The Lakers’ 37-year-old star posted only 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting, five assists and four rebounds in the Lakers’ 102-91 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday at Staples Center. But the most glaring number involved his 37 minutes.
It marked the second consecutive game he played above last year’s season’s average of 34.5 minutes. It marked the second consecutive season Bryant became shrouded in controversy surrounding the minutes he played. So after lasting only 35 games last season before needing season-ending right shoulder surgery, what implications could Bryant’s heavier workload bring to his 37-year-old body?
“That’s the silliest question of the night,” Bryant said. “This is literally my second game where I played 35 minutes or more, so it’s premature to ask about it.”
The concern made Byron Scott raise his voice.
The Lakers’ coach had faulted himself last season for granting Bryant such a heavy workload. Scott even rested Bryant for eight of the next 16 games before his season ended in late January. Yet, Scott sounded more and more irritated when pressed on his contradictions on how he would manage Bryant.
“Look at what he’s averaging,” Scott said. “He’s still at the limit. When he gets over the limit, we’ll talk more about it. But right now, it’s still at the limit.”
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott and Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell #1 have a discussion in the first half .The Los Angeles Lakers played the Denver Nuggets in a regular season NBA game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 11/3/2015 (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)
The proud Lakers’ coach inherited his job a season after the franchise completed their worst finish since moving to Los Angeles over five decades ago. Yet, Byron Scott still talked about NBA championship aspirations. His first season ended with the Lakers’ worst record in the franchise’s 67-year-old history. Yet, Scott still talked during training camp about trying to make the NBA playoffs.
But with the Lakers (2-9) entering Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors (7-6) at Staples Center as the Western Conference’s second-worst team, Scott declined to predict the Lakers could make the playoffs.
“This team doesn’t have Magic [Johnson],” Scott said. “We have James [Worthy], but not in uniform. Cap isn’t here. I wont do that, no.”
It seems understandable now about Scott’s skepticism. But a reporter brought that up amid a conversation surrounding the undefeated Golden State Warriors (13-0) and Scott’s memories of the “Showtime Lakers.”
Scott called the Warriors “by far, right now, they’re the best team in the league” after winning the 2015 NBA championship. He did not sound surprised the Warriors overcame a 23-point deficit on Thursday to defeat the Clippers. Scott argued the Warriors “don’t have that championship hangover.”
Scott then reflected on how the Lakers’ 1988 NBA championship team showed the same hunger after former Lakers coach Pat Riley infamously predicted the team would repeat in a speech at the 1987 NBA championship parade.
“When he said, guarantee, I knew vacation is over,” said Scott, who began training in early July as opposed to August. “We really have to come ready next year. We came back that year even more focused to do something that hadn’t been done in 20 years at that time.” Continue reading →
The stoicism in Anthony Brown’s voice partly reflected his understanding why the Lakers’ rookie guard/forward has played limited minutes in three games.
“I haven’t really had a chance to digest it,” said Brown, whom the Lakers drafted 34th overall. “I’ve learned a lot every day just by being here. Even though I’m not playing, I’m still learning.” Continue reading →
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant #24 stands next to coach Byron Scott in the first half. The Lakers played the Minnesota Timberwolves in the opening game of the 2015-16 NBA season. Los Angeles, CA, 10/28/2015 (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)
Among the many question marks that plague the Lakers, Kobe Bryant’s health is currently not one of them.
The Lakers (2-9) expect Bryant will suit up against the Toronto Raptors (7-6) on Friday at Staples Center. He had missed Monday’s loss in Phoenix to rest after playing a season-high 37 minutes in Sunday’s win over Detroit.
“I’m going to stick to where it’s been about, at that early 30 minute-type minutes, late 20’s,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Bryant, who has averaged 30.4 minutes per game through eight contests. “It depends on the situation. I’m happy where his minutes are right now.”
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant provided guidance to Dallas guard Wesley Mathews as he rehabbed from a left Achilles tendon (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)
Father Time and a heavy workload has left Kobe Bryant feeling tired. His shooting inaccuracy has left him frustrated. So has the Lakers’ persistent losing.
But as Bryant talked with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on his radio show on SiriusXM , the Lakers’ star expressed irritation about something else.
“AAU basketball is just killing us,” said Bryant, whose interview with Krzyzewski will air on Thursday at 6pm ET/3pm PT. “There’s so many games being played without a concept of how to play them. Everything is off theball and how to beat your man off the ball. There’s no concept of playing two-man game or three-man combinations. That concept is a lost art.”
