Lakers’ Wesley Johnson, Dwight Buycks suffer injuries in loss to Dallas

Los Angeles Laker Wesley Johnson grabs a rebound against the Utah Jazz first half in the NBA preseason basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. (Photo by Sean Hiller/Daily News)

Los Angeles Laker Wesley Johnson grabs a rebound against the Utah Jazz first half in the NBA preseason basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. (Photo by Sean Hiller/Daily News)

Lakers coach Byron Scott could only laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

Lakers forward Wesley Johnson suffered a moderate strain to his left ankle that sidelined him for the second half of the Lakers’ 120-106 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at Staples Center after scoring 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting in 20 minutes. Scott expressed doubt Johnson would travel for Monday’s game in Sacramento, leaving the Lakers coach to chuckle over his contingency plans. And it just marked the latest string of injuries that have included Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Julius Randle, Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington, Ronnie Price and Xavier Henry.

“It’s just like, ‘What could happen next?’” Scott said. “But I don’t want to dare ask that question.”

Scott spoke too soon.

The Lakers soon learned that shooting guard Dwight Buycks would miss the final two games because of a fracture to his right hand. Incidentally, that took place on the last night of his 10-day contract and happened a few hours after Scott confirmed the Lakers would plan to keep him considering Lin’s season-ending left knee injury. Now the Lakers are left with eight healthy players and two point guards in Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown, leading Scott to chuckle on what his contingency plans might entail.

“I don’t have one right now, said Scott, who then suggested he would play either Ryan Kelly or Brown at the small forward spot. “Its going to be a weird lineup out there tomorrow night.”

The Lakers have fielded an often lot of weird lineups considering their players have sat a combined 324 games because of injuries, which both tops the leagues and surpasses last year’s mark at 319. Despite that never-ending development, Johnson had only missed four games because of minor ailments and a coach’s decision. He posted 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting against Dallas just before rolling his ankle at halftime. Johnson, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, has averaged career-highs in points (9.9) and minutes played (29.5). But as he has for most of his five-year career, Johnson has shown some inconsistency.

“Wesley has been up and down,” Scott said. “But he’s been probably the most consistent guy we’ve had as far as going out there every night and you know what you’re going to get. He had nights where he didn’t shoot the ball well and had nights he shot extremely well. Hes had some inconsistency, but the effort wise would be the same.”

As for Buycks, he had averaged 8.7 points on 45 percent shooting and 2.3 assists in 20.5 minutes through six games off the bench.

“He’s got good poise,” Scott said of Buycks. “He handles the ball pretty well, can run the offense and can make outside shots. I just want to see a little bit more.”

Scott will not have that opportunity, leaving him with dwindling options as an injury-riddled season draws to a close.

“It’s just one of those things where you shake your head,” Scott said. “Hopefully we have seven to eight guys healthy for the next two games and we can finish it out.”

RELATED:

Lakers’ Jeremy Lin ruled out for the season

Lakers’ Byron Scott praises Carlos Boozer’s professionalism amid reduced role

Former Laker Jamaal Wilkes believes rebuilding “will take a couple years”

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’ Jeremy Lin ruled out for the season

Los Angeles Lakers' Jeremy Lin, left, puts up a shot against Phoenix Suns' Earl Barron during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (File photo/AP Photo)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, left, puts up a shot against Phoenix Suns’ Earl Barron during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (File photo/AP Photo)

Nearly five hours expressing optimism that Jeremy Lin could play at some point before the 2014-15 season ends, Lakers coach Byron Scott ruled him out for the team’s three remaining games because of continued left knee soreness. Lin also will not travel for the Lakers’ game on Monday in Sacramento.

“I didn’t change my mind,” said Scott before the Lakers (21-58) hosted the Dallas Mavericks (48-31) on Sunday at Staples Center. “I was optimistic this morning seeing him shoot and everything I thought maybe he could try to cut it on [the knee]. I talked to him this morning and he said he didn’t try to cut on it yet. I was feeling pretty good there’s a chance he plays. But I got the news he’s not able to play tonight and be out the rest of the season.”

Lin may never return to the Lakers again considering he will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and experienced plenty of frustrations in his lone season wearing the purple and gold.

His 11.2 points on 42.4 percent shooting and 4.6 assists nearly mirrored his career average through five NBA seasons But Lin had philosophical albeit respectful differences with Scott over his offense, which put less an emphasis on pick-and-roll plays than what Lin would have liked. Lin also lost his starting point guard spot after 19 games for reasons varying to the Lakers’ losing, Scott’s preference for Ronnie Price’s defense and Scott’s preference to develop rookie guard Jordan Clarkson.

