News 'n Views - Mar 2016: D'Angelo Russell affair just the latest sign the Lakers are losing their identity
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:54 am    Post subject:

Jaylen Brown would be a worthy third-overall pick for the Lakers
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Berkeley's star wing could be exactly the type of player the Lakers need to fill their hole on the wing.

In UC Berkeley's last home game, the crowd's desperation for likely one-and-done freshman Jaylen Brown to give them one final show was palpable. Brown delivered, scoring 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with his eight rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes against USC, powering the Bears to clinch a perfect 18-0 record at home.

Brown told reporters after the game that he was undecided on whether or not he would declare, but the game served was strong an argument as any for Brown's worthiness of being selected with the third-overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Most talent evaluators agree that the top two players in the 2016 class are Ben Simmons of LSU and Brandon Ingram of Duke in some order. Who is at the top of the next tier is largely undecided, and will be at least partially dependent on the needs of the team drafting.

If the Los Angeles Lakers are fortunate enough to keep their top-three protected first-round pick, they fit the bill as one team that could surely use Brown. With Kobe Bryant's retirement at the conclusion of their current season, the Lakers will have a gaping hole to fill on the wing. Brown is not and will never be Bryant, but that is a void the still-developing 6'7", 225 pound forward could fill. Like many young players, including the Lakers' own young core of D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle, Brown is at his most lethal in transition.

"If he's coming at you full speed, it's hard to really get in front of him unless you foul him. You have to make a decision," said Berkeley head coach Cuonzo Martin following Cal's victory over USC, and Brown's opponents would be forced to nod begrudgingly.

The uber-athletic Brown is a pest defensively, with both the sturdiness to stifle post-ups from larger players without fouling and the quickness to stay in front of smaller players laterally. He is especially dangerous in passing lanes, and the home crowd is well trained enough that the noise in Haas Pavilion builds to a crescendo whenever the Berkeley defense generates a turnover. Brown is the first person his teammates look for when they have a chance for a run-out, if he did not swipe the ball himself, and more often than not he can make something happen:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:55 am    Post subject:

5 Second-Round Prospects Lakers Should Target
by Cody Williams - lakeshowlife.com

The Lakers’ first-round pick is up in the air, but there are players that could help in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft

The majority of Los Angeles Lakers fans are looking at the 2016 NBA Draft with a mix of optimism and anxiety. On the one hand, they are holding strong with the second-worst record in the NBA. On the other, the lottery could bite them in a big way if their pick were to fall outside of the top-three, as the first-round pick would then transfer to the Philadelphia 76ers.

It’s a frustrating juxtaposition for a rebuilding team like the Lakers and their fans because of the high variance in regards to the possibilities with their 2016 first-round pick. While they could land a prospect like Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, the rebuilding process could take a hit by coming up empty-handed in the first round as a result of losing their pick.

That being said, the Lakers in no circumstance will walk away from the 2016 NBA Draft entirely empty-handed as they still have their second-round pick. The Lakers have shown tremendous ability in recent years in regards to finding talent outside of the lottery, both Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson serving as the examples of that.

Because of how they’ve performed as of late in second rounds, there has to be hope that the Lakers can once again find value in 2016 with the pick that they are certain to keep and bring in some help to the rebuilding process in regards to a second-round prospect.

Looking at current prospect rankings and mock drafts, these are five prospects that the Lakers should have their eye on as it pertains to their second-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:56 am    Post subject:

Lakers expected to show interest in Chandler Parsons in free agency
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Could the look to Dallas to fill their hole on the wing?

Upon Kobe Bryant's retirement at the conclusion of the 2015-16 NBA season, one of the Los Angeles Lakers most glaring offseason needs will be on the wing. Anthony Brown is set to be evaluated in the Lakers' last 20 games to see how much of that role he can take over, but the 2015 second round pick will in all likelihood not be ready to take over on the wing full-time. Nick Young will be under contract, but may not be on the roster by the end of the summer with the Lakers having looked repeatedly to trade him.

The Lakers will have to add depth at small forward either through free agency or the draft this summer. Berkeley's Jaylen Brown or Duke's Brandon Ingram loom as options in the latter scenario should the Lakers keep their top-three protected 2016 first round pick, but the team has also been rumored to be looking at wing options in free agency.