After receiving limited time thus far with the Lakers, rookie forward/guard Anthony Brown has been assigned to the organization’s Development League affiliate. Brown will join the D-Fenders for their road game on Tuesday night in Bakersfield.
Brown, whom the Lakers drafted 34th overall after spending five years at Stanford, has only appeared in three of the Lakers’ 11 regular-season games in limited minutes. He has posted five points on 1-of-2 shooting and one steal in nine minutes through three contests.
Phoenix Suns’ T.J. Warren dunks against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Lakers 120-101. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX — As he played through a nose he believes is broken, Lakers center Roy Hibbert occasionally tugged at his plastic mask to find a comfortable fit. Before shooting a pair of free throws, Hibbert even tossed the mask to the sideline.
But that did not mark the only thing that left Hibbert frustrated during the Lakers’ 120-101 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns also outrebounded the Lakers, 50-37, including a 18-7 advantage on the offensive glass.
Despite posting 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a team-leading seven rebounds, Hibbert largely faulted himself for the miscues.
“I have to do a better job of boxing out” Hibbert told Los Angeles News Group. “I need to pursue and keep my guy off the board and go to help out the other guys pursuing the rebound.” Continue reading →
Lakers forward Nick Young was credited by coach Byron Scott for his defense in the Lakers’ 97-85 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday at Staples Center. AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
The inconsistency in Nick Young’s shot once irritated Lakers coach Byron Scott. Young’s lack of defensive intensity bothered Scott, too. It did not help Scott became annoyed with Young’s goofy personality. So, Scott often yanked Young out of the lineup and benched him throughout the 2014-15 season.
But all of that took a 180-degree turn in the 2015-16 campaign, the most vivid example happening in the Lakers’ 97-85 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday at Staples Center.
Young finished with 13 points off the bench on four-of-six shooting in 26 minutes. Young netted a game-high +/- of 20 points, signifying how much the Lakers outscored the Pistons when when he was on the floor. And he injected enough defensive energy to play all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter.
“He was not allowing his man to score. He did all the things that we talk about,” Scott said. “He tagged cutters when he had to. He got back to shooters when he had to. He just did all of the little things, that’s why he stayed on the court. Obviously he’s a treat on the offensive end, every time he catches the ball, so when he has both ends of the floor, it makes him that much better as a player.” Continue reading →
The three American childhood friends had vacationed in Paris nearly three months ago, initially concerned about the wi-fi reception while sitting on a train. Soon enough, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler became involved with foiling a terrorist attack on Aug. 21 after charging and subduing a gunman on a train.
The act rightfully earned them international praise, including a tribute from U.S. President Barack Obama. The latest entailed the Lakers honoring them in a brief ceremony during the Lakers’ eventual 97-85 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday at Staples Center.
“Thank you for putting your lives at risk to save other lives,” Lakers president Jeanie Buss said.
The Lakers then presented Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler with Lakers jerseys with their last names and No. 1 emblazoned on the back. The three also met before and after the game with Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who said “it was awesome to see them.”
“We all would think in those type of situations, we would behave in the same way. But once you’re in that situation, it’s a completely different story,” Bryant said. “For those guys to unconsciously just react, not think about themselves and think about protecting others, it’s a story that should be sung every single day. Those are true role models. We want our kids to behave thinking about others and not thinking about themselves. In the moment when their life was on the line, they thought about others.”
Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler sounded humbled the Lakers thought of them.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant plans to play on the team’s second back-to-back.(photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)
The question will arise repeatedly throughout the 2015-16 season, and the answer will vary seemingly each time. Will Kobe Bryant play in the Lakers’ next set of back-to-back games?
“I don’t know yet,” Lakers coach Byron Scott following Sunday’s morning shootaround. “We haven’t gotten to that point,”
Bryant plans to play when the Lakers (1-8) host the Detroit Piston (5-4) on Sunday at Staples Center. But Bryant’s plans for the Lakers’ game on Monday in Phoenix (5-4) at U.S. Airways Center do not seem as clear.
“Obviously, it will be on how he feels tomorrow,” Scott said. “When we get to the arena and if he says, ‘I feel good and I feel great,’ let’s just try to keep it at the normal minutes and see how he does. If he says, ‘I’m a little tired, maybe get me out a little bit earlier,’ I’ll adjust the minutes to that. But this is all foreign to us.”