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Category: Darius Morris

Metta World Peace at odds with Mike Brown

Fox Sports West's Joe McDonnell talks to an unnamed Laker who mentions that several players want the front office to part ways with Metta World Peace
--Fox Sports West's Joe McDonnell talks to an unnamed Laker who mentions that several players want the front office to part ways with Metta World Peace. McDonnell also delves into World Peace's frustration regarding his role under Coach Mike Brown.

--The Times' Ben Bolch reports that the Lakers don't have serious interest in free-agent guard Gilbert Arenas.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr wonders if Arenas would solve the Lakers' problems.

--The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek and Sean Gordon profile UCLA-bound Nirra Fields. Lakers Coach Mike Brown and his wife, Carolyn, are Fields' legal guardians. 

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford reports that Arenas' workout for the Lakers over the weekend went well.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell hangs out with rookie guards Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris while they play NBA Jam.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Actuarially Sound looks at the Lakers' identity.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano compares the Lakers' progress this season to playing whack-a-mole.

Tweet of the Day: "As Jeremy lin's manager , I think he should buy a sailboat. Everyday day I will tweet advice to my client Jeremy Lin" -- MettaWorldPeace (Lakers forward Metta World Peace)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "At first I was opposed bringing Arenas on board. But after this Grammy trip, I am convinced that they need to make some kind of move. PG is their weakest link and it definitely needs to be addressed. For some reason, I feel that the Lakers will not be making any kind of move. I have no faith in the front office when Jim Buss will not relinquish his control over management. Let Mitch do his job. And Brown needs to stop changing the roster so much that. This takes away the benches confidence when they don't know if they will ever get on the floor. It's time to stop experimenting and make up your mind." -- Matt Phu

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Metta World Peace shows his frustration after being called for a foul during the Lakers' game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 31. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Kobe Bryant has other people pack his suitcase [Video]

The Lakers play at Denver on Friday evening in their first game of six-game trip.

While Kobe Bryant has to worry about improving his team's dismal 2-7 road record over an arduous 10-day stretch, he does not have to think twice about packing.

That's because he has other people do the job for him.

"I don't do that," he said. "I'm Hollywood; my stylist does it for me. I don't touch a suitcase. I'm Hollywood, I've been here for 16 years now man, I don't lift a finger."

Since Bryant has millions upon millions of dollars and the Lakers have two rookies on the team, that statement may be more literal than one may think.

Rookie guard Andrew Goudelock recently said that he often has to fetch the veterans' laundry and shoes.

Failing to deliver comes with major consequences.

Just ask Darius Morris, who was hazed during the team's last trip because he didn't bring his teammates burgers from In-N-Out. Among his punishments, Morris had to pose like a butler with a towel over his wrist while his teammates dined.

When Bryant was asked whether the rookies help him pack as another one of their duties, he shook his head.

"No, you seen them dress?" he said. "They don't touch my stuff."

In the video above, the Lakers discuss their favorite and least favorite things about traveling together.

Morris sits next to Bryant on the plane and while he wouldn't reveal what the Black Mamba does en route, he said that the NBA star talks to him and gives him valuable tips on the plane.

"I witness the Kobe System every day," he said.

Other fun tidbits -- Metta World Peace's favorite cities are Miami and New York. Jason Kapono said (jokingly?) that he wears cucumbers and a mask on the plane to beautify his complexion and claimed (jokingly) that Luke Walton changes clothes every two hours.

"I don't know if it's a Hollywood thing or like a bodily thing," he said.

The Lakers enter this long road stretch coming off of a 106-73 victory against Charlotte on Tuesday in which they were able to rest their starters.

Denver is currently in second place in the Western Conference with a record of 15-7 while the Lakers are sixth at 13-9.

MORE:

It's game on in Denver despite heavy snow

Roaches, road trips? It's all the same to Metta World Peace [Video]

Lakers' Darius Morris is hazed for not getting teammates "In N Out" [Video]

-- Melissa Rohlin

Lakers' Darius Morris is hazed for not getting teammates "In N Out" [Video]

Being a rookie can be awfully difficult.

