Five things to take from Lakers’ 126-122 win over Sacramento Kings

The Lakers’ Kent Bazemore #6 dunks the ball during their game against the Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles February 28, 2014. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers’ Kent Bazemore #6 dunks the ball during their game against the Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles February 28, 2014. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Below are five things to take from the Lakers’ 126-122 victory Friday to the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center:

1. The Lakers offered little defense. For a coach that cemented his legacy with an offense dubbed “seven seconds or less,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni offered a nugget that may take more time to digest. D’Antoni said he devotes 75 percent of his practice on defense. Despite the Lakers’ apparent focus on this area, they have lacked horribly in actually showing any defensive strength on the court. The Kings’ XX points marked the sixth time in the past seven games they allowed opponents to crack the 100-point plateau.

The reasons sound awfully familiar. The Lakers left themselves exposed inside, allowing 60 points in the paint and getting outrebounded XX-XX. Some of this remains a by-product of D’Antoni’s preference for a small-ball lineup. But lots of it stems from the ongoing effort, rotation awareness and toughness that plagued the Lakers all season.

2. The Lakers’ offense ran like a well-oiled machine. The Lakers stayed competitive by posting numbers seemingly only possible on a video game with all the cheat codes activated. The Lakers posted a season-high XX points went XX of XX from the field (XX), XX from three-point range (XX) and featured six players cracking double digits in Jordan Farmar (XX), Jodie Meeks (XX), Pau Gasol (XX), MarShon Brooks (XX), Kent Bazemore (XX) and Wesley Johnson (XX). The Lakers’ third quarter output seemed more mind boggling, including 41 points on 14-of-19 shooting (71 percent) and 9-of-12 from three-point range (75 percent). The Lakers achieved such offensive euphoria for a number of reasons. They constantly moved the ball and spaced the floor.

The Lakers’ small-ball oriented lineup enabled them to maximize floor spacing and open three-pointers and layups for everyone. Such tenets then appeared to fuel the Lakers’ confidence and rhythm. Equate the Kings’ sub-par roster and a one-game suspension to star DeMarcus Cousins, and the Lakers appeared to have all the right ingredients needed for an offensively prolific game.
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Nick Young unsure when he will return to the court

Amid the persisting losing and the never-ending injuries stood one reliable source that still made this failed Lakers’ season entertaining.

Nick Young.

He dazzled his fans with his acrobatic shots. Young kept fans and reporters entertained with colorful quotes and eclectic fashion choices. He lightened the locker room with his friendly personality.

But when will the Lakers see Young heal his injured left knee in time to return to the court?

“I don’t know. Sometime next week or the week after,” Young said. “I’m going to take it day by day. No rush.”
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Lakers-Pelicans game added to NBA TV

New Orleans#1 Tyreke Evans gets past Lakers Jordan Hill who was getting a little face plant from Pau Gasol in the first half. The Lakers hosted the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 11/12/2013. photo by (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News)

New Orleans#1 Tyreke Evans gets past Lakers Jordan Hill who was getting a little face plant from Pau Gasol in the first half. The Lakers hosted the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 11/12/2013. photo by (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News)

Even amid never-ending losses and injuries, the Lakers are somehow becoming a draw to NBA TV.

NBA TV will televise the Lakers when they host the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday at Staples Center, marking the second game in a week the league channel added the purple and gold to its national telecast. NBA TV also broadcast the Lakers’ loss last week to the Indiana Pacers.

The Lakers have had three of their games this season dropped from national telecasts, including the Lakers’ loss Jan. 8 in Houston (ESPN), the Lakers’ loss Jan. 20 in Chicago (TNT) and when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday at Staples Center (ESPN).

The Lakers originally had 25 national television appearances scheduled, including five on ABC, 10 on ESPN and 10 on TNT. A team can make a maximum of 10 appearances on ESPN and TNT per season, opening the possibility for ESPN, TNT and the NBA to decide later to add a game that wasn’t originally planned.

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

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Xavier Henry appears in rehab assignment with D-Fenders

After staying sidelined for nearly two months because of a bone bruise in his right knee and an abnormality in his lateral meniscus, Xavier Henry finally returned to the court.

