Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Kobe Bryant

Five things to take from Lakers' 93-89 win in Denver

Lakers31. An important road win against a conference playoff contender. Let's start with the biggest positive of the night: a quality win on the road against a conference opponent. So it wasn't pretty, but the Lakers still went on the road to beat the Nuggets, 93-89. When they want to know whether you won or lost, they ask how many, not how well you played. The Nuggets (15-8) have proven to be a formidable opponent since the departure of Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks as well as Kenyon Martin (now of the Clippers) and J.R. Smith to China. Just as impressive, the Lakers (14-9) overcame some controversial calls, or non-calls, to earn the victory and move up in the Western Conference standings.

2. Broken record: The Lakers need to execute better on offense. Once again, the Lakers continued to have breakdowns in running their offensive sets, often resulting in poor-quality possessions that ended with rushed shots at the end of the 24-second clock. And with Andrew Bynum running hot, how can he end the game with only 13 shots? The Lakers continually failed to get him the ball when he had great post position. A couple of scenarios in the game included the Lakers' two most veteran players -- guards Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant -- failing to get Bynum the ball when he had established himself on the block. Bryant ended up driving wildly into the lane and hoisting an off-balance shot on more than one occasion.

3. Broken record II: The Lakers need to improve their transition defense. Too many times the Nuggets were able to get down the court for easy layups. And that included big men Nene and Timofey Mozgov as well as the speedy Ty Lawson and other perimeter players. The Nuggets are primarily a young and athletic team, and they're not the only one in the West that will torch teams in transition if defenses aren't paying attention. Think Thunder, Clippers, Blazers, Jazz, Warriors, etc.

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Nuggets

4. Broken record III: Kobe Bryant needs to know when to defer to the big men. Bynum made 10 of 13 shots for 22 points while collecting 10 rebounds and Pau Gasol was five of 10 from the field for 13 points while pulling down 17 rebounds. It became obvious as the game unfolded that the Lakers had the advantage on the front line. When your two big men are shooting better than 65% combined, they need to take more than 23 shots in the game.

5. Andrew Goudelock continues to impress. The rookie guard made six of 10 shots, including one of three from three-point range, for 13 points, his fourth double-digit effort in the last five games. When Steve Blake returns to the lineup, the Lakers' backcourt will have more weapons and depth, plus the ability to give more rest to Fisher and Bryant.

RELATED:

Lakers avoid stumble at start of road trip

GM Mitch Kupchak remains positive despite road woes

Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum lead the L.A. All-Star contingent

--Dan Loumena

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives the baseline for a reverse layup in front of the rim against the Nuggets in the second half Friday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Credit: Jack Dempsey / Associated Press

Lakers grind out second consecutive road victory with 93-89 triumph over Denver

Lakers1_350Just when it seemed as if the Lakers were on the verge of an epic fourth-quarter meltdown, they pulled out a 93-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night at the Pepsi Center.

Kobe Bryant scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol each logged double-doubles and rookie guard Andrew Goudelock continued to impress with 13 points off the bench.

And still, it almost wasn't enough. After trailing by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, Denver had a chance to win before Al Harrington's step-back three-pointer missed, with Matt Barnes grabbiong the rebound and getting fouled with two-tenths of a second left, securing the Lakers' second consecutive road victory.

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Nuggets

The Lakers helped the Nuggets rally by being called for a pair of fourth-quarter technical fouls, one on Bynum and another on Barnes. Gasol also committed a late turnover on a behind-the-back pass that eventually led to a dunk by Nene that pulled the Nuggets to within 91-89.

Bynum was involved in another controversial play when he missed a layup with 12 seconds left but indicated he was fouled by Nene. Video replays appeared to show Nene hitting Bynum on the arm without touching the ball, which went out of bounds to the Nuggets, setting up their final play.

"We made it tough on ourselves down the stretch," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "The missed call [on Nene] was tough to swallow. We didnt' execute well, but we got a clean dunk but didn't get the call."

Said Bynum: "I can just let it go. It really wasn't that bad."

