Lakers’ Kobe Bryant nearing NBA record for most misses

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shoots as Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shoots as Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

By Mark Medina and J.P. Hoornstra

A trend has emerged that highlights both Kobe Bryant’s longevity, prolific play and one area of weakness.

When the Lakers (1-5) visit the Memphis Grizzlies (5-1) Tuesday night at FedEx Forum, Bryant will only need to miss 13 more shots to set the NBA’s all-time record in total misses. John Havlicek currently owns that mark with 13,417 missed shots in 1,270 games. Through 19 NBA seasons Bryant has made plenty of shots and missed a lot of them too, (13,405 in 1,251 games to be exact). The blessing involving Bryant: his five NBA championships and fourth-place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list show his high-volume shooting approach has mostly worked. The curse involving Bryant: his non-stop shooting has created offensive imbalance either through his own impatience or because teammates have deferred to him.

Not that is surprising to Lakers coach Byron Scott, who was a mentor to Bryant during his rookie season he hoisted three consecutive airballs in the Lakers’ playoff loss to Utah.

“We knew about him at that time … that it was going to make him stronger,” Scott said. “It did. He’s come back with a vengeance.”

Yet, these current Lakers have tried to strike the balance between relying on Bryant’s heroics and ensuring the burden does not rest on his scoring. After playing in only six games last season with injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee, Bryant has averaged 26.5 points, which ranks second best in the NBA behind Golden State’s Steph Curry (27.7 points per game). But Bryant has also shot a career-low 39.5 percent from the field.

“He still believes he can be the best player in the league every time he steps on the court,” Lakers forward Carlos Boozer said. “He believes he’s the best player on the court. A lot of nights he shows that. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit because it’s hard to do. Kobe makes shots that most guys couldn’t even think about doing. That’s why fans come every night. You might see him do something that night that you’ll never see again in your life. He’s worth the admission price.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young expected to practice next week

Nick Young reacts to seeing the crowd around teammate Kobe Bryant on media day in El Segundo, Calif., on Sep. 29, 2014. The Lakers open their season on Oct. 29 against the Houston Rockets. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images file)

Nick Young reacts to seeing the crowd around teammate Kobe Bryant on media day in El Segundo, Calif., on Sep. 29, 2014. The Lakers open their season on Oct. 29 against the Houston Rockets. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images file)

By Mark Medina and J.P. Hoorsnstra

The Lakers exuded a positive vibe during Monday’s practice, their latest win coinciding with an energetic presence on the practice court.

Lakers forward Nick Young emerged onto the floor, the removed cast that had supported his surgically repaired thumb for the past five weeks allowing him to complete tasks he once enjoyed. Young dribbled between his legs. He hoisted three pointers. Young flashed his signature smile through it all.

But the Lakers will still have to wait before Young will show that in a game. Lakers coach Byron Scott hopes that Young will begin practicing in full contact scrimmaging next week, which coincides with the Lakers’ original timeline that he’d stay out for eight weeks.

The Lakers have sorely missed Young’s prolific offense after averaging last season a team-leading 17.9 points on 43.5 percent shooting.


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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 outline blueprint in 107-92 win over Charlotte

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shoots as Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shoots as Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The streamers dropped from the Staples Center rafters. Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” blared over the loudspeakers. Fans giddily cheered over both receiving free tacos and witnessing a rare Lakers’ win.

But inside the Lakers’ locker room, the reaction over a 107-92 victory Sunday over the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center hardly showed a team excited over ending their five-game losing streak.

Kobe Bryant offered clipped answers with a stoic demeanor. Jeremy Lin seemed more relieved when his press conference ended, which always attracts a crush of overseas reporters. Carlos Boozer didn’t even bother emerging at his locker room to bask in the win. Lakers coach Byron Scott sounded as businesslike in his first victory as the team’s head coach as he did when the team had its worst start in franchise history in 57 years.

“Nobody was overjoyed in there,” Scott said. “From a standpoint of being [ticked] off and wanting to get a win because of what our record is, it was nice. But other than that, it’s no more than any other win.”

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Lakers’ Ryan Kelly still considered doubtful to play Sunday vs. Charlotte

Lakers forwad Ryan Kelly is considered doubtful to play Sunday vs. Charlotte because of tightness in his right hamstring.

Lakers coach Byron Scott said Kelly participated for most of Sunday’s morning shootaround, except for the walk-through session. The Lakers also sat Kelly for most of the past two practices after playing seven minutes in a loss Tuesday to Phoenix. But Scott plans for Kelly to practice on Monday in hopes that he will play in the Lakers’ two-game trip with stops in Memphis (Tuesday) and New Orleans (Wednesday).

“We put together three straight days where it feels better and it hasn’t gone backwards,” Scott said. “That’s a good sign.”

Kelly has played in only one game after staying sidelined with overlapping injuries to his left and right hamstrings. Kelly spent his rookie season averaging eight points on 33.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Scott also said that Lakers forward Nick Young will have his right thumb examined on Monday in hopes. He has stayed sidelined for the past six weeks because of a right thumb injury that required surgery, but he has participated in conditioning drills and has dribbled and shot with his left hand. In recent weeks, Young has worn what Scott called a “soft cast.”

“My understanding is he can start dribbling and passing. They didn’t say anything about shooting, but I don’t think that’s going to go away with him,” Scott said, laughing. “I think he’ll be able to pick up on that pretty soon.”

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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 to regulate Kobe Bryant’s minutes this week

Kobe Bryant participated in practice for the first time since Tuesday’s game against Phoenix where he logged a season-high 44 minutes. Byron Scott made it clear he extended his playing time due to the team only playing one game this week and would go back to more strict regulation of his playing time this week.

