Lakers’ Byron Scott declines to address Don MacLean’s criticisms

Lakers head coach Byron Scott, left, said he and general manager Mitch Kupchak have discussed how to develop the team's young players such as guard D'Angelo Russell, right. (Photo by John McCoy/Staff)

Lakers head coach Byron Scott, left, said he and general manager Mitch Kupchak have discussed how to develop the team’s young players such as guard D’Angelo Russell, right. (Photo by John McCoy/Staff)

It took nearly 10 minutes for Clippers analyst and former UCLA standout Don MacLean to question everything surrounding Lakers coach Byron Scott. MacLean criticized how Scott has developed rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell. MacLean questioned Scott’s offensive schemes. MacLean argued Scott has not tapped into Nick Young’s scoring potential. MacLean also took offense to Scott’s barb following Monday’s practice that MacLean’s criticisms about not giving Russell enough opportunity explains why he is not coaching.

“Just because you’re not a coach doesn’t mean you don’t know the game,” MacLean said Monday on the “The Petros and Money Show” on 570-AM, bringing up that he also trained Russell leading up to pre-draft workouts. “That’s what kind of set me off. That’s why I’m not coaching? No, I chose not to coach, and again, just because you choose to coach doesn’t mean you’re a good coach.”

It took nearly five seconds for Scott to dismiss MacLean criticizing him on the air.

“Who,” Scott said following morning shootaround on Tuesday when MacLean’s name was brought up.

MacLean’s critiques were then relayed to Scott.

“I make nothing of it,” Scott said. “Like I said, who?”

Scott spoke more in depth on Monday defending on how he has used Russell, who has averaged 11.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 26.9 minutes per game. Scott also said he had initially thought of assigning Russell a bench role once the 2015-16 season started instead of yanking his starting role 20 games into the season.

“First of all to Don, that’s why you’re not coaching,” Scott said following Monday’s practice. “You don’t let a guy go out there and just almost embarrass himself or kill himself by playing 35 minutes and creating 10, 12, 15 turnovers. The one thing it can do is self-destruct him.”


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Lakers’ Byron Scott considers Kobe Bryant “50-50” to play vs. Minnesota

Lakers coach Byron Scott says rookie guard D’Angelo Russell needs to be brought along slowly. HANS GUTKNECHT — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Lakers coach Byron Scott says rookie guard D’Angelo Russell needs to be brought along slowly. HANS GUTKNECHT — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Despite Kobe Bryant receiving a full day to rest and receive treatment on his 37-year-old body, Lakers coach Byron Scott considered it a “50-50” chance Bryant will play in Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-35) at Staples Center.

“I don’t have an answer on that one right now,” Scott said. “Normally when he has a day off, he can have his rest and get his treatment. He’s rejuvenated and ready to go.”

Bryant has missed two of the past four games because of continued soreness in his right shoulder. Bryant had also nursed soreness in his right Achilles, but he has recently said no issues remain.

There marks some intrigue regardless of Bryant’s playing status as the Lakers try to avoid ending up on the wrong side of history. The Lakers (9-41) currently have a 10-game losing streak and are one defeat away from setting a franchise record for most consecutive defeats in a season. The Lakers also lost 10 consecutive seasons in the 1993-94 campaign under Magic Johnson. During the Lakers’ latest losing stretch, they have lost by an average of 16.8 points per game. The only competitive game entailed the Lakers’ two-point loss to Dallas last week in which Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki made a game-winning jumper.

“I haven’t heard the guys talk about it,” Scott said. “The theme is to play extremely hard for 48 minutes. Our effort is more the commitment tonight. Obviously we want to get the win along with that. But we have to do the first things first in order to have a chance to win. We have to play hard and have to play with a lot of energy. Our effort has to be at a maximum effort. If we do that, we feel we have a good chance to win.”


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Lakers to shut down Larry Nance Jr. through NBA All-Star break

Lakers’ Byron Scott, Clippers analyst Don MacLean exchange barbs over D’Angelo Russell’s development

Lakers’ Byron Scott envisions Kobe Bryant’s shoulder issues to be “ongoing” for rest of 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’ Byron Scott, Clippers analyst Don MacLean exchange barbs over D’Angelo Russell’s development

Lakers coach Byron Scott fired back at Clippers analyst Don Maclean amid criticism on how he has used rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

Lakers coach Byron Scott fired back at Clippers analyst Don Maclean amid criticism on how he has used rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

The voice sounded exasperated and the tone sounded frustrated. Clippers analyst and former UCLA standout Don MacLean spoke of what many Laker fans have echoed in thought, on the airwaves and on Twitter.

