Lakers’ Byron Scott rips team’s ball movement, screen setting in 91-86 loss to Atlanta

"Lakers head coach Byron Scott talks about the upcoming NBA season at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) "

“Lakers head coach Byron Scott talks about the upcoming NBA season at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) “

The Lakers scanned the lineup card and instantly became irritated.

The Atlanta Hawks offered no bulletin board material or any demeaning comments about the Lakers’ losses or their depleted roster. But Atlanta’s actions spoke loud enough. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer sat three starters, including DeMarre Carroll as well as All-Stars Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague, in hopes to ensure strong health for more important games. In other words, so that Atlanta remains fresh for the NBA playoffs, which the Lakers will miss for the second consecutive year.

“When teams rest against you, you feel disrespected,” Lakers guard Wayne Ellington said. “We wanted to come out and we wanted to fight and let them know they can’t do that against us.”

Well, the Hawks discovered they could.

The Lakers still lost, 91-86, to Atlanta in what marked the team’s seventh defeat in the past eight games. The Hawks even lost All-Star guard Kyle Korver, who lasted 10 minutes before suffering a broken nose at the mercy of Ed Davis’ inadvertent elbow. But with Lakers coach Byron Scott marveling how the Hawks “play without an agenda,” Atlanta (52-14) still punished with the Lakers (17-48) with a heavy dose of Dennis Schroder (24 points), Al Horford (21 points), Shelvin Mack (18 points) and Kent Bazemore (13 points).

As Lakers guard Wayne Ellington called Atlanta “the Spurs of the East,” the Lakers showed how they have regressed since collecting a win five months ago in Atlanta that goes beyond Kobe Bryant’s season-ending shoulder injury and Nick Young’s ongoing absence from a swollen left knee.

The Lakers shot 40 percent of the field and committed 22 turnovers and took them nearly 3 1/2 quarters before Ryan Kelly (13 points) and Jordan Clarkson (10 points) became the lone players to post double-digits in scoring. That left Scott fuming over fundamental concepts, such as ball movement and setting screens.

“We have to do a better job of setting screens for each other,” Scott said. “That’s just being unselfish. That’s the bottom line. You have to be committed to doing that on a night to night basis.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young to get CT scan on swollen left knee

Portland Trail Blazers' Steve Blake (25) defends against Los Angeles Lakers' Nick Young (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

Portland Trail Blazers’ Steve Blake (25) defends against Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

Lakers forward Nick Young will get a CT scan on Monday after experiencing minimal improvement in the swelling in his his left knee.

The procedure will definitely keep him sidelined for both when the Lakers (17-47) host the Atlanta Hawks (51-14) on Sunday at Staples Center as well as when the Lakers play Monday in Golden State. Young had originally planned to travel with the Lakers to receive treatment. But Young will stay in Los Angeles because of his latest appointment.

Young has missed the past nine games because of his latest injury. He has averaged 13.4 points on a career-low 36.6 shooting percent clip, a mark that dipped in January (32.2 percent) and February (32.4 percent).

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Lakers’ Byron Scott says most players “have their heads down” after post-game critiques

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 plans to start Jeremy Lin in last 10 games of season

"Lakers Coach Byron Scott has a word with Lakers#17 Jeremy Lin in the first half. 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 has a word with Lakers#17 Jeremy Lin in the first half. 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 will soon make a move that Jeremy Lin supports.

Scott plans to start Lin at point guard, likely with 10 games left in the season. The timing is not definitive. The Lakers (17-46) will host the Atlanta Hawks (51-14) on Sunday at Staples Center featuring Jordan Clarkson at point guard for the 22nd consecutive start. The Lakers will also feature Wayne Ellington (shooting guard), Wesley Johnson (small forward), Jordan Hill (power forward) and Tarik Black (center), a lineup that has started for the past three contests.

But Scott plans to start Ryan Kelly at power forward at some point and Lin at point guard, the latter scenario seeming more definitive on the timing.

“I want to see how much of a difference it is now as opposed to the start of the season,” Scott said after Sunday’s morning shootaround at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “He knows the offense better and he knows what I need from him every single night on both ends of the floor. Now to see him in a starting role, it would be a little bit of a change. He was thinking so much back earlier in the season. Right now, he’s just playing.”

