HONOLULU — Adversity struck Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell, and the incident did not involve a poor shooting performance or making a mistake.
Russell went to the locker room with 7:42 left in the first quarter of the Lakers’ preseason game against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday at Stan Sheriff Center after suffering a bruised glute. Russell took a hard fall after defending Utah center Rudy Gobert as he drove to the basket. Nothing intentional appeared at play. But the sheer power from the 7-1, 245-pound Gobert sent the 6-5, 195-pound Russell to the ground. The Lakers soon hovered around Russell and helped him to the locker room. He did not play the rest of the game.
The Lakers initially ruled that Russell could return. Though they believe Russell remained healthy enough to play in a regular-season game, the Lakers exercised caution considering it was a preseason game.
HONOLULU — The Lakers have listed Anthony and Jabari Brown as questionable to play in Tuesday’s preseason game against Utah at Stan Sheriff Center after tests came out negative on varying injuries.
Anthony Brown had an MRI, which revealed a right shoulder strain after running into a legal screen during Monday’s practice. Jabari Brown had x-rays that revealed a contusion in his right hand.
The Lakers selected Anthony Brown 34th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft and has a three-year, $2.6 million contract. Jabari Brown has a one-year deal that is non-guaranteed. He had also played on the Lakers at the end of the 2014-15 season after playing for their Development League affiliate, the D-Fender’s.
In the Lakers’ 90-71 preseason loss to Utah on Sunday, Anthony Brown posted three points on 1-of-3 shooting and five fouls in 12 minutes, while Jabari Brown had two points on 1-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes, 25 seconds.
HONOLULU — The ice bag stayed firmly wrapped on Anthony Brown’s right shoulder. Lakers trainer Gary Vitti stood nearby finalizing plans for Brown to receive an MRI at a nearby hospital after the Lakers’ rookie small forward bumped his shoulder through a hard screen.
“It’s not horrible,” Anthony said in an interview with Los Angeles News Group. “I want to take precaution. So I sat out. But it’s not horrible.”
The Lakers can only hope.
As much as the Lakers hope their younger and more talented roster will ensure a better finish than last season’s 21-61 mark, another disturbing trend has followed the team through only seven days into training camp. The Lakers are experiencing a flush of injuries.
Lakers guard Jabari Brown will receive x-rays on Monday after feeling pain in his right hand. Lakers guard Marcelo Huertas missed the team’s preseason loss to Utah on Sunday because of a strained right hamstring, as did Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. with back spasms. The Lakers also nursed ailments considered to be minor, including point guard D’Angelo Russell (bone bruise in right foot), forward Metta World Peace (strained left calf) and forward Nick Young (back spasms).
Although he has not experienced any setbacks with his surgically repaired right shoulder, Kobe Bryant sat out of Monday’s practice to rest after posting five points on 1-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes against Utah. Continue reading →
HONOLULU — The night started with D’Angelo Russell showing why the Lakers immediately fell in love with him as they watched his pre-draft workouts. Their prized No. 2 pick ran a pick-and-roll with Julius Randle. Russell threw Randle a crisp bounce pass. Randle found an open lane for an easy two-handed dunk.
“His vision is astronomical,” Kobe Bryant beamed. “There’s not too many passers that can make those type of passes.”
The night ended with the Lakers conceding much work remains before Russell develops into the franchise’s expected cornerstone. In the Lakers’ 90-71 preseason opening loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Stan Sheriff Center, Russell posted only five points on 2-of-8 shooting, three assists and two turnovers in 21 minutes.
“Rookie, 19 years old. That’s to be expected,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I’ll expect in the next game he’ll play better.”
That next game takes place on Tuesday against the same opponent in the same venue. But in between his promising start and his rusty finish, Russell offered various glimpses of both his potential and learning curve. Continue reading →
HONOLULU — Nothing stood in Julius Randle’s way as he leaped toward the basket.
The Lakers’ forward had an open lane to throw down a thunderous dunk after D’Angelo Russell threw a no-look bounce pass. Randle felt fully comfortable bulldozing his way inside with his brute strength. And he no longer looked limited with a surgically repaired right leg that left him sidelined for nearly his entire rookie season.
But then Utah forward Trevor Booker fouled Randle from behind, sending the Lakers’ forward crashing down on the same leg that he injured nearly 11 months ago. Hence, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant could not leap out his seat fast enough to attend to Randle.