In his first game since becoming an All-Star for the first time, Bynum had 22 points on 10-for-13 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. Gasol finished with 13 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. Derek Fisher also was clutch for the Lakers, making a jumper to give them a 91-87 lead and making a steal in the final minute.

Goudelock made six of 10 shots and has averaged 11.8 points in his last six games.

"He's found his niche," Bryant said. "He comes in off the bench and he lights it up."

The Lakers improved to 3-7 on the road and will go for a third consecutive road win on Saturday against Utah in Salt Lake City, where they pulled out a triumph in overtime last month.

"I've been telling everybody we're going to be fine," Bryant said. "I mean, it's the start of the year and it's tough to kind of get out on the road. We've had some very tough opponents to start the season on the road. We're kind of getting used to everything with no practices. We're going to be A-OK."

ALSO:

Caught in the web: Lakers start trip with a win

Mitch Kupchak remains positive despite road woes

Five things to take from Lakers' 93-89 victory over the Nuggets

--Ben Bolch in Denver

Photo: Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov tries to cut off the drive of Lakers power forward Pau Gasol in the first half Friday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Credit: Jack Dempsey / Associated Press

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

Kobe Bryant dubs Andrew Goudelock the 'Mini-Mamba'

Another "Mamba" has slithered into Staples Center, and Kobe Bryant doesn't seem to mind.

In fact, Bryant is all for it.

The self-described Black Mamba has bestowed a similar nickname upon Andrew Goudelock, calling the Lakers rookie guard "Mini-Mamba" because he is a fearless shooter similar to Bryant.

"It's a very big compliment, especially coming from the real Mamba," Goudelock said after scoring 12 points Tuesday in the Lakers' 106-73 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. "I hope it sticks."

Goudelock has scored in double figures in three of four games since Coach Mike Brown decided to make him the primary backup to starting point guard Derek Fisher. Living up to his nickname, Goudelock has also taken seven or more shots in each game despite playing only between 15 and 25 minutes.

 

Goudelock's strong play has potentially alleviated the need for the Lakers to take a serious look at free agent guard Gilbert Arenas, who was waived in December by the Orlando Magic via the so-called amnesty clause. Goudelock, who rarely played until the last week, has made the most of his opportunity.

"I think I was kind of in awe when I came out here playing with some of these guys," Goudelock said. "I didn't know where to fit in or how to do it. The talent has always been there, but I didn't really know how to put it all together. These last few games, just running point guard, I think I've been more aggressive to simplify things, not trying to think too much and just play my game, and I think it's working out for me."

-- Ben Bolch

Lakers enjoy plenty of rest against Bobcats

Some highlights of my breakdown of the Lakers' 106-73 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday:

  • The main thing in this win has to do with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum resting. That's because it's misleading to try to gauge anything else after a win against the worst team in the NBA. Considering how little Coach Mike Brown has rested Bryant, Gasol and Bynum, however, it's crucial that the Lakers found an opportunity to do so against Charlotte.
  • Andrew Goudelock's confidence continues to grow. Who knows whether he'll able to sustain the double-digit efforts that he's shown in the last four games? But with Steve Blake's continued absence and uncertainty about whether the Lakers can upgrade at point guard, team officials are relieved that someone can at least hold the fort temporarily.
  • It remains unclear if Brown will continue shuffling Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes at small forward. But it's very clear that Barnes brings more consistency.
  • Games like the one Tuesday night can be deceiving. The victory could serve as a nice psychological boost for the Lakers as they begin a six-game road trip Friday in Denver. Or it could give them a false sense of confidence.

ALSO:

Uh-oh, here come the . . . Bobcats?

Things to watch in Lakers-Charlotte Bobcats matchup

Mike Brown more concerned with development than limiting minutes

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Lakers reportedly interested in Ramon Sessions

The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains why the Lakers struggle against the Charlotte Bobcats--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers remain interested in acquiring Cleveland point guard Ramon Sessions.

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains why the Lakers struggle against the Charlotte Bobcats.

