Lakers’ 2015-16 schedule not easy, but plenty interesting

The Lakers’ 2015-16 schedule largely reflects the team’s prospects after an offseason finally infused with some hope. Nothing figures to come easy – 17 of their first 24 games are on the road, including an eight-game road trip in December – but the intrigue is exemplified by a season-opener pitting Timberwolves overall No. 1 draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns against No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell at Staples Center.

Should next season be Kobe Bryant’s last, there will be plenty of interest beyond watching the development of youth the likes of Russell, Jordan Clarkson and a healthy Julius Randle. March 10 could be the last time Bryant and Lebron James share the same floor if Kobe retires following the April 13 regular season finale when his two-year, $48.5 million contract expires.

Coming off the worst season in franchise history, the schedule makers still consider the Lakers a draw. They will be on national television 28 times, including a Christmas day home game on ESPN against the Clippers, part of a marquee lineup that includes an NBA Finals rematch between the Cavaliers and Warriors
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

2015-16 NBA schedule released: Top 10 Lakers matchups

Oct. 28: Timberwolves at Lakers
Season opener gives fans look at Russell vs Karl-Anthony Towns.

Nov. 24: Lakers at Warriors
Young Lakers visit defending NBA champions in hostile environment.

Nov. 29: Pacers at Lakers
Roy Hibbert’s first crack at the team who gave up on him.

Dec. 17: Rockets at Lakers
Laker fans relish chance to welcome Dwight Howard back to town.

Dec. 25: Clippers at Lakers
Lakers hoping 7-game losing streak to rival ends this season.

Jan. 8: Thunder at Lakers
D’ Angelo Russell will matchup with L.A. native Russell Westbrook

Feb. 4: Lakers at Pelicans
Start of brutal mid-season stretch including Spurs, Bulls, Grizzlies.

Feb. 19: Spurs at Lakers
Free agent target LaMarcus Aldridge returns as member of Spurs

March 10: Cavaliers at Lakers
Could be the last time Kobe, LeBron share the floor.

April 3: Celtics at Lakers
Lakers host historic rival to begin tough season-ending stretch.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers, Clippers will play each other on Christmas day

Despite the lopsided nature of the intracity rivalry, the Lakers and Clippers will play each other in a marquee setting this coming NBA season.

L.A.’s two basketball teams will face off at 7:30 p.m. Christmas day, according to the 2015-16 NBA schedule released Wednesday afternoon.

The Clippers have beaten the Lakers seven consecutive times. In fact. the Clippers’ lone loss over the past three years of the hallway series remains a 116-103 Lakers triumph in the 2013 season opener. The Lakers have not only lost 11 of their past 12 to the Clippers, those contests have been decided by a margin of nearly 20 points per game.
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers D-League affiliate names second head coach this offseason

Former assistant Casey Owens was announced as the Los Angeles D-Fenders new head coach on Tuesday after the Lakers NBA Developmental League team’s initial choice departed shortly after he was hired.

Conner Henry was tabbed the D-Fenders head coach June 10, but accepted a position on the Orlando Magic coaching staff June 26. Owens, who has coached in China, Venezuela, the NBA D-League and the Continental Basketball Association, was a D-Fenders assistant in 2013-14.

“I want to thank (D-Fenders General Manager) Nick Mazzella, the Buss family and the entire organization for this opportunity,” Owens said. “I am excited to return to El Segundo and the NBA Development League and look forward to the challenge of helping assemble a team that will compete for a championship.”

Phil Hubbard lasted just one season as the D-Fenders head coach, finishing fourth in the West Division with a 17-33 record last year. The previous season, during which Owens was an assistant, the D-Fenders won the West Division with a 31-19 record before being swept out of the playoffs in the first round by a Santa Cruz Warriors team for which Hubbard was an assistant. Four D-Fenders earned call-ups during the 2013-14 campaign, including Manny Harris and Shawne Williams, who joined the Lakers.
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, Ryan Kelly return to starting lineup

It’s no secret that Jeremy Lin has been playing mostly well since being demoted to the bench in December. After a season-high 29 points on Sunday against Philadelphia, Lin will be rewarded with a return to the starting lineup on Tuesday at Oklahoma City.

