Lakers in the News 12/28/15 - 01/03/16: Robert Upshaw sets new season highs in points, rebounds, and blocks in D-Fenders win

 
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:59 am    Post subject: Lakers in the News 12/28/15 - 01/03/16: Robert Upshaw sets new season highs in points, rebounds, and blocks in D-Fenders win

Larry Nance, Jr. shows his potential in Lakers' loss to Grizzlies
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Larry should be known as a bit more than a leaper

Most Los Angeles Lakers' fans were unhappy when it was announced that Julius Randle would be coming off of the bench for the rest of 2015. Looking at the positive side, Lakers head coach Byron Scott was at least not benching his young forward in favor of a veteran, like was the case with D'Angelo Russell and Lou Williams. Randle would instead be replaced among the the Lakers starters by the team's second 2015 first round pick, Larry Nance, Jr.

The results for Nance, Jr. have been mixed. The late first rounder has not put up eye popping statistics (averaging 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in 23 minutes) since the move, predictably struggling to stand out against other team's starters, all par for the course for a raw rookie. Nance, Jr. has at least been efficient in limited opportunities, shooting 51.5% from the field as a starter, and on Sunday afternoon against the Memphis Grizzlies he translated that efficiency into a larger impact (or at least as much "impact" as a player can have in a 16-point loss).

Nance, Jr. set new career highs in scoring and rebounding with 17 points and 11 rebounds (second on the team in both categories), his first career double-double. He also made eight of his twelve field-goal attempts, and was one of the more active players on the floor for a Lakers team that Scott described to reporters as "a little fatigued from a mental standpoint" after their 26th loss of the season.

That activity and constant motion is what allowed Nance, Jr. to be effective in a starting lineup with three shoot-first players like Kobe Bryant, Lou Williams, and Jordan Clarkson. One of Nance, Jr.'s best sequences of the game came on one of the first possessions:

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Last edited by lakersfreak on Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:29 pm; edited 8 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:01 am    Post subject:

Nance breaks out with double-double in loss to Grizzlies: What you need to know
by Bill Oram - ocregister.com

Here's what you need to know about the Lakers 112-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies...

WHAT HAPPENED - Kobe Bryant played through knee pain that he originally anticipated would keep him out of the game. He scored 14 points in the first quarter, but the Lakers still trailed 32-23 at the end of the period. They fell behind by as many as 25 points – a common theme in recent losses – and were outscored 44-28 in the paint. The Grizzlies outscored the Lakers 17-12 in transition in a game that at times got a bit wild. “When you think Memphis Grizzlies, transition points isn’t exactly what comes to mind,” Larry Nance Jr. said. “I think Lou (Williams) had a big block on (Mario) Chalmers. They had a big block on Lou. It was just back and forth. At times like that, that’s what you play basketball for, it’s fun.”

WHO STOOD OUT – Larry Nance Jr. played perhaps his best game as a Laker, notching career highs with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 8-of-12 from the field. Most important, Nance knocked down several mid-range jump shots that earlier in the year he had been reluctant to take. “I think my teammates did a terrific job of getting me the ball,” he said. “They found me when I was wide open several times.” That’s a nice, politically correct statement from Nance, but so much of what he does is predicated on creating additional opportunities for himself and the team. His growing contributions on the offensive end have been an underrated effect of Scott’s lineup shakeup earlier this month.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:02 am    Post subject:

Kobe Bryant plays after being 'lobbied' by fans but Lakers lose, 112-96 to Memphis
by Mike Bresnahan - latimes.com

These are the unusual games in Kobe Bryant's final season.

The crowd is polite, not roaring. Both teams are underachievers. Bryant will play again in the city before retiring, decreasing the in-game buzz.

There's always that one familiar part, though. The Lakers lose.

The Memphis Grizzlies got in touch with their long-lost offense and bolted past the Lakers, 112-96, Sunday evening at FedEx Forum.

Bigger than another one-sided box score, Bryant's sore right knee almost kept him out of the game, he revealed afterward. It had bothered him the previous couple of days.