“You damn right I did,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 90-71 preseason loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Stan Sheriff Center. “If I was fast enough to catch him, I would.”
The incident may have left the Lakers skittish. But it left Randle amused as he recalled thinking “nothing” as he took a fall that sparked gasps among the nearly partisan 10,300 watching in person and the countless purple and gold faithful observing around the world.
“I was fine,” Randle said. “I didn’t think I hurt myself or anything. I came down on my right leg, didn’t I? I think I came down on my right leg. I was more worried about getting back up.”
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) attempts a three point shot against Utah during the first quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game Sunday in Honolulu. AP Photo/Marco Garcia
HONOLULU — The smirk formed on Kobe Bryant’s face. He listened to a question that cut to the core on what could determine his success or failure in his 20th and perhaps final NBA season.
What expectations did the Lakers star have for himself after experiencing three season-ending injuries in consecutive seasons? Bryant chuckled at the thought. He then resorted to playful sarcasm, mindful of the diminished expectations surrounding his return.
“Nothing. Be average,” Bryant said sarcastically after the Lakers’ 90-71 preseason loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Stan Sheriff Center. “I’ll be average.”
HONOLULU – The Lakers have experienced injuries at an alarming rate, featuring five players that missed portions of practice because of various ailments.
But Lakers coach Byron Scott downplayed them all. D’Angelo Russell (bruised right foot), Metta World Peace (left calf strain) and Nick Young (back spasms) all practiced on Saturday, a day after all three of them missed most of Friday’s practice. Meanwhile, Lakers guard Marcelo Huertas will miss the preseason opener on Sunday against Utah because of a strained right hamstring, while forward Larry Nance Jr. is considered questionable because of back spasms.
HONOLULU — With three simple words, Kobe Bryant cleared up any confusion on whether the Lakers’ star would appear in the preseason opener on Sunday against the Utah Jazz here at Stan Sheriff Center.
“I’m definitely playing,” Bryant said after practicing in Saturday’s morning session that included a full-court scrimmage.
Moments earlier, Lakers coach Byron Scott suggested some uncertainty. Though Bryant will not practice in the Lakers’ evening session on Saturday, Scott still wanted to hold out on making anything official until he talked with Bryant on how his 37-year-old body felt after spending the past five days practicing.
But Bryant downplayed any concerns about his health after spending the last nine months rehabbing his surgically repaired right shoulder.
“I don’t have any. I feel great,” Bryant said. “I’m in great shape and I feel strong.” Continue reading →
The game just started, and Kobe Bryant wasted no time trying to intimidate his opponent.
“I’m ready to do some serious damage,” Bryant said.
But this would not happen on the basketball court where Bryant hopes to write his comeback after three-season ending injuries prevented him from doing that. Instead, Bryant offered that forewarning to U.S women’s soccer player Alex Morgan, the two playing FIFA 16 against each other for the video game’s commercial.
“When did you learn how to pass?” Morgan said at one point.
“Who said I ever learned?” Bryant responded in self-deprecating humor. “I only do it when necessary. It’s a necessary evil.”
The barbs continued as shown in the commercial above, the two stars determined the could win with both their words and actions.
HONOLULU — The Lakers ran up and down the court. They traded baskets. They fouled. They made defensive stops. But what became more captivating on the fourth day of the Lakers’ training camp on Friday at Stan Sheriff Center involved the players who were not standing on the court. Kobe Bryant, D’Angelo Russell and Metta World Peace each sat on chairs at the end of the baseline all for different reasons.
Bryant completed light shooting drills before sitting out the rest of the Lakers’ two hour practice to rest his 37-year-old body. Russell practiced for only 15 minutes before experiencing pain surrounding a blister on his bruised right foot. World Peace has missed the past two practices over what Lakers coach Byron Scott attributed to one of his calf muscles, though it wasn’t immediately clear which one. Then toward the end of the scrimmage, Lakers forward Nick Young suffered back spasms before limping to the sideline to receive treatment.
That might conjure up images of last seasons’s nightmare when the Lakers missed an NBA-record 324 games because of various elements. But Lakers coach Byron Scott downplayed those reminders, noting the mild nature of all the injuries.
“We have three or four guys on the shelf,” Scott said. “But you still have enough guys to do what you want to do on a day to day basis.”