“We’ll probably go back to what we’ve been doing.  In the next three games, he’s obviously not going to be playing 47 minutes,” Scott said.

The Lakers have four games this upcoming week, including a back-to-back road trip against Memphis and New Orleans.

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Lakers’ Steve Nash details back injury, addresses golf swing controversy

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash in the second half during an NBA basketball game against Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2014. Dallas Mavericks won 107-95. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash in the second half during an NBA basketball game against Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2014. Dallas Mavericks won 107-95. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

Lakers guard Steve Nash experienced backlash from various Lakers fans for posting an Instagram video this week that showed him hitting a golf ball at an undisclosed driving range. In addition to deleting the video, Nash also wrote on his Facebook account both to clarify the golf swing controversy and detail the recurring back injuries that led the Lakers last month to rule him out for the 2014-15 season.

“This may be hard for people to understand unless you’ve played NBA basketball, but there is an incredible difference between this game and swinging a golf club, hiking, even hitting a tennis ball or playing basketball at the park,” Nash wrote. “Fortunately those other activities aren’t debilitating, but playing an NBA game usually puts me out a couple of weeks. Once you’re asked to accelerate and decelerate with Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving it is a completely different demand.”
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Lakers’ Wesley Johnson vows he will play like a “wild man”

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)

A week has passed by, and the Lakers haven’t just opened the season with their worst start in L.A. franchise history.

Wesley Johnson has also failed to deliver on a promise he has preached multiple times everywhere he has played in the NBA, including the Lakers. After vowing that he will become more consistent and aggressive during the 2014-15 season, Johnson has averaged eight points on 40 percent shooting and four rebounds as the teams’ starting small forward. His length and athleticism has done little in bolstering a defense that has allowed a league-worst 118 points per game.

But Johnson insisted that will all change when the Lakers (0-5) host the Charlotte Hornets (2-3) on Sunday at Staples Center.

“I’m ready to play Sunday,” Johnson said following Friday’s practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. :The sky’s the limit for me. It’s just going out there and playing like a wild man”.

Johnson maintained that a week-long of practice has given him plenty of time to address a number of areas. He reported keeping himself busy watching lots of film. Johnson and Lakers coach Byron Scott have had frequent conversations. So has Kobe Bryant, the Lakers’ star who hosted off-season workouts for Johnson this summer and gave him a pretty blunt message during this week at practice.

“Play like your family depends on it,” Johnson recalled Bryant saying. “Play with everything on the line and that it’s your last game.”
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Lakers’ Ryan Kelly listed as questionable to play Sunday vs. Charlotte

The Lakers are facing uncertainty beyond when they will actually win a game. They also wonder when they will have a healthy roster.

That issue became more unpredictable after Lakers forward Ryan Kelly sat out of practice on Friday for the second consecutive day because of a right hamstring that coach Byron Scott said “tightened up.” The Lakers (0-5) are listing Kelly questionable for Sunday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets (2-3) at Staples Center.

Scott said it’s a “good sign” that Kelly’s latest condition does not suggest that he reinjured his right hamstring, an injury coupled with a previously left hamstring strain that kept him out until the Lakers’ loss on Tuesday to Phoenix. But Kelly only played seven minutes and posted two points on 1 of 2 shooting.

“If it feels better tomorrow, we’ll make a step more to make it on the practice court for some length of time and then see how he responds on Sunday,” Scott said. “It’s been something a lot slower than we expected. We don’t want to risk the fact that if we throw him out there, he ruptures or and tears it, then he’s done for a long time. We might have to be little more patient and wait a few more days or weeks.”

Kelly averaged eight points on 33.8 percent shooting his rookie season with the Lakers.

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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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Charles Barkley says he will go on hunger strike until Lakers win

Forget rigorous exercising. Forget a revamped diet that puts a high premium on nutrition.

What will help TNT analyst Charles Barkley shed down those extra pounds directly ties into the Lakers’ fortunes, namely their lack thereof.

“I’m not going to eat again until the Lakers win a game,” Barkley said Thursday on the TNT telecast.
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant dismisses parallels to Michael Jordan’s stint in Washington

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, left, looks over at Washington Wizards' Michael Jordan during the second half, Tuesday night, Feb. 12, 2002, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-94. (AP Photo/E.J. Flynn)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, left, looks over at Washington Wizards’ Michael Jordan during the second half, Tuesday night, Feb. 12, 2002, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-94. (AP Photo/E.J. Flynn)

The comparisons to Michael Jordan continuously overshadowed Kobe Bryant throughout his career. Would Bryant become Jordan’s heir apparent? Will Bryant ever match or eclipse Jordan’s sixth NBA championships? Bryant enters the Lakers’ (0-5) game on Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets (2-3) at Staples Center only 454 points of surpassing Jordan for third-place on the all-time scoring list.

But Bryant found little interest in speaking in great detail on any parallels he sees between his current stage of his 19-year career and when Jordan spent his last two NBA seasons over a decade ago with the Washington Wizards after spending most of his career with the Chicago Bulls.

The 36-year-old Bryant first laughed when asked if there were similarities.

“No. Not really,” Bryant said. “Well maybe. I guess.”

How so?

He wasn’t in Chicago, playing for the same organization for all those years. It’s a little different. I’m still younger than he was,” Bryant said. “I can see where you guys are thinking there’s similarities there. I also think it’s probably reachable content at this point. I get it. So, yeah, there’s similarities. Then there are differences. Just have at it.”
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