Byron Scott hopeful solid Monday practice pays dividends Tuesday

New York Knicks forward Derrick Williams, left, collides into Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson during Sunday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Knicks forward Derrick Williams, left, and Jordan Clarkson of the Lakers collide during Sunday’s game at Staples Center/AP photo by Alex Gallardo

Lakers coach Byron Scott made no bones about it Monday at practice. If a player doesn’t give the effort he wants, he won’t be on the floor during winning time.

Scott wasn’t happy with the effort of young guns Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle in Sunday’s 90-87 loss to the visiting New York Knicks at Staples Center. So they sat in the fourth quarter when the Lakers were trying, yet failing, to pull out a win.

Scott said he was pleased with the way his team practiced Monday, however, and he’s interested to see how that will play out Tuesday night when the Lakers (14-53) host the Sacramento Kings (25-40).

“It was pretty good today,” Scott said. “Obviously, we talked about the lack of energy and lack of effort in the first half of the game, and the difference from the first half and the second half. We showed a few clips of the second unit and how they played compared to the first unit, so today’s practice was pretty spirited.

“Guys got after each other pretty well and we’ll see if it translates into tomorrow.”

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Marcelo Huertas gets kudos from D’Angelo Russell, Lou Williams

Marcelo Huertas

Marcelo Huertas/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers


Lakers point guard Marcelo Huertas, a 32-year-old rookie out of Brazil, was on the court in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 90-87 loss to the New York Knicks at Staples Center, instead of 20-year-old rookie D’Angelo Russell.

Huertas scored nine points and doled out two assists while grabbing four rebounds. Guard Lou Williams, who played for the first time after missing five games with a hamstring injury, liked what he saw from Huertas and the rest of the second unit.

“It’s just that we play together,” said Williams, who scored 15 points off the bench. “I think Marcelo does a great job of keeping everything organized. For whatever reason, we’re just a selfless group. We don’t really care who gets the credit. Everybody has a role on that second group and we just go out and try to execute the best we can.”

Russell also praised Huertas.

“He knows the game,” Russell said. “People look at him and, I don’t know, you probably would say he doesn’t fit the eye test. But the guy knows his game. He knows basketball. He makes the right play 90 percent of the time.”

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Rockets coach JB Bickerstaff says Dwight Howard not disgruntled

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard/Photo courtesy of Houston Rockets


Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard on Wednesday told the Houston Chronicle that the rumor going around that he is unhappy at Houston and that he expects to be traded to Miami is completely false.

“I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything,” said Howard, whose Rockets took on the Lakers on Thursday at Staples Center. “People make up lies and rumors.”

Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff was asked before Thursday’s game if Howard is disgruntled. Bickerstaff did not take long to reply.

“I don’t think he’s disgruntled,” Bickerstaff said. “I haven’t had any problems. Everything we’ve asked him to do, he’s done. He’s worked his tail off, he’s shown up to work with a smile on his face every day, so I wouldn’t say that he’s disgruntled.”


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Byron Scott kind of figured the Warriors would lose to Bucks

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott had little to smile about. 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)

Byron Scott/Staff photo by John McCoy


Although some may have been, coach Byron Scott was not among those who might have been shocked that Golden State’s 28-game winning streak – 24 to start this season – was snapped Saturday by the Milwaukee Bucks, who entered that 108-95 victory over the Warriors with a record of 9-15.

Scott, whose team will play host to Milwaukee on Tuesday night at Staples Center, on Monday after practice listed several reasons why he expected the Bucks to win that game.

“I thought it was a great trap game,” Scott said. “They went double overtime in Boston (on Friday), which was an emotional win, probably, as well. Then they’ve gotta fly and they’re going to get in late to Milwaukee and you’ve gotta play the next night. So I thought if any team was going to beat them, it was going to be that game. And Milwaukee, obviously, came out and did a great job. But Golden State, they were probably sitting in the locker room after the game, saying, “Let’s win 28 more.’ “

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Byron Scott marvels at Kobe Bryant’s work in the 2nd leg of back-to-backs

Kobe Bryant, C.J. Miles, Paul George

Kobe Bryant/Photo by Associated Press


Kobe Bryant has played both ends of four back-to-backs this season. The first time he had a worse second game. But the opposite has been the case the past three times.

  • Bryant scored 20 points on 7 of 26 from the field in a Dec. 1 loss at Philadelphia in 32 minutes. The next night he scored 31 points on 10 of 24 shooting in win at Washington in 36 minutes.
  • He had five points and shot 2 of 15 in a Dec. 6 loss in 26 minutes at Detroit. He came back the next night and scored 21 points on 8 of 16 shooting in a loss at Toronto. He also had eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in 32 minutes.
  • Bryant scored 12 points on on 5 of 12 shooting with six rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes in a loss at San Antonio on Friday. He scored 25 points on 9 of 16 from the field, pulled down seven rebounds, doled out six assists and made three steals in 31 minutes in a loss Saturday at Houston.

Coach Byron Scott was asked how Bryan, who is 37 and in his 20th season, could continually be better in the second half of a back-to-back.