Byron Scott announced the decision following practice on Monday by saying that Lin would be paired with Jordan Clarkson and it was something he had considered the previous weeks based on Lin’s performances leading up to Sunday

“It had nothing to do with last night but last night obviously made it a little bit easier to throw him in there because he played so well. We’ll see what happens on this trip,” Scott said.

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Kevin Love on Kobe Bryant’s relentlessness: “You’ve got to show a guy like that respect”

Kevin Love said Kobe Bryant does not take no for an answer and that "you have to show a guy like that respect." (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Kevin Love said Kobe Bryant does not take no for an answer and that “you have to show respect for someone like that.” (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

By Tony Ciniglio
Los Angeles Daily News

Former UCLA star Kevin Love found himself right at home during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ morning shootaround at UCLA at the Student Activities Center.

“It’s always fun to be back here, though I guess I don’t have enough pull to be at Pauley Pavilion,” Love said, laughing.

Love said after six years with the relatively low-key Minnesota Timberwolves, he is adjusting to being part of one of the NBA’s most scrutinized franchises with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.

And of course a stop in L.A. wouldn’t be complete without being asked about Kobe Bryant and what the Lakers superstar is going through this season.

“It’s pretty unbelievable for him, at his age, to come back from an Achilles injury and how a lot of resolve,” Love said. “He’s got a big heart. He’s Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

LeBron James said Kobe Bryant’s struggles are making him think

LeBron James, right, said watching Kobe Bryant, left, recently has made him think about his longevity. "Absolutely," James said. (Alan Diaz/The Associated Press)

LeBron James, right, said watching Kobe Bryant, left, recently has made him think about his longevity. “Absolutely,” James said. (Alan Diaz/The Associated Press)

By Tony Ciniglio
Los Angeles Daily News

LeBron James held court for the L.A. media at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ morning shootaround Thursday.

Of course James was asked about his own team’s chemistry. But maybe one of the more interesting takes was his response to a question about whether the end of Kobe Bryant’s career makes him take pause.

“Absolutely. Absolutely,” James said. “You just live Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers gear up for LeBron’s Cavs; Jordan Hill, Ronnie Price probable

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are set to square off on Thursday. The Lakers should also be getting reinforcements with Jordan Hill (knee) and Ronnie Price (elbow) listed as probable for game./GETTY IMAGES

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are set to square off on Thursday. The Lakers should also be getting reinforcements with Jordan Hill (knee) and Ronnie Price (elbow) listed as probable for game./GETTY IMAGES

By Tony Ciniglio
Los Angeles Daily News

So Kobe Bryant is expected to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, preserving the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James showdown.

The Lakers are also expecting to have other reinforcements.

Lakers forward Jordan Hill, Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers coach Byron Scott: no talks to shut down Kobe Bryant

Lakers head coach Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant have not talked about shutting Bryant down for the season, but it continues to be a game-by-game approach to limit the superstar's minutes. Friday, January 2, 2015.  The Grizzlies beat the Lakers 109-106. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)"

Lakers head coach Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant have not talked about shutting Bryant down for the season, but it continues to be a game-by-game approach to limit the superstar’s minutes. Friday, January 2, 2015. The Grizzlies beat the Lakers 109-106. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)”

By Tony Ciniglio
Los Angeles Daily News

The Kobe Bryant tightrope walk continued Wednesday.

Bryant’s workload continues to be a major discussion, particularly in light of a poor performance Tuesday against the Miami Heat where he was 3 of 19 from the field and just 2 of 9 from 3-point range.

Bryant missed six of the last 12 games before Tuesday, including the previous two games, to rest his aging 36-year-old body that has 19 years of NBA wear and tear.

Bryant rarely practices. He has a 32-minute cap when he plays, whether there is overtime or not. He is schedule to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, then take Friday off against the Utah Jazz as part of the Lakers’ plan to hold him out on the back end of back-to-back games.

But Lakers coach Byron Scott denied there is a plan to shut down Bryant for the season. Bryant is scheduled to make $23.5 million this season and $25 million next season.

“There have been no discussions Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email