Lin started the first 19 games of the season only to lose his starting spot in favor of veteran guard Ronnie Price because of Scott’s preference for his defense and floor leadership. Lin averaged 11.6 points on 44.9 percent shooting and five assists in 29.6 minutes per contest as 23 games as a starter. In 40 games off the bench, Lin averaged similar numbers with a 10.6 points per game average on 42.6 percent shooting and 4.6 assists despite less playing time (23.6 minutes per game).

Lin cited his adjustments in playing Scott’s Princeton-based offense and sharing ball-handling duties with Kobe Bryant. But Scott downplayed if Bryant’s absence because of a season-long right shoulder injury will make it easier for Lin to play as a starter.

“His role won’t change,” Scott said. “It will be the same. I want to keep it as simple as possible. But anytime you don’t have Kobe on the floor, it will be different. You can play without the ball a whole lot more since he draws so much more attention, he draws easier shots. When he’s not on the floor, it makes it tougher.”

How so?

“You have to move the ball better and set better screens and all the things we’ve been talking about,” Scott said. “We don’t want him to be a ball stopper. I just want guys to still continue to move on the offensive end so we can get the best possible shots.”

Clarkson has excelled as a starter, averaging 14 points on 44.5 percent shooting and 4.1 assists in 30.2 minutes. The Lakers also appear invested in developing Clarkson, whom the Lakers hold as a team option for the 2015-16 season. That juxtaposes with Lin, who will become an unrestricted free agent after making $14.9 million this past season.

Yet, Scott argued featuring Clarkson off the bench will also provide insight on how he plays in a different role.

“I’d just like to see JC come off the bench,” Scott said, “and see what he provides.”

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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’ Jabari Brown hits game-winning jumper to carry reserves to win in Saturday’s scrimmage

The full-court scrimmage remained undecided, only one basket determining which group would walk off the winner and which group would have to run a few times up and down the court as punishment.

So in what marked the middle of his first 10-day contract with the Lakers, Jabari Brown provided a moment to cement a greater impression with the team. He sank the game-winning jumper.

“I had to get the win. I knew coach had something up his sleeve,” Jabari said following Saturday’s practice at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I like hitting big shots and I take it like every other shot.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott says most players “have their heads down” after post-game critiques

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott looks on in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz won 94-85. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott looks on in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz won 94-85. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The passage of time and a visit with his grandchildren helped Lakers coach Byron Scott temper his frustration.

So when he concluded Saturday’s practice, Scott sounded in a much more jovial mood than when he offered a blistering critique of his team’s performace in the Lakers’ 101-94 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday at Staples Center.

Scott reiterated he “wasn’t happy with that game” and argued his players showed a “lack of respect” to the Knicks because they own the NBA’s worst record. But Scott offered much more biting commentary afterwards, calling the team “soft” and saying New York coach Derek Fisher would want to play the Lakers 10 more times this season to pad the Knicks’ record. Scott has expressed similar comments in various losses this year, especially at the beginning of the season.

All of the Lakers’ players publicly agree with his sentiments, but how do they take such scoldings behind closed doors?

“I don’t think most of them want to look at me,” Scott said after Saturday’s practice. “Most of them have their heads down. I don’t think they want to make eye contact with me most of the time. I just say what’s on my mind. I say how I feel after games and I let them know.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott still unsure about Nick Young’s return

Lakers' #0 Nick Young shoots from the high post in the first half. The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers’ #0 Nick Young shoots from the high post in the first half. The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

With each day that passes, it becomes more and more of a possibility that Lakers forward Nick Young will not play in another game this season.

Lakers coach Byron Scott stressed “we’re not at that point yet” with Young missing the past nine games because of a swollen left knee. But Young will still stay sidelined when the Lakers (17-47) host the Atlanta Hawks (51-14) on Sunday at Staples Center. Young will also only travel for Monday’s game in Golden State so he can receive treatment.

Yet, Scott did not offer much clarity namely because he said he has not recently consulted Lakers trainer Gary Vitti about Young’s progression with only 18 games remaining.

“Maybe I need to talk to Gary to give me an idea where he is,” Scott said of Young, who did not speak to reporters on Saturday. “I haven’t asked him about that and he hasn’t said anything. So I take his side meaning he hasn’t gotten better or changed much. I think I am curious now. I want to find out if it’s getting better or what the prognosis is as far as him returning in the next few weeks or so.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott pleased with Jabari Brown’s NBA debut in loss to Knicks

The waiting seemed forever as the anticipation over his big moment kept rising.

