Lakers’ Byron Scott repeatedly calls team “soft” after 114-89 loss to Clippers

"Clippers#32 Blake Griffin dunks past Lakers#21 Ed Davis in the first half. The Clippers and Lakers played at Staples in Los Angeles, CA. January 7, 2015. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)"

“Clippers#32 Blake Griffin dunks past Lakers#21 Ed Davis in the first half. The Clippers and Lakers played at Staples in Los Angeles, CA. January 7, 2015. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)”

The lane opened up like the Red Sea. It left the Clippers with an invitation to become Lob City. It embarrassed the Lakers. And it exposed an issue that seems as long-lasting and as discomforting as an irritable rash that won’t go away.

The Lakers do not and cannot play defense, their season-long issue contributing to a 114-89 loss to the Clippers in a designated road game on Wednesday at Staples Center cementing the Lakers’ ninth loss to their crosstown counterpart in the past 10 games.

But the play described above topped it all. Lakers forward Wayne Ellington appeared confused on a defensive rotation. Lakers center Ed Davis and forward Jordan Hill slowly trudged back on defense. And Lakers guard Kobe Bryant seemed too set on both guarding the perimeter and ensuring that he does not appear in a poster. The end result: Clippers forward Blake Griffin punctuated a team-leading 27 point effort on 9-of-13 shooting and 13 rebounds with a windmill dunk in the second quarter without any Lakers player coming close to guarding him.

“We were soft,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I don’t consider a lot of respect for that team over there. They’re a good team, but I don’t consider them a physical basketball team. But they came out and punched us. We were soft period.”

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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, Nick Young provide comedy at Lakers’ All Access event

"Los Angeles Lakers players Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Lin and Nick Young (l-r) share the stage during the panel discussion portion of the 11th annual Lakers All-Access event at Staples Center January 6, 2015.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)"

“Los Angeles Lakers players Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Lin and Nick Young (l-r) share the stage during the panel discussion portion of the 11th annual Lakers All-Access event at Staples Center January 6, 2015.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)”

The 11th annual Lakers All-Access event started out on Tuesday evening like they always do.

Time Warner Cable SportsNet play-by-play announcer Bill Macdonald has hosted the event and asks Laker legends and current players and coaches nearly everything. Memories of the Lakers’ glorious past. The endless storylines surrounding the Lakers’ current season. And some fun questions as well.

But this year, the script was rewritten. The Lakers’ Nick Young, Jeremy Lin and Wayne Ellington represented one of the panels, and that segment soon turned into the equivalent of an improv comedy sketch mostly headlined by Young and Lin. Below is the rundown:

Macdonald:
“Here’s the Swagasaurus, the Swagalicious General. How many shots you miss last night? Where’s that ‘IDM?’ Come on, I love the ‘IDM’ though.”

Young:
“I look good, don’t I? Damn I’m looking good these days.”

Macdonald:
“Who’s the worst dressed guy on the team Nick?

Young: I’m sitting next to him (motions to Lin)

Lin:
“Nick wears spandex as pants. So I don’t know. He’s struggling on his side of the locker room. It takes him 30 minutes to get his jeans on.”

Macdonald:
“Nick, did you hear Byron Scott’s imitation of you?”

Young: “He did it up here?”

Macdonald: “He came hard with it”

Young:
“Tonight?

Macdonald: “Like right now, 10 minutes ago. Do you have an imitation of him?”

Young:
“Nah man, I got to get in the games sometimes.”

Macdonald:
“Exactly. That’s what he said. He said, ‘If you come with an imitation of me, then there goes your playing time immediately.”

Nick, I said to Byron it’s 10 games in and nothing is going right. Then you bring the Swag Factor back. Did you see that with this team that they weren’t having a whole lot of fun? What’s that all about in bringing that to these guys?

Young:
“What’s it like to bring the Swag to the team? I think they need it. It’s just me being me and it tends to wear off on my man Jeremy Lin and Wayne started hitting some 3’s. That’s all that matters. As long as we’re doing our thing and talking trash, you’ll see me hitting 3’s and jumping up and down the court. That’s cool, right?”

Lin: “Yeah, first couple nights he came back, he couldn’t sleep too well. He had too much swag on. He’s right. The most important thing is we go out and have fun. It’s a game. We all play on the same unit, coming off the bench and bringing energy. As long as we’re doing that, moving the ball and having fun, that brings smiles to our faces.”


