Lakers assistant coach Paul Pressey ready to assume head coaching duties

With Lakers head coach Byron Scott leaving the team on Tuesday and Wednesday to grieve the passing of his mother, assistant coach Paul Pressey will coach the team against Oklahoma City and Minnesota.

“He knows me and the players know him,” Scott said Monday at practice. “Paul will do a great job and he’ll be demanding just like I am.”

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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.

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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, Ed Davis could start soon

Nearly every time he touched the ball, Jeremy Lin performed acts of magic that left everyone in awe.

He attacked the basket with relentlessness. Lin threw passes behind his back, over his shoulder and between defenders to set up open shots for teammates. He fulfilled all of these duties despite nursing back spasms had sent his alignment off six to eight inches only four days ago.

Nearly every time someone else touched the ball, Ed Davis performed acts of magic that left everyone in shock.

He swatted away shots like a volleyball player. He wiped the glass like a window cleaner. He ran up and down the court like a track runner.

Mix all those ingredients together, and Lin and Davis kept the Lakers well nourished in their 101-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at Staples Center. Lin fed the Lakers with a season-high 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting and five assists. Davis stuffed the box score with a team-high 11 rebounds and four blocks. And after passing up opportunities to pair the two together, Lakers coach Byron Scott strongly suggested both Lin and Davis will become part of the Lakers’ starting lineup.

“I’ll consider it,” Scott said. “It’s something I’m thinking about. But I’ll let you guys know soon.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott downplays how 101-87 win over Philadelphia hurts lottery odds

File photo: Lakers head coach Byron Scott will miss games at Oklahoma City and Minnesota this week to attend funeral for his mother, Dorothy. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)

File photo: Lakers head coach Byron Scott will miss games at Oklahoma City and Minnesota this week to attend funeral for his mother, Dorothy. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)

The seconds ticked away before the outcome became official, prompting the vast segment of Lakers fans to stand up on their feet.

They cheered for a Lakers win. They clapped for the well-fought effort. They even chanted that they wanted free tacos.

For a rare time this season, the Lakers delivered on all those goods. A 101-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at Staples Center prompted the non-sellout crowd of 17,891 fans at Staples Center to show the elation that they once enjoyed in years that ended in a championship parade.

“I didn’t hear it,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Really, I didn’t hear it.”

Well, nearly everyone else heard it. And the setting featured a dose of irony considering the Lakers’ latest win could actually lead to a greater loss. The Lakers (18-50) ended a four-game losing streak. But the outcome could hurt their lottery odds in retaining their top five pick that they otherwise owe to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash trade with Phoenix.

The Sixers (17-53) have the edge for the NBA’s third-worst record, while the Lakers have the league’s forth-worst mark. The Lakers, currently have an 82.8-percent chance of retaining their top-five pick. But the odds in keeping that pick increases to 96 percent with the league’s third worst record. The Lakers also have a 10.4 percent chance in landing the top pick, odds that increase to 15.6 percent with the third-worst record.

And yet…

“From the feedback I’ve been getting people from around the city,” Scott said, “they’re enjoying the way our guys play, how hard they play and the way they compete. So I’m not surprised by it.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott to miss two games for mother’s funeral

"Lakers head coach Byron Scott talks about the upcoming NBA season at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) "

“Lakers head coach Byron Scott talks about the upcoming NBA season at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) “

Lakers coach Byron Scott will stay in Southern California during the first part of the team’s five-game trip this week both in Oklahoma City (Tuesday) and Minnesota (Wednesday) to attend the funeral of his mother, Dorothy. She passed away last Sunday at the age of 72.

Scott plans to rejoin the Lakers on Thursday in time to coach games in Toronto (Friday), Brooklyn (Sunday) and Philadelphia (Monday). Lakers assistant coach Paul Pressey, will serve as the acting head coach during Scott’s absence. Scott spoke in a stoic tone reflecting on her mother’s passing before the Lakers (19-50) hosted the Philadelphia 76ers (17-52) at Staples Center. Scott also recalled her mother feeling “pretty happy” after the Lakers hired him as head coach last summer.

“She was telling me for years that it would happen,” said Scott, who played 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Showtime Lakers where he won three championships. “So she was a big basketball fan. She was really excited.”

What will Scott remember most about her mother?

“Her strength. Her courage,” Scott said. “My mom was terrific. I don’t want to talk about it anymore because you’re going to get me [emotional]. So let’s just leave it at that.”

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Lakers’ Steve Nash officially announces retirement from NBA

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’ Nick Young advancing to weight lifting exercises

SoCal native Nick Young is expected to opt out of his contract with the Lakers but would very much like to return to the team with better deal. Rick Bowmer — The Associated Press

SoCal native Nick Young is expected to opt out of his contract with the Lakers but would very much like to return to the team with better deal. Rick Bowmer — The Associated Press

The image circulated on Sunday morning, Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco showing in a tweet that forward Nick Young began weight- lifting exercises since nursing a swollen left knee that has kept him sidelined for the past 11 games in the past month.

