Lakers’ Wayne Ellington overcomes shooting struggles in 101-93 win over Bucks

He released the ball from his hands. He waited for the ball to drop into the basket. And each time he went through this process that seems as routine as drinking your morning coffee, Wayne Ellington saw those shots either rim out or fall short.

Yet, Lakers coach Byron Scott repeatedly told Ellington to “keep shooting,” the former Showtime Laker standout and one of his favorite players agreeing “that’s what shooters do.” Shooters also make shots. So when the Lakers entered crunchtime in a game that appeared they would lose, Ellington suddenly turned clutch and made sure they won.

After missing his first six shots, Ellington posted 14 points on a 6-of-9 clip in the fourth quarter that gave the Lakers a 101-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at Staples Center. Ellington finished with a compelling script after writing a pretty rough draft as he helped the Lakers (16-41) secure their second three-game winning streak of the 2014-15 season

“I was prepared either way. It was going be an 0-fer night or I was going to make some,” Ellington said. “But I was going to keep shooting.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott could start Jeremy Lin within next week

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Jeremy Lin once lost his starting point guard position after Lakers coach Byron Scott remained upset both with the team’s record and Lin’s play.

But Scott said Lin could start within the next week. Yet, the Lakers (15-41) will still field the same starting lineup for the third consecutive game when they host the Milwaukee Bucks (32-25) on Friday at Staples Center. That will include Jordan Clarkson (point guard), Wayne Ellington (shooting guard), Ryan Kelly (small forward), Carlos Boozer (power forward) and Robert Sacre (center).

“He’s responded better off the bench,” Scott said of Lin. “But I just want to see how that goes because he hasn’t started in a while.”

The numbers actually show that Lin has fared better as a starter than reserve. Lin averaged 11.6 points on 44.9 percent shooting and five assists in 23 games as a starter, while averaging 9.9 points on a 42.2 percent clip and 4.2 assists off the bench. Yet, Lin appears more efficient off the bench considering the difference in playing time as a starter (29.6 minutes) and reserve (22.5 minutes).

Lin lost his starting point guard 20 games into the season in favor of Ronnie Price. Though Price averaged only 5.1 points on 34.5 percent shooting and 3.8 assists, Scott liked Price better on defense and how he played with Kobe Bryant. Scott also believed Lin’s athleticism fit in a bench unit that features prolific scorers in Nick Young and Boozer recently returning to the starting lineup.

Once Bryant suffered a season-ending injury to his right shoulder last month, Scott granted rookie guard Clarkson the starting point guard spot. He has averaged 13.6 points on a 43.2 percent clip and 3.7 assists in 29.3 minutes as a starter in the past 13 games. But with Price recently having season-ending right elbow surgery, Scott said he may pair Lin at shooting guard while Clarkson remains at point guard.

“I prefer to do both, to be honest,” Lin said recently. “That’s how Houston used me. That’s how I was used in college as well.”

Scott has often expressed criticism of how Lin’s decision making in running the offense. That explains why Scott said he will likely feature Lin playing more off the ball instead of running the offense, something that goes agains Lin’s wishes.

“A little more ball handling than the 2,” Lin admitted as his preference. “But I definitely prefer to have both roles. It just gives the defense different looks and me different opportunities to get out and make plays in different ways. I’m a tough player to close out to, and I feel like I can make plays in the pick and roll. So the 1 is more pick and rolls and the 2 will be more closeout situations and secondary pick and rolls. That’s very helpful.”

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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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TWC SportsNet panel analyzes Jordan Clarkson’s growth

Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers tries to get around Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards during their game January 27, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers tries to get around Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards during their game January 27, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

The slight remains sharp in Jordan Clarkson’s mind, adding fuel to a running engine that has already taken him to great heights.

Clarkson may have plummeted to the 46th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. But after averaging 13.6 points, 3.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds in his 13th consecutive game as a starter, it seems clear that the Lakers made a steal with their second round draft selection.

But all things considered, where does Clarkson feel a team should have drafted him?

“I’m a second round pick, the 46th pick,” Clarkson said, smiling. “That’s where I was supposed to go. I’m just trying to prove people wrong.”