--The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reports that Gerald Henderson, D.J. White and newcomer Reggie Williams will play Tuesday against the Lakers.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding argues that Metta World Peace's move to the starting lineup is a good idea.

--Fox Sports lists Lakers forward Josh McRoberts as one of the 10 best NBA enforcers.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky argues that the Lakers shouldn't pursue free-agent guard Gilbert Arenas.

--Hoops Hype's Roland Lazenby wonders if Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak will stay.

--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe remains concerned about Kobe Bryant's minutes.

--The Daily News' Elliot Teaford focuses on the Lakers' struggles against Charlotte.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell talks to trainer Gary Vitti about various team injuries.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Actuarially Sound wonders why the Lakers have struggled with rebounding.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano wonders why the Lakers aren't lowering Bryant's minutes.

--Lakers Nation's Nadya Avakian says Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are key to solving the Lakers' consistency issues.

--Laker Nation's David Brickley, Jason Riley and Kevin Figgers debate numerous Laker topics.

Radio interview

I talk all things Lakers with ESPN Radio 1430's Guy Haberman in the audio file below.

Mark Medina on ESPN Radio

Tweet of the Day: "The @blakegriffin dunk tonight over Perkins made me realize that he's one of the best in-game dunkers in @NBA history." -- MagicJohnson (Lakers legend Magic Johnson) 

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "I can see Sessions. But I was under the impression that the Lamar exemption was to be used in trades for major new talent. If Ramon Sessions is the difference between a ring or the lottery this season, sure, trade exemption well spent. I think people in the Arenas camp weren't so much in love with Arenas as they were with the 'can get for vet minimum' factor. If we are blowing the trade exemption on stuff like Sessions, I would propose that we are better off saving the money, or blowing it on somebody who we can trade for a draft pick.

I appreciate hearing about stuff like how Sessions or other players would contribute, but please. At least acknowledge that the two aren't entirely comparable. I don't say this as someone who wants us to get Arenas, at least at the expense of somebody else. I say this as someone who thinks the two aren't mutually exlusive, and frankly they might both be a bad idea, but.... I mean, you ignore the fact that we could get Arenas AND Sessions with practically the same expense." -- Phred Phredphredington

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Gerald Henderson and the Charlotte Bobcats have given Kobe Bryant and the Lakers fits, not to mention a losing record, recently. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Why Michael Jordan says Kobe Bryant deserves to be compared to him

Below are excerpts from a recent conversation with Lakers author Roland Lazenby. He's writing a biography on Michael Jordan titled "MJ: The Life," which is scheduled to be released in 2013. Lazenby has already shared (via Twitter) why Jordan says he believes that Kobe Bryant deserves being compared to him. And with the Jordan-owned Charlotte Bobcats visiting the Lakers on Tuesday, it's timely to touch on Lazenby's recent conversation with me. You can listen to the entire 25-minute interview above.

Lazenby on why Jordan thinks Bryant deserves being compared to him: "Kobe had done the work. He [Jordan] was very aware and taking in great interest in Kobe Bryant's great work ethic. Michael Jordan's work ethic also is legendary. He said Kobe had done that work to deserve the comparison. He says Kobe's the only one to have done the work."

Comparing Jordan and Bryant: Jordan was this kind of guy who could get position in the post and hold it. Jordan is one of the greatest post weapons in the history of the game despite the fact he's not a post player, center or power forward. But he's a great post-up scorer. Tex [Winter] always remarked that Kobe didn't quite have the same strength or center of gravity. Kobe is a fine post-up player, but he could get shoved off the block easier than Michael.

Kobe has defined himself by his singular pursuit of this agenda of the Jordan legacy. That causes him to be overshadowed, but Kobe has clearly staked out territory as his own. In some ways, his drive and determination is every bit that of Michael Jordan. In some ways, it probably eclipses that. There's no question the game preparation and the effort that Kobe has done from the time he was 17 years old, no one comes close to that. Tex would say not even Michael in that regard, and Jordan worked very hard.

