
A noticeably slimmer and quicker Shaquille O’Neal scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in just 18 minutes, and Payton added 12 points and seven assists as the Lakers coasted to victory. O’Neal was particularly active on the defensive end, blocking two shots, including a devasting swat of a Mike Dunleavy jump shot in the third quarter.
Kobe Bryant took part in the team’s pre-game shootaround, but is not expected to play in either of the two games in Hawaii. Bryant is scheduled to fly out today (Wednesday) to Colorado for his court proceedings on Thursday. Coach Phil Jackson believes the All-Star guard will be able to play next Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns in San Diego.
In his first game for the purple and gold, Malone scored seven points and had three rebounds in only 22 minutes. Derek Fisher chipped in with 10 points, including a perfect 2-2 from 3-point land.
Jason Richardson led the Warriors with 20 points, and former Detroit Piston Clifford Robinson added 15.
The two teams meet again tonight in Honolulu. Game time is 11:00 PM Pacific Time.