Yet, Clarkson is also trying to prove the Lakers right. In a panel on Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet Thursday night with host Chris McGee and analyst Dave Miller, I noted Clarkson’s belief that his career will most benefit playing with the Lakers.

He did not have the pressure with playing time and expectations to become the franchise’s savior. Clarkson learned under established veterans, such as Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. Lakers coach Byron Scott has since granted Clarkson opportunities to play.

It turns out getting drafted 46th is not so bad after all, even if Clarkson will still use that as motivation.

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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’ Nick Young to miss Friday’s game against Milwaukee

 Lakers forward Nick Young injured his thumb Thursday and will be out for six to eight weeks. Chris Carlson — AP

Lakers forward Nick Young injured his thumb Thursday and will be out for six to eight weeks. Chris Carlson — AP

Lakers forward Nick Young said he will sit out Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks (32-25) at Staples Center, marking the second consecutive contest he will miss because of a sore left knee.

Young did not offer any further comment beyond confirming his upcoming absence. Young did not practice on Thursday other than shoot a series of stationary free throws. He spent the rest of the time receiving treatment and was seen briefly talking with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak as he sat on a bench along the sideline.

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Lakers coach Byron Scott. “But it’s serious enough that he might miss another game or two. I know it’s getting better and the swelling is going down.”

The Lakers (14-41) have won two consecutive games for the first time in two months with a starting lineup that included Jordan Clarkson (point guard), Wayne Ellington (shooting guard), Ryan Kelly (small forward), Carlos Boozer (power forward) and Robert Sacre (center). Scott has said he would reevaluate his lineup each game for the remaining 17 contests, but he would not commit to his starting lineup against the Bucks. But Scott strongly suggested he may feature a post-oriented lineup.

“I haven’t really thought about Milwaukee yet, to be honest with you,” Scott said. “I’ll start thinking about them tomorrow. They’re one of those young, athletic basketball teams that switch a lot with everything they run. So for us, we have to be patient and look for the mismatches. We have to take advantage of our size in the post and punish them as much as possible.”

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Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson drew motivation from playing Dante Exum in 100-97 win over Jazz

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’ Jordan Clarkson drew motivation from playing Dante Exum in 100-97 win over Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY — The court opened up, leaving Jordan Clarkson with enough room to make a statement regarding something that has bothered him all year.

Clarkson has remained motivated that concerns about his shooting accuracy sent his draft stock plummeting last summer to the second round. So as he saw Utah rookie guard Dante Exum in his peripheral view, Clarkson revved up his engine. He threw down a one-handed dunk that may end up on a poster someday. Clarkson then zeroed in on a Lakers fan sitting in the fourth row behind the basket. He flexed his muscles and then gave a salute.

“I play with emotions all the time,” Clarkson said following the Lakers’ 100-97 victory to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday at EnergySolutions Arena. “I wanted to pressure the ball. I told coach I would get one on that play. I went for it and it happens . It’s crazy how things fall together.”
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Lakers’ Jordan Hill said he had good intentions with post-game celebration

SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Hill sat on the bench staring at his cell phone and looking fairly downtrodden. It marked a much different mood than following the Lakers’ overtime win on Sunday over the Boston Celtics where Hill, Nick Young and Carlos Boozer crashed Jeremy Lin’s post-game interview and expressing elation over a rare victory.

Such images became light-night fodder on Jimmy Kimmel Live that featured Kobe Bryant offering an annoyed and silent reaction. Lakers coach Byron Scott saw the footage and scolded his team about his behavior during Tuesday’s practice.

“We’ve been doing this the whole season, but I guess it’s a problem now,” Hill said in an interview with Los Angeles Newspaper Group, referring to when Young frequently interrupts teammates’ post-game interviews after a win. “It is what it is.”

Yet, Hill walked the tight rope between understanding and respecting Scott’s criticism and also defending his behavior.

