Lakers’ struggles turn to offense

Los Angeles Lakers forward Nick Young, left, puts up a shot as Memphis Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Lakers forward Nick Young, left, puts up a shot as Memphis Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The question initially prompted Lakers Byron Scott both to lower his eyebrows and unleash a hearty laugh.

How did Scott work out of his way of shooting slumps during his 14-year career?

“What?! What was my percentage of my career?” Scott playfully teased, mindful that he shot a career 48.2 percent from the field. Scott also finished in the NBA’s top 10 in three-point shooting in four seasons, including 1984-95 (43.3 percent, 1st), 1986-87 (43.6 percent, 4th), 1988-89 (39.9 percent, 10th) and 1989-90 (42.3 percent, 5th).

But even the most accurate shooters have off nights. The Lakers (3-12) sure could use the help after they have experienced the past two games shooting a combined 12-of-50 in the fourth quarters and one overtime period.

“When I had shooting slumps, I wouldn’t shoot,” Scott said. “I wouldn’t go to the gym and get extra shots. My routine was to come out before a game and get up a bunch of shots. When I felt I wasn’t in a slump, I wouldn’t come out.”

Instead, Scott would channel his temporary shooting inaccuracy a different way.

“For my first shot, I want to be something aggressive gong to the basket,” Scott said. “Let’s see if I can get a layup and get points in the paint and get to the free throw line. I would get myself going that way.”

Scott has passed those suggestions along to his team, hopeful it will help them stop its offensive funk. The late-game shooting woes have extended to all of their scoring threats.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has shot a combined 5-of-19 in the past two fourth quarters and one overtime period. During that stretch, Lakers forward Nick Young went 1-of-9 from the field. Lakers guard Jeremy Lin also finished with only a 1-of-6 clip. Meanwhile, the Lakers have shot a combined 1-of-18 from three-point range.

“We talked about trying to get to the basket more and quit settling for 3’s every time,” Scott said. “They do look inviting at times. There are good ways to get 3’s and bad ways.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers nearing a deal with Earl Clark

Los Angeles Lakers forward Earl Clark, left, puts up a shot as Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Lakers forward Earl Clark, left, puts up a shot as Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Lakers will soon make their first move in adding players up an injury-depleted roster. They have had “talks” to sign forward Earl Clark, according to a league source familiar with the discussions.

Although it’s not clear when the deal will be finalized, the terms are believed to be a one-year guaranteed contract worth around $1 million. The move will reunite the Lakers with Clark, who had a breakout campaign in the 2012-13 season where he averaged a career-high 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds after being acquired from Orlando as part of the Dwight Howard trade. Clark then signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has recently played for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the Development League, averaging 28.8 points.

The Lakers (3-11) have suffered season-ending injuries to Steve Nash (back), Julius Randle (right leg) and Xavier Henry (left Achilles). The Lakers are also without forward Ryan Kelly for at least the next five weeks because of a torn right hamstring. The NBA has granted disabled player exceptions both for Nash ($4.85 million) and Randle ($1.85 million), though those can only be used separately to acquire a player either through free agency or a trade.

To accommodate Clark’s arrival,tThe Lakers could waive Xavier Henry, who would still be owed a guaranteed $1.1 million. Or the Lakers could wait until the NBA grants them a hardship exception. That tool grants teams the right to have 16 players on a roster when they field more than four players out with injuries. The Lakers could use that to add a player, though they would have to waive a player once Kelly returns to ensure a league-maximum 15-man roster. Only Wayne Ellington and Ronnie Price have nonguaranteed contracts, but their absences would deplete the team’s backcourt.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the Lakers’ efforts to reach a deal with Clark.

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant considers Memphis’ Tony Allen best defender


Ferguson ruling: Lakers’ Kobe Bryant calls for “serious legal system conversation”


Earl Clark’s fresh start with Lakers could have huge payoff

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Byron Scott, Mitch Kupchak have “state of the union” meeting

First-year Lakers coach Byron Scott, talking to Carlos Boozer, has the support of his players despite the team’s struggles at the beginning of the season. The players respect Scott’s history as a player, his honesty and his calm demeanor. (Ezra Shaw ‑ Getty Images)

First-year Lakers coach Byron Scott, talking to Carlos Boozer, has the support of his players despite the team’s struggles at the beginning of the season. The players respect Scott’s history as a player, his honesty and his calm demeanor. (Ezra Shaw ‑ Getty Images)

Lakers coach Byron Scott had what he called a “state of the union meeting” recently with general manager Mitch Kupchak, but declined to go into detail on what came out of those discussions.