“I really wish Byron Scott would just give D’Angelo Russell the keys and say, ‘You know what? Go for it man,'” MacLean said on Friday’s telecast of the Lakers-Clippers game on Prime Ticket before reflecting on his time working with Russell in pre-draft workouts. Russell “might be the best passer I’ve ever seen, and I think he’s still playing tentative because he’s looking over his shoulder. He’s coming off the bench. If Byron Scott would just say, ‘You know what, D’Angelo? I don’t care if you turn it over 15 times tonight, you’re going to play 35 minutes. Go for it, and go for it,’ [Russell] will figure it out. He really will.”

The voice sounded annoyed and the tone sounded testy. Scott both defended how he has developed his rookie point guard while also questioning MacLean’s credibility.

“First of all to Don, that’s why you not coaching. Let’s put it that way,” Scott said following Monday’s practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “You don’t let a guy go out there and just almost embarrass himself or kill himself by playing 35 minutes and creating 10, 12, 15 turnovers. The one thing it can do is self-destruct him as an individual. So what I try to do as far as teaching him and also protect him from making mistakes like that, and from getting ridiculed after a game like that.”

But that only prompted MacLean to appear later Monday afternoon on the “The Petros and Money Show” on 570-AM to ridicule Scott some more.

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Lakers to shut down Larry Nance Jr. through NBA All-Star break

The Lakers will shut down rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. through NBA All-Star weekend because of soreness in his right knee. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles News Group )

The Lakers will shut down rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. through NBA All-Star weekend because of soreness in his right knee. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles News Group )

The Lakers hoped they had hit rock bottom after tying a franchise record for most consecutive losses. But it appears there’s still some room for the Lakers to fall.

They will play without rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. for at least the next five games because of continued soreness in his right knee, starting when the Lakers (9-41) host the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-35) on Tuesday at Staples Center. Although Nance Jr. could return as soon as NBA All-Star weekend ends on Feb. 12-14, the Lakers could wait longer.

“We’re trying to get him not only pain free. We’re trying to get that knee back strong again,” Scott said. “It might take 15, 16 days or it might take three weeks. But whatever it takes, we’re going to wait until he’s back healthy.”

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Chick Hearn’s widow, Marge Hearn, passed away on Saturday night

Marge Hearn, the widow of former Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, died on Saturday night at age 98 of what the Lakers described as natural causes.

“We are very sad at the passing of our beloved Marge Hearn,” Lakers president Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “We consider ourselves blessed and fortunate, however, to have had her be a part of the Lakers family for six decades. She was truly the First Lady of the Lakers, sitting alongside her husband, the Voice of the Lakers, Chick Hearn.”

Chick Hearn spent 42 years broadcasting for the Lakers, which entailed calling 3,338 consecutive Lakers games from Nov. 21, 1965-Dec. 16, 2002. The streak stopped after Chick Hearn underwent heart surgery. Chick and Marge Hearn were married from 1938-2002 until Chick passed away.

Marge Hearn attended the Lakers’ unveiling of Chick’s statue outside of Staples Center on April 21, 2010. Then, Marge kissed her hand and touched Chick’s bronze lips.

Marge Hearn is survived by their grandaughter (Shannon Hearn) and great-granddaughter (Kayla Hearn-Newman).

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Lakers’ Byron Scott to have “open competition” between Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.

Lakers forward Julius Randle likely will compete for the starting forward spot for the rest of the 2015-16 season. (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

Lakers forward Julius Randle likely will compete for the starting forward spot for the rest of the 2015-16 season. (photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

For at least one game, Julius Randle will not have to worry about his role and his minutes will entail.

Randle will start for the eight consecutive game when the Lakers (9-40) host the Charlotte Hornets (22-25) on Sunday at Staples Center with forward Larry Nance Jr. staying sidelined with recurring soreness in his right knee. But after that, it’s anybody’s guess. Presuming Nance Jr. returns soon, Lakers coach Byron Scott plans to have Randle and Nance Jr. fight for the starting spot.