Before embarking on a recent trip, Darius Morris offered to grab his teammates some burgers and fries from the fast food chain In N Out -- but came back empty-handed.

That proved to be a huge mistake.

"I was just trying to be a good rookie and volunteered to get some In N Out for the whole team," he said. "Unfortunately we got out of shootaround just a little bit late and I wasn't able to get them because the line at In N Out LAX is pretty crowded. It was either get the burgers or be late and miss the plane."

His teammates decided to make an example of Morris for the remainder of the trip, jokingly hazing him for his failed mission.

"Man, he had to fix everybody's food," rookie guard Andrew Goudelock said of Morris. "He had to give Matt [Barnes] his drink, in his mouth, like he had to pour the drink down his mouth."

It gets worse.

"They wouldn't let him eat," Goudelock added. "He had to stand there while everyone was eating with a towel over his wrist like a butler."

Goudelock said he's done everything that has been asked of him to avoid that type of treatment, including retrieving players' shoes and laundry.

"If you don't do something that they ask, then it's like 100 times worse for you," he said with a smile.

Morris said he has learned his lesson. After all, it won't be long before another test. The Lakers have a 10-day, six-game trip beginning Friday at Denver.

Sitting by his locker before playing the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday, Morris made it clear his teammates will never be unsatiated when craving burgers again.

"I guess a couple of people's taste buds were spoiled that evening," he said. "It's OK though. There's always going to be another road trip, more opportunities for In N Out burgers. So we'll get it done."

-- Melissa Rohlin

Darius Morris likely to see reduced playing time

At some point during the NBA season, Lakers guard Darius Morris cut through the filter and reiterated this to assistant coach John Kuester: "I can play."

The comment struck the Lakers' coaching staff because it showcased the Lakers' rookie strong confidence in himself. But it also showed just how much little faith the Lakers have in him.

The latest sign: Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he plans on giving the backup point guard spot to Andrew Goudelock when the Lakers visit the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night after scoring a career-high 14 points Wednesday against the Clippers. Whenever Lakers guard Steve Blake returns within the next week or two from a fracture connected to his rib and sternum, it's likely neither will see much playing time at all. Morris recalled Brown telling him Goudelock's promotion had nothing to do with his play during Blake's absence, but his comments to the media only days earlier suggested otherwise.

"I'm playing a young guy at a pretty important spot, just out of college," Brown said of Morris.
"We're relying on him to do a lot out on the floor, as your point guard. Not necessarily to score, but to get guys in the right spot at the right time, and it's not like he can only play five minutes or we can move him along slowly."

Morris' seven-game stretch where he averaged 3.6 points on 40% shooting featured questionable decision-making, yet intriguing potential. He appeared foolish waving off Pau Gasol on a pick-and-roll sequence so he could guard Chris Paul one-on-one only to get beat. But Morris appeared incredibly composed in responding with a half-court buzzer beater. His speed and quick dribble showed his potential in running the point guard. But his over-dribbling often came at the expense of actually running the offense.

"I was thrown into the fire," Morris said. "But it is what it is. Hopefully when I get out there, that will make me that much better."

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Mike Brown: NBA reassesses Blake Griffin's push on Darius Morris

This will hardly cool down the animosity between the Lakers and the Clippers, but it at least brought some clarity as they prepare for the second regular-season showdown Wednesday between the two L.A. teams.

Lakers Coach Mike Brown publicly pushed for the NBA to review a non-call on Blake Griffin's push of Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris late in the first quarter of the Lakers' 102-94 loss Jan. 14 to the Clippers. Nine days later, he said the league informed him of something that assuaged his initial irritation.

"I don't know if they gave it to him or not," Brown said, "but the league said Blake should've gotten at least a technical for pushing [Morris]."