“We just had a meeting about the team in general,” Scott said. “We talked about doing that every 15-20 games.”
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Lakers’ Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis expected to play vs. Memphis

Kobe Bryant (24), Carlos Boozer (5) and Jeremy Lin (not pictured) sat out Saturday’s practice with the L.A. Lakers. Boozer and Lin are listed as probably, while Bryant was given the day off in order to be rested for their game against Denver at Staples Center Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (File photo/AP Photo)

Kobe Bryant (24), Carlos Boozer (5) and Jeremy Lin (not pictured) sat out Saturday’s practice with the L.A. Lakers. Boozer and Lin are listed as probably, while Bryant was given the day off in order to be rested for their game against Denver at Staples Center Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (File photo/AP Photo)

Despite missing the past two practices because of respective left shoulder and right ankle injuries, both forward Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis are expected to play tonight when the Lakers (3-11) host the Memphis Grizzlies (12-2) at Staples Center.

They went through shootaround and they both moved pretty well, so I take it that they will both be available tonight,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Unless something drastically changes in the next seven to eight hours. I think they’ll be ready to play.”

Boozer will start, while Davis will return back to his reserve role. Although Scott has often asked more on defense from Boozer, he has still averaged 13.3 points and 6.5 rebounds through 13 games. Davis has become an energetic force as a reserve, averaging eight points on 62.5 percent shooting and 6.6 rebounds in 22 minutes. But he struggled filling in as a starter while Boozer nursed a sore left shoulder during the Lakers’ 101-94 loss on Sunday to Denver. There, Davis posted only four points on 1-of-3 shooting and five rebounds and fouled out in only 22 minutes of play.

The Lakers are reeling with plenty of injuries. They have season-ending injuries to Steve Nash (back), Julius Randle (right leg) and Xavier Henry (left Achilles). Lakers forward Ryan Kelly also remains sidelined for at least five more weeks because of a torn right hamstring.

RELATED:

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant considers Memphis’ Tony Allen best defender

Lakers’ Byron Scott navigating early season challenges with players’ support

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant offers empathy for Xavier Henry’s season-ending Achilles injury

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant offers empathy for Xavier Henry’s season-ending Achilles injury

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant offered empathy for Xavier Henry having a season-ending left Achilles injury jeff gross – getty images

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant offered empathy for Xavier Henry having a season-ending left Achilles injury jeff gross – getty images

The instant Xavier Henry fell down on the basketball court and ruptured his left Achilles during Monday’s practice, Kobe Bryant returned to another dark moment.

It was only 19 months ago that Bryant tore his left Achilles tendon in a regular-season game against Golden State, an injury that sidelined him for the following eight months and damaged the Lakers’ playoff fortunes.

“I knew exactly what he was feeling,” Bryant said. “It took me right back to that place again.”

Bryant fell down as he drove toward the lane late in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ eventual win on April 12, 2013 against the Golden State Warriors. Henry fell down during a non-contact drill of three-on-three during Monday’s practice. Henry then had surgery on Tuesday morning to treat an injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

“It’s exactly the same situation,” Bryant said. “I just tried to give him some comfort. He was really down. Having just gone through it, I completely understand. He was really angry and frustrated.”
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NBA approves Lakers’ $4.85 million disabled player exception for Steve Nash

File photo: Los Angeles Lakers' Steve Nash, right, passes off the ball as Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Pauldefends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)

File photo: Los Angeles Lakers’ Steve Nash, right, passes off the ball as Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Pauldefends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)

It hardly mitigates the frustration or impact stemmed from Steve Nash sitting out the entire 2014-15 season because of recurring back issues. But the NBA awarded the Lakers with a $4.85 million disabled player exception that represents half of Nash’s salary slated to make this season.

