Former Los Angeles Laker Magic Johnson is joined by WNBA president Laurel Richie in front of Staples Center on Feb. 5, 2014, to announce that he is part of a group buying the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Magic Johnson once delivered the Lakers five NBA championships during the Showtime Era with timely assists and clutch baskets. But with the Lakers (5-16) off to their worst start in franchise history, Johnson believes the Lakers’ path toward championship prosperity involves something else.
“I hope the Lakers lose every game, because if you’re going to lose, lose. I’m serious,” Johnson told Newsday. “If you’re going to lose, you have to lose, because you can’t be in the middle of the pack. You either have to be great or you have to be bad, to get a good [draft] pick.”
Head coach Byron Scott of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to Carlos Boozer #5 during their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on November 1, 2014 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The war of words continued between Lakers Byron Scott and veteran forward Carlos Boozer, who questioned why Scott benched him during the Lakers’ loss on Sunday to the New Orleans Pelicans.
“He’s not the coach,” Scott said. “It’s my opinion. So as a coach, sometimes you have to make tough decisions. It was a tough decision, but I made it. I’ll stick to it and then go from there.”
“Lakers Kobe Bryant shoots for two points during first half action at Staples Center Sunday, December 7, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) “
The Lakers have suffered losses at a franchise record pace. Their defense has become a non-threatening punching bag that enable both stars and no-name players alike to post career numbers. And the Lakers have failed to offer any consistent signal on when it will all stop.
Yet, one variable has still ensured the Lakers attracting strong interest from fans and media alike. The reason, of course, involves Kobe Bryant, who has posted a league-leading 25.2 points after appearing in only six games last season because of injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee. Within that storyline emerges another interesting subplot. Bryant enters the Lakers’ (5-16) game on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings (10-10) at Staples Center only 62 points away from surpassing Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
“I think these milestones are mainly a distraction,” former Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said on NBA TV’s “The Beat.” “The important thing for Kobe Bryant are the World Championships and MVPs. He’s done all of those things. He’s already achieved the things that count and that people judge you by. I don’t think he needs to be that emotional.”
“Lakers Carlos Boozer slams in two points during first half action at Staples Center Sunday, December 7, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) “
Carlos Boozer eventually emerged out of the trainer’s room, the hour-long wait after Monday’s practice delaying the inevitable answer on what he thought of his recent benching.
“Obviously it was a surprise,” Boozer said. “I didn’t expect that. But if it helps the team win, I’m a team player. If it helps the team win, that’s what it’s going to be.”
Clearly, Boozer does not support Lakers coach Byron Scott recently taking away his starting position. Scott shared after the Lakers’ 104-87 loss on Sunday to the New Orleans Pelicans that Boozer felt unhappy about his demotion. Boozer left the locker room afterwards without speaking to reporters. Boozer later admitted to L.A. Newspaper Group, “I don’t know if it’s the answer.”
“That’s not my job,” Boozer said. “My job is to compete, play and help my team win. I’m going to do my job.”
“Lakers Kobe Bryant drives around Pelicans Tyreke Evans during first half action at Staples Center Sunday, December 7, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) “
The Lakers have hit an iceberg, their worst start in franchise history, league worst defense and no consistent signs of improvement all have contributed toward sinking at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
But as Kobe Bryant said following the Lakers’ 104-87 loss on Sunday to the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center, “If this was the Titanic, I would go down with the ship. I’m not jumping off.”
Will the Lakers (5-16) follow suit? Will they have enough life boats? Will they avoid fighting over them if the sinking becomes inevitable?
Bryant’s humorous metaphor seemed fitting. Lakers coach Byron Scott made his first lineup change of the season in hopes of injecting new energy, a revamped defense and a more organized offense. So Ronnie Price took Jeremy Lin’s starting role at point guard, while Ed Davis started at power forward over Carlos Boozer. But the move just represented shuffling the deck chairs of the Titanic.
The offensive point guard production still looked awful between Price (three points on 1-of-4 shooting) and Lin (three points on 1-of-5 shooting). Boozer and Davis each had 12 points. And the defense still looked atrocious, with power forward Anthony Davis (23 points on 11-of-15 shooting) and point guard Jrue Holiday (22 points on 9-of-17 shooting) having a field day.
