Mike Brown: Lakers looking for help

Tomorrow’s story tonight …

The search continues.

The Lakers have spoken to the Cleveland Cavaliers about trading for point guard Ramon Sessions in an attempt to bolster their backcourt, according to Yahoo Sports. The website, citing unnamed sources, also reported Tuesday no deal was imminent.

Yahoo also wrote the Lakers held a workout for Morris Peterson recently.

The team also has contacted free agent Gilbert Arenas about signing.

Sessions, 25, would be a younger alternative to either Peterson or Arenas.

Coach Mike Brown acknowledged the Lakers have been looking for help.

The Lakers have been using rookies Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris as backups to the 37-year-old Derek Fisher while Steve Blake recovers from a rib/sternum injury that’s expected to sideline him for at least several more weeks.

Blake received medical clearance Tuesday to begin working out on a treadmill, the Lakers said. He also has been shooting baskets on his own. But a team spokesman stressed that there is no firm date for his return to the active roster.

The Lakers could use the $8.9 trade exception they received from the Dallas Mavericks in the Lamar Odom trade in December to acquire Sessions, who will be paid $4.3 million this season and has a player option worth $4.6 million for 2012-13.

Sessions averaged 13.3 points, 5.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds last season, his best in the NBA, but he has slumped while serving as rookie Kyrie Irving’s backup and has averaged 9.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists this season.

The trade deadline is March 15.

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Metta World Peace back to Lakers’ starting lineup?

A sneak-peek at tomorrow’s story …

MILWAUKEE — Metta World Peace started Saturday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks on the bench, but Lakers coach Mike Brown indicated his days as a backup to small forward Matt Barnes could be nearing an end.

“I like him on the second unit,” Brown said. “I want to give him a chance to be with that second unit. But, at the end of the day, there is a chance I would throw him in the (starting) lineup if I thought it would help our team.

“Yeah, I’m not opposed to that.”

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The new adventures of Metta World Peace

Tomorrow’s story tonight …

Kobe Bryant pulled Metta World Peace aside in the locker room after the Lakers scrapped and clawed and snarled their way to a 96-91 comeback victory Wednesday night over the Clippers at Staples Center.

Bryant had a message for his teammate: play just like that all the time.

The edgy World Peace re-emerged Wednesday and helped to fuel the Lakers’ rally with a blend of deft passing, strong rebounding, annoying defense and one timely 3-pointer when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter.

He admitted he lost his focus last season, but is on the rebound in 2011-12.

“I got bored with defense because it was so easy to stop people over the years,” he said. “I got bored with it. When you’re playing with guys and stopping them every single time, what else are you going to do? It caught up to me, but this year I’m doing better.

“This year I’m almost back to where I want to be.”

World Peace’s tangle with Blake Griffin of the Clippers, which led to a jump ball, was a highlight-reel sensation late Wednesday and well into Thursday. Peace certainly didn’t break out as the Hallway Series reached new levels of bickering.

Bryant was pleased the Lakers didn’t back down.

“Everybody played with the right attitude, the right temperament,” he said. “Everyone did what they do best. Metta (the former Ron Artest) was himself. He wasn’t trying to be this peaceful guy. I told him he just has to be who you are and we’ll surround you and Pau (Gasol), as well, and myself. … It was good.”

Of his postgame conversation with World Peace, Bryant said:

“I talked to him after the game in the locker room and said, ‘That’s what you need.
That’s who you are. You’re a nice person. You’re a great guy. Everyone knows you’re a great guy. But when you get in between those lines, you have to be the person that you were in Indiana, the person we brought here and play with that type of attitude.’”

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Lakers rally past Clippers

A sneak-peek at tomorrow’s game story …

Standing in one corner, wearing red, white and blue, the upstart Clippers.

Standing in the other corner, wearing gold and purple, the struggling Lakers.

Most seasons the Battle of Los Angeles has been nothing of the sort.