“Absolutely,” Scott said. “I want it to be open competition. I think guys should feed off of that.”

But here’s the challenge: both Randle and Nance Jr. have seemed more well fed when both start. In the past seven games he has started, Randle has posted four double doubles and shot 51.4 percent from the field in just under 30 minutes per contest. Throughout the season, Randle has fared better as a starter than as a reserve in points (12.1, 9.5), field-goal percentage (43.8%, 37.2%), rebounds (7.9, 7.0) and minutes played (28.7, 24.5). The same thing applies to Nance Jr. in his starting and bench roles in points (7.3, 3.9), field-goal percentage (55.6%, 50.8%), rebounds (6.0, 3.6) and minutes played (23.1, 16.8).

Yet, Scott said he hopes that Randle earns the starting spot because of the big-picture implications.

“I want him to go against some of the best players in this league. That’s mostly starters. It is a priority,” Scott said. “Right now with Julius, because of Larry getting injured, he got that position back. But when Larry’s healthy, he’ll get it back.”

Why?

“I don’t know if he’s better as a starter,” Scott said of Nance Jr. “But I think obviously we’ve played better at the beginning when he started. That’s why I made the change because our starts were terrible in the first quarter. I thought a guy like Larry that brings energy and doesn’t demand the ball would be a better fit.”

Scott has generally liked Randle’s recent play, calling his 23-point and 14-rebound performance in Friday’s loss against the Clippers “one of his best games overall.”

“I loved how aggressive he was and how well he played,” Scott said. “I hope he can keep progressing like he has and keep hitting that mid-range shot. He obviously has gotten a lot more consistent with it. I think he feels more comfortable taking them.”

But Scott then argued Randle has “still has a ton of room of improvement” after committing six turnovers and not taking enough advantage of his size on defensive switches.

“Some of it is trying to go too fast and some of it is trying to go through two defenders,” Scott said. “Sometimes you just have to say, ‘I can’t beat them right now. Let me bring it back out.'”

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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’ Byron Scott envisions Kobe Bryant’s shoulder issues to be “ongoing” for rest of season

akers’ Kobe Bryant during recent NBA game against the Bulls on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

akers’ Kobe Bryant during recent NBA game against the Bulls on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The evolving pattern regarding Kobe Bryant’s tenuous health made it obvious. The three season-ending injuries Bryant has suffered in consecutive seasons may have given it away, too.

But with Bryant still listed as questionable for when the Lakers (9-40) host the Charlotte Hornets (22-25) on Sunday at Staples Center because of continued soreness in his right shoulder, Lakers coach Byron Scott sensed those issues are “going to be ongoing for the next 2 1/2 months.” In other words, Bryant’s playing status will likely stay uncertain for all of the Lakers’ remaining 33 regular-season games before Bryant retires from a 20-year NBA career.

“Some days his shoulder is going to be feeling great and some days it’s going to be sore,” Scott said after morning shootaround at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “At his age and all the games that he played, I’m sure there are mornings he wakes up and he’s just sore with the way he slept.”

Scott wasn’t exaggerating. Although he has missed games last week against Dallas and the Clippers, Bryant said he has not experienced any recent issues with his previously sore right Achilles. But before sitting out against Dallas, Bryant reported he sometimes feels “aches” when he sleeps. Sometimes the pain worsens when Bryant wakes up.

Even with two decades removed from his 14-year NBA career, Scott recalled the same thing often happens to him.

“I wake up some mornings and there’s a whole lot of [stuff] hurting,” Scott said, laughing. “I didn’t do anything.”

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant to sit out against Clippers

The Bulls’ Taj Gibson drives to the hoop between the Lakers’ Kobe Bryan, left, and Julius Randle on Thursday night. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

The Bulls’ Taj Gibson drives to the hoop between the Lakers’ Kobe Bryan, left, and Julius Randle on Thursday night. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

The Lakers will have to weather another game without Kobe Bryant, who will sit out when the Lakers (9-39) visit the Clippers (30-16) on Friday at a designated road game at Staples Center.

