Lakers’ Byron Scott, Nuggets’ Brian Shaw have strong ties

New Lakers head coach Byron Scott at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. Scott Varley — Staff photographer

New Lakers head coach Byron Scott at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. Scott Varley — Staff photographer

The common thread that tie Byron Scott, Brian Shaw and Derek Fisher go deeper than winning multiple NBA championships with the Lakers. They are all NBA head coaches, hoping their professional experience in collecting championship hardware will carry over on the sideline.

All of have experienced rough patches, though.

Fisher has compiled a 4-10 record thus far in his first season coaching the New York Knicks. Shaw went 36-46 last season in his first year with the Denver Nuggets and missed the playoffs. Scott experienced some good, including two trips to the NBA Finals with the former New Jersey Nets and winning NBA coach of the year in 2008 with the former New Orleans Hornets. Scott has also experienced some bad. All three of his coaching stints in New Jersey (200-04), New Orleans (2004-09) and Cleveland (2010-13) ended with his firing. Scott has also overseen the Lakers’ worst start in franchise history.

“Both of those guys are great guys and I love them to death,” Scott said before the Lakers hosted the Nuggets on Sunday at Staples Center. “Being ex-players, they’ll learn a lot faster than most guys because they’ve been there and done that. It’s obviously an adjustment because you’re so used to doing it when you played. When you coach, you have to rely on other people to do it. I think both of those guys will be great coaches.”
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Lakers’ Carlos Boozer listed as questionable to play tonight vs Denver

Kobe Bryant (24), Carlos Boozer (5) and Jeremy Lin (not pictured) sat out Saturday’s practice with the L.A. Lakers. Boozer and Lin are listed as probably, while Bryant was given the day off in order to be rested for their game against Denver at Staples Center Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (File photo/AP Photo)

Kobe Bryant (24), Carlos Boozer (5) and Jeremy Lin (not pictured) sat out Saturday’s practice with the L.A. Lakers. Boozer and Lin are listed as probably, while Bryant was given the day off in order to be rested for their game against Denver at Staples Center Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. (File photo/AP Photo)

The Lakers may make some changes to their starting lineup, but it has nothing to do with coach Byron Scott feeling upset with any individual performances.

Instead, forward Carlos Boozer is listed as questionable to play when the Lakers (3-10) host the the Denver Nuggets (5-7) on Sunday at Staples Center because of a sore left shoulder. Scott said that Boozer had “complained last week that it was really really sore.” But Scott reported that the pain subsided after sitting out of a practice. Boozer then aggravated it during the Lakers’ loss on Friday to the Dallas Mavericks. Boozer sat out of Saturdays’ practice.

If Boozer does not play, Ed Davis will start at power forward. Boozer has averaged 13.3 points on 49 percent shooting, but has battled inconsistency with both his marksmanship and defense. Davis has averaged 8.3 points on 63.6 percent shooting, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, numbers that make the Lakers consider him their best defender.

“He’s very efficient around the basket,” Scott said of Davis. “He gives us a presence in the paint. We need that tonight with this team.”

Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant will play after missing Saturday’s practice to rest. Lakers guard Jeremy Lin said he will play tonight after missing Saturday’s practice because of a sore back. Lin said he was “hit awkwardly” in an unspecified play in the Lakers’ loss to Dallas, but that the injury stems from “just stuff that got built up.”

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin sit out of Saturday’s practice

Kobe Bryant was held to 17 points by the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, as Lakers lose 140-103 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (File photo/Daily News)

Kobe Bryant was held to 17 points by the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, as Lakers lose 140-103 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (File photo/Daily News)

The Lakers have experienced a new wave of injuries, but none of which the team feels are serious.

Both Lakers forward Carlos Boozer (sore left shoulder) and guard Jeremy Lin (sore back) sat out of Saturday’s practice, while Kobe Bryant stayed at home at his Orange County residence to rest his 36-year-old body.

Bryant cited heavy legs for his 17-point performance on 6-of-22 shooting in the Lakers’ 140-106 loss on Friday to the Dallas Mavericks. But Scott revealed that he found out Bryant fit in an early afternoon shooting session before the game that lasted until he made 300 shots. Scott held out optimism the day off could restore his energy for when the Lakers (3-10) host the Denver Nuggets (5-7) on Sunday at Staples Center.

“Sometimes that can hurt you more than help you. That probably wore him out for the game,” Scott said. “He’s probably playing with the dogs and girls and having a good time. But at least it’s not the constant running up and down and jumping. He’ll save his legs for tomorrow, hopefully.”