The Clippers and Lakers went at it like bickering neighbors Wednesday night at Staples Center, battling as if something more than just bragging rights were at stake in the second of three Hallway Series matchups this season.

It looked and sounded more like the playoffs in May or June than a regular-season game in January as the Lakers rallied for a 96-91 victory. The visiting Clippers led for most of the game in search of their second consecutive victory over the Lakers.

“It got chippy out there,” coach Mike Brown said after the Lakers (11-8) ended a three-game losing streak overall with their 10th victory in 12 home games. “It was good to see our guys respond.”

Kobe Bryant put the Lakers ahead for good 81-80 with a jump shot with 5 minutes, 2 seconds left in the game. He rallied the Lakers by scoring 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, and also had four rebounds and three assists in the final period.

Pau Gasol scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half and grabbed a team-leading 10 rebounds and Andrew Bynum had 19 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Bynum’s dunk with 32.8 seconds left sealed the deal, giving the Lakers a 91-87 lead.

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Lakers are NBA’s most valuable at $900 million

Tomorrow’s story tonight …

The Lakers’ two-year reign as NBA champions ended with their second-round playoff loss last May to the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks. They claimed a new title Wednesday as the league’s most-valuable franchise, according to Forbes.

The Lakers vaulted past the New York Knicks with a value of $900 million, a 40 percent increase over last year thanks in large part to their new television deal with Time Warner Cable. The Knicks were second in value at $780 million, a 19 percent increase.

The Chicago Bulls were third at $600 million, followed by the Mavericks ($497 million), the Boston Celtics ($482 million) and the Miami Heat ($457 million). The Clippers were 20th in the 30-team league at $324 million, up 6 percent from last year.

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Lakers coach Mike Brown on Clippers: ‘It’s not a rivalry’

Coach Mike Brown doesn’t believe the Lakers can compare to the Clippers at this point.

“I look at it as it’s not a rivalry,” Brown said today. “Right now, they’re ahead of us in terms of what they want to be doing with their team on both ends of the floor and, so for us, we’re still searching. That’s the state of where we are right now.

“We’re a ways away from reaching our potential or being where we want to be at the end of the season. They’re more settled and focused on where they’re heading. If I were them, I would be thinking I would have an edge, too.”

The Clippers won the first Hallway Series game 102-94.

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Lakers’ scoring woes threatening historic lows

When the Lakers fell Sunday to the Pacers 98-96, it marked the 11th consecutive game in which they failed to score 100 points or more. They are 6-5 in that stretch. They haven’t gone 12 in a row without scoring 100 since 2003-04, when they went 6-6.

Furthermore, the Lakers finished 2003-04 by averaging 98.2 points, the lowest since the franchise moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in 1960. If they continue their 92.3 average, it would be their lowest since the shot clock was adopted in 1954-55.

The Lakers averaged 101.5 points last season en route to their fourth consecutive season with 57 victories or more. They failed to win their third straight NBA championship and Mike Brown replaced the retiring Phil Jackson as coach last May.

Adapting to Brown’s changes has been difficult, especially on offense.

“Some of what we’re going through is effort, some of it is energy, some of it is passion,” veteran Derek Fisher said. “Those things are sometimes harder to kind of manufacture and bring out when you’re thinking a lot. We’re still thinking some as a team.

“We’re not just playing our game and trying to be who we are. We’ll figure it out, though. That’s what our job is and that’s what we’ll do.”

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Brian Shaw’s return to Staples Center is a winner

Tomorrow’s story tonight …

Brian Shaw rode the bus to Staples Center and walked down to the corridor to the visiting locker room for the first time in his career as an NBA player or coach. Then he stood at center court, with the Lakers’ championship banners hanging behind him.

It was a strange feeling.

After all, Shaw spent 12 seasons as a player and a coach with the Lakers, winning three titles as a versatile guard and two as an assistant. He returned Sunday as an assistant coach with Indiana, helping guide the Pacers to a 98-96 victory.

