Lakers’ Kobe Bryant becomes first player to record 30,000 career points, 6,000 assists

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant reacts after making a basket against the Toronto Raptors in overtime of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 129-122. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant reacts after making a basket against the Toronto Raptors in overtime of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 129-122. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

At a time when the Lakers needed anything to stop the dive toward mediocrity, they relied on a trusty source who compiled a track record in bailing them out in tough situations.

The man’s name is Kobe Bryant. You may have heard of him. He has won five NBA championships, climbed to fourth place on the league’s all-time scoring and sank too many game winning-shots to count. But the Lakers’ 129-122 overtime victory on Sunday over the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center went beyond Bryant providing his distinguishable scoring touch. He collected his 20th career triple double by posting 31 points on 11-of-24 shooting, 11 rebounds and 12 assists by basically doing everything.

Incidentally, this coincided with Bryant becoming the first NBA player both to post 30,000 career points and 6,000 assists.

“It’s a huge huge honor,” Bryant said. “It means I pass more than people say.”

Plenty instead have griped this season about Bryant’s shot selection. After all, he has led the league with 26.4 points per game albeit on only 38.8 percent shooting. Bryant’s deliberate approach toward increasing his around-the-clock treatment and strict diet juxtaposes when he scored a career-high 81 points eight years ago against Toronto after consuming pepperoni pizza and grape soda.

But Bryant turned back the clock by playing his most efficient game all season.

“He’s just an amazing basketball player. That’s the bottom line. He’s had an unbelievable career. He’s still going pretty strong,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “There’s a lot left in that tank, it’s obvious. His accomplishments are just fantastic. To watch him continue to compete the way that he does at this level is remarkable.”

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Lakers’ Byron Scott insisting it’s not a big deal he hasn’t connected with Steve Nash

Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, sitting next to assistant coach Paul Pressey during the Lakers 109-102 loss to New Orleans, said he would like to talk to Steve Nash, but the point guard hasn’t returned his call. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, sitting next to assistant coach Paul Pressey during the Lakers 109-102 loss to New Orleans, said he would like to talk to Steve Nash, but the point guard hasn’t returned his call. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The things that keep Lakers coach Byron Scott agitated thus far involves the team’s worst start in franchise history, the team’s league-worst defense and endless injuries. Don’t lump Scott’s playing phone tag with Lakers Steve Nash as one of those categories, however.

Scott revealed on Sunday he and Nash have still not connected on the phone since the Lakers ruled the 40-year-old guard out for the season in late October, their conversations amounting toward nothing more than periodic text messages. But Scott hardly sounded upset over this development.

“Steve’s a busy guy and I’m a busy guy as well,” Scott said. “I don’t think he misses sleep over it and I don’t miss any sleep over it. He’s a great guy and have known for Steve for a long time. Not to have contract with one another at this particular time, to me it’s not a big deal.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott said lineup changes are coming, but when?

"Lakers Coach Byron Scott talks to the crowd before the tipoff. The Lakers played the Houston Rockets in the opening game of the 2014-2015 Season.  Los Angeles, CA. 10/28/2014 (Photo by John McCoy Daily News )"

“Lakers Coach Byron Scott talks to the crowd before the tipoff. The Lakers played the Houston Rockets in the opening game of the 2014-2015 Season. Los Angeles, CA. 10/28/2014 (Photo by John McCoy Daily News )”

Something appears looming on the Lakers’ itinerary. The timing has not become as definitive as the Lakers (3-13) hosting the Toronto Raptors (13-3) on 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center.

But outside of tonight’s game, Lakers coach Byron Scott suggested that it’s only a matter of if and not when he will make lineup changes.

“I’m pretty sure I will,” Scott said following Sunday’s morning shootaround at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “Eventually, yes I will.”

But what Scott would not outline what exactly what he would do. He laughed when asked which positions he has thought about tinkering with, but he declined to specify. But after questioning the Lakers’ effort in their 120-119 loss on Friday to Minnesota, Scott has said he is “getting closer” toward making a shuffle in hopes of changing the Lakers’ fortunes that have entailed a three-game losing streak and a 1-8 home record. Scott also held out his lanyard, moving his fingers closer to each other to outline how his figurative “leash” has shortened.

“I don’t look at it as chances. I’m just looking at it as a timetable,” Scott said. “Sometimes it takes two to three months before to see if guys are getting it and if they’re understanding and gelling or picking up things. Or do you have to make changes before you see other results? I’m still in that time frame of giving them time. I’m also much more aware in my mind that I’m going to be making some changes.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott plans to take Kobe Bryant out at end of 1st & 3rd quarters

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant won't participate in many shootarounds if at all moving forward. (File photo/Daily News)

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant won’t participate in many shootarounds if at all moving forward. (File photo/Daily News)

By Mark Medina and Evan Barnes

Lakers coach Byron Scott will adopt another approach to conserve Kobe Bryant without significantly taking away his presence from the team.

When the Lakers (3-12) host the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-10) on Friday at Staples Center, expect Bryant to sit out toward the end of the first and third quarters so that he remains fresh in the fourth quarter. Bryant’s 35 minutes in the Lakers’ 99-93 loss on Wednesday to Memphis mirrored his season average. But Bryant sat out the final 1:47 of the first quarter and the last 1:30 of the third quarter after spending most games playing those periods in their entirety.

“The last game I thought he was fresher so again I’ll stick with what we did the last game,” Scott said after morning shootaround on Friday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “He feels good physically. I want to get to a point where he says he feels great physically.”
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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.”

RELATED:

Lakers hang tough, but Memphis comes away with 99-93 victory


Lakers’ Byron Scott, Mitch Kupchak have meeting & near deal with Earl Clark

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant considers Memphis’ Tony Allen best defender

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.

RELATED:

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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