He changed his mind about sitting out after walking through a boisterous lobby filled with pro-Bryant fans at the team hotel.

"Honestly, I wasn't going to play but I got on the bus and all the fans . . . I felt really, really awful if I couldn't muster up enough that I could play," he said.

Bryant had 19 points and three assists. He then said he would play Monday in Charlotte because it's his last trip there.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:03 am    Post subject:

TDIKH: December 28, 2004
by nba.com

Forty-eight points later, it was clear that it would take more than a sprained shoulder to slow down Kobe Bryant.

After falling on a layup attempt in the first quarter, Bryant went to the locker room for treatment. He returned to shoot 14-of-26 from the field and 16-of-18 at the line in the Lakers’ 117-99 victory over Toronto.

“There were certain things that I could not do with it, but I could still raise my arm up and still move it from side to side,” Bryant told the media. “Some of the movements I couldn’t do — like tying my shoe — were not really important.”

Bryant scored 25 in the first half alone, but he saved his best for the fourth quarter.His team trailing by six with 8:15 left, Bryant engineered a 32-8 game-ending run in which he provided 17 points. The Lakers also featured stellar defense, as the Raptors missed 10 of their last 11 shots in the final 6:30.

The Lakers finished with crucial advantages in free throws (30-13) and 3-pointers (13-6), while Lamar Odom pitched in 15 points and 13 rebounds in the purple and gold’s sixth straight win over Toronto.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:04 am    Post subject:

Kobe fondly recalls inbounds scuffle with Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes
by Mark Medina - dailynews.com

As soon as they crossed midcourt, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes hugged each other.

It signified the bond they built when Barnes played for the Lakers (2010-12). But it also showed a much different exchange than when Barnes, a former Orlando Magic forward, pretended to inbound the ball at Bryant’s face during the 2009-10 season.

“I thought it was funny,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 112-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday at FedEx Forum.

So much that Bryant did not even flinch.

“He’s crazy, but he’s not that crazy,” Bryant said, alluding to Barnes’ reputation as an emotional and physical defender. “So I didn’t bother flinching.”

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:15 am    Post subject:

Julius Randle shows how he can thrive in transition against Hornets
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

The Lakers burly power forward shows off his mobility

The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night, and the lack of playing time for one of their most promising young players just added insult to injury. Julius Randle, who has only averaged 24.8 minutes per game since being moved to the bench 11 games ago, played just 19 minutes against the Hornets. Randle's averages of 10.4 points and 9.7 rebounds off the bench are actually impressive considering the limited playing time, but he has only shot 37.6% since the move while suffering from a severely clogged paint.

Randle's efficiency was good in his limited minutes against Charlotte, scoring 11 points on 4-8 shooting and even knocking down a three-pointer, a shot he has actually shown a willingness to take over the last 8 games. Randle is actually averaging 1.1 three-point attempts per game over that period and making 50% of them, after shooting just five over the entire season to that point, making none. He likely will not continue to shoot that percentage over a larger sample size, but his willingness and effectiveness while doing so could be an encouraging sign of added range for the young four man.

The increased threes have not led to Randle falling in love with the shot, as the young forward clearly knows he will make his bones around the rim, where 70.3% of his attempts have come from when playing off the bench. How does Randle manage to get their when dealing with the Lakers' spacing issues in their half-court offense? Against the Hornets, he did it in transition:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:16 am    Post subject:

Michael Jordan, Hornets Honor Kobe With Tribute Video
by Ryan Ward - lakersnation.com

Back on June 26, 1996, the Charlotte Hornets selected Kobe Bryant out of Lower Merion High School with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. Bryant could’ve turned into the cornerstone for the Hornets franchise, but it wasn’t long before Kobe was shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for veteran center Vlade Divac.

Ultimately, the trade proved to be a game-changer for the Lakers. Los Angeles won five NBA titles with Kobe leading the way. Charlotte, however, continued to struggle and never really recovered from perhaps the biggest mistake in franchise history by trading Bryant.

