Lakers’ Byron Scott, Mitch Kupchak question Ronnie Price’s 1-game suspension

The Lakers have plenty of reasons to feel upset. They enter tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs (4-3) with a 1-7 record, worst in the Western Conference. The Lakers are ranked last overall in total defense.

But the Lakers are also upset over the NBA punishing reserve guard Ronnie Price with a one-game suspension that keeps him out of tonight’s game against the Spurs. The league made the ruling after Price was ejected for a flagrant foul-2 in the Lakers’ loss Wednesday in New Orleans where he pulled down Austin Rivers from behind. But replays showed that Price attempted to stop the ball.

“We feel that the contact came from an attempt to block the shot and that there was no intent to hit Austin Rivers in the head,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Therefore, we are disappointed in the league’s decision.”

Lakers coach Byron Scott echoed those concerns, saying that during the Lakers’ showtime era such a play only would have resulted in a foul.

“I don’t think there was any malice in it whatsoever,” Scott said. “He’s a tough kid. I really felt he was going for the ball as best as he could.”

Price has become involved in other defensive controversies this season. During training camp, Price also picked up a technical foul for throwing his shoe at Golden State’s Andre Iguodala to stop a fast break. But Scott pointed out that Price has never earned a reputation for picking up flagrant fouls. The nine-year veteran has often been considered a positive locker room presence both because of his work ethic and attitude.

While Lakers Jeremy Lin will continue starting, second round draft pick Jordan Clarkson will have added responsibility. He has averaged only 3.7 points on 36.4 percent shooting in 9.9 minutes of play.

RELATED:

San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich celebrating Kobe Bryant’s return


Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, on different paths to greatness, share same competitive fire


Lakers’ Ronnie Price suspended for Spurs game for flagrant foul 2

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers’ Ryan Kelly to return vs. Spurs

Lakers forward Ryan Kelly will play in tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center after sitting out the past three games because of tightness in his right hamstring.

“He’s good to go,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott, though he reported not having a conversation yet with Lakers trainer Gary Vitti about any minute restrictions.

The Lakers have taken a conservative approach with Kelly in the past week, progressing him through games of one-on-one and two-on-two at a gradual pace to ensure he experiences no setbacks.

Kelly had initially sat out of all of training camp and the first four games of the regular season because overlapping injuries to his left and right hamstring. Kelly scored two points in seven minutes in the Lakers’ loss on Nov. 4 to Phoenix before feeling his right hamstring tighten.

Kelly averaged eight points last season as a second-round draft pick with the Lakers.

RELATED:

San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich celebrating Kobe Bryant’s return


Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, on different paths to greatness, share same competitive fire


Lakers’ Ronnie Price suspended for Spurs game for flagrant foul 2

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers’ Ronnie Price suspended for Spurs game for flagrant foul 2

Reserve guard Ronnie Price will serve a one-game suspension when the Lakers play San Antonio on Friday at Staples Center after officials gave him a flagrant foul 2 in the Lakers’ loss on Wednesday in New Orleans.

Price was given an automatic ejection with 9:11 left in the fourth quarter after pulling down Austin Rivers from behind. But replays showed that Price attempted to stop the ball.

“I don’t know what a flagrant 1 or 2 is anyway,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said afterwards. “I thought he made an attempt to go for the basketball. [The officials] say he swiped at it. Well, when you normally try to block a shot, you swipe at it.”

Price has become involved in other defensive controversies this season. During training camp, Price also picked up a technical foul for throwing his shoe at Golden State’s Andre Iguodala to stop a fast break.

Jeremy Lin will still start, but the Lakers’ backcourt has shrunk in other areas. Steve Nash is ruled out for the entire season because of nerve complications in his back. Wayne Ellington was given an indefinite leave of absence because after his father was shot and killed on Sunday in Philadelphia. It’s likely that second-round draft pick Jordan Clarkson will have increased responsibility. He has averaged only 3.7 points on 36.4 percent shooting in 9.9 minutes of play.


RELATED:


Lakers’ Ronnie Price ejected for flagrant foul 2 in loss to New Orleans

After rebuilding New Orleans, Byron Scott hopes to bolster Lakers

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, on different paths to greatness, share same competitive fire


Lakers’ defensive issues persist in 109-102 loss to New Orleans

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers’ Ronnie Price ejected for flagrant foul 2 in loss to New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – The Lakers’ defense became so non-existent and so poor in their 109-102 loss Wednesday to the New Orleans Pelicans here at Smooth King Center that Lakers coach Byron Scott called it “the worst defense I’ve seen.”

Sure seems like it. The Lakers allowed New Orleans to score 60 points in the paint. Forward Anthony Davis dominated with 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting. The Pelicans shot 8-of-19 from three-point range.

One of the few times the Lakers made defensive stops happened when Lakers guard Ronnie Price was called for a flagrant foul type 2 and given an automatic ejection with 9:11 left in the fourth quarter after pulling down Austin Rivers from behind. According to the NBA rulebook, such a call could prompt the league to slap Price with a fine up to $50,000 and/or a one-game suspension. But replays showed that Price attempted to stop the ball.