“This is where you find out what your identity will be,” Bryant said. “You find out who’s competitive and who’s going to step up and take the challenge.”
He lost his starting position, and Lakers guard Jeremy Lin voiced his disapproval through words.
“I believe I can be a starting point guard in the league and I want to be,” Lin said following the Lakers’ 104-87 loss on Sunday to the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center. “That’s been a goal of mine for a long time. I’m not going to lie. It was disappointing when I heard about it.”
He lost his starting position, and Lakers forward Carlos Boozer voiced his disapproval through silence. He left the locker room without speaking to reporters, leaving the man who demoted Boozer to speak for him.
“He wasn’t real happy,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “He wasn’t real talkative today.”
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott said there would be changes to his starting lineup following Friday’s 113-96 loss to the Boston Celtics. Lakers next game is Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, against New Orleans at Staples Center. (File photo/AP Photo)
In hopes of injecting life into an otherwise dour season, Lakers coach Byron Scott will start Ronnie Price at point guard and Ed Davis at power forward for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans (8-10) at Staples Center. This sends Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer to the bench, and marks what Scott called the “first change of a possibility of being many” as the Lakers labor through a 5-15 record in what marks their worst start in franchise history.
“Both of those guys play extremely hard,” Scott said of Price and Davis. “Both of those guys have more of a defensive mentality. It’s probably a better match with the starters that we have.”
The Lakers re-assigned rookie backup point guard Jordan Clarkson to their Development League affiliate, the D-Fenders. Clarkson will appear in Saturday’s game against Reno at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, which will mark his third appearance in the D-League.
Clarkson is expected to return to the Lakers for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center. But it’s unclear if he will play. Clarkson has averaged 4.8 points on 41 percent shooting in only 11.3 minutes in 11 of the Lakers’ 20 games. With the D-Fenders, Clarkson has averaged 23.5 points, five assists and four rebounds in two games.
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Celtics’ Rajon Rondo talk basketball over breakfast
Byron Scott to make lineup changes following Lakers’ 113-96 loss to Celtics
Lakers’ Jeremy Lin trying to meet challenge of playing with Kobe Bryant
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at email@example.com
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott scratches his forehead in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 111-95. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
BOSTON — The affection Lakers coach Byron Scott has for Kobe Bryant becomes crystal clear the moment he talks. Scott gushes about Bryant’s play following two major injuries. Scott defends Bryant’s shot selection. Scott waxes nostalgic about serving as Bryant’s mentor his rookie season 18 years ago.
But Scott hardly seemed thrilled about Bryant having breakfast on Thursday morning with Celtics guard Rajon Rondo. Which Celtic did Scott dine with during the Lakers’ Showtime Era?
“I didn’t, “Scott said. “I’m still real old school. I don’t have breakfast with Danny [Ainge] and all those guys.”
Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Boston’s Rajon Rondo, the only players remaining from the teams’ NBA Finals showdowns in 2008 and 2010, will square off again under much different circumstances Friday night at TD Center in Boston. (Winslow Townson/The Associated Press)
BOSTON — The two men once faced each other in physically intense battles that both defined the Lakers-Celtics rivalry and determined NBA championships. But on Thursday morning, there Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Celtics guard Rajon Rondo sat together for breakfast at The Paramount in Beacon Hill.
“It was delicious,” Bryant said following morning shootaround before the Lakers (5-14) visit the Boston Celtics (5-11) on Friday at TD Garden.
But the breakfast involved more than just enjoying orange juice and toast.
Bryant showed off his sarcasm involving the issue on whether he would like Rondo join the Lakers once he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“I’ve never thought about having any future teammates before,” Bryant said, wryly.
Instead, Bryant joked that he and Rondo had a “mutual intervention” surrounding their respective team struggles. In reality, Bryant reported having a “basketball geek conversation” that entailed revisiting the Lakers and Celtics trading NBA titles in 2008 and 2010.
But Bryant said those talks did not involve any bantering. Bryant said he reserves that for former Celtic Paul Pierce, who currently plays in Washington. What has Bryant said to Pierce?
“That two birds in a hand,” Bryant said, “are always better than one.”