“He’s right about it,” Hill said about Scott. “But we’re just trying to finish this out with our heads high. It’s not the way we want it. But we don’t want to let our heads down.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young out against Utah with swollen left knee

LakersÕ Nick Young thought he had a three point shot at the end of the third period, but it was called back during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

LakersÕ Nick Young thought he had a three point shot at the end of the third period, but it was called back during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

SALT LAKE CITY – Nick Young will not perform any post-game antics that Lakers coach Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant consider offensive.

Young will stay sidelined for when the Lakers (14-41) visit the Utah Jazz (XX) tonight at EnergySolutions Arena because of a swollen left knee.

“He’s trying to get as much inflammation out there as much as possible,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Young also missed practice on Monday and Tuesday after feeling soreness in his left knee during Sunday’s win over the Boston Celtics. He had also suffered a non-displaced fracture and bone bruise left knee last season that kept him out for two weeks, but Scott said he remains unaware if the injuries are related.

The Lakers will still field the same starting lineup for the second consecutive game, featuring Jordan CLarkson (point guard), Wayne Ellington (shooting guard), Ryan Kelly (small forward), Carlos Boozer (power forward) and Robert Sacre (center). But with veteran Ronnie Price out for around six to eight weeks after having surgery on his right elbow, Scott plans to play both Clarkson and Jeremy Lin around 20 to 25 minutes per game.

“If one is playing better than the other, they’ll get the bulk of the minutes,” Scott said. “I’m thinking of playing them both together and give them added shots.”

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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’ Kobe Bryant shoots down retirement talk

Kobe Bryant struck down an issue with as much fierce and precision as one of the many times he has scored against his opponent.

The whole idea on whether Bryant will definitely retire before or after his contract worth $25 million expires next season.

“They’re ready to put me in my grave, man,” Bryant joked Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “I’m just trying to come back from this injury. I take things a day at a time. This is a huge challenge I have in front of me right now. I just want to come back from that.”

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Lakers’ Nick Young, Robert Sacre listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game in Utah

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)

MRI exams turned out negative surrounding both Nick Young’s sore left knee and Robert Sacre’s sore left foot, leaving their status as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz (20-34) at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Lakers do not consider the injury serious and they still have time before Tuesday’s practice to further assess if they will participate.

Young did not practice on Monday after the feeling pain in his left knee during the Lakers’ win on Sunday over Boston. Scott said that Sacre tried to practice before feeling a “sharp pain” in his left foot.

Young has averaged 13.4 points on 36.6 percent shooting in 23.8 minutes off the bench. Sacre has averaged 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.2 minutes. He has also averaged 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds through the past 12 games as a starter.


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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’ Nick Young (left knee), Robert Sacre (left foot) suffer injuries

Celtics, Gerald Wallace,45, Los Angeles Laker Nick Young ,0, during the second quarter at the Staples Center. Los Angeles Calif., Sunday, February 22, 2015. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Celtics, Gerald Wallace,45, Los Angeles Laker Nick Young ,0, during the second quarter at the Staples Center. Los Angeles Calif., Sunday, February 22, 2015. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

The rare euphoria and buzz over the Lakers’ overtime victory on Sunday over the Boston Celtics relatively simmered with some more unwelcome injury news.

Lakers forward Nick Young experienced soreness in his left knee and Robert Sacre nursed a sore left foot, prompting the team to end practice early on Monday. The Lakers (14-41) will reexamine Young and Sacre later on Monday before determining their availability for Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz (20-34) at EnergySolutions Arena. But Lakers coach Byron Scott initially reported that Lakers trainer Gary Vitti did not consider the injuries serious.

“I’m not really worried about it right now,” Scott said. “Gary didn’t seem too overly concerned about it. But we want to make sure there is nothing there before we saw where those guys are.”

Young did not practice on Monday after the feeling pain in his left knee during the Lakers’ win on Sunday over Boston. Scott said that Sacre tried to practice before feeling a “sharp pain” in his left foot.

Young has averaged 13.4 points on 36.6 percent shooting in 23.8 minutes off the bench. Sacre has averaged 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.2 minutes. He has also averaged 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds through the past 12 games as a starter.

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Lakers add spice to Celtics rivalry with 118-111 overtime victory


Lakers’ Byron Scott says he should have won more NBA titles as a player


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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