“He’s gotten better. When he first got here, his mind of what a point guard is is totally different than mine,” Scott said. “As we went along, he started to understand what I wanted on a day-to-day basis. I thought the progression was much better. But I’m not happy with the way it ended with him being out. He got better throughout the season.”

Scott then praised Lin after offering plenty of pointed critiques regarding his decision making, turnovers, aggressiveness and consistency.

“The one thing about him is the kid takes criticism. You can jump on him about things and he takes it with a grain of salt and tries to get better,” Scott said. “That’s one thing I do love about him. He doesn’t pout about it or doesn’t cry. He goes out there to implement the things you give him to become a better basketball player. He got a lot better mentally as the season went along. A lot of that comes with the understanding of what the coach wants. I saw big time growth from day one to the present day where he got better as a basketball player.”

RELATED:

Lakers’ Byron Scott said Jordan Hill will need to change offseason preparation

Lakers’ Byron Scott envisions Tarik Black to return next season

Former Laker Jamaal Wilkes believes rebuilding “will take a couple years”

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’ Byron Scott said Jordan Hill will need to change offseason preparation

"Los Angeles Lakers' Jordan Hill smiles before the Lakers' NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)"

“Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Hill smiles before the Lakers’ NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)”

In only five days, Lakers coach Byron Scott will reflect on a frustrating 2014-15 season with each player and offer his honest feedback surrounding their production.

Once Jordan Hill has that conversation, he will hear something that has plagued him through nearly 3 1/2 seasons with the Lakers. Scott will inform him that he will need to change his offseason preparation so that he can avoid crashing and-burning because of depleting energy levels.

“I don’t think he did that this summer to get ready for this season,” Scott said. “He’s got to train like he’s going to play for 48 minutes every single night. If you train that way and the summer time you go into the season, that energy can stay up for a longer period of time.”
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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin likely to miss Sunday’s game vs. Dallas

"Lakers Coach Byron Scott has a word with Lakers#17 Jeremy Lin in the first half. The Lakers played the Houston Rockets in the opening game of the 2014-2015 Season.  Los Angeles, CA. 10/28/2014 (Photo by John McCoy Daily News )"

“Lakers Coach Byron Scott has a word with Lakers#17 Jeremy Lin in the first half. The Lakers played the Houston Rockets in the opening game of the 2014-2015 Season. Los Angeles, CA. 10/28/2014 (Photo by John McCoy Daily News )”

Although the Lakers (21-58) will offer nothing definitive until tipoff approaches, they do not expect Jeremy Lin to play in Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (48-31) because of continued soreness in his left knee.

If so, this would mark the third consecutive game Lin would miss because of his injury. Although Lin completed some dribbling and shooting drills during Saturday’s practice, Lakers coach Byron Scott remained skeptical about Lin’s return because he has not yet completed any hard cuts to test his knee.

“I don’t think he’ll go tonight,” Scott said of Lin. “I could be wrong. He could come tonight and say he feels fine and go out before the game to work out. So we’ll wait before tonight to find out for sure.”

Regardless of Lin’s availability against the Mavericks, he still plans to travel with the team for Monday’s game in Sacramento in hopes to play.

RELATED:

Lakers’ Byron Scott envisions Tarik Black to return next season


Former Laker Jamaal Wilkes believes rebuilding “will take a couple years”


Jeremy Lin’s future with Lakers up in the air

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’ Byron Scott envisions Tarik Black returning next season

Amid all the unanswered questions surrounding how the Lakers assemble their roster this offseason, it appears they reached clarity on one matter.

It appears the Lakers seem set on retaining rookie forward/center Tarik Black, who has a non-guaranteed contract worth $850,000 next season.

“We get another year to look at him,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said, “and see what he’s got and go from there.”

That should give Black some added relief in finding some relative stability. He spent the last year going undrafted and then playing 25 games for the Houston Rockets before they cut him to sign free-agent Josh Smith after Detroit surprisingly waived him.

After the Lakers (21-58) picked him up through the waiver wire in late December, Black enters Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (48-31) at Staples Center averaging 7.2 points on 55.6 percent shooting and six rebounds through 35 games. He has also averaged 9.5 points on a 60 percent clip and 6.9 rebounds in the past 17 games as a starter, a stretch that included four double doubles and a career-high 18 points in Friday’s win against Minnesota.

Yet, Black pointed to his surprise cut from Houston as “exactly why it doesn’t give me added comfort.”