Continue reading »

Shoe ads differ between Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher aren't as dissimilar as it might seem, even when they initially appear to be polar opposites.

Everyone obviously knows about the differences in talent, leadership styles and personalities. The common thread Bryant and Fisher share in work ethic and toughness is well documented. Mix all those ingredients and it's apparent why they've won all five of their NBA championships together. But it's apparent that their respective styles have also translated into their recent shoe ads.

In Fisher's recent Adidas ad, he touts the adizero Crazy Light Low shoes debuting Feb. 1 in a straightforward and comprehensive manner. In Bryant's recent Nike ads, he touts the Kobe System in a short series of commercials featuring numerous celebrities and Bryant's biting sarcasm in 30-second bursts. Plenty will prefer Bryant's ads for those reasons. But Fisher's ad is just as effective simply because it also captures his persona in a nutshell. 

The ad features what Fisher puts in his gym bag, and the items go beyond what a typical athlete brings. Oh, there's the practice gear, basketball, cellphones and MP3 player. But no one except for Fisher would pack along a notebook on the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. Few would bring their iPad for the main purpose of tracking their calendar. And even when you overlook the obvious promotional plug, few would bring along their autobiography.

But that's Fisher. He's not the most talented or the most flashy, yet he usually gets the job done.

RELATED:

Derek Fisher overcomes early-season struggles with game-winner

Derek Fisher still slowed by limited off-season workouts

How Kobe Bryant might explain Kobe System to Metta World Peace

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

How Kobe Bryant might explain Kobe System to Metta World Peace

It turns out Kobe Bryant has finished his lessons teaching his system.

In a series of Nike ads, Bryant emphasized dominance in different ways. He stressed adaptation to tennis star Serena Williams. Bryant pushed Chinese singer Wang Leehorn to reach his potential. He chastised motivational speaker Tony Robbins for asking a question.

To former football player Jerry Rice, Bryant challenged him to dominate his post-retirement life. To rapper Kanye West, Bryant talked about becoming a different animal and the same beast, whatever that means. To Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Bryant wondered if he's achieved "success at success at success." If you're puzzled, you're not alone.

But the Nike ads apparently left out two possible lessons. In addition to Bryant stressing aggression to Lakers forward Pau Gasol, the Black Mamba also could've emphasized focus to Metta World Peace. Considering that Lakers Coach Mike Brown has put World Peace back in the starting lineup, Bryant would have lots to say to World Peace. Based on player tendencies and recent statements, the ad might go something like this....

Continue reading »

Lakers finally break 100 and win on road, beat Minnesota, 106-101

Lakers1_350Finally, times two.

The Lakers won a road game and ended a team-record 13-game streak of games under 100 points, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves, 106-101, Sunday at Target Center.

Kobe Bryant had 35 points and Pau Gasol scored 28 for the Lakers (12-9), who improved to 2-7 on the road. Bryant set a franchise record in the second quarter when he made his 9,936th career field goal, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Wolves

Bryant made 14 of 29 shots in the game and now has 9,946 career field goals.

Bryant and Gasol played the entire second half. The Lakers held an 18-point lead with 4:53 to play in the third quarter, somehow trailed by two in the fourth quarter, but managed to push past Minnesota.

Metta World Peace started for the first time this season, replacing Matt Barnes in the lineup and finishing with two points in 33 minutes.

The Lakers hadn't scored more than 100 points in 13 consecutive games, a team record for futility since the shot clock was introduced in 1954.

The Lakers looked better against Minnesota than they did Saturday in Milwaukee. Gasol made only six of 18 shots in that game, which the Lakers lost, 100-89.

Gasol made 11 of 15 shots against Minnesota

Kevin Love had 33 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota (9-11).

RELATED:

Why Metta World Peace shouldn't start

Five reasons the Lakers struggle in road games

Five things to take from Lakers' 100-89 loss to Milwaukee

--Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives around Timberwolves guard Wayne Ellington in the first half on Sunday in Minneapolis. Credit: Jim Mone / Associated Press

Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...