But not in a Lakers uniform.

Henry appeared in a rehab assignment Thursday with the D-Fenders, the Lakers’ Development League affiliate, in what could mark the final steps of his recovery. He posted 15 points and four steals in the D-Fenders’ 121-103 road loss Thursday to the Texas Legends.

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Mike D’Antoni disagrees with Pau Gasol’s critiques on small ball & lack of discipline

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni looks in the direction of the scoreboard while playing the Indiana Pacers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Pacers won 118-98. (A

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni looks in the direction of the scoreboard while playing the Indiana Pacers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Pacers won 118-98. (A

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–Just outside the Lakers’ locker room stood Mike D’Antoni, rolling his eyes and looking annoyed

“We want a certain type of basketball and we’re trying to establish that and put everything into it,” D’Antoni said. “Our numbers clearly say that when you spread the floor and move the ball and get up and down the floor, we have a lot better chance to win.”

Inside the Lakers’ locker room stood Pau Gasol, visibly irked and audibly frustrated.

“If we want to continue to play small, we have to play to that advantage and utilize our quickness,” Gasol said. “If you get outrebounded by 20 rebounds, I don’t care who you are or what you do it’s not going to work and we’re not going to win.”

Gasol uttered those words following the Lakers’ 118-98 loss Tuesday to the Indiana Pacers where the Lakers were outrebounded 62-42. D’Antoni issued his response just before the Lakers played the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday here at FedEx Forum.

Unsurprisingly, Gasol and D’Antoni remain as far apart as the cities the Lakers traveled on consecutive nights. Gasol sounded upset with D’Antoni’s basketball philosophies. D’Antoni seemed annoyed about Gasol sharing his critiques publicly.

“The thing I don’t appreciate is, I think every coach, you keep it in house,” D’Antoni said. “It’s very easy to come over and talk about your frustrations. We’ll try to work something out and figure something out. To go to you guys and do it in the papers, that’s disturbing. I don’t think that’s the way to go. I understand we’re all trying to solve the same problems. So let’s put our head together and do the best we can.”
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Pau Gasol wishes Lamar Odom well with Spanish basketball team

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Lakers forward Lamar Odom joined the Spanish team Laboral Kutxa, a positive development during an otherwise tumultuous year.

He’s dealt with a divorce from reality television star Khloe Kardashian. Odom was arrested last summer for drunk driving in which he plead no contest. He was waived by the Clippers amid his off-court issues and averaging a career-low four points.

Odom credited Pau Gasol for providing an assist after the two once provided many of them together through four years with the Lakers, including two NBA championship seasons.

“I was told about Baskonia through my agent. I spoke to Pau,” Odom told reporters. “I understood that Pau had a great relationship with Coach Sergio (Scariolo), that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come.”

Gasol, who grew up in Barcelona, sounded surprised.

“I didnt have a chance to talk to Lamar,” Gasol said. “He’s hard to reach. The guy is very hard to reach. I love him to death.”

Gasol then added he lobbied Scariolo to add Odom to his roster.

“I love him and know how much he loves the game and just wanted an opportunity (for him),” Gasol said. “I hope he takes advantage of this opportunity and plays the game he likes to play. Hopefully it’ll work out.”

“It’s not easy to leave your country, go away, play somewhere else where you have no friends and you can’t speak the language. I can relate to that. But hopefully he’ll just focus on basketball and he’ll get his confidence and rhythm back and he’ll finish off the season well.”

The Lakers sent Odom to Dallas in 2011 after he demanded a trade following the team unsuccessfully traded him in the nixed Chris Paul deal.


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Pau Gasol gripes about Mike D’Antoni’s small lineups, team’s lack of discipline

Nick Young to sit out of Lakers’ two-game trip

Lamar Odom credits Pau Gasol’s encouragement to join Spanish team

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

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Pau Gasol gripes about Mike D’Antoni’s small lineups, team’s lack of discipline

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, of Spain, right, shoots in front of Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, of Spain, right, shoots in front of Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS — Pau Gasol emerged out of the locker room with a stern expression and an irritated tone in his voice.