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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin could start over Ronnie Price against the Clippers

"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 could shuffle his starting point guard spot for Wednesday’s designated road game against the Clippers at Staples Center for reasons that have nothing to do with performance.

Scott brought up the possibility that Jeremy Lin could start amid uncertainty on if veteran guard Ronnie Price will play tonight after fracturing his nose in Monday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

“He came in this morning and looked pretty bad,” Scott said after the Lakers’ morning shootaround at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. “To be honest with you, I don’t know if he’ll be able to play tonight or not. We have to wait until game time.”
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Lakers’ Jeanie Buss expresses support for Byron Scott & Jim Buss; defends Kobe Bryant extension

Jeanie Buss answers talks to the media about the Lakers at a Time Warner event to honor the late Jerry Buss in Los Angeles.  Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News

Jeanie Buss answers talks to the media about the Lakers at a Time Warner event to honor the late Jerry Buss in Los Angeles. Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News

Below is a Q&A with Lakers president Jeanie Buss to two media outlets, including Los Angeles News Group, before the the Lakers’ All-Access event at Staples Center, hosted by the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission.

How would you evaluate the Lakers’ 2014-15 season so far?


Jeanie Buss:
Our record doesn’t show what we’d like it to be. But I like what coach Byron Scott is doing and establishing. That takes time for players to learn how to play together. I see each game, there’s more and more confidence in the rhythm of the game with the first unit and second unit. He’s never really had everybody healthy at the same time. It was disappointing that Julius Randle was injured early in the season. It’s like every team dealing with injuries. But I believe in what he’s trying to do and I see improvement all the time. I support our front office. I support our coach. I support our players.”

What do you make of Magic Johnson’s recent comment that he wished the Lakers would lose every game so they have a better chance of keeping their top five draft pick this year?


Jeanie Buss:
I asked somebody who was with Magic when he was at an event. I said, ‘How would Magic feel if he was on a team and someone would say, ‘Magic I wish your team would lose every game.”” So he asked him. Magic said, ‘If he were on the team, he wouldn’t be losing.’ That’s what you have to think. Do you think Kobe Bryant is capable of not trying 100 percent? That’s where it doesn’t make sense to me where tanking is a plan. It’s not a plan.”
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Lakers’ Ronnie Price diagnosed with fractured nose

With an ear, nose and threat specialist diagnosing Ronnie Price with a fractured nose, the Lakers are listing him as probable for Wednesday’s designated road game against the Clippers at Staples Center.

Price broke his nose after taking a charge from Portland’s Thomas Robinson with 29.8 seconds left in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 98-94 loss on Monday to the Trail Blazers at Moda Center. Price immediately left the game and needed 11 stitches to repair the cut.

Price remained adamant he would not wear a mask to protect his nose, something that Lakers forward Ed Davis has currently done after breaking his nose in Friday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

RELATED:

Lakers’ Julius Randle has surgery on right foot


Lakers’ Ronnie Price believes he has broken nose, says he won’t wear mask

Portland’s Chris Kaman blames himself for joining the Lakers last season

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’ Julius Randle has surgery on right foot

Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle had surgery on his right foot on Tuesday. Micah Escamilla/Staff Photographer

Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle had surgery on his right foot on Tuesday. Micah Escamilla/Staff Photographer

Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle had surgery on his right foot Tuesday without any complications. He underwent the operation to replace the screw in the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, a procedure that was performed by Dr. David Thondarson at the Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Center.

Randle’s foot situation is unrelated to his season-ending right leg fracture that happened in the team’s season opener and required surgery. Randle’s foot stems from an injury he suffered his senior year at Prestonwood Academy, a private Christian high school near Dallas.

Yet, the Lakers and Randle have said he did not need surgery on the foot considering he did not miss a game last year during his freshman season at University of Kentucky. Instead, the Lakers say Randle had surgery since he was already ruled out for the season.

The Lakers expect Randle to fully recover from both injuries.