The NBA's technical foul list indicated they didn't rescind Griffin's technical. The league rulebook states though that "anyone guilty of illegal contact which occurs during a dead ball may be assessed a technical foul, if the contact is deemed to be unsportsmanlike in nature." In Blake's case, he pushed Morris while he was in the air attempting a dunk, apparently upset that he continued playing after officials gave Clippers guard Chris Paul a foul on Morris. That prompted Brown to scream angrily at the official and earn a technical foul himself while assistant coaches John Kuester and Chuck Person were  holding him back.

Brown added that the NBA rescinded Morris' technical foul in the third quarter after entering a near-fray involving several Clippers and Lakers forward Josh McRoberts, an action NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed.

"The officials are human, but they overreacted and gave the Clippers a point there," Brown said. "It was officials looking at Darius and thinking, 'He's a rookie'."

RELATED:

 Mike Brown wants NBA to review Blake Griffin's push on Darius Morris

Lakers, Clippers remain chippy with each other

Five things to take from Lakers' 102-94 loss to the Clippers

— Mark Medina

 

Lakers, Clippers remain chippy with each other

Each push, physical play and altercation confirmed one thing about the Lakers and the Clippers.

They don't like each other. That intensity in the Lakers' 102-94 loss Saturday to the Clippers reached full boil when Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris drove to the hoop late in the first quarter and drew a foul on Chris Paul. Soon after, Clippers forward Blake Griffin sent him to the floor, a play Brown said was "dangerous" and prompted him to yell at the referees for the non-call. Even with Lakers assistants John Kuester and Chuck Person holding him back, Brown was called for a technical, the first string of five both teams would collect.

"I lost my cool and I told my team at halftime, 'I apologize,' " Brown said. "I don't want to think that the refs can control the outcome of the game, and I don't want to give the other team free points and I gave them a point, so I apologized to our team at halftime. Hopefully I won't do that again and hopefully we won't do it again, but we need to be conscious of it. Because, that right there, I think we gave away (three) points tonight on unnecessary technicals. We need to be smarter with that, starting with me and we got to be better than that. I didn't do a good job."

The frustration hardly pointed to just Brown. The whole game remained on edge. Matt Barnes received a technical foul with 47.5 seconds remaining in the second quarter for arguing a no-call. Metta World Peace and Griffin each received technicals for getting dangled up in a play late in the third quarter. Moments later, Morris was called for a technical foul when he intervened between Josh McRoberts and several Clippers players as fighting for a loose ball. 

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Darius Morris makes half-court shot against Clippers

With one double dribble drive, Clippers guard Chris Paul quickly gave Lakers' rookie Darius Morris a Welcome to the NBA moment.

Paul threw Morris off-balance, drove right and then banked in a shot that drew an And1. "Talk about a rookie getting baptized," as Lakers Coach Mike Brown would say after the Lakers' 102-94 loss Saturday to the Clippers. But just like Morris' insistence to wave off Pau Gasol's doubling so he could take Paul one-on-one, the Lakers' rookie showed how he hardly lacked for confidence.

Morris answered on the next possession by making in a 50-foot halfcourt shot to mark the end of the first quarter.

"I could stand here and lie to you and say I practiced on my 50-footers," Morris joked afterwards.

But in reality it shows Morris strong sense of confidence. His seven points on two of three shooting, inconsistent passing and general inexperience showed he has a long ways to go before becoming a reliable backup point guard while Steve Blake nurses a rib/sternum injury for three weeks. After all, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hardly wanted to talk up his performance, saying, "Darius can't guard [Paul]." Still Bryant credited Morris because "he competed and didn't back down."

And that included not feeling rattled after Paul took him to school. That mindset paid off in nailing a near impossible shot from halfcourt.

"I just knew I needed to get the ball up with seconds running down," Morris said. "You just want to give your team an opportunity. I tried to go right back at him and shoot it."

RELATED:

Lakers' offense features little chemistry

 

Five things to take from Lakers' 102-94 loss to the Clippers

Darius Morris wants to 'maximize opportunity'

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Lakers' offense features little chemistry

With his arms pointing out toward the block, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hoped Pau Gasol would cut across the lane to receive an entry pass. Instead, Gasol missed the body language, Bryant's pass went into traffic and the Lakers turned the ball over.

