Lakers’ Byron Scott benches Nick Young in second half of loss to Rockets

Nick Young, flashing his signature smile despite his uneven on-court performances, enjoys being a Laker in what has been another tough year. (Thomas R. Cordova photo)

Nick Young, flashing his signature smile despite his uneven on-court performances, enjoys being a Laker in what has been another tough year. (Thomas R. Cordova photo)

Through every Lakers’ win, his electric play and infectious personality brings smiles to everyone’s face. Through every Lakers’ loss, his emotions and scoring outbursts still provide some feel-good moments.

But Nick Young offered none of those qualities in the Lakers’ 99-87 loss on Sunday to the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. For the first time in his two years with the Lakers, Young experienced a new low point. He went scoreless. He took only two field-goal attempts. He committed three turnovers. He only played eight minutes, 32 seconds, and sat out the entire second half.

“It looked to me to be honest with you that he didn’t want to be there,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Young. “That’s how all I looked at it.”
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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, NBA.com

 

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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Rockets’ Dwight Howard “sad” about Kobe Bryant’s injury

Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have traded endless barbs both through actions and words as teammates. They since engaged in an on-court scuffle where Bryant called Howard “soft” and Howard answered with unspecified retorts. After Howard left the Lakers two summers ago for the Houston Rockets, plenty of comparisons loom on Bryant’s serious demeanor and Howard’s more playful personality.

But Howard offered some diplomacy surrounding his reaction when he learned that Bryant tore a right rotator cuff in his right shoulder, an injury that could sideline him for the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

“I was sad,” Howard said after morning shootaround on Sunday at Windward High School. “He’s battled through a couple of injuries lately. It hurts to see him work so hard to come back from injury and then he has another one. So I was sad.”
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant learns in Players Tribune video that rotator cuff is “pulled off the bone”

The harsh truth awaited Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers’ star visited with team doctor Steve Lombardo on Friday for a reexamination after an MRI suggested he had a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. As shown in a video Bryant posted on “The Players Tribune,” Lombardo soon delivers some depressing news.

“There are four muscles for your cuff,” Lombardo said to Bryant. “Unlike this previous MRI, and your ultrasound you had a couple of months ago, this is pulled off. Torn, [muscle] No. 3.”

“It’s pulled off the bone?” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak asked off camera.

“Yes,” Lombardo answers.
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Lakers’ Byron Scott “very pleased” with Jordan Clarkson’s starting debut in 99-85 loss to Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — Nearly 90 minutes awaited before tipoff, and the Lakers’ locker room seemed chatty.

Lakers forward Nick Young bantered with teammates as always. A few other players talked about Kobe Bryant’s debilitating right shoulder injury. Some openly wondered how Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak would handle the upcoming Feb. 19 trade deadline.

Amid all that noise, Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson sat by his locker tuning it all out. Instead, Clarkson opened up a laptop computer and watched endless clips of the San Antonio Spurs. Lakers coach Byron Scott had informed Clarkson following Friday’s morning shootaround he would make his first career start in his hometown, no less. So Clarkson did not want to leave any stone unturned.

“I want to be great and be one of the best guys in the league,” Clarkson said. “Hopefully that happens. I’m trying to be solid right now.”

Clarkson made that one small step. The Lakers’ 99-85 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday at AT&T Center may have marked the team’s seventh consecutive loss. The latest defeat may have ensured the Lakers with a 12-32 mark, the NBA’s fourth-worst record. Clarkson may have allowed his childhood idol Tony Parker to post 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting and four assists in 22 minutes. But Clarkson represented the Lakers’ lone bright spot, 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, four assists and one turnover in a career-high 29 minutes offering promising images of a player both high on potential and work ethic.

“I’m very happy with the way Jordan played,” Scott said. “It looked like he was very poised. The moment wasn’t too big for him.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott downplays Jeremy Lin’s absence in 99-85 loss to Spurs

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SAN ANTONIO — Jeremy Lin sat on the bench all night long, a scenario that last unfolded just days before “Linsanity” burst through the Big Apple for a two-month stint that proved unforgettable.

The Lakers’ 99-85 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday at AT&T Center featured all the elements that made this game forgettable. The Lakers (12-32) lost their seventh consecutive game. They had no answer for the Spurs’ stars in Tony Parker (17 points), Kawhi Leonard (15 points), Manu Ginobili (15 points) or Tim Duncan (14 points). But the game became notable for two reasons.

Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson received his first career start, posting 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, four assists and one turnover in 29 minutes. Clarkson’s appearance in front of his hometown came at the expense of Lin, who received the dreaded “DNP” because of a coach’s decision for the first time since Feb. 2, 2012. That was mere days before “Linsanity took off. So why did Ronnie Price, who went scoreless on four shot attempts in 19 minutes off the bench, play in front of Lin?

“I thought I’d give Ronnie more of a look tonight,” Scott said. “I know what Jeremy can do. The next game, it might be different.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott to shuffle starting lineup

SAN ANTONIO — It did not take long for the Lakers to adjust to life without Kobe Bryant.

Lakers coach Byron Scott pledged he will wait until Bryant has a reexamination on Monday on the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder to decide whether he will have season-ending surgery. But that did stop Scott from shuffling his lineup completely that will include rookie guard Jordan Clarkson (point guard), Wayne Ellington (shooting guard), Ryan Kelly (small forward), Jordan Hill (power forward) and Robert Sacre (center).

The most notable change involved Clarkson, who will make his first career start in his hometown over veteran guard Ronnie Price.

“I want to see him in a bigger role,” Scott said. “We have to find out if he can play. I think he can and believe he can. But I need him to have some extended minutes in an extended role for an extended period of time to really get a good idea if he can or not.”

There are other notable changes. Jordan Hill shifted from starting center to power forward. Ed Davis lost his starting center spot to backup center Robert Sacre partly because rookie center Tarik Black missing his second consecutive game because of a sprained right ankle. . Wesley Johnson lost his starting small forward spot to Kelly. Ellington had started at shooting guard in all eight games Bryant had missed this season.

But most of the focus centers on the point guard spot. Scott conceded uncertainty where Price and Jeremy Lin fall on the point guard depth chart.

“I’m not weighing anything,” Scott said. “I’m going by the seat of my pants.”


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Kobe Bryant is discovering one foe he can’t beat: Father Time

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 to have another doctor appointment on Monday

"Lakers#24 Kobe Bryant shoots over Clippers#22 Matt Barmes in the 4th quarter. The Clippers stopped the Lakers 114 to 89 at Staples in Los Angeles, CA. January 7, 2015. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)"

“Lakers#24 Kobe Bryant shoots over Clippers#22 Matt Barmes in the 4th quarter. The Clippers stopped the Lakers 114 to 89 at Staples in Los Angeles, CA. January 7, 2015. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)”

SAN ANTONIO — Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had a reexamination on Friday with Dr. Steve Lombardo that confirmed the MRI results that said he has a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The Lakers’ star discussed “various options,” as one source put it on how Bryant will treat his latest injury. But Bryant plans to meet with sports-medicine specialist Neal ElAttrache on Monday to further assess his next step. The Lakers expect Bryant will make a final decision then, though it is not binding in case Bryant needs more time to determine his next step.
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Lakers’ Byron Scott on Kobe Bryant: “He doesn’t want to go out this way”

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant didn’t practice Tuesday in Phoenix and may not play in today’s game in New Orleans to preserve his 36-year-old body. Hans Gutknecht ‑ Staff Photographer

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant didn’t practice Tuesday in Phoenix and may not play in today’s game in New Orleans to preserve his 36-year-old body. Hans Gutknecht ‑ Staff Photographer

SAN ANTONIO — Byron Scott sat on the scorer’s table here at AT&T Center wishing he could provide some answers. Instead, he was left wondering like everyone else the severity of Kobe Bryant’s torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

“We’re still waiting for our doctors to take a look at it,” Scott said following morning shootaround on Friday before the Lakers (12-31) visit the San Antonio Spurs (27-17) tonight. “We all in the organization are worried about it. We were hoping by this time that we would have this news. He just hasn’t had a chance yet to see our doctors. So I’m waiting just like you guys are.”

Bryant still plans to see team doctors for a reevaluation on Friday. But the Lakers should know before tipoff to what degree this injury will impact Bryant. Will he need season-ending surgery? Will this injury sideline Bryant for a few weeks. Will the Lakers just shut him down anyway?

Scott said he has not outlined any contingency plans. But after mentoring Bryant his rookie season 18 years ago, Scott sensed that Bryant will eventually return to the court after suffering his third major injury in the past three seasons.

“This is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around as far as dealing with injuries and things like that and being able to come back,” said Scott, noting Bryant returning from a left Achilles tendon he tore in April, 2013 about eight months later. “Everybody said he was done after the Achilles and he came back pretty strong. Knowing him the way I know him, I know he doesn’t want to go out this way. I think he’ll rehab it if that’s the case and then we’ll have to wait and see.”
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