RELATED:

James Worthy helps Lakers rookie Julius Randle through recovery

Lakers’ Julius Randle off crutches as 2014 draft class suffers injury bug


Lakers’ Julius Randle shaped by mentors’ tough love, endless support

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’ Ronnie Price believes he has broken nose, says he won’t wear mask

PORTLAND, Ore. — Lakers guard Ronnie Price arrived at his locker wearing a bandage to protect a nose that required 11 stitches. But had it not been for the visual evidence, Price’s words would have suggested he just experienced an ordinary day.

“I felt fine. A little pain and a little headache,” Price said after the Lakers’ 98-94 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. “Other than that, I’m good.”

Well, not quite.

Price believes he broke his nose after taking a hard charge on Portland’s Thomas Robinson with 29.8 seconds left in the third quarter. Blood immediately streamed out of his nose, forcing Price halt a 11-point effort on 5-of-11 shooting and eight assists in 27 minutes. He did not play the rest of the game so he could receive stitches. But he believed he could have reentered the game had the Lakers forced overtime.

“That hurt us big time,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “He was playing well for us

Price will have his nose examined on Tuesday, but he is expected to play in Wednesday’s designated road game against the Clippers at Staples Center. Price also remained adamant he would not wear a mask to protect his nose, something that Lakers forward Ed Davis has currently done after breaking his nose in Friday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Price also suffered a small fracture in his nose during the 2007 preseason with the Utah Jazz. Then, Price dove after a loose ball into Ron Artest’s knee. Price reported that he couldn’t play more than half a quarter before taking the mask off.

“The pain didn’t come until now like five or 10 minutes ago,” Price said. “I didn’t feel any pain in my nose until everything else was known. I thought it was a bloody nose. I didn’t know I needed stitches until everyone looked at me [weird] when I took the towel off. It happens it’s part of the game. It could’ve been worse.”

RELATED:

Portland’s Chris Kaman blames himself for joining the Lakers last season

Daughter of Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak dies after lengthy illness

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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15-year-old daughter of Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak dies after lengthy illness

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak’s daughter, Alina, died on Monday morning at the age of 15 after a lengthy illness, the Lakers announced.

“The family asks for and appreciates their privacy at this difficult time,” the Lakers said in a statement on behalf of Kupchak and his wife, Claire. The Lakers also added that the Kupchak family “would like to express their gratitude for everyone’s love, support, thoughts and prayers.”

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 says “sports world lost a legend” with Stuart Scott’s passing

The excitement Kobe Bryant felt made over performing a highlight reel during his 19-year career has gone beyond his thirst for winning. Or by exciting the Lakers’ fan base.

Bryant also said he hoped to catch the attention of ESPN newscaster Stuart Scott, who died on Sunday at the age of 49 amid a long battle with cancer.

“The sports world lost a legend,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 88-87 win on Sunday over the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center. “I certainly grew up wanting to be on ‘SportsCenter’ just to have him comment on a highlight or two of mine.”
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant shows off efficiency, clutch play in 88-87 win over Indiana

Everything about this time should belong to Kobe Bryant.

The anticipation rises as the clock ticks closer and closer to zero. The volume level at the Staples Center crowd rises with each passing moment. The stakes become higher too.

Yet, there Bryant stood on one of his most efficient nights, missing a point-blank shot that could have put the Lakers over the top with less than a minute remaining. But no matter.

Bryant has never paid attention to the so-called clutch stats that say he hasn’t delivered a game-winning shot within the final five seconds in the last two years. The Lakers’ star hardly worries about the criticism over his high-volume shooting. Bryant’s confidence never wavers on whether his next shot will drop in the bucket.

So, of course, on the following possession, Bryant took control of the offense. He backed down Indiana forward Solomon Hill. Bryant turned around and attempted a four-foot right handed floater. The shot swished softly into the net. On the next play, Lakers forward Nick Young defended C.J. Miles so tightly that he passed to center Roy Hibbert, who could only muster a 20-foot jumper that hit the top of the backboard.

All order was then restored. The Lakers picked up a 88-87 win on Sunday over the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center. The 18,997 fans enjoyed their first free tacos in 2015. And Bryant delivered both an efficient and clutch performance with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, six rebounds, six assists and three steals in 32 minutes.

“I don’t worry about it too much,” Bryant said about his recent fourth-quarter struggles. “That’s not something I worry about. I’ve hit plenty of mine in my day. The city of L.A. is a little spoiled by it.”

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