With his eyes darting toward the baseline, Lakers center Andrew Bynum shouted to Jason Kapono about moving into a passing lane on the perimeter so he could kick out of a double team. Nothing happened, so Bynum settled for a poor left hook that hit off the rim.

And with Bynum established on the low block, Lakers guard Darius Morris made perfect eye contact with him. But Morris' entry pass went directly toward Bynum's ankles instead of his hands.

These plays may appear isolated but they represent a much more complete picture of the Lakers' fragmented offense in their 102-94 loss Saturday to the Clippers, more than even Bryant's 42 points on 14-for-28 shooting. Regardless of whether Bryant fired good looks like he did in the second half or remained trigger happy in the first half, a constant remained. Despite the Lakers' Big Three in Bryant, Gasol (14) and Bynum (12) each cracking double figures, the offense hardly looked in sync. 

The Lakers mostly blamed the loss on the 50-42 rebounding disparity, particularly the 17-11 deficit on the offensive glass. But that effort is an anomaly compared to the rest of the season and arguably can be attributed at least partly to the Lakers playing five of their league-high 14 games in the past week. The Lakers' chemistry on offense, however, has remained flimsy and unpredictable all season. 

"It's moving in the right direction, but we have a ways to go," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "We don't have a great feel of what we want all the time when it comes to different options. Sometimes when we forget for a second or third or fourth option then we have a tendency to look for someone to help us out. the guy who can always help us out is Kobe. Thats the thing we have to make sure we keep trying to guard against."

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Lakers largely improve point guard play

On a night the Lakers lost point guard depth, the team expanded it in its play.

They may have lost reserve Steve Blake, his improved sharp shooting and his bench leadership. But they replaced it with an efficient Derek Fisher and a prepared Darius Morris, a unit that combined for 14 assists. The Lakers' 97-92 victory Friday over the Cleveland Cavaliers marks just the first of many games they'll be without Blake. He's expected to remain sidelined for three to four weeks because of fractured cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum. But at least for one game, the Lakers proved they're capable of elevating their point guard play.

For Fisher, that involved dropping 10 assists, collecting three steals and committing zero turnovers. Fisher's assist mark actually somewhat mirrors the six he's averaged this month in eight games, but he appeared much more comfortable running the offense in rhythm. He threw two early entry passes to Andrew Bynum. Fisher made a beautiful left-handed pass inside to Pau Gasol after drawing a double-team on a pick-and-roll. He constantly set up Matt Barnes when he moved off the ball.

"The one guy who stands out in my mind is Derek Fisher," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said.

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Darius Morris wants to 'maximize opportunity'

The circumstances are not how rookie guard Darius Morris hoped he would crack the Lakers' rotation.

But for someone whose court time mostly involves practice, morning shoot-arounds and pregame warmups, he'll take it. Lakers reserve guard Steve Blake will remain sidelined for Friday's game against the Cavaliers at Staples Center because of fractured cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum. It's also likely he'll miss Saturday's game against the Clippers. That absence elevates Morris as the Lakers' primary backup point guard behind veteran starter Derek Fisher.

"You hate to see an injury go down," Morris said outside the Lakers' training facility in El Segundo after the morning shoot-around. "Unfortunately, Blake is injured. I'm just looking forward to maximizing my opportunity." 

Morris already received a taste of that in the Lakers' 90-87 overtime victory Wednesday over the Utah Jazz. He finished with four points on two-of-two shooting, two assists, two turnovers, two fouls and a rebound in 13 minutes. Although his first regular-season appearance in 12 games coincided with Blake's injury, Morris connected with Metta World Peace for a dunk only 14 seconds after checking in. 

"The young fella did a nice job," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "That's a hostile environment with the crowd and all that. It was an intense game. I thought he kept his composure and tried to do what we asked of him. He gave us a little bit of a spark."

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