The reasons went beyond the Lakers’ 118-98 loss Tuesday to the Indiana Pacers at Bakers Life Fieldhouse, marking their sixth loss in the past seven games. It also entailed Gasol’s frustration with Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni fielding a smaller lineup to handle a loaded Pacers frontcourt that outrebounded the Lakers, 62-42, and posted 50 points in the paint.

Lakers forward Wesley Johnson (15 points in 25 minutes) mostly had those defensive responsibilities instead of the Lakers’ frontcourt in Chris Kaman (14 minutes), Jordan Hill (10 minutes) and Robert Sacre (six minutes).

“If we want to continue to play small, we have to play to that advantage and utilize our quickness,” said Gasol, who had 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting, nine rebounds and four blocks. “If you get outrebounded by 20 rebounds, I don’t care who you are or what you do it’s not going to work and we’re not going to win.”
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Nick Young to sit out of Lakers’ two-game trip

INDIANAPOLIS — From his game-winning shots, to his acrobatic moves and commanding personality, Kobe Bryant always remained an idol for Nick Young.

But now he’s following something that has plagued Bryant all season. Young’s sitting out with another injury. He will miss the Lakers’ two-game trip with stops in Indiana (tonight) and Memphis (Wednesday) after feeling additional swelling during the Lakers’ loss Sunday against Brooklyn in his fractured left knee. It’s possible Young will return Friday when the Lakers host the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.

“I’m Kobe now,” Young cracked. “I missed the whole shootaround and didn’t move.”

Young returned in only two weeks after nursing both a bone bruise and nondisplaced fracture in the patella of his left knee, and Young admitted that quick recovery time didn’t consist of taking an MRI. Young remained adamant he doesn’t need to be reevaluated, but he listened to the Lakers’ training staff. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni added, “there’s no reason to push him.”

“It’s something that can get worse or cause other injuries,” said Young, who plans to receiving icing and treatment. “So that’s why they want me to wait until I’m pain free.”
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Lamar Odom credits Pau Gasol’s encouragement to join Spanish team

As he makes steps toward progressing back into basketball, it turns out Lamar Odom received a significant assist from a former teammate who once provided many of them to him on the court.

Pau Gasol once formed a great pair with Odom, their versatile skillset and teamwork with the Lakers proving instrumental toward winning two NBA championships. Now Odom has joined the Spanish team Laboral Kutxa amid a year a trial and tribulation in which he dealt with a divorce from reality television star Khloe Kardashian, a drunk driving arrest (plead no contest) and being waived by the Clippers. Considering Gasol’s background with both the Spanish national team, he proved a key influence in ensuring Odom latched onto the Spanish club team.

“I was told about Baskonia through my agent. I spoke to Pau,” Odom told reporters. “I understood that Pau had a great relationship with Coach Sergio [Scariolo], that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come.”

Gasol also recently voiced support toward Odom joining the team on Twitter.

Gasol’s affection for Odom remains deeply rooted for obvious reasons. Gasol played with Odom in four of his seven season with the Lakers, appearing in three consecutive NBA Finals and winning two league championships. The Lakers’ acquisition of Gasol Feb. 2008 stemmed from a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies eventually resulted in Odom having a bench role. Odom and Gasol also remain linked because they were part of the Lakers’ Chris Paul deal that ultimately was stopped by former NBA Commissioner David Stern. Gasol would’ve gone to the Houston Rockets and Odom would’ve gone to the New Orleans Hornets.

In a controversial move, the Lakers accommodated Odom’s trade request to the Dallas Mavericks for a $8.9 million trade exception and a flurry of draft picks.

Odom averaged then career-lows in points (6.6), shooting percentage (35.2), rebounds (4.2), assists (1.7) and minutes (20.5). At the time, Odom was also only a summer removed from a close cousin dying and being a passenger of a car where the driver accidently struck and killed a 15-year-old pedestrian. Fed up with his play, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban cut ties with him last April before eventually dealing him in a three-team trade to the Clippers. Last season, Odom averaged a career-low 4 points.

“I got to play in the incredible city of L.A. and win championships and play with players like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, coached by Phil Jackson and Pat Riley [in Miami],” said Odom. “Then sometimes you get to a point in your life where less is more.”

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

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