On Monday, Bryant took the floor at The Time Warner Cable Arena for the last time. The Hornets honored Bryant with a tribute video featuring one of his mentors, or “Muses” as he’d say, in Michael Jordan via The Cauldron:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:18 am    Post subject:

Kobe maintained Hornets didn’t want him after 1996 NBA Draft
by Mark Medina - dailynews.com

Nostalgia swept over Kobe Bryant as he soaked in Michael Jordan’s tribute video and waved to adoring fans.

But the Lakers’ 37-year-old star also carried 20 years worth of resentment toward former Charlotte Hornets coach Dave Cowens. Charlotte selected Bryant 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, though the Lakers secured his rights by trading veteran center Vlade Divac.

“Charlotte never wanted me,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 108-98 loss to the Hornets on Monday at Time Warner Cable Arena. “Cowens told me he didn’t want me. It wasn’t a question of me even playing here.”

It has long been reported Bryant and his former agent, Arn Tellum, ensured Bryant’s future in purple and gold. They reportedly limited Bryant’s pre-draft workouts and threatened teams that Bryant would play overseas if they selected him. Meanwhile, former Lakers executive Jerry West cleared cap space to acquire Shaquille O’Neal as a free agent and pair him with Bryant.

“That was more of the New Jersey narrative,” Bryant argued, referring to the Nets succumbing to pressure not to draft him. “Cowens told me, ‘We don’t need you here.’ Then I was like, “Oh, all right.’ I quickly transitioned from smiley kid to killer instinct.”

Nearly a week after completing the deal, West told former Showtime Laker Byron Scott that the 17-year-old Bryant had completed “the best workout I’ve ever seen.”

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:35 pm    Post subject:

D'Angelo Russell loves being called a bust, remains focused on getting better
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

D'Angelo remains patient with his development even if some fans are not

Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell has dealt with his fair share of criticism from fans and media alike during his first NBA season. The 2015 second overall pick has averaged 11.8 points, 3.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 40.3% from the field and 32.3% on three pointers this season in 27.8 minutes per game. Russell has not been bad, and has even shown flashes of brilliance, but the 19-year old's level of play has not been high enough to satisfy some of his harshest critics or earn more playing time from his head coach.

Russell understands that is a natural part of the spotlight, and the young player seems to be taking the right attitude towards the negative evaluations. In a wide-ranging interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, Russell described how he is able to stay patient with his developmental process even while others are not:

Trudell: Because of how high you went in the draft, the expectations and the hope for what you can be, some folks have already judged you, despite how early it is and how young you are. That's not everybody, but still, have you felt like people want to see everything from Day 1?

Russell: Yeah, right away. But that's why I don't get caught up in social media (critiques). Right now, I don't really like doing interviews ... because I know that once I get comfortable with my team, my coaches and all that, the same problems I was having months ago, people are going to be like, ‘Dang, he's come a long way.' Because everywhere I've been, I've struggled first, but then made (success happen).

At first when I got to Montverde, I was playing behind Mike Frazier*, and I felt like I was better than him. He's really good, but I had confidence, and after a while I was starting, and had blown up a little bit and people were looking to me like, ‘Lead us, man!' and I was thinking, ‘I'm 15 years old!' But my coach gave me the keys.

Then I got to college, and struggled at the beginning of the year, but soon I got comfortable and took off.

I never knew I'd be the No. 2 pick in the Draft, but it happened. Out here, I struggled in the beginning, started to find my way and it's up and down. But this is a whole different level. You're playing against grown men ... vets. Playing against Hall of Fame coaches that take away everything you do well. This is a whole different animal.

So I'd always rather be a late bloomer at anything I do. I don't want to be great right away. I love the process. I love when people say, ‘You suck! You're a bust!' I love that. Because whether it's months or years, whatever it takes, best believe they'll be thinking about those words they said a while ago.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:36 pm    Post subject:

TDIKH: December 29, 2006

On a night when he seemed something other than human, even Kobe Bryant couldn’t will the Lakers into avoiding an upset from the Charlotte Bobcats.

