Lakers to apply for hardship exception

Charlotte, N.C. — The Lakers will apply for a hardship exception after Ronnie Price missed the past four games because of a season-ending injury to his right elbow.

Assuming the NBA grants the Lakers the exception, they could add a 16th player to their roster because the Lakers already have season-long absences to Kobe Bryant (right shoulder), Steve Nash (back), Julius Randle (right knee) and Xavier Henry (left Achilles). The Lakers (16-42) could look to their own Development League affiliate, the D-fenders, or the general free agent pool. But the Lakers are unlikely to add any players to their team, according to an NBA source familiar with the Lakers’ front office’s thinking.

The Lakers were previously given a hardship exception when Ryan Kelly sat out because of hamstring injuries, but they declined to use the tool. The Lakers also have disabled player exceptions for Nash ($4.9 million) and Randle ($1.5 million), but it seems unlikely they would use those exceptions before they expire on March 10.

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 continues trash talking ESPN anchor Robert Flores

Charlotte, N.C. — What he hoped would turn out into a romantic February has suddenly turned into a tumultuous month.

Nick Young’s frustrations have gone beyond sitting out of the Lakers’ game on Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena, his fourth consecutive contest because of a swollen left knee. Or Young’s 9.9 points per game average on 32.4 percent shooting through nine games in February. The Lakers’ eccentric forward also had a verbal back and forth with ESPN anchor Robert Flores after he made a joke at the expense of Young’s girlfriend, the Australian hip hop artist Iggy Azalea.

“We learned that, according to the Lakers’ Nick Young, a dolphin recently tried to kill him,” Flores said on ESPN. “So, Nick, while dolphins are trying to kill you, your girlfriend is trying to kill hip-hop. Let’s call it even, okay?”

Young responded to Flores via Twitter in what he described as “Kanye mode,” a playful reference to rapper Kanye West hardly shying away from giving his opinion. Young wrote, “I’m pretty sure we going to run into each other soon.” Young then added, “your [sic] job is to talk about sports, not what me and my chick got going on.” Young joked on Tuesday, “I might pour some water or Gatorade on him like we won the championship.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young expects to return Sunday vs. Dallas

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)

Charlotte, NC. — Although he said the swelling in his left knee is “coming along,” Nick Young does not believe he will return until Sunday when the Lakers (16-41) host the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center.

“It’s coming along,” said Young, whose absence for Tuesday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets (24-33) at Time Warner Cable Arena will mark his fourth consecutive game he missed. “There’s still swelling in there. They don’t want me to play on it or more swelling will come.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young considered a game-time decision vs. Charlotte

"The Lakers’ Nick Young #0 drives to the hoop as the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic #9 defends during their NBA game at the Staples Center Friday, January 9, 2015.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)"

”The Lakers’ Nick Young #0 drives to the hoop as the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic #9 defends during their NBA game at the Staples Center Friday, January 9, 2015. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)”

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lakers coach Byron Scott considers forward Nick Young a game-time decision for Tuesday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets (24-33) at Time Warner Cable Arena after missing the past three contests because of swelling in his left knee.

Young did not participate in the Lakers’ morning shootaround, but Scott still held out hope his knee could improve enough to play against the Hornets. Scott will keep the same starting lineup that he has featured for four consecutive games, including Jordan Clarkson (point guard), Wayne Ellington (shooting guard), Ryan Kelly (small forward), Carlos Boozer (power forward) and Robert Sacre (center).
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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin visits with homeless during All-Star break

The time away from everything gave Jeremy Lin a renewed sense of purpose.

The Lakers’ guard spent part of the recent All-Star break traveling to upstate New York to visit family members. He then continued his workouts where he could regain strength after laboring through a stomach issue that limited his energy. But Lin also found inspiration when he and a group of friends visited with a group of homeless people in Los Angeles, sharing stories, food and time with an otherwise marginalized group.

“A big misconception about celebrities, athletes and entertainers is that we have it all together. “Another big misconception about homelessness or homeless people is they have nothing together.” ” Lin said in the video. “There’s a lot of assumptions about homeless people. It must be drugs. It must be alcohol. It must be some crime. But a lot of it oftentimes is things outside their control.”

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Lakers’ Byron Scott, Jeremy Lin view his struggles differently

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’ 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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TWC SportsNet panel analyzes Jordan Clarkson’s growth

Lakers’ Nick Young to miss Friday’s game against Milwaukee

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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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.

RELATED:

Lakers’ Nick Young to miss Friday’s game against Milwaukee

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

Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson managing steep learning curve as starting point guard

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.”

RELATED:

Lakers cement 100-97 victory over Utah without celebrations

Lakers’ Nick Young, Jordan Hill argue they had good intentions in postgame celebration

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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