Lakers’ Kobe Bryant to miss Tuesday’s game vs. Dallas

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) will miss Tuesday's game vs. Dallas with a sore right shoulder. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) will miss Tuesday’s game vs. Dallas with a sore right shoulder. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

As he strives to complete his 20th and final NBA season without a major injury, Kobe Bryant has discovered that the slightest movement can hurt his health.

Hence, Bryant will miss Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center for reasons that have nothing to do with any wear and tear that happened on the court. Bryant reported feeling increased soreness in his right shoulder while struggling to sleep on Monday night.

“I lay down in bed sometimes and it aches,” Bryant said. “I prop it up with a pillow and there’s a technique of laying on my side and all this other stuff. Nights like that are pretty tough.”

So even if Bryant woke up on Tuesday morning to complete his treatment, the Lakers 37-year-old star still did not feel right. So much that Bryant will miss his final matchup against Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki.

“I guess [it’s tough] for a sentimental competition standpoint, but he and I have had a lot of battles,” Bryant said. “I’m sure we’ll have a lot more when no cameras are around. I’m sure well get together and have a beer or two and play against each other one-on-one.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott said his Instagram account was hacked

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings The Lakers' coach Byron Scott watches his team as they trail the Kings during a NBA basketball game Wednesday, January 20, 2016, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA. The Kings won 112-93. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings
The Lakers’ coach Byron Scott watches his team as they trail the Kings during a NBA basketball game Wednesday, January 20, 2016, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA. The Kings won 112-93.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

Through the debilitating losses and mounting criticism, Lakers coach Byron Scott promised he resisted any inkling to respond to any negative fan reaction on his Instagram page.

“I know me,” Scott said two months ago. “I take it personal and might say something back.”

Scott maintained he still has not done that. He posted on Tuesday that his Instagram account was hacked, adding he did not make comments attributed to his account that challenged a fan to a fight.

“There was someone that got my password to respond back to a fan as if it were me,” read a message on Scott’s Instagram account. “That would never happen from my end. We have gotten it corrected. My social media is only for positive and uplifting things only! God Bless Lakers nation & have a great day!”

In a previous message, Scott responded to a commenter that challenged him to a fight accompanying a photo of Scott boxing. Whoever was in control of Scott’s account replied, “bring it,” and added, “show your face, don’t hide.”

Even before the latest incident, Scott has said that an unnamed family member uses and monitors his Instagram account on his behalf.


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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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D’Angelo Russell confident about scoring abilities against talented guards

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant lit into the team, particularly D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, following Saturday's loss in Portland. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant lit into the team, particularly D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, following Saturday’s loss in Portland. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

The challenges have emerged quickly for Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell. He has already played more NBA games than he did at his lone season at Ohio State. He has had less time to relax, study, recover and practice between those games. He has dealt with the frustration that involved a reserve role and late-game benchings.

But nothing matches the speed Russell has to slow down when he matches up with elite Western Conference point guards. Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Damian Lillard and Chris Paul all represent a handful of opponents Russell has had to defend.

And yet…

“I’ve still got it,” Russell said Monday at the Lakers’ annual “All-Access” event at Staples Center, sponsored by the L.A. Sports and Entertainment Commission. “I mean, they’ve got to guard me too.”
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Shaquille O’Neal keeps the jokes coming at Lakers’ All Access event

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal buried the hatchet on Shaq's podcast that was released on Monday. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal buried the hatchet on Shaq’s podcast that was released on Monday. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

In an event geared toward the Lakers’ success past, the present storylines and off-beat questions, the primary guest on the 12th annual Lakers All-Access event seemed the most appropriate.

Former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal walked into Staples Center on Monday evening and provided something he had done for his eight-years with the Lakers (1996-2004) where he won three of his four NBA championships. He told entertaining stories. He answered questions honestly. He left everyone laughing.

Below is the rundown:

O’Neal:
“I got the call from the lovely Jeanie Buss about the event. So of course I would show. The Buss family has done a lot for me and we’ve had a great times together. We had a million great times and probably one bad time. The million great times are the times we always remember and the times that count.”

Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet’s Bill MacDonald:
“What do you think of Roy Hibbert? He talked earlier about going up against you.”