“I don’t know how he does it,” Scott said Monday after practice. “I know somebody asked him about it and he doesn’t know how he’s doing it. But I always kind of just chalk it up to, that’s Kobe. He comes ready to play every night and I think the second night, though, he seems to have a better rhythm. He has a couple of days off or something like that and then you had that one game on Wednesday and play again Thursday, he gets into a little bit more of a rhythm and a flow. For whatever reason, the second night seems to be better, where you would think it would be the opposite.”


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Jordan Clarkson didn’t want to be “looking like a shot deer”

Justise Winslow, Jordan Clarkson

Jordan Clarkson dives for a ball during a Nov. 10 loss at Miami/Photo by Associated Press


Jordan Clarkson has missed the past two games with a sprained right ankle. He went through a full practice Monday and he expects to be back out there Tuesday when the Lakers (3-21) host the Milwaukee Bucks (10-15) at Staples Center.

It wasn’t easy for Clarkson to sit out two games. He admitted as much after practice.

“It’s definitely hard because you want to be out there, but you can’t go out there looking like a shot deer,” he said. “So trying to go out there and put a healthy product on the floor.”

Clarkson is from San Antonio, so missing Friday’s game at San Antonio was really tough.

“I did try to go, but it wasn’t flying,” Clarkson said. “(Trainer) Gary (Vitti) wouldn’t let me do that.”

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Byron Scott has nothing but praise for Chris Paul and the Clippers

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers,


The Lakers (20-55) have their hands full with virtually every team in the NBA. They’ll be extra full Sunday when they square off with their hallway-neighbor Clippers (50-26) at 6:30 p.m. at Staples Center. Coach Byron Scott knows it, too.

Chris Paul is probably the best leader in this league and he’s probably the most competitive guy I’ve ever been around,” said Scott, who coached Paul at New Orleans. “He’s going to bring an attitude. And then, to go along with that, Blake (Griffin) and DeAndre (Jordan) and J.J. (Redick) is great as well. So right now they’re just playing great basketball.The challenge for us is to keep them out of the paint, keep them out as much as possible. Of course, when they shoot jump-shots, they’re contested. The biggest challenge after that is rebounding the ball.”

Paul is averaging 19.2 points, a league-high 10.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals.

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Wayne Ellington sheds positive light on just-concluded road trip

Wayne Ellington

Wayne Ellington/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers,


Guard Wayne Ellington on Monday at practice was asked if he took anything positive out of the Lakers’ just-concluded four-game Grammy road trip, in which the Lakers lost all four games. They did, however, take Milwaukee and Orlando into overtime. A positive sort, Ellington answered in the affirmative

“Yeah, there were a few postitives, definitely, we took out of the trip, especially in those overtime games,” Ellington said. “Unfortunately, obviously we didn’t pull them out. But at the same time, young group, we’re still learning. We took some positives away.”

Moments before Ellington spoke to reporters, coach Byron Scott mentioned Ellington as someone who has proven himself on the court. That appeared to be music to Ellington’s ears.

“I just feel like I’m taking every game like it’s an experience, an opportunity that I’m thankful for and trying to make the most of it,” Ellington said. “Trying to leave it all out there on the floor, man. With that, I’ve had some success.”

Ellington has raised his season scoring average to 9.0 after averaging 11.8 points in January and 12.0 so far in February. He is shooting just 35.7 percent in the four games this month, but he shot 45.8 percent from the field in January.

Ellington, 27, also plays very hard and seems to bring a lot of energy to the team.





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Byron Scott: What did Jordan Hill have to eat before going off on Chicago Bulls on Thursday?

Jordan Hill

Jordan Hill/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers,


Jordan Hill had a season-high 26 points along with 12 rebounds in the Lakers’ thrilling 123-118 double-overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, which marked Pau Gasol’s return to face his former team at Staples Center. Hill shot 11 off 22 from the field and also had three assists, two blocks and a steal. Coach Byron Scott would love to see more of that from Hill, who averages just 12.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks on the season.
“I told somebody I’ve gotta find out actually what he had for lunch or for breakfast or dinner the night before, find out how we’ve gotta keep him playing that way, you know, with that type of energy,” Scott said.

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Former Lakers big man Pau Gasol doesn’t miss media scrutiny in L.A.

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol/Photo courtesy of Chicago Bulls,


Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls on Thursday morning talked about his emotional return to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Thursday night at Staples Center. He spoke of the memories he’ll realize once he steps onto the floor and all sorts of warm and fuzzy things.

He doesn’t miss the media scrutiny of Los Angeles, however. He made no bones about that.

“Obviously, when things were going well here, it was exceptional,” said Gasol, who spent seven seasons with the Lakers and helped them win NBA titles in 2009 and 2010. “They say L.A. and New york are two of the top cities, the best cities to win at. But they’re probably two of the tougher cities to lose and struggle because you get so much coverage that media have to create stories. And sometimes the bad or negative stories are more attractive and so I felt like there was always searching for something bad or negative to talk about. Some drama that was created whether it was some truth to it or not.

“It was just a matter of talking about things when things were not going well, so Chicago so far has been great, very positive. Even when we had that six game skid where we lost six out of eight, people were still positive , media was still positive.”

The Bulls (30-17) lost six of eight from Jan. 7 to Jan. 19. They are in fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Gasol, a 7-foot post, is averaging 18.3 points and a career-high 11.9 rebounds and is averaging 15.4 rebounds over his past five games.

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