The concept caused Kobe Bryant to laugh loudly. The Lakers’ star went on a monologue stressing the importance of ball movement and developing the team’s young players. Then the irony hit him.
Isn’t Bryant the same player who cemented a reputation as a high-volume shooter with little regard for team play?
“Can you believe I’m saying this [stuff]? Are you kidding? I’m a kid that grows up and suddenly sounds like his parents,” Bryant said with a loud chuckle following the Lakers’ 102-91 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday at Staples Center. “I never thought I’d see the day where I become the voice of ball movement-reason. I never thought I’d see the day where I’m preaching that stuff. That’s crazy.” Continue reading →
SAN DIEGO — It took eleven years for Marcelo Huertas to excel on the hardwood in Spain before it became good enough for an NBA team to offer him a contract. It took two weeks before Huertas healed enough from a strained right hamstring before he could show the Lakers’ brass what he could do against an NBA opponent. And it took only one NBA game for Huertas to leave a positive impression.
In the Lakers’ 85-70 victory against Golden State on Saturday that ended with 2:16 left in the third quarter, Huertas posted four points and six assists in 12 minutes off the bench. As a 32-year-old Brazilian point guard, Huertas made up for lost time by accelerating his familiarity with teammates and improving his chances with staying on the roster on a non-guaranteed contract.
“It’s important to know how each of them play so I can find them on the court,” Huertas said. “I’m a guy that is pretty unselfish. I like to share the ball and make other people happy. If I get them happy, they’re probably happy back at me.” Continue reading →
Los Angeles Lakers vs Toronto Raptors on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
ONTARIO — He spoke in an excited tone, Robert Upshaw experiencing the initial wave of euphoria surrounding his first NBA exhibition appearance. The Lakers’ reserve center just posted six points on three-of-four shooting, three rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one turnover in 25 minutes in the team’s 105-97 preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday at Citizens Business Bank Arena. That left Upshaw appearing on cloud nine as he sat by his locker.
“It was really good,” Upshaw said. “I finally got to get my feet wet, go out there and play some good basketball and just keep up the energy.”
Outside of the locker room, Lakers coach Byron Scott spoke in a more solemn tone about Upshaw’s performance.
“He was okay,” Scott said. “He made a ton of mistakes on both ends of the floor. That’s probably to be expected in his first game.” Continue reading →
HONOLULU — Nothing stood in Julius Randle’s way as he leaped toward the basket.
The Lakers’ forward had an open lane to throw down a thunderous dunk after D’Angelo Russell threw a no-look bounce pass. Randle felt fully comfortable bulldozing his way inside with his brute strength. And he no longer looked limited with a surgically repaired right leg that left him sidelined for nearly his entire rookie season.
But then Utah forward Trevor Booker fouled Randle from behind, sending the Lakers’ forward crashing down on the same leg that he injured nearly 11 months ago. Hence, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant could not leap out his seat fast enough to attend to Randle.
“You damn right I did,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 90-71 preseason loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Stan Sheriff Center. “If I was fast enough to catch him, I would.”
The incident may have left the Lakers skittish. But it left Randle amused as he recalled thinking “nothing” as he took a fall that sparked gasps among the nearly partisan 10,300 watching in person and the countless purple and gold faithful observing around the world.
“I was fine,” Randle said. “I didn’t think I hurt myself or anything. I came down on my right leg, didn’t I? I think I came down on my right leg. I was more worried about getting back up.”
Los Angeles Lakers Media Day in El Segundo Monday September 28, 2015. Roy Hibbert interview. Photo By Robert Casillas / Daily Breeze
All the numbers suggest the NBA teams should go small, the influx of speedy point guards and outside shooters forcing the game to put less of an emphasis on size and power.
But to break that trend, Lakers center Roy Hibbert wants to take advantage of another number. His weight. Hibbert spent a significant chunk of his offseason losing 15 pounds in fat, so he would no longer become seen as a plodding big man.
“With how the NBA is going, you have a lot of quick centers,” Hibbert said on Monday at the Lakers’ Media Day at their practice facility in El Segundo. “It’s changed some things up. But I feel I’m in a place where I can hold my own in the post and get up and down the court.”
One of those centers includes Golden State’s Andrew Bogut, whose contributions Hibbert believes quickly became overshadowed with the outside shooting from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s emergence as well as the defense from Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. Yet, the 7-foot Bogut still landed on the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team and finished sixth in Defensive Player of the Year votes despite averaging a career-low 23.6 minutes per game.
“He didn’t score a lot, and he’s not the fastest guy out there. No disrespect to him,” Hibbert said of Bogut. “He was a friend of mien and I’ve known him for a while. I admire his game and how he sacrifices what he does to help his team win a championship. I don’t mind being the older guy that has to sacrifice and be the defensive anchor.”
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.
One night after missing a potential game-tying free throw in the closing seconds against Memphis, the Lakers’ Ed Davis shot 150 free throws at practice and has shown improvement at the free-throw line. Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
By Tony Ciniglio
Daily News staff writer
Ed Davis did not shy away from the free-throw line at Saturday’s practice, one day after missing a potential game-tying free throw in the closing seconds of a 109-106 loss to Memphis.
Davis said he shot 150 free throws. And maybe more impressively, he made 115.
“You’ve just got to get in the gym more and keep working at it,” Davis said. “I’m glad I got to experience something like that. I wish it was a different outcome, but you live and you learn.”
Davis — shooting 51.7 percent from the free throw line this season — actually finished Friday’s game making 6 of 8 free throws and is 9 of 12 in his last two games since Lakers coach Byron Scott make a small tweak.
“With Ed, I saw one little thing. I moved him over just a tad (to his left). I think it centered him more,” Scott said. “He’s been making it ever since.
“Some of it is technique, some of it is just doing it on a day to day basis. Now it’s just a matter when he gets up there, he feels more comfortable and has that confidence.”