Lakers coach Byron Scott initially stressed Bryant has nothing to do with the soreness in his right shoulder and right Achilles he has nursed in recent weeks.

“His shoulder feels pretty good,” Scott said following morning shootaround on Friday. “It’s just the back-to-back right now. We want to rest it and get ready for this next long stand of road games we have coming up in February before All-Star break.”

But the Lakers have since clarified and said Bryant’s sitting out because of his sore right shoulder.

The Lakers have home games on against Charlotte (Sunday) and Minnesota (Tuesday) before starting a four-game, eight-day trip that includes stops in New Orleans (Thursday), San Antonio (Saturday), Indiana (Feb. 8) and Cleveland (Feb. 10). NBA All-Star weekend then takes place from Feb. 12-14 in Toronto where Bryant plans to play in his 18th and final All-Star appearance as a starter.

Does this mean Scott will plan to rest Bryant on the Lakers’ six remaining sets of back-to-back games?

“Not all the time, but I anticipate it will be more often now, Scott said. “The season is getting a bit longer in the tooth. It’s on that countdown. The more we play back-to-back games, the more chances that he sits out on those second night or first night.”

Scott insisted he has not decided who will start in Bryant’s place. With Lou Williams (upper respiratory infection) remaining a game-time decision, Scott floated various starting possibilities, including any combination involving D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Brown, Metta World Peace and Nick Young.

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Pau Gasol expresses gratitude for Kobe Bryant’s support

Lakers' Kobe Bryant high fives ex teammate Pau Gasol during game at Staples Center in 2013. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant high fives ex teammate Pau Gasol during game at Staples Center in 2013. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The affectionate smile formed on Pau Gasol’s face as he thought about what awaited him.

In what will mark the first time since squaring off in the 2012 Olympics, Gasol will greet Kobe Bryant as an opponent when the Lakers (9-38) host the Chicago Bulls (25-19) on Thursday at Staples Center. After spending 6 1/2 years with the Lakers from 2008 to 2014, Gasol signed with Chicago as a free agent. But Gasol and Bryant did not play against each other because of Bryant’s various injuries.

“It’ll be fun and I look forward to it. I’d love to see him on the floor,” Gasol said following morning shootaround at UCLA. “It’ll be a fun game and a special game for me for many reasons.”

There are many reasons. He still has waxed nostalgia about his 6 1/2 seasons with the Lakers that included three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two NBA championships. Gasol plans to visit Dr. David Skaggs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles before Sunday’s game against the Clippers. Gasol also called Los Angeles “one of the best cities in the world.”

But one of the main reasons included Bryant, who argued this week that Gasol did not become fully appreciated amid diminished roles under former Lakers coaches Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni as well as never-ending trade speculation. The Lakers had sent Gasol to Houston on Dec. 2011 as part of the Chris Paul deal, but the NBA halted the trade.

“Some people appreciate you more. Some people don’t. Not everyone is going to appreciate you the same way,” Gasol said. “That’s something you have to live with and that’s what happens to all of us. But there were a lot of people that appreciated me and Kobe was definitely one of them.”

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Lakers to unveil Shaquille O’Neal’s statue during 2016-17 season

The news caught Shaquille O’Neal by surprise.

“Seriously?” O’Neal said with a hint of both excitement and disbelief.

The news sounded good to O’Neal’s ears. But he sounded initially reluctant toward listening.

“You’re playing,” O’Neal said.

But late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel pleaded for O’Neal to hear him out.

“Seriously, I swear to God,” Kimmel said. “This is not a prank.”

Kimmel had just revealed to O’Neal on Wednesday night that the Lakers will unveil a statue of him outside of Staples Center. Kimmel showed an artist rendering that shows O’Neal offering one of his powerful dunks. Kimmel reported the Lakers told him to deliver the news. The Lakers then confirmed this will happen at some point during the 2016-17 season.

“We look forward to having Shaq join the other legends who have been honored with statues at STAPLES Center,” Lakers president Jeanie Buss in a statement. “He is a giant not only in size, but also in stature and in what he accomplished as a Laker. Shaq literally broke the ground for the site, and was hugely responsible for not only getting STAPLES Center built, but for making it one of the most successful and famous arenas in the world. It’s an honor that is well deserved.”
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