Young will stay sidelined at least through this week, including when the Lakers (17-50) host the Philadelphia 76ers (17-52) on Sunday at Staples Center. Lakers coach Byron Scott also plans to touch base with trainer Gary Vitti sometime tonight on the next step for Young, who has not performed any basketball-related exercises. Scott said he noticed Young working out with DiFrancesco both on Saturday and Sunday.

“From Gary’s standpoint, it’s getting better,” Scott said. “But it’s one of those things where he still has pain. But it’s not as bad. The swelling has gone down to the point where you can barely see it. But there’s something in there going on.”

Last week, Scott sounded skeptical Young would travel for the Lakers’ eight-game, five-game trip with stops in Oklahoma City (Tuesday), Minnesota (Wednesday), Toronto (Friday), Brooklyn (Sunday) and Philadelphia (Monday). But Scott suggested it seems more possible Young could travel with the team, something that might yield more clarity when Scott speaks with Vitti.

“My thing is more of when he’s on the road with us, can he get the same type of treatment?” Scott said. “Or is it better to leave him here where we have [the Lakers' practice facility] and Kerlan Jobe [Orthopaedic Clinic] at our disposal and he can get physical therapy there, too. Whatever is best for him right now is the best way to go.”

Scott laughed at the suggestion that he would prefer Young to stay at home considering the Lakers’ eccentric forward has occasionally annoyed him this season. It has not helped that coincided with Young averaging 13.4 points on a career-low 36.6 percent shooting.

“Nah, I don’t mind seeing him on the road trip,” Scott said, chuckling. “I like making him travel just to get him away from being here in LA for a week with nothing else to do.”

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Lakers’ Wayne Ellington channeling grief from father’s death into productive season


Lakers’ Jeremy Lin to play vs. Sixers

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 to play vs. Sixers

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)

Jeremy Lin will assume his backup point guard role when the Lakers (45-25) host the Philadelphia 76ers (17-52) on Sunday at Staples Center after nursing back spasms in recent days. But Lakers coach Byron Scott said Lin went through Sunday’s morning shootaround without any issues.

Lin reported that his back went out of alignment after colliding into an unnamed teammate last Wednesday in practice, leading to endless treatment moments before the Lakers’ loss last Thursday to Utah. Lin only finished with two points on 1-of-8 shooting and two turnovers, but he impressed the Lakers with three steals, four assists and plenty of hustle and toughness throughout the game.

Lin’s workload in Friday’s practice stayed confined to stationary shooting. Lin then completed all of Saturday’s practice. That concluded with a series of sprints for the Lakers’ reserves, including Lin, because they lost in a scrimmage.

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Lakers’ Wayne Ellington channeling grief from father’s death into productive season

Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson becoming more vocal with teammates

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 gush about Steve Nash’s career and defends him amid criticism

"The Lakers' Steve Nash drives the baseline on the Wizards' Andre Miller, Friday, March 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)"

“The Lakers’ Steve Nash drives the baseline on the Wizards’ Andre Miller, Friday, March 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)”

The tributes gushed out as quickly as Steve Nash could lead his team on a fast-break.

Lakers coach Byron Scott called Nash a “modern-day Bob Cousy” after collecting two NBA MVP awards, climbing to third place on the league’s all-time assists list and revolutionizing the NBA. Lakers backup center and fellow Canadian Robert Sacre noted how Nash had “always been that guy that Canadians have always looked up to” after he became the first NBA star from that country. Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson recalled idolizing Nash growing up for “making passes people couldn’t see.”

Yet, with Nash officially announcing his retirement from a storied 19-year NBA career, it also closes the chapter surrounding a dark time in the Lakers’ history.

The Lakers acquired Nash from the Phoenix Suns in 2012 in a sign-and-trade worth $28 million for three years, the team willing to trade two first and second-round draft picks for the chance at championship glory.

But Nash played in only 65 of a possible 164 regular-season games amid overlapping nerve issues with his left left, back and hamstrings, ailments that kept him out for the entire 2014-15 campaign. Nash also averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 assists through two seasons, a stark drop from his career averages of 14.4 points and 8.5 assists. Perhaps his only hightlight entailed Nash’s last assist in April, 2014 against Houston allowing him to surpass Mark Jackson on the NBA’s all-time assists list.

Yet, Scott advised Lakers fans to “take a look at everything he’s done over his career and judge him that way, not by what ended up happening here.”

“Obviously it didn’t work out the way he planned or the way he wanted or the way the organization wanted,” Scott said. “But fans also have to look at the fact that the guy did everything possible to get on the court. I don’t think they take that into consideration that he’s hurt and he has some physical problems. But he did everything possible to get on the court.”