Bryant slugged through a career-high 54 minutes by firing 45 shots and making 22. He also went 10-of-12 at the line and hit four 3-pointers to rack up 58 points, but it still wasn’t enough in a 133-124 triple-overtime loss in Charlotte.

The Lakers quickly jumped out to a 12-point first-quarter lead behind Bryant, who hit six of his first seven shots, including a one-handed alley-oop jam. But the Bobcats evened things up at halftime with a 42-point second quarter.

A back-and-forth battle ensued, but Bryant missed two game-winning attempts at the end of regulation.

Still, he managed to score all seven of the Lakers’ points in double overtime to extend the game a further five minutes. From there, the gas had run out, as Charlotte ended the game with seven unanswered points.

Bryant carried one of the heaviest loads of his career, as no other Laker reached 15 points, though Luke Walton (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Kwame Brown (11 points, 15 rebounds) recorded double-doubles in 50 and 45 minutes, respectively.

The Bobcats, meanwhile, had the best team performance in their young franchise history, as Gerald Wallace (28 points), Matt Carroll (27 points), Emeka Okafor (22 points, 25 rebounds) and Raymond Felton (22 points, 15 assists) all put forth commendable efforts.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:00 am    Post subject:

5 Questions for Management and Coaches
by Ed Schrenzel - lakeshowlife.com

The Lakers front office and coaches have some explaining to do going into 2016

The Los Angeles Lakers are 5-27 through the first 32 games of the season and there are still more questions that answers for this team.

With the new year just around the corner, Lakers fans would love to see the answers to answer these five questions:

1. What message has Mitch Kupchak communicated to Byron Scott about giving more court time to the younger players?

Ordinarily a coach is primarily evaluated by the team’s win-loss record. This year, the Lakers are a miserable 5-27 and headed for an all-time franchise-worst record—and that’s with Scott playing veterans and going all-out to win games. But if developing young talent is presumably a priority this season, then has Kupchak given that message to Scott? And if he has, why isn’t Scott listening?

Is there a possibility the Lakers actually have a master plan? Could it be that they are “showcasing” veterans like Lou Williams and Brandon Bass, and perhaps even Robert Sacre and Nick Young, to enhance their value to other teams so that Kupchak can orchestrate a midseason trade or two? And after that, playing time will be turned over to the youngsters? Only time will tell.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:23 pm    Post subject:

lakersfreak wrote:
5 Questions for Management and Coaches
by Ed Schrenzel - lakeshowlife.com

The Lakers front office and coaches have some explaining to do going into 2016

The Los Angeles Lakers are 5-27 through the first 32 games of the season and there are still more questions that answers for this team.

With the new year just around the corner, Lakers fans would love to see the answers to answer these five questions:

1. What message has Mitch Kupchak communicated to Byron Scott about giving more court time to the younger players?

Ordinarily a coach is primarily evaluated by the team’s win-loss record. This year, the Lakers are a miserable 5-27 and headed for an all-time franchise-worst record—and that’s with Scott playing veterans and going all-out to win games. But if developing young talent is presumably a priority this season, then has Kupchak given that message to Scott? And if he has, why isn’t Scott listening?

Is there a possibility the Lakers actually have a master plan? Could it be that they are “showcasing” veterans like Lou Williams and Brandon Bass, and perhaps even Robert Sacre and Nick Young, to enhance their value to other teams so that Kupchak can orchestrate a midseason trade or two? And after that, playing time will be turned over to the youngsters? Only time will tell.

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This article is comical. What will a mid-season trade do for us? Just mess up our chance of retaining our pick. I say continue to let them suck, tank or whatever it is they are doing. This season was gone long before it started.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:10 pm    Post subject:

Kobe embracing ‘green’ for final game in Boston
by Mark Medina - dailynews.com

The color disgusted former Lakers player and general manager Jerry West so much that he refused to wear it. The color has also made several Lakers feel nauseous.