O’Neal: “I like Roy. This year is a different role. This year is the Kobe [Bryant] tribute year and everything. It’s really focused and based on Kobe. Next year when the Lakers start rebuilding, Roy is part of the future. What he did in the Eastern Conference Finals against Indiana he was on his way, he didn’t have the opportunity to do that this year. But he still has it in him.”

Macdonald: “Did you own him?”

O’Neal:
“Of course. BBQ chicken. Elbows to the face.”

Macdonald:
“Because it’s in the news, how many of you heard what Shaq did the past couple of days. Can you describe what happened better than I can succinctly what happened with the police down in Gainesville, Florida with pickup basketball.

O’Neal: “I’m an undercover detective so you just blew my cover [laughs]. As soon as I was out of work, the chief called me in and said ‘I want you in this video.’ The video was awesome and I liked the way they handled the kids. I’d rather have kids rowdy playing sports where we can see them rather than them doing anything [else]. At the end, the officers said ‘Will you guys be out here tomorrow?’ The kids said ‘Yes.’ [The officer] said he needs backup. So he asked, ‘I need you to drive down to Gainesville and play with the kids.’ I just wanted to go and have fun with the kids and tell the officer he did a great job.”
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Lakers curious to see how Kobe Bryant’s speech will affect team

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant lit into the team, particularly D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, after Saturday's loss in Portland. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant lit into the team, particularly D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, after Saturday’s loss in Portland.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

To the Lakers, the words sounded honest, critical and constructive as Kobe Bryant spoke. Bryant delivered a two-minute speech following Saturday’s loss in Portland, unloading a season-long worth of frustration with the Western Conference’s worst record, the team’s development and their attitude.

“‘Don’t blame it on anybody else,”‘ Lakers coach Byron Scott recalled Bryant saying. “‘You can’t blame it on the schemes or you’re not getting the minutes or touches or anything like that.’ His message was, ‘You have to compete every night.’ You have to come ready to compete like he did when he was 18 or 19 years until he’s 37 years old.”

Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. described Bryant’s post-game critique as “a very heartfelt passionate speech.” Lakers forward Brandon Bass said “he was cool with it.” Scott believed all of Bryant’s teammates “took it the right way.” And Scott predicted this could mark a turning point even if the Lakers (9-37) enter Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (25-21) at Staples Center far removed from the playoff picture.

“It’ll give them a wake up call and it lets them know you have a lot of work to do. You’re nowhere near where you think you are at this particular point,” Scott said. “A lot of times you think you’re working hard and you are, but you can work harder. That’s what we’re trying to get our guys to understand, especially in this organization where we only judge ourselves by banners. It’s not easy. You have to put in extra work at times and sometimes it’s a thankless job.”

But the main characters surrounding Bryant’s blistering critique did not address the issue. Bryant did not speak to reporters on Monday since he missed practice for maintenance purposes. Although he responded to the question in a friendly manner, Bryant declined to confirm or deny what he said to Los Angeles News Group on Saturday night. After Bryant singled them out by name in front of the team, neither rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell nor second-year forward Julius Randle spoke to reporters. Yet, the Lakers quickly mentioned both players already had previously scheduled appointments.

“We’ve lost a lot. It’s definitely frustrating. But you have to want to change it,” Lakers second-year guard Jordan Clarkson. “That’s one of the biggest messages. If we want to carry the franchise, we have to figure out a way to change it.”

Nance Jr. said that already started in Monday’s practice where the team followed through on their vow to improve their defensive communication. After all, part of Bryant’s frustration stemmed from the Lakers not following through on their game plan to trap Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who combined for 64 points.

Will Bryant’s message have more of a lasting impact?

“It can. But it’s something you have to focus on everyday,” Bass said. “You can’t just say it one time and then let that be that. It has to be small detail things you have to focus one very day. Hopefully it’ll speed the process up.

The Lakers have shown steady individual play from their young players in various ways. Russell has scored a combined 39 points on 16-of-22 shooting. Russell has shot at least 50 percent in three of the last four games, while also making 46.7 percent of his 3-point attempts. Randle ranks first in his sophomore class and ninth overall in total rebounds (431). And Clarkson has posted double digits in 23 of the past 24 games.

Yet, the Lakers have not become satisfied with any of their defensive efforts. At various times, Russell and Randle also have shown frustration with both limited minutes and serving a reserve role for the past month.