“Obviously, those memories are never going to go anywhere,” he said before his new team faced his old one for the only time this season. “I’m just trying to focus on what I’m trying to do with this team. …

“My mentality is the Lakers are just like any other team. We’re going to play ‘em; we want to beat ‘em. When the game is over we can hug and shake hands and talk. Now, they’re an opponent that is standing in our way.”

Conventional wisdom suggested Shaw was the right man in the right spot to replace Phil Jackson when he retired as the Lakers’ coach last May. He didn’t get the job that went to Mike Brown and landed an assistant’s job with Indiana in July.

“I’ve never had a problem with the hiring of Mike Brown or anything like that,” Shaw said. “My only issue was the way I found out and I understand the nature of the business. I’ve been in the business for a long time.”

Shaw learned of Brown’s hiring last May from news reports rather than directly from the Lakers.

“In terms of moving on, the toughest part is packing up the family and the house and finding a school for the kids,” he continued. “Other than that everything is fine. When I look back on it, the entire time I was here, I was on a one-year contract.

“So, it never felt like there was a whole lot of security. It could have happened at any point, so I always kept that in perspective. I understand when a coach like Phil goes out and a new coach comes in, they want to bring their own people in or whatever else.

“I understand that part of it, so in terms of that it’s not hard to move on.”

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Dwight Howard 1, Andrew Bynum 0

Not only did the game go to the Orlando Magic and their center Dwight Howard, but Howard also one-upped Andrew Bynum in the quotable department after the game tonight. Howard scored 21 points and grabbed 23 rebounds (to 10 and 12 for Bynum). He also put the whole who’s the better center deal and the possibility that they could be traded for each other into perspective after the Magic defeated the Lakers 92-80.

“It wasn’t about Dwight Howard Night, it wasn’t about Andrew Bynum Night,” Howard said. “It was about the Magic and the Lakers, and … the only thing on my mind was getting a win There’s no need to go back and forth about me and him. We play the game different ways, we both have an objective and that’s to win.

“He’s won two rings and I’m trying to get mine.”

Shaquille O’Neal said earlier in the week on TNT that he believed Bynum was better than Howard, calling him the game’s best big man. Charles Barkley cast his vote with Howard, saying he was the better defender and rebounder.

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Does the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum compare with Dwight Howard?

A sneak-peak at tomorrow’s story tonight …

MIAMI — Andrew Bynum was matched against the Miami Heat’s Joel Anthony on Thursday night, which was a big mismatch in Bynum’s favor. After all, Bynum stands 7-foot and weighs 285 and Anthony is relatively pint-sized at 6-9, 245.

The bigger test will be tonight when Bynum faces Orlando’s Dwight Howard for the only time this season, the player he admires more than any other NBA center and the man some pundits around the league believe he could be traded for sooner or later.

Lakers executive Jim Buss isn’t among them, but that’s a story for another day. It might not be worth it for the team to swap Bynum for Howard since Bynum could be the better of the two behemoths, especially with the ball in his hands.

Bynum is averaging 16.3 points on 52.9 percent shooting and 13.8 rebounds after he had 15 points and 12 rebounds in the Lakers’ 98-87 loss against the Heat. Howard is averaging 20.1 points on 58.7 percent shooting and a league-leading 15.6 rebounds.

“The guy is definitely more proven,” Bynum said of Howard. “I always look up to him and want to be able to get the ball and do the things he does with it. I think I learn a lot from watching him play. … It’s a fun game (to play against him).”

So, who is the better big man?

Depends who you ask.

Shaquille O’Neal, a former Lakers center and a current TNT commentator, gave the edge to Bynum on Monday, telling viewers: “Andrew Bynum is a true big man with a back you down jump hook. Dwight Howard has one or two moves on the block. Andrew Bynum has a right jump hook and a left jump hook. He’s a true big man.”

Charles Barkley, O’Neal’s TNT sidekick, voted for Howard.

“Dwight Howard is a much better defender and a better rebounder,” he said.

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