The color “green” might represent wealth, describe inexperience or suggest renewal and rebirth. But that only means one thing to the Lakers: the hated Boston Celtics, who have won a league-leading 17 NBA championships and beaten them in nine out of 12 NBA Finals. Yet, for some reason, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant claims that green has always been his favorite color.

Why?!

“I’ve always loved it,” Bryant said. “It’s a little weird, isn’t it?”

So, as the Lakers (5-27) visit the Boston Celtics (18-13) on Wednesday at the Garden, Bryant will treat his last regular-season game here with some reverence. He said his wife (Vanessa) and two daughters (Natalia, Gianna) will visit the city for the first time to experience something that apparently has become dear to his heart.

“I’m looking forward to them getting a chance to see the city a little bit, and then to experience the green,” Bryant said. “It’s just a different green. I want them to be able to see it.”

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:16 am    Post subject:

Kobe credits playoff losses to Celtics, Spurs molding his NBA identity
by Mark Medina - dailynews.com

This place meant so much to Kobe Bryant, namely because the Celtics partly shaped his NBA legacy.

Bryant felt miserable as the Lakers lose to the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals, punctuated by a 39-point loss in Game 6. Yet, Bryant considered that moment the “most important piece” in the second half of his 20-year NBA career.

“I was determined and said listen I have to figure a solution with this leadership thing and do whatever is necessary,” Bryant said. “I can’t go through this, and that was a turning point.”

The Lakers then won consecutive NBA championships against Orlando (2009) and Boston (2010), while Bryant won two Finals MVP awards.

“The loss led to the win,” Bryant said. “I don’t remember the loss as like a painful experience, I remember it as a beautiful moment because it helped me find the best version of myself and my teammates. I always remember the beauty of it. But at the time, not so much.”

Similar frustration happened during Bryant’s third NBA season when the San Antonio Spurs swept the Lakers in the 1999 Western Conference semifinals.

“I remember having to make a decision because the Spurs were such a fundamentally sound team and we had a reputation of being more flash than substance,” Bryant said. “I had to look at the Spurs and understand why they were so efficient, why they played winning basketball and then I had to step back and look at my game and figure out how to edit my game so I’d simplify it.”

The Lakers then won three consecutive NBA championships. But what did Bryant do?

“I was doing too much, particularly handling the ball,” Bryant said. “I made a conscious decision to not work on my handle at all and try to dumb down my game to be more efficient so I don’t dribble as much and learn to become more efficient and play winning basketball.”

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:23 am    Post subject:

Kobe On If Celtics Selected Him In 1996 NBA Draft
By Dan Duangdao - lakersnation.com

With the Los Angeles Lakers traveling to face the Boston Celtics, it will mark the final time Kobe Bryant plays at the TD Garden.

While both franchises are currently rebuilding, it will be interesting to see what kind of reception the five-time champion receives in his farewell tour.

As Kobe is set to play his final game in Boston, there was an opportunity for the franchise to select him with their sixth overall pick back in the 1996 NBA Draft. While workouts went well, the Celtics ultimately selected Antoine Walker out of Kentucky instead of the high schooler.

While Kobe was a long-time Lakers fan, he would have tried to carry on Larry Bird’s legacy had the Celtics drafted him according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

“I would’ve tried to carry on Bird’s legacy,” Bryant says without hesitation. “Absolutely. I would’ve done it with a tremendous amount of pride and honor.”

Although Walker averaged 17.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists during his 13-year career, it is interesting to think about how Kobe’s career would have played out if he was a member of the Celtics. However, in a time where only big men came out of high school, the Lakers traded center Vlade Divac and took a chance on a high school guard.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:25 am    Post subject:

Nick Young Shouts Out Hot Boys, Himself After Celtics Win (Video)
by Cody Williams - lakeshowlife.com

Nick Young shouted out things only Swaggy P would after the Lakers beat the Celtics

The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a big win on Wednesday night as they went to TD Garden for Kobe Bryant’s final game in Boston against the Celtics. Quite honestly, it was the best the Lakers have looked as a team all season as they knocked off their rivals and one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.

Though he didn’t play a particularly big role in the Lakers victory, Nick Young was in rare form (mostly because wins are a rarity) in the locker room after the game.

