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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Byron Scott talks starting lineup moving forward and Jeremy Lin’s DNP on Friday in San Antonio

Jordan Clarkson

Jordan Clarkson is slated to get his second consecutive start Sunday night against visiting Houston/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers,


The Lakers on Sunday night are slated to start Jordan Clarkson, Wayne Ellington, Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Hill against the Houston Rockets. It’s the same unit that started Friday in a loss at San Antonio and coach Byron Scott said that will remain the same for some time.
“The starting unit will stay this way for probably the next 15, 20 games,” Scott said at the morning shootaround, “but the roles on the bench will probably change. And it’s just depending. That could go game-by-game. I’m not set in stone with that, but the starting unit I am, like I said, for the next 15 games or so.
“But the bench, that can change game-by-game. I’m not real concerned about the bench. I’m seeing if our starters can get some sort of flow going. And then the energy from the guys off the bench. So if I’m getting certain guys playing well off the bench, I’ll stick with it. If not, I’ll change it.”
On Friday at San Antonio, Jeremy Lin did not figure into the equation at all. He did not play and next to his name in the box score was a fat DNP. Scott was asked if he had spoken to Lin about it.
“We haven’t had a conversation about it,” Scott said about 11:30 a.m. “We’re going to talk about it today a little bit, just to tell him what I expect, you know, in this role. And like I said, this role isn’t permanent. I didn’t play him last game because I wanted to stick to a 10-man rotation. Tonight, it might change. I don’t know. But right now, the guys that are coming off the bench, their roles are not permanent.”

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Byron Scott stoked about Jordan Clarkson having just one turnover Friday in first start at San Antonio

Jordan Clarkson, right, of the Lakers guards Tony Parker of the Spurs on Friday in San Antonio/Photo by Associated Press


Jordan Clarkson got his first start Friday here in his rookie season with the Lakers. The point guard scored 11 points on 5 of 9 shooting with three rebounds, four assists and just one turnover in 29 minutes of the Lakers’ 99-85 loss at San Antonio.

The one turnover surprised coach Byron Scott.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Scott said. “When I threw him in there I said, ‘Man, I’m kind of throwing him in the fire, but let’s find out what he can do.’ And again, going against the Spurs and going against an All-Star in Tony Parker for your first start; being at home, I think that helped him as well, being able to play in front of his family and friends. But the first thing I told him was, ‘Enjoy the game, but have the poise … and slow down.’ And he did all those things.”

Clarkson played his high-school ball at Wagner High in San Antonio.


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Kobe Bryant shoots 1 of 9 in first half against Miami, which leads Lakers 44-34

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers,


Considering the Miami Heat bolted to an 18-0 lead over the Lakers on Tuesday night at Staples Center, the Lakers did well to trail by just 10 points (44-34) at the halftime break.

Kobe Bryant is playing after resting the previous two games and three of the past four. He scored six points with four rebounds and four assists in the half, but he shot just 1 of 9 from the field.

Overall, the Lakers shot 25.5 percent (12 of 47) and just 11.1 percent (1 of 9) from 3-point range.

Hassan Whiteside led Miami with 11 first-half points.

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Nick Young not happy about the Dodgers trading away Matt Kemp

Nick YoungFILE - In this July 29, 2014, file photo, Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp watches the flight of his second two-run home run, during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Los Angeles. A person with knowledge of the situation says the San Diego Padres have a deal in place to acquire outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz from the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher Yasmani Grandal and two pitchers. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, because the deal hadn't been announced by either team. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Nick Young, top, was not happy about Matt Kemp (below) trade/Photos courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers, and Associated Press (Kemp photo)


Nick Young grew up in Los Angeles, attending Cleveland High and then USC. He knows all about the Dodgers, and he said Thursday after practice he wasn’t thrilled that the Dodgers this week traded outfielder Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres.

“Me and Matt Kemp is like the same people,” Young said, “so it’s like the Lakers trading me. You know, I don’t like that. So, hopefully, the Lakers keep me for a while.”

Young, who was smiling, was rather astonished to learn of the trade.

“Yeah, it was very surprising because everybody … I mean, you think of the Dodgers, you think of Matt Kemp and some of the other guys.”


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Byron Scott raves about emergence of Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs/Photo courtesy of San Antonio Spurs,


Small forward Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs is the second-leading scorer on a balanced team that has five players averaging double figures in points. Leonard averages 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds. But he is just scratching the surface, Lakers coach Byron Scott intimated after practice Thursday in El Segundo. That was evident when Scott was asked what problems Leonard will present when the teams square off Friday night at San Antonio.

“I don’t think there is a problem that he doesn’t present,” Scott said. “I mean, he’s a quiet assassin. Offensively, he can make 3s, he can get it to the basket, he can post up. And defensively, he can guard three or four different guys. So he’s just a very valuable piece of the puzzle and his emergence has made him that much better.”

Leonard, just 23, prepped at King High School in Riverside before playing his college ball at San Diego State. He’s in his fourth season with the Spurs (16-6), the defending NBA champions.

Leonard was held out of Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks with a bruised right hand. According to an online report by the San Antonio Express-News, an MRI done Thursday morning on the hand proved negative and he could play Friday.

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Byron Scott still not biting when baited about Magic Johnson’s hope that Lakers lose all their games

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson/Photo by Associated Press


Try as they might, reporters still haven’t been able to get coach Byron Scott to express any anger toward Lakers great Magic Johnson, who this week said he wants the Lakers to lose every game so they can get the highest possible pick in the draft next year.

“I got a good kick out of it because I know him; if he was on the court, there is no way in the world he would concede a basketball game,” Scott said Thursday after practice. “That’s how competitive he is. So, again, that’s why it makes me laugh.”

Jim Hill, sports anchor for CBS, kept trying, asking Scott if it irritated him.

“It really didn’t,” Scott said. “Like I said, these guys (beat reporters) asked me and I started smiling and, really, inside just laughing about it. So, no, it didn’t irritate me at all.”


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