“I don’t know what a flagrant 1 or 2 is anyway,” Scott said. “I thought he made an attempt to go for the basketball. [The officials] say he swiped at it. Well, when you normally try to block a shot, you swipe at it.”

Price has become involved in other defensive controversies this season. During training camp, Price also picked up a technical foul for throwing his shoe at Golden State’s Andre Iguodala to stop a fast break.


RELATED:


After rebuilding New Orleans, Byron Scott hopes to bolster Lakers


Lakers’ Ronnie Price likely to stay on team


Ronnie Price on shoe incident: “I thought that would stop the play”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers’ Ryan Kelly, Nick Young nearing return

NEW ORLEANS — The Lakers finally received some dose of positive news surrounding the team’s health.

The Lakers are holding out the possibility that forward Ryan Kelly will return Friday against San Antonio, while Nick Young plays next Tuesday in Atlanta. But plenty hinges on what happens between now and then.

The Lakers will not have a full practice on Thursday, but they plan to have some players attend so that both Kelly and Young can squeeze in some time. Young will work on shooting and conditioning drills after rehabbing a surgically repaired right thumb for the past seven weeks. Kelly plans to play games of one-on-one and two-on-two after he felt his right hamstring tighten up after playing only seven minutes in his season debut last week against Phoenix.

Kelly practiced on Monday and went through morning shootaround and pre-game drills on the Lakers’ latest trip this week in Memphis and New Orleans. But Kelly has not advanced toward practicing against teammates.

The Lakers should largely benefit from their presence considering both Young and Kelly are considered dependable shooters that can space the floor. Young averaged a team-leading 17.9 points last season, while Kelly spent his rookie season averaging 8 points per game.

RELATED:

Lakers’ 107-102 loss to Memphis coincides with Kobe Bryant setting NBA record in missed shots


Lakers’ Wayne Ellington given leave of absence after father is killed


Magic Johnson raffling off guest visit for 2015 NBA All-Star game to raise money for HIV treatment

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Magic Johnson raffling off guest visit for 2015 NBA All-Star game to raise money for HIV treatment

Magic Johnson once dished off assists at a prolific rate, knowing that the play would both empower his teammates and largely help the Lakers’ win.

The Lakers’ icon has carried that same approach with his latest initiative. Johnson is holding a raffle that will grant a fan and a friend plenty of prizes for the 2015 NBA All-Star game on Feb. 15, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. They will watch the All-Star game with Johnson in a VIP suite and have an their plane and hotel travel paid for during a four-day trip to New York City. They will sit VIP for the NBA’s 3-point shooting and dunk contest as well as tickets to Drake’s live performance.

Those funds will then go directly to The Global Fund to finance grants which provide HIV prevention, testing, counseling, treatment and care services in Africa, an initiative that entails Johnson, Coca Cola and OMAZE collaborating.

Nearly 23 years ago, Johnson announced his abrupt retirement from the Lakers after learning he contracted the HIV virus. Since then, Johnson’s self-named foundation has raised money for AIDS and HIV awareness through education, treatment and research, grants, scholarships, clinics and adding mobile testing units.

RELATED:

Lakers’ 107-102 loss to Memphis coincides with Kobe Bryant setting NBA record in missed shots

Lakers’ Wayne Ellington given leave of absence after father is killed

James Worthy helps Lakers rookie Julius Randle through recovery

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers’ Byron Scott takes blame in final call of 107-102 loss to Memphis

Memphis, Tenn. – His dream job became Byron Scott’s to take, the lure of becoming the Lakers’ coach all too enticing after helping cement the franchise’s championship culture during the beloved Showtime Era.

The Lakers are far removed from that time period’s success, but Scott took the position insistent he will lay the foundation toward greatness by adopting a no-nonsense approach that holds people accountable. Apparently, that applies to himself, too.

The Lakers’ 107-102 loss Tuesday to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum elicited plenty of second guessing on the potential game-tying play. Why did Jordan Hill take a 21-foot jumper when he only finished the game with a 6-of-17 clip. Why did Jeremy Lin pass Hill the ball instead of Bryant? But instead of casting blame on any of those players, Scott pointed the finger inward.

“It was really my fault,” Scott said. “I could’ve given the visual sign as well instead of trying to yell it at him. I take all the blame for that. That’s not what we wanted for that particular time.”
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers’ Wayne Ellington granted indefinite leave of absence after father’s murder

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Lakers granted reserve Wayne Ellington an indefinite leave of absence after his father was shot and killed Sunday night in Philadelphia. It is not currently clear when Ellington will rejoin the Lakers.

“My family and I are devastated by the news of my father’s murder on Sunday night in Philadelphia,” Ellington said in a statement released by the Lakers. “We appreciate everyone’s support and ask that you respect the privacy of our family during this very difficult time.”