The Lakers can use that exception either to sign a player through free agency or a waiver claim worth that amount. Or the Lakers could trade for a player who is worth up to $4.95 million. The Lakers also have a $1.5-million disabled player exception for rookie forward Julius Randle, who broke his right leg in the season opener and will miss the remainder of the season. Yet, it is currently unclear if the Lakers will actually use these spending tools that expire on March 10, 2015.
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant adjusting to heavy legs

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, center, gets double teamed by Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) and center JaVale McGee, right, as he drives to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, center, gets double teamed by Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) and center JaVale McGee, right, as he drives to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Even when the shots are not dropping into the basket, Kobe Bryant remains determined that they will. He will keep firing away confident those once inaccurate attempts will soon morph into a hot shooting streak.

But even Bryant has his limits. He enters the Lakers’ (3-11) game on Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center averaging a league-leading 26.7 points per game albeit on a career-low 38.1 percent shooting. In the second half of the Lakers’ past two games, Bryant has shot a combined 7-of-24 from the field. Said Bryant: “My shots have been really short even though my legs feel good.”

Hence, Bryant spent Tuesday discussing with Lakers coach Byron Scott and strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco about changing his routine.

“It’s a fine balance at 36 trying to find a rhythm of strengthening the legs as the season goes on without wearing them out,” Bryant said. “We’re in uncharted territory in terms of trying to figure it out. But we will.”
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Ferguson ruling: Lakers’ Kobe Bryant calls for “serious legal system conversation”

"Demonstrators protest and block traffic as they take to the streets as a show of civil disobedience in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri on November 23, 2014.  Police erected barricades and businesses were boarded up November 23, 2014 as the clock ticked down to a grand jury decision on whether to indict a white officer for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager.    AFP PHOTO / Michael B.ThomasMichael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images"

“Demonstrators protest and block traffic as they take to the streets as a show of civil disobedience in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri on November 23, 2014. Police erected barricades and businesses were boarded up November 23, 2014 as the clock ticked down to a grand jury decision on whether to indict a white officer for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager. AFP PHOTO / Michael B.ThomasMichael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images”

It sounded chilling to hear Lakers guard Kobe Bryant say it.

But with a grand jury declining on Monday to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for his role in the death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown three months ago in Ferguson, MO, Bryant suggested a similar incident could happen again. After all, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot 2 1/2 years ago by George Zimmerman despite remaining unarmed and only wearing a hoodie in his Florida neighborhood.

“You can sit here and argue about it until we’re blue in the face and protest about it,” Bryant said following practice on Tuesday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “Until we have a serious legal system conversation, it’s going to keep on happening.”
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TWC SportsNet panel discusses Xavier Henry’s injury

As if the Lakers did not have enough injuries already.

They learned on Monday night that they would love Xavier Henry for the 2014-15 season after an MRI confirmed a ruptured left Achilles. Henry only averaged 2.2 points in 9.6 minutes through nine games, making his absence far less severe than season-injuries to veteran guard Steve Nash (back) or rookie forward Julius Randle (power forward). But it still diminishes the Lakers’ depth. It also denied Henry the chance to prove he could regain the explosiveness he has last year that enabled him to average a career-high 10 points per game. He had offseason surgeries on his left wrist and right knee. Henry also became limited in training camp with back spasms and needed to go to Germany to have Regenokine treatment on his right knee.

This all became a topic of discussion Monday night on Time Warner Cable’s Access SportsNet where host Kelli Tennant, analyst Dave Miller and I talked about Henry’s injury and his efforts this past offseason to become healthy.

RELATED:

Lakers’ Byron Scott plans to rest Kobe Bryant more in practice

Lakers’ Byron Scott navigating early-season challenges with players’ support

Lakers’ Xavier Henry out for 2014-15 season after rupturing left Achilles

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash upset over Ferguson ruling

The common links between Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash go beyond their Hall of Fame credentials. Or their recent struggles in battling through injuries.

Both Bryant and Nash also expressed outrage via Twitter over the a grand jury declining on Monday to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for his role in the death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown. The incident has sparked protests before and after ruling. The incident inflamed racial tensions. The incident also sparked strong reaction thus far from Bryant and Nash.


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