Lakers’ Jeremy Lin to return as a reserve

ANAHEIM — Any hope that Jeremy Lin becomes the Lakers’ starting point guard remains on hold.

Lin will come off the bench when the Lakers host the Phoenix Suns tonight at Honda Center after missing the past week because of a sprained left ankle. Lakers veteran guard Ronnie Price will start for the fourth consecutive game, while Steve Nash remains sidelined with back spasms.

“There’s not a thought process right now,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Ronnie has been playing and Jeremy hasn’t. He’ll have to come in and get his feet wet and then go from there.”

Price has sparked rave reviews during training camp for various reasons. The nine-year NBA veteran has averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 assists in 31 minutes per game with steady playmaking and aggressive defense.

“He goes after people,” Scott said. “He’s one of those guys that plays with a ton of energy and a lot of heart. He’s a tough kid. I love the way he started out the games.”


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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin poses as adidas employee

A crowd follows Jeremy Lin where he goes. The Lakers guard has attracted extensive media attention from both local and international media. When he attended a recent event at Westfield Culver City Mall, hordes of fanas flooded the Foot Locker shoe store. Lin prefers to keep his residency in West Los Angeles private so that he can enjoy his free time with close friends and relatives.

So how can Lin avoid a mob scene? Well, he can dress up like someone else, such as his recent parody video in which he poses as an adidas employee. Lin asked customers about their shoe or shirt preferences. He would pepper him with questions about the NBA. Lin even made disparaging comments about his play.

But no one paid much attention until Lin took off his wig. Then, the fanfare emerged again.


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Lakers waive Keith Appling, Jeremy Tyler

The Lakers made their first round of cuts to their training camp roster, announcing on Monday that they have waived both rookie guard Keith Appling and center Jeremy Tyler.

Appling posted two points, three rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes of play through two preseason appearances. But he then suffered a shoulder injury in the Lakers’ preseason loss last Thursday to Utah in Anaheim.

Numerous outlets, including this one, already reported about Tyler’s departure which coincides with him signing a deal to play overseas in China. Tyler averaged 2.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 9.4 minutes through three preseason appearances. His three-year NBA career included stops with Golden State (2011-12), Atlanta (2012-13) and New York (2013-14).

The Lakers currently have 17 players on their roster. They can hold a maximum of 15 players once the regular season starts on Oct. 28 against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.

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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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Kobe Bryant believes Lakers will play “smashmouth basketball”

Utah Jazz's Enes Kanter, center left, gets a rebound against Los Angeles Lakers' Jordan Hill as Lakers' Wesley Johnson, left, and Carlos Boozer watch during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Utah Jazz’s Enes Kanter, center left, gets a rebound against Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Hill as Lakers’ Wesley Johnson, left, and Carlos Boozer watch during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The NBA championship trophies sitting near the window in Jeanie Buss’ office may greet the Lakers every time they step foot on the practice floor. The celebrity starpower that still watch the Lakers at Staples Center may seem captivating. Even Byron Scott’s presence as the Lakers’ coach may spark up pleasant memories of the “Showtime Era.”

But in the land of Hollywood, the Lakers’ quest toward bouncing back from their worst season in L.A. franchise history will not involve special effects or star power.

“We’re going to be smashmouth basketball,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said. “That’s how we’re going to play. We’re going to be nasty. We’re going to be physical.”

The Lakers showed how those elements could work in their 98-91 preseason win on Sunday over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.

The Lakers have already missed six players out with injuries, including Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Nick Young, Xavier Henry and Ryan Kelly. But they compensated by resorting to that identity Bryant described. Sure, it helped that Bryant posted a team-leading 26 points or that Carlos Boozer added 19 points. But those two players added double figures in other preseason games only to see the Lakers lose by double-digit margins. So with the Lakers trailing 54-38 at halftime, Scott offered one clear message.

“When we came out before the half even started, I said, ‘We’re not even going to talk about offense,” Scott recalled. “‘It’s all about us getting more aggressive on the defensive end and just getting better at it.’ That’s what we did.”
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Kobe Bryant increases workload in Lakers’ 98-91 win over Utah

The Lakers’ training room may have become as congested as the freeways here in Los Angeles during rush hour. They may have a roster filled with question marks that include both health and potential. A competitive Western Conference might make the Lakers’ quest to dig themselves out of mediocrity a slogging, uphill climb.

But unlike last season when serious injuries kept him without a basketball in his hands, Kobe Bryant provided his strongest sign that his presence will at least give the Lakers fighting chance. He posted a team-leading 26 points, four rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes of the Lakers’ 98-91 preseason victory on Sunday over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center, marking his most complete game since shedding off rust of his former self through five exhibition games.

“I felt fine,” Bryant said. “I’m still working it back. But I feel ready.”
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Kobe Bryant’s message to Julius Randle: “You ‘F’ this up, you’re a really big idiot”

Julius Randle, seen at a pre-draft workout in June, had 10 points and eight rebounds in a Lakers preseason game Monday. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

Julius Randle, seen at a pre-draft workout in June, had 10 points and eight rebounds in a Lakers preseason game Monday. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

The tough love and accountability hovered over Julius Randle throughout his childhood. He grew up in a single-parent household where his mom ensured he studied well enough to maintain straight A’s. Randle played for an AAU team named the Texas Titans that included comprehensive workshops involving media training, etiquette tips and Bible study. And Randle has clung to these mentors both for guidance through adversity and for staying grounded through success.