Ever the jovial and eccentric character, Swaggy P decided to start shouting out people to thank them for their parts in the win. Only, his list of shoutouts was a bit unconventional, ranging from Lil Wayne and the Hot Boys to simply thanking himself:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:28 am    Post subject:

James Worthy lost his mind on the Lakers postgame show (Video)
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Studio laps, trash talk, and more from Big Game James

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a long and storied rivalry with the Boston Celtics essentially going back to the beginning of both franchises. After a brief period of cooling, the rivalry was reignited when the Los Angeles Lakers were rebuilt around Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and "Big Game" James Worthy as the "Showtime" Lakers did battle accross multiple NBA Finals with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and the rest of the 1980's Celtics in some of the most competitive basketball the league has ever seen.

Worthy is now an analyst for Time Warner Cable Sportsnet, but he still bleeds Lakers blood through and through. This is always easy to see after wins and losses, but was especially obvious after the Lakers beat the hated Celtics 112-104 on Wednesday night in Kobe Bryant's final game in Boston, as Worthy lost his mind celebrating on the postgame show.

First, Worthy decided to take a lap around the studio because there is no better time to get your cardio in then while you are on the air:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:29 am    Post subject:

TDIKH: December 31, 2006
by nba.com

Kobe Bryant rung in the New Year by doing it all for the Lakers, leading his team in scoring, rebounds and assists in a 104-94 win over Philadelphia.

While no other Laker scored more than a dozen points, Bryant racked up 35 by shooting 15-of-22. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists in the 2006 finale.

The Lakers trailed by one late in the first half, but Bryant engineered an 11-2 run just before intermission, and the Lakers never fell behind again.

“That’s when great players come into effect: when their team needs them,” Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala told reporters. “He made some tough shots and got it going.”Bryant was even more brilliant in the third, pouring in 20 points while missing just one of his nine shots.

The Lakers exited the quarter with a 15-point lead.

With Chris Webber (bruised foot) out, Kyle Korver stepped up for the 76ers by scoring 29 off the bench with a 10-of-18 clip that included five 3-pointers. But not much else was going offensively for Philadelphia, which shot just 39.5 percent.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:31 am    Post subject:

Kobe Bryant to Roy Hibbert: 'Come on m***** f*****...I believe in you!'(Video)
By Whitney Medworth - sbnation.com

Kobe Bryant visited Boston for the last time in his career on Wednesday night.

It was expected to be a memorable night as the Lakers-Celtics rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sports and Kobe Bryant has his share of memories in The Garden.

What we didn't expect is to see Kobe giving motivation speeches to Roy Hibbert.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:26 pm    Post subject:

Robert Upshaw sets new season highs in points, rebounds, and blocks in D-Fenders win
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

More solid play from the 21-year old

While the Lakers' young players were shinging in Los Angeles' win over the Boston Celtics, one of the team's D-League affiliate players, the undrafted Robert Upshaw, continued the recent upswing in his level of play with the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Wednesday night in the team's 111-110 win over the Raptors 905. Upshaw had his first double-double of the season for the D-Fenders in the second game of their back-to-back road set, scoring 14 points to go with 13 rebounds and 5 blocked shots in 27 minutes, all season and career highs for the young big man.

It was the second solid game in two nights for Upshaw, who is now averaging 11.4 points, 9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 21.2 minutes per game over his past five games with the D-Fenders as he demonstrates more comfort and better conditioning after a pedestrian start to his rookie season. The most impressive stat there might be the minutes, which have actually gone up over each game of that five game period as Upshaw continues to round into shape after taking a long break from organized basketball prior to kicking back into gear with the Lakers' Summer League team.

(For a more in-depth breakdown on what Upshaw has done better over this stretch, please see my breakdown of his game against the Delawar 87ers)

Improved play aside, there are also possessions where it is fairly obvious why Upshaw went undrafted and why neither the Lakers nor any of the league's other 29 teams saw fit to offer him a regular season contract. For one, he still fouls too often, a problem for a lot of young big men but also one that Upshaw will have to work on if he wants to earn more minutes or an NBA offer. He has picked up 4 fouls in both of his last two games, and needs to do a better job not lunging at fakes.