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Lakers’ Wayne Ellington dedicating 2014-15 season to deceased father

DALLAS — His eyes looked swollen, red and teary as Lakers reserve guard Wayne Ellington calmly retold what has marked the “lowest of all lows that I’ve ever been at in my life.”

Ellington has lived with the grief ever since learning that his father was murdered nearly two weeks ago in Philadelphia. After taking a leave of absence that entailed missing six games and attending his father’s funeral, Ellington pledged he will dedicate the 2014-15 season to his father.

“He was so ecstatic when I signed with the Lakers before camp. He was telling me how proud he is of me,” said Ellington, who made the Lakers’ roster on a non-guaranteed contract, averaging 7.8 points on 57.1 percent shooting in 20.6 minutes as both a backup shooting and point guard. “I’m leaving it all out there every single day every time I step out on the floor.”
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Lakers’ Wayne Ellington makes his return in Dallas, but unlikely to play

DALLAS — Lakers reserve guard Wayne Ellington returned to the team on Thursday after taking an approved absence for over the past week because of his father’s murder in Philadelphia.

Lakers coach Byron Scott said it is unlikely Ellington will play in tonight’s game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena, hopeful that continuity from the teams’ two-game winning streak will carry over.

“He hasn’t gotten a whole lot of sleep and lost weight,” Scott said. “That’s all understandable given what he’s been through. For us and for him, the best thing is to get back with the team as soon as possible and get back to his family. Now it’s up to us to make him feel back at home.”
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Kobe Bryant argues his extension still gave Lakers enough to build a contender

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, center, puts up a shot as Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, left, and center Andrew Bogut, of Australia, defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 136-115. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, center, puts up a shot as Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, left, and center Andrew Bogut, of Australia, defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 136-115. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

DALLAS — The last time Kobe Bryant stepped foot here, he unleashed a 38-point barrage against the Mavericks that provided a perfect retort to owner Mark Cuban suggesting the Lakers should use the amnesty provision on him.

“Amnesty that,” Bryant then tweeted.

It remains to be seen whether Bryant will fire off any similar barbs through 140 characters. But Bryant had plenty to say about the business of basketball, strongly defending the Lakers granting him a two-year $48.5 million extension last year while still rehabbing his left Achilles tendon.

“Did I take a discount? Yeah,” Bryant said. “Did I take a discount as much as fans want me to? No. Is it a big enough discount to help us be a contender? Yeah. What we tried to do is be in a situation where we take care of the player and the player takes care of the organization enough to put them in a championship predicament.”

Plenty of rebuttals await considering the Lakers (3-9) have opened the 2014-15 season with their worst start in L.A. franchise history. But even with Bryant’s extension, the Lakers still offered max contracts to LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. The Lakers offered the most money to Pau Gasol, who chose the Chicago Bulls because he wanted to join a championship contending team. The Lakers gave generous raises to Nick Young (four years, $21 million) and Jordan Hill (two years, $18 million).

But Bryant addressed this issue considering Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki took a steep hometown discount this summer, a three-year deal worth $25 million.

“I think that means he’s not playing in Los Angeles,” Bryant said. “I think it’s not about the winning portion of it. That’s where players get themselves in a lot of trouble. That might offend some people but I’ve played 19 years in the NBA so I don’t care. It’s about the business of basketball. For a lot of writers and fans, they have a tough time distinguishing the two. This is a business. You have to look at the individuals into what they generated, the market that they generated revenue. You cant’ separate them, People have a hard time separating that stuff. From a business perspective you have to take that into account. As a player you have to try to as a player be in situations where you can have a win win for everybody.”

Nowitzki’s paycut opened up room for the Mavericks to acquire Chandler Parsons from Houston and Tyson Chandler from New York during free agency. San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan also took a paycut, signing a three-year, $30 million deal that expires this summer. That assured the Spurs retained veterans Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, while having complementary pieces such as Kawhi Leonard and a bench that averaged a league-leading 44.3 points per game.

But Bryant considers those examples as comparing apples-to-oranges. Bryant also laughed when told Cuban has argued against max contracts, saying, “you have to consider the source.”

“It’s the popular thing to do. Players take less, blah, blah, blah,” Bryant said. “But I think it’s a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money,. If you don’t, then you get criticized for it and all this stuff. It’s absolutely brilliant. But I’m not going for it. I know the new head of the players association isn’t going for it either.”

The NBA and its players association agreed to a near 50-50 split in basketball revenue during the 2011 lockout. So how should the players union respond during the 2017 offseason considering the NBA’s record-breaking nine-year television contract with ESPN and Turner Broadcasting is worth a reported $24 billion?