“You have to get used to it. From AAU to high school to college, it’s different from the NBA,” said Bass, a 10-year veteran. “You have to adjust a lot faster and have to grow up a lot faster. You have to be held accountable.”

Though Bryant has averaged only 15.8 points on a career-low 34.7 percent shooting, he has tried to hold his team accountable in various ways. He has offered a first-hand glimpse of his recovery and practice regimen. He has pointed out various tactics on the floor during play. He has mostly provided positive reinforcement until Saturday’s game in Portland.

Then, Bryant intervened during a team huddle in the third quarter amid frustration over the team’s effort. He then delivered another message in the locker room. After experiencing Bryant’s tough love last season that included a profanity-laced tirade during a practice, Clarkson openly wondered how the Lakers’ current team will handle his feedback.

“Some guys shut down and some guys come in here and work,” Clarkson said. “It’s a two-way street. Which one you going to pick? Shut down or come in and work?”

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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’ Kobe Bryant partly motivated to score 62 points vs Dallas because of Del Harris

LOS ANGELES - 01/ 22/06 - ©DAILY BREEZE PHOTO: SCOTT VARLEY -- Lakers guard Kobe Bryant credited former Lakers coach & Dallas assistant Del Harris for scoring 62 points through three quarters in the 2005-06 season

LOS ANGELES – 01/ 22/06 – ©DAILY BREEZE PHOTO: SCOTT VARLEY — Lakers guard Kobe Bryant credited former Lakers coach & Dallas assistant Del Harris for scoring 62 points through three quarters in the 2005-06 season

PORTLAND — The shots dropped into the basket with remarkable efficiency.

So much that Kobe Bryant initially outscored the entire Dallas Mavericks. So much that Bryant scored 62 points through three quarters, giving the Lakers enough cushion that he felt no need to play in the final period. So much that Bryant became the sixth player in Lakers history to score at least 60 points in a regular-season game.

And with the Lakers (9-37) facing the Dallas Mavericks (25-20) for the final time on Tuesday at Staples Center, Bryant narrowed in on one specific source that fueled his outburst.

“Del Harris,” Bryant said, sparking laughter both from himself and reporters.

Harris worked as a Mavericks assistant from 2000 to 2007. But before that, Harris coached the Lakers from 1994-1999 through Bryant’s first two NBA seasons. The Lakers then fired Harris after a 6-6 start in the 1999 lock-out shortened season. Bryant became frustrated playing for Harris, who featured him off the bench in 15.5 minutes per game his rookie season.

“When I was a rookie, I hated Del,” Bryant said. “I always said if I get a chance to get revenge, I’m going to get it.”
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Kobe Bryant rips into team after Lakers 121-103 loss in Portland

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) reaches in on Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) reaches in on Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

PORTLAND — After spending the past two months basking in endless praise, thoughtful gifts and nostalgic video tributes, Kobe Bryant experienced something that seemed more natural during his accomplished and drama-filled NBA career.

Bryant became the villain again during the Lakers’ 121-103 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday at Moda Center. The examples went beyond the hometown crowd booing him every time he touched the ball. With the Lakers offering little to stop Portland’s Damian Lillard (36 points) and CJ McCollum (28 points), Bryant provided pointed comments to his teammates about their play in the locker room afterwards, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

Bryant, who posted 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting and five turnovers in 25 minutes through three quarters, became upset both with the Lakers (9-37) for losing their sixth consecutive game and for some on the team smiling after the loss, sources said. Bryant took particular aim at Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell and second-year forward Julius Randle and even called them out by name, sources said.

“You know I don’t do the gossip [expletive],” Bryant said in a friendly exchange when asked about the incident.

None of Bryant’s teammmates, including Russell and Randle, were specifically asked about Bryant’s criticisms because Los Angeles News Group learned the revelations after media access to the locker room ended. But multiple sources confirmed that Bryant spoke for about two minutes after Lakers coach Byron Scott addressed the team.

Bryant also expressed his displeasure during a timeout when the Lakers trailed, 93-74, with 1:57 left in the third quarter. That happened after Randle missed two consecutive rebounds before Lillard hit a 3-pointer. The Lakers looked deflated after the play.