Yet, that strict upbringing hardly compares to what Kobe Bryant has offered the Lakers’ rookie all through training camp. Both Bryant and Lakers coach Byron Scott talked to Randle, saying he has the potential to become an NBA All-Star one day IF he mimics Bryant’s work ethic. If not? Randle will just become another forgotten NBA player.

“It means he can’t [bleep] it up.” Bryant explained in more vulgar terms following the Lakers’ 98-91 preseason victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Staples Center.

Once the initial laughter from reporters around him subdued, Bryant then offered another punchline. This one came at the expense of ESPN recently ranking him as the NBA’s 40th best player after appearing in only six games last season because of overlapping injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left ankle.

“If you [bleep] this up, you’re a really big idiot,” Bryant said. “ESPN are idiots, but you’re really a big idiot if you manage to [bleep] this up.”
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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin out vs. Utah

Any hope for Jeremy Lin eventually to take over the Lakers’ starting point guard position will have to wait. Lin will sit out tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center because of a sprained left ankle that has kept him sidelined for the past week.

Lakers coach Byron Scott said Lin might return from a three-game absence for Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. But that hinges on one specific variable.

“Just to go full practice up and down,” Scott said. “Going forward and backward is not the problem. It’s more of the planting and cutting and change of directions. We have to see if he can do that. If he can, Tuesday is a possibility.

Scott said Lin did not advanced enough to play in any of the team’s full-court scrimmage during Saturday’s practice. During portions of that practice open to the media, Lin spent his time shooting on a side basket.

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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’ Ryan Kelly out vs. Jazz with right hamstring injury

It has already become this kind of season for the Lakers. As soon as they believe they make progress on having healthy players, another injury happens.

Lakers forward Ryan Kelly will miss tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center after injuring his right hamstring. Kelly had already been sidelined since training camp started with a strained left hamstring.

Scott said he hasn’t talked with Lakers trainer Gary Vitti about Kelly’s timetable, but it seems likely he will not play in any preseason games. The Lakers have three other exhibitions on Tuesday (vs. Phoenix at Staples Center), on Wednesday (vs. Portland in Ontario) and on Friday (vs. Sacramento in Las Vegas).

“He looked good until he hurt his other hamstring,” Scott said. “It’s not as bad as the first one.”

Meanwhile, Scott said Lakers guard Jeremy Lin remains a game-time decision after missing the past two exhibitions with a sprained left ankle. Lin was participating in shooting drills at the conclusion of morning shootaround, but the Lakers want to see how his ankle responds leading leading into the 6:30 p.m. tip time.

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Jazz coach Quin Snyder learned plenty coaching Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant may not have worn a Lakers uniform to help the team make shots, but he still drew up plays that led to the same outcome. Bryant may not have stayed on the floor to bark at his teammates, but he still did the same thing on the sideline. Bryant may have technically sat for seven consecutive games because of a shin injury. Yet, his presence remained looming as he became a defacto assistant coach.

But as Bryant instructed from the sidelines, who knew one of those eager pupils was actually a member of the Lakers’ coaching staff? Yet, there was Quin Snyder as one of many assistants under Mike Brown soaking up every word that Bryant had to say from the bench. Much has changed since that 2011-12 season. Snyder currently serves as the Utah Jazz coach, while Bryant plays for Byron Scott. Yet, that moment still stuck with Snyder.

“I went into the experience knowing there was a lot I could learn from him,” Snyder said. “I think players teach coaches as much as anything, if you pay attention to great players, they usually figure stuff out before we do. We notice it and try to teach it.”
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Lakers’ Steve Nash out vs. Utah, hopeful to play in preseason

"Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014.  (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)"

“Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)”

Steve Nash emerged onto the Lakers’ practice court, his presence a rare sight after spending the past week mostly in the trainer’s room dealing with back spasms and the nerve issues that have plagued him for the past two years.

This also marked the first time in a week Nash spoke with reporters, the Lakers’ guard still remaining determined he can overcome an injury that will keep him sidelined Sunday against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.

“With all the work I’m doing,” Nash said, “I think I can be in a position to bounce back quickly.”

So much that Nash said it’s “important” that he appears in at least one of the Lakers’ remaining preseason games, including Phoenix (Tuesday at Staples Center), Portland (Wednesday in Ontario) and Sacramento (Friday in Las Vegas) before regular season play starts on Oct. 28 against Houston.

“I’d like to play in some more preseason games just to get a rhythm and start the adaptation process,” Nash said on Saturday before the Lakers’ practiced at their facility in El Segundo. “The body is an adaptive system. The more you ask of it, it adapts and can handle it. I’m trying to continually take this condition and ask it to adapt to the rigors of the game.”

But the Lakers are hesitant toward offering any long-term outlook on Nash, whose return to the practice court will depend on how quickly his continuous treatment will heal bis troublesome back.

“I don’t know what the future holds for Steve right now,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “One thing I do know is he wants to play badly.”
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