Jabari Brown kept telling himself he would treat his next basketball game like any other one he experienced. But how could he? Brown would make his NBA debut with the Lakers after spending the past year going undrafted, weathering a Lakers’ training camp cut and then dominating with their Development League affiliate.

Yet, Brown maintained it was not hard to think otherwise. In the Lakers’ 101-94 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday at Staples Center, Brown provided a rare bright spot with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench by not worrying about the implications.

“I just had to get out there,” Brown said, “be aggressive and take good shots.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott questions team effort in 101-94 loss to Knicks

The cast of characters settled into this city in different eras and witnessed a few events that soon became customary.

They saw purple and gold streamers fall from the rafters. They popped champagne. They soaked in the warm weather, the deafening cheers and the adoring crowds during the championship parades.

Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant won all five of their NBA championships together here. The Showtime Lakers also won five NBA titles with a supporting cast that included Kurt Rambis (four championships) and Byron Scott (three rings). Rambis later helped Jackson win four of his five NBA championships with the Lakers as a key assistant.

Those men witnessed something far different in the Lakers’ 101-94 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday on Staples Center. Scott oversaw the Lakers (17-46) drop their sixth game in the last seven contests as the they march toward the worst record in franchise history. Bryant could only watch from the sideline as he nursed a season-ending right shoulder injury. New York president (Jackson), head coach (Fisher) and assistant (Rambis) experienced temporary elation amid the a rare Knicks victory, their 13-51 record boasting the NBA’s worst record.

All of which prompted Scott to unload his dissatisfaction with the team at a much faster rate than when he made key outside shots with the Lakers’ Showtime teams.

“This got away before the game even started,” Scott said. “Our mindset was nowhere it should have been.”

Where was it?

“We were selfish as a basketball team,” Scott said. “A lot of our guys came in looking at New York and thinking this was going to be an easy win.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott offers sympathy for Derek Fisher’s struggles coaching the Knicks

New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher will face his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher will face his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The two men once became pretty accustomed toward hoisting up NBA trophies with their hands and flashing championship rings on their fingers. But there Lakers coach Byron Scott and New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher stood on the same sideline two months ago sharing another thing in common that hardly makes either proud.

Both of their respective teams rank among the worst in the NBA. So after holding Fisher in high esteem since mentoring him his rookie season 19 years ago, Scott offered him some support.

“I told him, ‘Hang in there,’” Scott recalled. “‘I’ve been there and I know exactly what you’re going through and it’s going to get better.’”

Things got better for one night as the Knicks cruised to a double-digit victory over the Lakers. But that’s not saying much. The Lakers (17-46) enter Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks (12-51) at Staples Center owning the NBA’s fourth-worst record. The Knicks have the NBA’s worst record, making this game providing only implications only for maximizing their chances in striking it rich at the NBA Draft lottery.

There also remains intrigue because the Knicks feature plenty of former Lakers. Phil Jackson is in his first season as the Knicks president after winning five of his 11 NBA championships coaching the Lakers. Fisher is coaching the Knicks after winning all five of his NBA titles under Jackson’s Lakers. Kurt Rambis, Jim Cleamons and Rasheed Hazzard both represented Fisher’s current assistants and part of Jackson’s previous coaching staffs.

“It says the Knicks know exactly what they’re doing,” Scot said. “You have Phil, one of the greatest coaches, if not the greatest coach to coach this game. You have one of the great winners in the game in Derek Fisher as head coach. So I think anytime they’re plucking people from the organization, that says a lot about the organization.”

Perhaps. But the Knicks have not received a quick investment on their return.

The Knicks went through a stretch this season when they lost a franchise-record 16 consecutive games. Carmelo Anthony became limited this season on an injured left knee before shutting down after the NBA All-Star break. In a move that sparked nearly universal criticism, Jackson traded All-Star center Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks last offseason for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and Shane Larkin. Jackson later waived Dalembert and traded J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in a three-team deal with Oklahoma City and Cleveland, a move that secured them a 2019 second-round pick and loads of cap space for next offseason. The Knicks also bought out Amare Stoudemire’s contract.