“We just weren’t defending,” Randle said about Bryant’s criticisms during the timeout.
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Lakers’ Larry Nance Jr considered a game-time decision vs San Antonio

Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. will miss his third consecutive game because of a sore right knee.  (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. will miss his third consecutive game because of a sore right knee. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

The man once defied gravity with his soaring jumps. He once exceeded expectations with a dependable mid-range jumper. But Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. has landed back down to earth because of a sore right knee. After missing the past two games because of that injury, Larry Nance Jr. will find out leading up to tipoff whether he will return when the Lakers (9-35) host the San Antonio Spurs (37-6) on Friday at Staples Center.

Nance Jr. participated in Friday’s morning shootaround and was seen taking jumpers. But Lakers coach Byron Scott described the session as “light.”

“If I leave it up to him, he’ll probably say, ‘Coach I’m good.’ But I’ll talk to Gary [Vitt],” said Scott, referring to the Lakers’ head athletic trainer. “I didn’t get a chance to see him get up and down the floor. I’ll talk to Gary and see how he feels and go from there.””

Nance Jr. played only three minutes in Saturday’s loss in Utah, but he and the Lakers reported he had felt some consistent albeit mild soreness in recent weeks. But the Lakers have since treated Nance Jr. conservatively.

The Lakers have liked Nance Jr’s energy, defense and shooting accuracy, which has contributed toward averaging 6.0 points on 54 percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds. That explains why Scott remains reluctant to yank Nance Jr’s starting spot at power forward, which he played for 22 games before his injury. But Lakers forward Julius Randle will receive another nod to prove his worthiness as a starter, though that has proven a mixed bag. After posting 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting and 11 rebounds in Sunday’s loss to Houston, Randle had six points on a 2-of-11 clip and 12 rebounds in Tuesday’s loss to Sacramento.

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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’ Kobe Bryant leads NBA in votes for final All-Star appearance

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) drives the lane against Kings' Ben McLemore (23) during a NBA basketball game Wednesday, January 20, 2016, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) drives the lane against Kings’ Ben McLemore (23) during a NBA basketball game Wednesday, January 20, 2016, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

So much uncertainty looms over Kobe Bryant’s fluctuating health and performances. But nothing seems uncertain regarding fan sentiment surrounding Bryant, who received an NBA-leading 1,891,614 votes to start in his 18th and final NBA All-Star game on Feb. 16 in Toronto.

Bryant will start with Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook. Golden State forward Draymond Green surprisingly will not start, though coaches can still vote for him as a reserve.

Bryant will become the fourth player in NBA history to start an All-Star game at 37 years or older, something only Michael Jordan, John Havlicek and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have also done. He became the NBA’s leading vote-getter for the fourth time in his career (2003, 2011 and 2013) and was named a start for an NBA-record 16th time. Only Abdul-Jabbar (19) has made more NBA All-Star appearances than Bryant, who was named as a starter in every All-Star game since 1998. There was no game in 1999 because of the league-imposed lockout. Bryant also missed the NBA All-Star game in 2010, 2014 and 2015 because of injuries.

Bryant has set numerous NBA All-Star records. He is tied with Bob Pettit for four All-Star MVP’s in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011. He has set records for most points scored (280), most field goals made (115) and most steals (37, tied with Michael Jordan).

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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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Forbes value Lakers at $2.7 billion as NBA’s second most valuable franchise

Lakers president Jeanie Buss oversees a franchise that Forbes say is ranked $2.6 billion. ANDY HOLZMAN — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Lakers president Jeanie Buss oversees a franchise that Forbes say is ranked $2.6 billion. ANDY HOLZMAN — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Even amid a difficult present and an uncertain future, the Lakers have clarity on at least one thing.

They are still a valuable NBA franchise. So valuable that Forbes are worth $2.7 billion and are considered the NBA’s second-most lucrative franchise behind the New York Knicks ($3.0 billion).

Forbes reported the Lakers brought in $304 million in annual revenue off of an operating income worth $133.4 million. Last year, Forbes valued the Lakers at $2.4 billion, meaning the Lakers made a 4% increase in total earnings. The Lakers rank ahead of the Chicago Bulls ($2.3 billion), Boston Celtics ($2.1 billion) and the Clippers ($2 billion), which is the amount Steve Ballmer spent paid to own the franchise in 2014.

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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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