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Lakers’ Steve Nash officially announces retirement

Lakers' Steve Nash, right, passes off the ball as Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Pauldefends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)

Lakers’ Steve Nash, right, passes off the ball as Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Pauldefends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)

The man has not played in a competitive basketball in over five months. But it wasn’t until now that Lakers 41-year-old guard Steve Nash officially announced his retirement, capping a storied 19-year NBA career that entailed two NBA MVP awards, a third-place standing on the league’s all-time assists list and an assured place in the Hall of Fame.

“The greatest gift has been to be completely immersed in my passion and striving for something I loved so much — visualizing a ladder, climbing up to my heroes,” Nash wrote in an essay on The Players Tribune. The obsession became my best friend. I talked to her, cherished her, fought with her and got knocked on my ass by her.”

The latter experiences happened plenty of times during his three years with the Lakers.

He fractured his left leg in only his second game as a Laker on Oct. 2012, an injury that first sidelined him for 24 games before spiraling into never-ending issues with the nerves surrounding his back and hamstrings. After playing in only 15 games in the 2013-14 season because of those ailments, Nash returned for the 2015 training camp only to appear in two exhibition games before the Lakers shut him down for the rest of the season. Add it all up, and Nash played in only 65 of a possible 164 regular-season games the past two seasons with the Lakers.

“When I signed with the Lakers, I had big dreams of lifting the fans up and lighting this city on fire,” said Nash, whom the Lakers acquired in a sign-and-trade for three years worth $27 million after sending two first and second-round draft picks to the Phoenix Suns. “I turned down more lucrative offers to come to L.A. because I wanted to be in the “fire,” and play for high risk and high reward in my last NBA chapter. In my second game here, I broke my leg and nothing was the same.”

Nash hardly built the same equity he enjoyed with the Phoenix Suns (1996-1998, 2004-12) and Dallas Mavericks (1998-2004), and the reasons go beyond his injuries. He caught some criticism for admitting in a Grantland documentary last season, “I’m not going to retire because I want the money.” Nash, who was owed $9.7 million this season, was mostly absent from the team this season. He did not mentor rookie guard Jordan Clarkson until February, 2015.

This concerned some in the organization. But Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott publicly supported and deferred to Nash on how he spends his time.

“Last spring, when I returned to the court, I was given a standing ovation at Staples Center,” Nash wrote. “It was a dark time in my career and that gesture will be one of my best memories. There’s been a lot of negativity online, but in my nearly three years in L.A., I’ve never met anyone who didn’t show me anything but love and support for my efforts. There’s a lot of class in Lakerland, and the organization and staff have given me unwavering support.”

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Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson becoming more vocal with teammates


Lakers’ Jabari Brown feels “blessed” to have second 10-day contract

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’ Jabari Brown feels “blessed” to have second 10-day contract

He vowed he would treat every play as if it were his last. He would show he would play aggressive on every possession. He basically would not leave any stone unturned.

Yet, Lakers guard Jabari Brown attended practice on Friday doing absolutely nothing. Not by choice, though. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak informed Brown on Thursday night the Lakers would sign him to a second 10-day contract on Saturday. Then, Scott could play both when the Lakers (19-50) play on Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers (16-52) at Staples Center and for their entire five-game trip next week with stops in Oklahoma City (Tuesday), Minnesota (Wednesday), Toronto (Friday), Brooklyn (March 29) and Philadelphia (March 30).

All of which Brown without anything to do at the Lakers’ practice facility for one day.

“Just watching,” Brown said, smiling. “It’s just one day. I don’t know the exact rules, and I don’t want to break any.”

Brown will gladly follow those rules, saying he feels “blessed” the Lakers granted him a second 10-day contract after averaging seven points on 57.9 percent shooting in 20 minutes per night through four games. That marked a sharp improvement from Lakers training camp when he posted a combined five points, two rebounds and an assist in 22 minutes through four exhibition games.

“I felt like I played within myself and the team concept,” Brown said. “I felt like I gave a lot of energy on both ends of the court. I feel like I can continue to improve with some of the turnovers and stuff like that, just being strong with the ball and getting into the paint. I feel like I can always improve.”

Though he found it an easy transition after averaging a league-leading 24.4 points per game with the Lakers’ Development League affiliate, the D-Fenders, Brown said the team’s offense mostly centered on catch-and-shoot opportunities and isolation plays. Lakers coach Byron Scott hopes Brown can also thrive in the pick-and-roll game.

Brown’s strong play coincides with the Lakers nursing an injury to Nick Young, who has missed the past 11 games because of a swollen left knee. The Lakers ruled him out for at least another week after a CT scan showed a small fracture in his left knee cap.

Once Brown’s 10-day contract worth around $29,000 expires, the Lakers would either have to sign him for the remainder of the season or release him as a free agent.

“You just have to play with a motor,” Scott said. “Playing hard is a skill. You have to do it, especially when you’re trying to make something happen. It’s an extra incentive.”

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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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