While the cream of the 2016 free agency crop and it's best wing player, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, is reportedly an extreme longshot, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Lakers are among the many team's expected to take a look at Chandler Parsons of the Dallas Mavericks this summer:

The list of teams interested in Parsons will be long, with sources expecting the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Magic to be among Parsons' suitors. If Durant leaves Oklahoma City, add the Thunder to the list, with a potential reunion with Parsons' coach at Florida, Billy Donovan.

As is made obvious by that list, the Lakers would face stiff competition for the former second round pick turned max-salaried star. MacMahon also notes that Dallas remains the front-runner to retain Parsons, while the Magic are "expected to be especially intriguing to Parsons" should he look elsewhere.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:35 am    Post subject:

Byron Scott says he benefited from tough demands as a player
by Mark Medina - dailynews.com

The Lakers’ embattled coach has held long practices unforgivingly. He has critiqued his young players openly both in person and through the media. Scott has not hesitated adjusting roles for D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle even if they represent the franchise’s long-term future.

But there marked another time that Byron Scott seemed just as unpopular in Los Angeles. That moment also convinced Scott that his stern approach remains necessary a generation later.

The Lakers acquired Scott from the former San Diego Clippers a few months after he was selected fourth overall in the 1983 NBA draft. But that deal entailed the Lakers trading Norm Nixon, who helped Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar win two of the Lakers’ first five NBA championships in the Showtime Era.

That left Scott initially without any locker-room allies.

“They weren’t joking around,” Scott said before the Lakers’ 107-101 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday at Staples Center. “I got a wake-up call real early that this was how it’s going to be. I better be ready for it.”

Scott routinely absorbed elbows from former Lakers forward Michael Cooper. The Lakers assigned Scott to cover Johnson. Nearly all of Scott’s teammates ignored him.

“The great thing is I was from here so I had a lot of support,” said Scott, who grew up in Inglewood and starred at Morningside High School. “But I would go home and think these dudes are crazy.”

Those crazy dudes eventually became Scott’s friends after recalling he never backed down during practice. It also helped that Scott made the NBA’s All-Rookie first team in the 1983-84 season. Scott then became a part of the Lakers’ three NBA title runes in 1985, ’87 and ’88.

“It was good because it obviously helped me grow,” Scott said. “It has gotten to the point where you formed everlasting relationships, too. After a while they respected who I was and what I could bring to the table.”

Since then, Scott has adopted that demanding touch with coaching stints in New Jersey (2000-04), New Orleans (2004-09), Cleveland (2010-2013) and with the Lakers (2014-present).

“I like pushing buttons,” Scott said. “I like messing with young guys. It’s fun. I like to see what they can do and how much they can take. I want to see if they will accept the challenge or not. I’ll do it in a playful way, but I’m still trying to find out what they’re made of.”

Is the current generation of players sensitive to such criticism?

“It would be like calling them soft. Yeah,” Scott said, chuckling. “Most of them are too sensitive.”

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:37 am    Post subject:

D'Angelo Russell In The Lakers Rookie All-Time Record Books?(Video)

by lakersnation.com
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:38 am    Post subject:

Lou Williams Out At Least One Week With Strained Hamstring
by lakersnation.com

This off-season, the Los Angeles Lakers brought in three veterans who they hoped would make an impact on the team and undoubtedly the most productive of the three has been guard, Lou Williams.

Williams has proven that he can consistently provide an offensive punch and has shown a penchant for drawing fouls on jumpers that very few can match.

Williams left the Lakers victory over the Brooklyn Nets early, and now the team has announced that he will be out at least a week due to a strained hamstring according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:

Lakers announce that Lou Williams is expected to be out a minimum of one week (strained left hamstring).

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:39 am    Post subject:

Jordan Clarkson Suffers Patellar Tendon Strain Vs. Nuggets
by lakersnation.com

For the most part this season, the Los Angeles Lakers have avoided the dreaded injury bug that has plagued the team in each of the last two seasons. That changed in Denver as not only did Kobe Bryant leave early due to his sore shoulder, but Jordan Clarkson limped off the floor as well.

With Lou Williams already out for at least a week, Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell were expected to take on an even bigger role in the offense.

ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reported that Clarkson suffered a patellar tendon strain and would not return:

Jordan Clarkson (patellar tendon strain in his left knee) will not return, the Lakers announce.