Upshaw was also benched down most of the stretch on Wednesday night after being subbed out of the game with 8:18 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but D-Fenders coach Casey Owens trusted him enough to throw him back into action for defensive purposes with 18.2 seconds left in a 107-103 game.

The results were mixed. After the 905 scored on Upshaw's first possession when the D-Fenders did not help the helper, but Upshaw's rotation did force a miss from Toronto (and now just one year away from being two years away) forward Bruno Caboclo, who had 17 points on the evening:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:28 pm    Post subject:

Brandon Bass says he embraced rebuilding with both Lakers, Celtics
by Mark Medina - dailynews.com

The man faces his former NBA team with the same fanfare that many would describe Brandon Bass himself.

He remains under the radar with both his personality, game and presence. It appears he wants it that way. But with all the focus on Kobe Bryant playing his last game on Wednesday at the Garden, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has credited Bass role in rebuilding the Celtics during his four years here (2011-2015).

“It’s just my presence being around and the way I go about things and the way I gave myself up for the team in different ways and my work ethic and how I carry myself,” Bass said following morning shootaround on Wednesday at the Garden. “But I can’t say I have done so much for the Celtics. The Celtics have done so much for me. I’m grateful for the city of Boston and the fans and the organization. The Celtics have been awesome to me.”

Bass played an evolving role with the Celtics as a starter and reserve both for contending and rebuilding teams. In 2014, Bass won 2014 Red Auerbach award as a player who best represents what it means to be a Celtic.

Yet, Bass signed a two-year deal worth $6.1 million with the Lakers. Since then, Bass has averaged 5.6 points on 57.7 percent shooting in 16 minutes off the bench.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:29 pm    Post subject:

Byron Scott recalls Garden ovation for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
by Mark Medina - dailynews.com

The crowd rose to their feet at his presence. The Boston Celtics presented the Lakers’ star player with a gift and praised his greatness. For at least a moment, all the hatred between the Celtics and Lakers went away.

Will this mark the reception Kobe Bryant receives when the Lakers (5-27) visit the Boston Celtics (18-13) on Wednesday for what will represent his last game at the Garden? Perhaps. But it certainly described the setting for Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his last game here on Dec. 16, 1988.

Then, the Celtics fans gave Abdul-Jabbar a 95-second standing ovation. Celtics president Red Auerbach then presented Abdul-Jabbar with a mounted framed slab of the Garden’s parquet floor.

“How can I get mad at him now?” Auerbach said. “I’ve always said Boston fans were the greatest in the world. And I’m going to repeat it, because he’s the enemy. And yet, what he’s done for the game is unparalleled.”

Nearly 27 years later, it resonates with Lakers coach and former Showtime teammate Byron Scott how the Celtics fans appreciated Jabbar for winning six NBA championships and becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:31 pm    Post subject:

D'Angelo Russell wants Julius Randle to shoot more
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Russell is pumping up his teammates

The Los Angeles Lakers got their sixth win of the season when they defeated the Celtics 112-104 in Kobe Bryant's final game in Boston. Bryant's did get to play hero down the stretch, but he was put in the position to do so by a strong team effort. Lou Williams had 19 points on just 9 shots, and the Lakers young core trio of Jordan Clarkson (24 points on 10-15 shooting), D'Angelo Russell (16 points on 7-17 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 3 asssists), and Julius Randle (15 points and 12 rebounds) all had strong games as well. After the game, Russell partially credited Randle's willingness to shoot more, something he wants to continue.

"[Randle being willing to shoot] opens it up for us. He's always on attack, so when you penetrate and he's wide open at the three-point line and team's are daring him to shoot it, it's something that's going to open things up for everybody on the floor," said Russell, and he was correct that Randle was willing to shoot on Wednesday night, taking 16 shots, which was his second highest total of the season and highest since the team's third game.

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