“I’m wondering if he’s doing the same things I did my rookie year [coaching] where he’s throwing things at chalkboards and screaming and yelling and kicking chairs,” said Scott, recalling his first year coaching the former New Jersey Nets in 2000. “I think he’s probably a lot calmer than I was. He had the Zen Master here. I didn’t have that calmness about me my rookie year as a coach. I kind of let everything out.”

Not Fisher.

“A patience level is good with the appropriate things,” Fisher said. “I’m not going to be patient with a lack of effort or lack of intensity or guys not being committed to the team. But I’ll be patient with the process we’re going through. We’re just getting that started. I’m not on a combustible level because we’re struggling right now. Everything has a purpose. We’ll look back on this and know there were certain things we had to endure.”

Scott believes that will happen, gushing that Fisher’s toughness and intelligence as an unproven Lakers rookie will eventually translate into the coaching realm. Fisher cemented a legacy in his 18-year NBA career, the majority with the Lakers, that entailed hitting clutch shots, providing hustle plays and exerting locker room leadership. But this marks Fisher’s first NBA head-coaching stint and he had no previous coaching experience at any level elsewhere.

“I knew whatever Fish wanted to do, he’d be able to do it,” Scott said. “Whether it’s coaching, front office, whatever he wanted to do when basketball was over and his playing days were over, I knew he would accomplish that.”

Scott then shared tales about Fisher’s unyielding practice intensity with him and fellow rookie Kobe Bryant.

“I witnessed them going at each other, but never to the point where it almost got to blows,” Scott said. But if you ask Kobe, he respects Derek as much as he respects anybody because of the fact they’re so much alike.”

So much alike that Scott maintained that the Lakers’ second unit that featured himself, Fisher and Bryant usually won in pickup games against the Lakers’ starters that included the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones.

“All I can remember was Nick and Eddie saying, ‘Why don’t you guys take it easy today?’” Scott said laughing. “They were always getting after them, and a lot of that was D-Fish and Kobe. I know when we started the game, they’d be beating us like six or eight points because we had nobody for Shaq. As soon as he went out, we destroyed them.”

If only turning around the Knicks could be as instantaneous.

“I don’t know if you can put a timeline on building something successful and sustainable,” Fisher said. “We live in a society where things are more instant now than they used to be. But becoming great is not an overnight thing. I don’t know if we can somehow get to next season and say we’re supposed to win a championship. We’re at the very bottom and at the ground level here in the type of work we need to do to turn this thing around. We have to continue to evaluate everything that we’re doing as an organization to make sure those things are a priority as well.”

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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’ Jeremy Lin, Wesley Johnson, Jabari Brown available tonight vs. New York

Lakers#17 Jeremy Lin shoots, but can not hit a 3-pointer against Nuggets#3 Ty Lawson and Nuggets#00 Darrell Arthur in the 4th quarter. The Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 106-96 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA February 10, 2015.  (Photos by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers#17 Jeremy Lin shoots, but can not hit a 3-pointer against Nuggets#3 Ty Lawson and Nuggets#00 Darrell Arthur in the 4th quarter. The Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 106-96 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA February 10, 2015. (Photos by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers guard Jeremy Lin and forward Wesley Johnson will play in Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks (12-51) at Staples Center despite missing Wednesday’s practice because of different injuries.

But the ailments to Lin (thigh contusion) and Johnson (calf) healed enough to go through Thursday’s morning shootaround.

“I didn’t say any ill affects from yesterday,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “So I think they’re both fine.”

The Lakers (16-47) will feature Jordan Clarkson (point guard), Wayne Ellington (shooting guard), Johnson (small forward), Jordan Hill (power forward) and Tarik Black (center) as starters, a unit that has started the past two games. But Scott will likely add one wrinkle.

Scott said there is a “pretty good chance” guard Jabari Brown will make his first appearance since the Lakers signed him to a 10-day contract on Tuesday. Brown played for the Lakers’ Development League affiliate, the D-Fenders, and led the league in scoring (24.4 points per game). Brown will likely have “spot minutes” to give the Lakers’ backcourt some rest, including Clarkson, Lin and Ellington.

“If I can alleviate the minutes from each one of those guys, and that’s probably 15 minutes for Jabari, that will keep them that much fresher,” Scott said.

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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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