“We’ll work to change that,” Bryant said. “We’ll work to change that, just for the challenge of changing it.”

But Bryant stressed he won’t be around for that, maintaining he won’t play beyond his contract that expires following the 2015-16 season.

“I wont be playing,” Bryant said. “I wont be playing.”


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Lakers’ Nick Young receives flop warning from NBA

The Lakers find Nick Young’s personality endearing. But there was one act the NBA hardly thought was amusing.

The league issued Young a flop warning on Thursday in regards to a play in the Lakers’ 114-109 victory Tuesday over the Atlanta Hawks. In that game, Young drew a foul on Atlanta’s Kyle Korver while shooting a corner three-point shot. NBA.com showed a video of the replay, which shows that Korver did not make any contact with Young. But that didn’t stop the Lakers’ reserve from sliding out of bounds after shooting the ball.

Young won’t actually receive any punishment. But after the NBA issues a warning, the league fines a player $5,000 for a second flopping violation. The monetary penalties increase with each additional flop, including a suspension.

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant downplays on-court scuffle with Dwight Howard

ATLANTA — The video emerged for all to see.

Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard tangled in a skirmish a month ago. It first started with Howard swinging his elbows toward Bryant’s jaw as he defended him. It continued with the two jawing back and forth, including Bryant calling Howard “soft.” More video went viral that showed Bryant addressing Howard with words not suitable for print, suggesting the strain of their relationship as former teammates two seasons ago still stands.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant addressed Howard in a recent game with a similar offending slur.

“I don’t feel that way and I don’t think Kevin does either,” Bryant said Wednesday. “In moments of confrontation during a game you’ll say things during the heat of the moment. I know Dwight, I’m sure Kevin does. We don’t feel that way about him. It’s like when you get in an argument with somebody you’ll say things out of frustration or anger that you really don’t mean.”

Is Bryant aware of that when it is happening in real time?

“In the moment? No,” Bryant said. “In hindsight? Yes, especially now with social media. Everybody has a camera. You try to be conscious as possible in the fact that kids are watching.”

No such incidents happened during the Lakers’ 98-92 victory Wednesday over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. That’s because officials announced that Howard would miss the game because of a strained right knee moments before tipoff. Howard also did not watch the game from the bench.

The injury was a surprise considering Howard attended the team’s morning shootaround. There, a Rockets official promptly cut off a reporter’s question about Howard being investigated for child abuse.


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Nick Young energizes Lakers with his arrival

ATLANTA — Amid all the Lakers’ gloomy circumstances, an important figure arrived to help the team temporarily stop worrying about their issues.

It started with Nick Young talking trash during his first morning shootaround since breaking his right thumb six weeks ago by proclaiming himself as the game’s best three-point shooter ever.

It continued with Young’s 17 points off the bench both securing a Lakers’ 114-109 victory Tuesday over the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena and ensured more offensive balance outside of Kobe Bryant.

It ended with Young taking nearly complete credit for the Lakers (2-9) ending a four-game losing streak and picking up their first road win of the 2014-15 season.

“It’s like my swag rubbed off on everybody,” Young said. “It’s unbelievable.”
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant becomes fourth player to reach 32,000 points

ATLANTA — The crowd rose to its feet. They then chanted Kobe Bryant’s name, the fervent noise from Lakers supporters making Philips Arena sound like Staples Center. Bryant backed his way into the post. He picked up his dribble. He moved his pivot foot. Then, he unleashed a 20-foot fadeway over Atlanta forward Thabo Sefolosha and drew a foul, a play that brought more implications than just influencing the final score.

The basket then swished into the net. Bryant tightened his jaw. His teammates Carlos Boozer and Nick Young pumped out their fists in mid-air. The noise level reached deafening levels.

Bryant just became the fourth player in NBA history to reach 32,000 points, joining a select group that also includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. The shot also represented a large part in ensuring the Lakers’ 114-109 victory Tuesday over the Atlanta Hawks and snapping the team’s four-game losing streak.

That play gave the Lakers a 108-102 cushion with 1:11 remaining, representing Bryant’s nine fourth-quarter points that also included two more fadeaway jumpers, a nifty left hook shot, a driving layup and a made free throw.

“That’s my job,” Bryant said.

And as indicated by his new scoring milestone, it is a job he has completed very well.

“It means a lot,” Bryant said. “I can’t stress how much work it is to be in this position to be able to get out and play. Over 19 years, that’s where I take enjoyment from it is the process. It’s a lot of work over 19 years. It feels good to have that accomplishment.”

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