“I would like to believe they would like to keep me. But going into the summer, you never know what will happen,” Black said. “Either way, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity and have been very fortunate with guys having my back 100 percent and carrying me along the way. That’s what I’m going to keep hanging my hat on. I’ll keep living in the moment and allow God to do what he does for me.”
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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin sits out of Saturday’s practice with left knee soreness

Lakers#17 Jeremy Lin drives the lane against Pelicans#3 Omer Asik in the first half. The Los Angeles Lakers played the New Orleans Pelicans in a regular season NBA game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2015. (Photos by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers#17 Jeremy Lin drives the lane against Pelicans#3 Omer Asik in the first half. The Los Angeles Lakers played the New Orleans Pelicans in a regular season NBA game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2015. (Photos by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers guard Jeremy Lin missed Saturday’s practice so he could receive treatment to heal persistent soreness in his left knee. Lin has missed the past two games because of his latest injury, and a recent MRI confirmed an abnormality in his meniscus that has existed since having surgery in 2012.

The Lakers (21-58) have not ruled out Lin playing for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (48-31) at Staples Center. After practice ended, Lin emerged on the court and completed some dribbling and shooting drills drills with Lakers player development coach Thomas Scott.

“He’s getting better,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Lin. “He went through his treatment. We’ll just see how he feels tomorrow in shootaround.”

RELATED:

Lakers’ Byron Scott favors NBA making ‘tweaks’ to draft lottery system


Jeremy Lin’s future with Lakers up in the air


Lakers’ Ryan Kelly eager to prove he can play after experiencing frustrating season

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’ Ryan Kelly eager to prove he can play after experiencing frustrating season

Photo: Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News

Photo: Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News

The tipoff only happened a few seconds ago. The Lakers did not appear seemed settled enough to begin running an offensive set. The Minnesota Timberwolves barely appeared ready to organize their defensive coverages.

Then out of nowhere, Lakers forward Ryan Kelly provide something that he struggled to do mostly all season amid injuries and an uncomfortable role. He positively impacted the game. Kelly threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk, a play that he believed helped “set the tone” in what became a season-high 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting and seven assists in the Lakers’ 106-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday at Staples Center.

Yet, what mostly defined Kelly’s play involved everything else that happened after that play. Kelly looked confident. He consistently made shots. The Lakers collected 35 assists, which Lakers coach Byron Scott quickly pointed out, “a lot of that had to do with Ryan.” All of which summed up a breakout game Kelly called “super valuable” in an otherwise forgettable game as the Lakers (21-58) play only three more games before finishing a season without a playoff appearance for the second consecutive year.

“I didn’t have the season I would’ve liked,” Kelly said. “Every opportunity I have these last few is an opportunity to prove to the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans that I should be here.”
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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin to miss Friday’s game vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Los Angeles Lakers' Jeremy Lin, left, puts up a shot against Phoenix Suns' Earl Barron during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (File photo/AP Photo)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, left, puts up a shot against Phoenix Suns’ Earl Barron during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (File photo/AP Photo)

It’s perhaps too early to know if Jeremy Lin will ever play again in the 2014-15 season.

But the Lakers (20-58) will at least pencil Lin out for Friday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (16-62) at Staples Center because of continued soreness in his left knee. His MRI later showed an abnormality in his meniscus, something that stayed consistent after Lin had surgery on his knee in 2012. The Lakers do not consider the injury serious and will reevaluate him in hopes he can play in any of the final three regular-season games.

Lin also missed Wednesday’s loss in Denver after pain unexpectedly emerged in his left knee. Lakers guard Jabari Brown still start in Lin’s place at shooting guard for the second consecutive game alongside rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson, both of whom played together last season at University of Missouri.

“He complained it was a little sore the other night. We decided to rest him for that game,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Lin . “Hopefully we have the results today before tonight’s game.”
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Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson learns and adjusts in second matchup with Chris Paul

The game kept replaying in Jordan Clarkson’s head, even if the constant reminders made the Lakers rookie point guard feel upset.

The images entailed everything that allowed the Clippers to give him nightmares. The constant double teams. Chris Paul’s unyielding aggressiveness. Clarkson’s uncertainty on what to do with the ball. When he didn’t think about those things, Clarkson watched them on tape.

All of which gave Clarkson both the motivation and knowledge to make adjustments. The Lakers may not have fully executed coach Byron Scott’s expletive-laced orders to “compete” in their 105-100 loss on Tuesday to the Clippers in a designated road game at Staples Center. But Clarkson provided the perfect counter punch by posting a team-leading 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting, a 5-of-6 mark from the foul line, six assists and four rebounds merely 48 hours after scoring two points on a 1-of-6 clip against the same opponent.

“I’m just trying to get better,” Clarkson said. “It’ll separate me from anybody else. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m trying to get better ever day.”

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