This couldn’t come at a worse time for the Lakers as the team was expected to really lean on their young core for the rest of the season. With Williams out as well, the onus will really be on Russell to become not only a primary shot creator for others, but a primary scoring option for the team.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:41 am    Post subject:

Rookie Anthony Brown still struggling on offense
by Broderick Turner - latimes.com

It has been a slow, uneven season for Lakers rookie Anthony Brown.

Brown is not progressing the way he thought he would. But he admitted being unsure of what steps to take along the way.

He started the last two games Kobe Bryant was out because of a sore shoulder, but Brown was back on the bench as a reserve Wednesday night against Denver.

He started the second half because Bryant couldn't finish the game because of his shoulder. Brown played 31 minutes, including all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter, and scored six points.

"You always figure it could be better," Brown said. "It's hard to say if it was expected because I didn't know what to expect. I would consider it a little bit slower."

Brown averaged 14.8 points as a senior at Stanford, and he figured he wouldn't have much to adjust to offensively when he was drafted in the second round (34th overall) by the Lakers.

But that has not been the case. His offense still needs work, his 3.8-point scoring average on 30.7% shooting telling that truth.

For the most part Wednesday, Brown was hesitant on offense, unsure when to shoot and when to pass. He made only two of six shots from the field.

"It's a different adjustment, especially when you're in college, you're the guy," Brown said. "It's different."

The 6-foot-7 Brown is considered a solid defender for a rookie by the Lakers because of his length, because he's active and is willing.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:42 pm    Post subject:

NBA Mock Draft - Lakers select Brandon Ingram with the No. 2 pick for a 'home run'
by Drew Garrison - silverscreenandroll.com

The Lakers are once again in line to draft a Duke Blue Devil.

The end of the NBA's regular season is still just over a month away but that doesn't stop analysts from keeping up with the standings as the season draws to a close. ESPN's Chad Ford released his mock draft 4.0 for the 2016 class, pegging Duke's Brandon Ingram to the Los Angeles Lakers with the second-overall pick of the draft. Ben Simmons remains the top pick, heading to the Philadelphia 76ers, with Dragan Bender going to the Phoenix Suns to round out the top three selections.

Ingram would fill an immediate void at small forward for the Lakers, something our very own Ben Rosales laid out when he examined a few different scenarios that could play out should the franchise retain their pick. The standout Blue Devil is averaging 17 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 40.6 percent from deep, an appealing stat line for a Lakers squad that desperately needs a long-term solution in the wings.

A quick glance at Ingram's shot chart, via Shot Analytics, is a pretty good indicator of his outside shooting prowess:

Here's what Ford had to say about Ingram, via ESPN (Insider):

Ingram's elite talent -- as well as his fit on a Lakers roster that could really use an upgrade at the 3 --would make this a home run pick for the Lakers.

If D'Angelo Russell continues to improve, they'd have two dynamic scorers to build around.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:43 pm    Post subject:

Kobe Bryant plans to start showing up for home fans
by Bill Oram - ocregister.com

The sheer number of road games the Lakers have played to this point brings into focus the emphasis Kobe Bryant has put on rewarding the fans of 29 other teams who spent 19 years booing him. The reward has been getting to watch him play one more time.

After playing just 11 minutes in Wednesday's 117-107 loss to the Nuggets, Bryant acknowledged had it not been his last game in Denver, “I wouldn't have played.”

Meanwhile, home games have been treated as an opportunity to rest and recover, seemingly ignoring the fact that the 18,997 fans at each home game are not always the same. Single-game ticket buyers have had to play a guessing game to try to catch Bryant at home as he has missed eight of the Lakers 17 home games since Jan. 1.

Bryant's sore shoulder is painful enough that, in a different season, he might take a long rest. But with six weeks remaining in the season, he said, “I can't do that.”

On Wednesday, Bryant said he will start trying to show up more for fans at Staples Center, even if it means turning in a limited performance like against the Nuggets.

“At Staples, here, I'm going to have to start ramping it up and get out there and playing,” he said on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, “because it's almost a wrap. But at the same time, I don't want to do something towards the end and have the shoulder pop out again and I'm on the surgery table again or something like that. We don't want that. I just need to be smart, and appreciate the time I have left.”

He will have plenty of opportunities.