Lakers coach Byron Scott said the team, including Ellington, were informed of the news on Sunday night shortly after the team’s win against Charlotte at Staples Center. Ellington’s father was found shot to death inside his car at an intersection, according to a report in the Philadelphia Daily News. Police on Tuesday told the newspaper they have no motive or suspects.

“All of us have to give him space right now to grieve and deal with this with his family,” Scott said before the Lakers (1-5) played Memphis (6-1) here at FedEx Forum. “We’ll welcome him back with open arms when he decides to come back.”

Ellington made the Lakers’ roster on a non-guaranteed contract, averaging 7.8 points on 57.1 percent shooting in 20.6 minutes as both a backup shooting and point guard. Ellington grew up outside Philadelphia before starring at North Carolna and having numerous stops in his five-year NBA career, including Minnesota (2009-12), Cleveland (2012-13), Memphis (2012-13), Dallas (2013-14) and the Lakers (2014-15). Ellington has a non-guaranteed deal in the offseason, though $581,692 of his contract locks in if he stays on the roster past Dec. 1.

“This is our livelihood but this is still just a game. What happened to Wayne is real life,” said Scott, who also coached Ellington in Cleveland. “It puts everything int perspective. As a team we’ll keep trying to go on and win games. But every now and then before the game, during the game after the game we’ll have Wayne on our mind.”

“Our players are upset for their friend and teammate,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Additionally, ownership and all Lakers employees are also saddened by this tragedy. Those of us who work with and have gotten to know Wayne have come to know what a wonderful and caring person he is. Our hearts go out to Wayne and his family, as do our thoughts and prayers.”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers’ Byron Scott defends Kobe Bryant’s shot selection

os Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, right, talks to Kobe Bryant during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

os Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, right, talks to Kobe Bryant during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Lakers coach Byron Scott initially sounded annoyed.

Kobe Bryant is on the verge of setting an NBA record for most missed shots in a career, and Scott hardly sounded thrilled with the implications that suggested he is a ball hog. Hence, why Scott politely cut off a reporter who brought up that Bryant enters tonight’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies (6-1) here at FedEx Forum only 13 missed field goals shy of setting the NBA’s all-time record.

“I don’t care about that crap,” Scott said following Lakers’ morning shootaround, which lasted around 90 minutes. “I’m sure he doesn’t either. It speaks of his aggressiveness and longevity.”

Bryant enters his 19th season missing 13,405 shots in 1,251 games, but Scott considers that a worthy investment that has resulted in five NBA championships and a fourth-place standing on the league’s all-time scoring list. Meanwhile, Celtics great John Havlicek holds the NBA record for missed shots (13,417 attempts), but won four NBA championships and finished 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list through 16 seasons.

“John was a pretty damn good basketball player back in the day,” Scott said.

Yet, Bryant has rarely escaped criticism regarding his own shot selection. 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.

Scott has largely defended Bryant, saying he has taken a large chunk of the Lakers’ shots namely because teammates haven’t matched his aggressiveness. In the Lakers’ 107-92 win on Sunday over Charlotte, Scott believes Jeremy Lin (21 points), Carlos Boozer (16 points), Jordan Hill (12 points) and Ed Davis (12 points) created a more balanced offense because they did not defer to Bryant as much.

“To the people who talk about how many shots he takes and things like that, it’s almost damned if you, damned if you don’t,” Scott said. “In the games he doesn’t take more shots, people ask why didn’t he take more shots. He can’t win either way. That’s unbelievable to me for a guy who gives everything he’s got every single time he’s on the floor. It’s unfortunate. He’s one of the greatest competitors we’ve seen in a long time. I take all that stuff with a grain of salt and he does too because the bottom line with him is championships.”


RELATED:


Lakers’ Kobe Bryant nearing NBA record for most misses

James Worthy helps Lakers rookie Julius Randle through recovery

Lakers’ 107-92 victory over Charlotte ends winning drought

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers consider Ryan Kelly as questionable to play vs. Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Though forward Ryan Kelly has traveled with the Lakers on their two-game trip, coach Byron Scott considered his status as questionable to play in tonight’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies here at FedEx Forum.

Kelly has sat out the past week because of tightness in his right hamstring, and the Lakers (1-5) want to stay cautious considering they also play on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans (3-3) at Smoothie King Center.

“With the back to back schedule, it might be counter productive to put him in there and then expect him to go play him tomorrow,” Scott said. “In my mind, maybe Wednesday night.”

Kelly has only played one game in the 2014-15 season, scoring two points in seven minutes in last week’s loss to Phoenix. Kelly had opened training camp nursing a strain in his left hamstring before suffering an injury to his right hamstring three weeks ago. Kelly averaged eight points during his rookie season on 33.8 percent shooting from three-point range.


RELATED:


James Worthy helps Lakers rookie Julius Randle through recovery


Will Kobe Bryant’s career end the same way as Michael Jordan?


Lakers granted disabled player exception for Julius Randle

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@la

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email