Of the Lakers 20 remaining games, 14 will be at home, plus a designated road game against the Clippers.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:45 pm    Post subject:

TDIKH: March 3, 2013
by nba.com

Vino came out of the bottle once again to deliver his team a game-winning bucket.

In his first game since adopting his “like fine wine” nickname, Kobe Bryant dropped 34 points and hit a go-ahead layup with 9.0 second left to push his team past Atlanta, 99-98.

“I just had to attack,” Bryant told reporters. “I wanted to attack and just go right at them. Take the game to them. Be aggressive. Be physical. And it worked out.”
Bryant scored 111 points in the fourth quarter, including all of Los Angeles’ last six. On the decisive hoop, he kissed it off the glass to turn a one-point deficit into victory.

Though Atlanta forced 21 L.A. turnovers and shot 50.0 percent behind 24 points from Al Horford, Bryant was too much to handle.

“There’s a reason why he’s the best player in the game,” Horford said. “He did what he usually does, and we didn’t do a good enough job on him.”

With Pau Gasol injured, Bryant received some help in the form of double-doubles from Steve Nash (15 points, 10 assists) and Dwight Howard (11 points, 13 rebounds).

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject:

Brandon Ingram is the higher upside prospect in this draft. It would be a huge win for us to get him. He's like Durant, but with a rookie contract.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:33 pm    Post subject:

I think you're forgetting what a prospect Durant was out of college. He averaged 26 and 11 with 2 blocks and 2 steals a game, shooting 45% and 40% from three.

They're not close to the same caliber prospect
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:33 pm    Post subject:

10scott10 wrote:
I think you're forgetting what a prospect Durant was out of college. He averaged 26 and 11 with 2 blocks and 2 steals a game, shooting 45% and 40% from three.

They're not close to the same caliber prospect


Thank you. People assume hes just like Durant because he can shoot and is tall and skinny. Not even close to being as dominant. Simmons is closer to the level of dominance Durant displayed. I still wouldnt mind if we drafted him, but lets keep reality in check.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:04 pm    Post subject:

Bill Bertka - The Long View of the Lakers Legend
by Mike Trudell - nba.com

"I can't think of anybody that's contributed more to the game."
- Pat Riley


Wilt Chamberlain was born in 1936.

D'Angelo Russell was born in 1996.

Bill Bertka has taught them both.

"He's got some style, man!" said Russell, the Lakers' No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. "You can tell he's been doing that workout for like 50 years. It was real old school."

Just a 19-year-old last June, Russell could not have known how far back Berkta's teachings went as the two went through a predraft workout at L.A.'s practice facility.

"There it is!" Bertka yelled. "When possession is gained, you explode out, but you run the lanes with intelligence, spacing and purpose! Let's go!"

The Lakers director of scouting/basketball consultant stood at midcourt that day in June, focused intently on Russell. Having watched film of the Louisville, Ky. native from his freshman year at Ohio State, Bertka was excited about his ability to both score and handle the ball, skills he thinks compliment Russell's true calling as a passer.

"His court vision and ability to push the ball and find the open man really jumped out," Bertka said later. "Shades of Magic."

Bertka put some extra emphasis on the word "shades," in deference to Johnson, the greatest point guard of all time, whom Bertka coached up as Pat Riley's trusted assistant during the majority of Magic's tenure.

And he'd know, because … well … Bertka has seen practically every player in NBA history.

Did I mention that Bertka is 88 years old?

"It's incredible what he's able to do at his age," said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who has soaked up Bertka's knowledge for 34 years like a sponge under the faucet of the basketball gods. "Here I am, a lot younger than him, leaning against a refrigerator, and he's standing out there conducting workouts, sometimes for six straight hours. Amazing."

"He was always the guy that players truly respected," said Riley, who entrusted Bertka as his top assistant during the Lakers' Showtime Era. "He was so passionate about basketball that you knew you were going to get his very best. He's gone down the grid: Wilt, (Jerry) West, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), Shaquille (O'Neal), Kobe (Bryant), on and on – for the last 50 years. These are the all-time greats. He helped them get there."

Bertka lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Solveig, as he has since the 1960s, but he spends a lot of time in El Segundo at the Lakers' practice facility.

The Lakers allow Bertka the latitude to come in on Monday nights and leave on Thursdays, but during draft prep, they can't keep him out of the office.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:05 pm    Post subject:

Lakers Have No Idea What D'Angelo Russell Can Become
by Michael Pina - bleacherreport.com

Is Los Angeles Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell a “true” point guard? Will he spend the next 8-10 years of his career running high pick-and-rolls, attacking in transition and dicing set defenses up with an effortlessly unpredictable handle and unselfish vision?

Or—in the shadows of a 39-point breakthrough performance on Tuesday night against the hapless Brooklyn Nets, followed by a 24-point outing in Denver the very next night—are his skills better served as a primary scorer? Someone who relentlessly hunts his own shot on every other touch, darts into open space whenever off the ball, jacks up tough shots and spaces the floor?

The Lakers don’t have to answer what isn’t an either/or proposition right now because multiple particles are already ingrained in Russell’s DNA. He’s a positionless gem in a league that’s sprinting away from labels, with a skill set that’s adaptable, fluid and deadly.

How high he soars from here is anybody’s guess, much less where Russell will be in five years.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:06 pm    Post subject:

Kobe Bryant On Lakers Young Core: ‘They’re Looking Pretty Good’
by Ramneet Singh - lakersnation.com

The Los Angeles Lakers are going through a rebuilding process and have to figure out how to win in the post-Kobe Bryant era. The team has drafted well in recent years and they are stockpiling young players to make the transition as smooth as possible.

D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle are being trusted in bringing the Lakers back to their former glory. The three young stars have showed great promise early in their careers, and the franchise is hoping they only get better as times goes.

Bryant is being celebrated during his farewell tour, but another priority of his is mentoring the young players. Bryant has immense knowledge of the game and he is doing his part in preparing them to carry the franchise. Kobe spoke to the media following the team’s 117-107 loss the Nuggets and commentated on the recent play of Russell, Randle and Clarkson, via Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles:

Kobe talking about the three young kids (D'Angelo, Clarkson, Randle): "They're looking pretty damn good right now"

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:43 am    Post subject:

Is D'Angelo Russell the NBA's next superstar point guard?
by Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton - espn.go.com

After a strong February, D'Angelo Russell, the rookie point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers, is averaging 31.5 points per game in March on 55 percent shooting.

Is the No. 2 pick in the draft finally showing superstar potential?

Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton look at the future for the 20-year-old point guard, and explain why he could be similar to Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:44 am    Post subject:

D'Angelo Russell Finally Proving Worthy of Taking the Torch from Kobe Bryant?
by bleacherreport.com

Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell has been killing it lately, leaving us to wonder whether the criticism the 2015 No. 2 overall pick received earlier this season wasn't a bit premature.

Was Russell labeled a disappointment too soon? What's been the X-factor in Russell's recent string of stellar performances?

Watch as Adam Lefkoe and Bleacher Report NBA Analyst Kevin Ding discuss Russell in the video above.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:45 am    Post subject:

Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson listed as questionable vs. Atlanta
by Mark Medina - insidesocal.com

The Lakers’ backcourt could become significantly diminished amid a recent rash of injuries.

Both Kobe Bryant (sore right shoulder) and Jordan Clarkson (strained tendon in left knee) are listed as questionable for when the Lakers (12-50) host the Atlanta Hawks (33-28) on Friday at Staples Center. Bryant lasted only 11 minutes in the Lakers’ 117-107 loss on Wednesday to the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Clarkson left the same game midway through the third quarter.

But Clarkson’s injury does not appear serious. He received treatment on Thursday from Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, but he did not undergo any further tests. The Lakers also listed rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. as probable for Friday’s game after missing Wednesday’s game in Denver as a precautionary measure to treat his sore right knee. Meanwhile, Lou Williams will stay out for at least a week because of a strained left hamstring.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:46 am    Post subject:

Jordan Clarkson attends D-Fenders 13th consecutive home win
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

What happens when you have the night off but ball is life.

The Los Angeles D-Fenders defeated the Bakersfield Jam 124-103, a franchise record 13th consecutive home win that pushed their record to 23-16, good for second in the Western Conference as the team continues to build momentum as the playoffs approach.

Los Angeles was led by their highscoring back-court duo of reigning D-League player of the month Vander Blue (41 points on 22 shots) and the recently returned Jabari Brown, who scored 26 points on 17 shots in his return from China.

D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens slid 6'7 forward Ryan Gomes (21 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists) down to center in the fourth quarter to allow Los Angeles to outscore Bakersfield 34-15 in the period as they pulled away behind the D-League's version of the Golden State Warriors' "lineup of death."

In attendance for the win was Los Angeles Lakers' guard Jordan Clarkson, and this time he was there on purpose. After he showed up to the facility to shoot last week without checking if the D-Fenders were playing first, this time Clarkson attended the game intentionally to support his former college teammate Brown:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:47 am    Post subject:

Laker Sacre reflects on B.C. and basketball
by Mike Beamish - calgaryherald.com

No one wants to win as much or needs to win as much as Kobe Bryant.

But this year the Los Angeles Lakers simply are figuring out how to win.

Only the Philadelphia 76ers have lost more than the 12-50 Lakers, going through a painful rebuilding process as the 37-year-old Black Mamba completes his farewell tour of the National Basketball Association.

Courtside as Bryant’s brilliant career winds down is Rob Sacre, the seven-foot backup centre from North Vancouver who finds himself the second-longest tenured Laker behind Bryant at age 26.

Though he went the NCAA route (Gonzaga) after winning the B.C. high school Triple-A championship 10 years ago with the Handsworth Royals, Sacre spent Thursday morning on the phone with Vancouver media, pumping the bladder for the CIS Final 8 basketball championship at UBC from March 17-20.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:41 pm    Post subject:

Banged up Lakers return to Staples Center
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

The Lakers are reeling after their back-to-back in Denver.

The Los Angeles Lakers are back in Southern California after gasping for air by the end of their back-to-back date with the Denver Nuggets. It's the Atlanta Hawks who get a crack the purple and gold, who are black and blue with injuries. Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr. and Kobe Bryant could all miss this one with the various dings and soreness they're dealing with in the final 20 games.

This is a huge stretch for D'Angelo Russell, who should continue to take on more responsibility running the offense as the season comes to a close. He's done well in back-to-back games, and even though D'Angelo's performance fizzled out in Denver after putting up 17 first-half points, he's looking more comfortable than we've seen all season. Byron Scott committed to allowing Russell the opportunity to start through the final leg of the year, and thus far he's delivered with ever-growing confidence.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:42 pm    Post subject:

TDIKH: March 4, 2004
by nba.com

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers spent much of the game trailing Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks, but Bryant saved his fastball for the very end.

Los Angeles’ star scored 10 points in the final 2:15 to cap a 40-point night and 108-103 victory.

Though Nowitzki countered with 23 points and 13 rebounds, Bryant was aided by strong nights by Caron Butler (20 points) and Lamar Odom (18 points, 11 rebounds).

The Lakers shot 51.9 percent from the field while holding the Mavs to 38.8 percent.

However, the visitors managed to keep it close by hitting 35-of-40 free throws and holding L.A. to a gruesome 1-of-18 clip on 3-pointers.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:44 pm    Post subject:

D’Angelo Russell evoking thoughts of young James Harden
by Taylor Smith - todaysfastbreak.com

D’Angelo Russell drew comparisons to James Harden coming out of college, and it’s easy to see why. Both players were fairly highly regarded prospects that profiled extremely similarly from a physical standpoint.

Both are left-handed, 6-foot-5 combo guards that rely more on guile than athleticism. Not being an overly explosive athlete as a guard is a red flag for some, but Harden has clearly shown that you can dominate the league without the aid of a 40-inch vertical. The Lakers are hoping the same holds true for Russell someday.

Russell has turned plenty of heads since being reinserted into the starting lineup after the All-Star break. Over the last seven games, the former Buckeye is averaging 19.9 points, 4.7 assists and 3.1 boards on blistering 51 percent shooting from the floor and 53 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He’s played the majority of his minutes as a point guard this season, but he’s also shown lately that he can be extremely effective working off ball, as well.

Prior to Harden becoming the dominant ball-handler in Houston, he was actually exceptional working off of screens away from the ball during his time with Oklahoma City. There is obviously a smaller sample size with which to work with Russell, but he’s shown similar abilities of late.

He dished out six assists in the Lakers’ loss to the Nuggets on Wednesday, and they came in a variety of ways. His first dime came on this play:

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