Lakers defeat Jazz 119-109 to take 2-0 series lead

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Utah Jazz played better and it still didn’t matter.

Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 22 and Lamar Odom had 19 off the bench in the Lakers’ 119-109 victory over the Jazz on Tuesday night, giving Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 first-round Western Conference playoff series. Continue reading

Lakers beat Jazz 113-100 to win playoff opener

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Pardon Phil Jackson’s lack of enthusiasm for how the Los Angeles Lakers played in the second half. They piled up 62 points on Utah in the first half, then got outscored over the final 24 minutes. “It wasn’t a coach’s delight, that’s for sure,” he said. But his players sure liked the outcome, a 113-100 victory over the Jazz in the teams’ playoff opener Sunday. Continue reading

Lakers beat Kings to move within half-game of Cavs

 

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)—This fourth-quarter performance left the Los Angeles Lakers in a joking mood instead of a steamed one.

One game after nearly blowing a big lead to a lowly opponent, the Lakers had no problems closing out the NBA-worst Sacramento Kings in a 122-104 victory Tuesday night that moved them within a half-game of Cleveland for the best record in the NBA. Continue reading

Lakers notch 61st win—barely—over Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Phil Jackson had warned the Lakers not to overlook the lowly Los Angeles Clippers. What he didn’t count on was his team’s errant offense.

Lamar Odom had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Kobe Bryant added 18 points and the Lakers won 88-85 Sunday night to remain a game behind Cleveland for the NBA’s best record. Continue reading

Lakers pick up win No. 60

 

                   

LOS ANGELES (AP)—With six games left in the season and the Lakers already in the playoffs, Phil Jackson still won’t take his foot off the gas.

Pau Gasol had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Kobe Bryant added 20 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers picked up their 60th victory by beating the Houston Rockets 93-81 on Friday night. Continue reading

Magic throttle Cavaliers, James

 

  

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—Never in LeBron James’ entire basketball life could he recall being down by more than 40 points.

Not in the NBA. Not in high school. Not even playing pickup basketball as a kid. Continue reading

Andrew Bynum back at work

 

    

EL SEGUNDO – Now that all the fallout is over (is it really over?) from injured Laker center Andrew Bynum’s recent visit to the Playboy mansion, more important issues can be address.

Such as, when will Bynum’s right knee be healthy enough for him to return to action? Continue reading

Bryant, Gasol lead Lakers past Bucks

 

         

Kobe Bryant hadn’t been playing his best basketball of the season coming into the Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee, the final of seven straight games away from Los Angeles. In fact, in his last nine games, Bryant had shot over 50 percent just twice. Continue reading

Mark Cuban Fined for Twitter Comments

 

                   

The NBA’s true maverick has been fined $25,000 for his recent comments on Twitter. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently used the social networking tool to voice his anger at league officiating after Friday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. Cuban’s “tweets” referred to an altercation between Nuggets player J. R. Smith and Mavs player Antoine Wright.

First post (7:25 p . m . , March 27):

how do they not call a tech on JR Smith for coming off the bench to taunt our player on the ground ? Continue reading

Hawks hold off Kobe and the Lakers

 

   

ATLANTA (AP)—It was the kind of shot Kobe Bryant might make—a 3-pointer that bounces high off the rim, ricochets off the top of the backboard, then drops through.

Mike Bibby was the one who pulled it off Sunday.

Bibby scored 21 points and buried Los Angeles with his improbable 3, leading the Atlanta Hawks to an 86-76 victory in which they took advantage of an ailing Bryant and dropped the Lakers farther behind Cleveland in the race for the NBA’s best overall record.

The playoff-bound Hawks led nearly the entire way, rebounding from consecutive home losses to two other elite teams, San Antonio and defending champion Boston. For Los Angeles, it was the lowest-scoring game of the season. Continue reading

Bryant leads Lakers over Bulls

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CHICAGO (AP)—The Los Angeles Lakers are having trouble lately hanging onto big leads. They had no problem erasing one, however.

Kobe Bryant scored 28 points, Pau Gasol added 23 and the Lakers rallied for a 117-109 victory Saturday over the Chicago Bulls in the first of a season-high, seven-game trip.

Continue reading

NBA2k9 16ft9 giant Kobe Bryant take on celtics

in this case it’s more efficient to block your opponents by moving your feet than jumping around.

Kobe, Gasol help Lakers hold off Warriors

LOS ANGELES (AP)—After giving up leads of 15 points and 14 points in their previous two games, the Los Angeles Lakers came within a 3-point miss by Kelenna Azubuike of squandering an 18-point advantage to the Golden State Warriors.

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The Lakers held on for a 114-106 victory Thursday night as Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol each scored 21 points to help complete Los Angeles’ third four-game season sweep of the Warriors in four years.

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Now the defending Western Conference champions begin their longest trip of the season—seven games—on Saturday night at Chicago, and don’t play again at Staples Center until April 3 against Houston.

“Jeanie wants me to have my suits sent ahead and not even pack,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said in reference to girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ executive vice president of business operations. “But I don’t feel that luxurious about my life yet. I still need to pack my own bags.”

Jackson then packed away his trademark bemused grin and got serious.

“It’s a road trip that we have to play every game with that mentality of playing consistent conservative basketball,” the Hall of Fame said.

Bryant feels that a long road trip is just what the Lakers need to prevent them from becoming too complacent before the playoffs begin.

“It’s good that it is coming up at this time of year,” said Bryant, who committed five of the team’s 22 turnovers. “If you go out on the road, basically it’s us against the world, so to speak. So we are able to bond and connect. These type of trips build great momentum.”

The Lakers, who haven’t lost consecutive home games since a three-game stretch last March, bounced back from a 94-93 defeat to Philadelphia on Tuesday night in which they blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and lost on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Andre Iguodala.

On Sunday, they gave up a 15-point third-quarter lead against Dallas, and trailed by six in the fourth before rallying for a 107-100 win.

Jackson acknowledged that his team is far from being playoff-ready on defense—something that cost them in last year’s finals against Boston when they blew a 24-point lead at home before losing Game 4.

“We talked about that yesterday,” Jackson said. “We had a list of seven items up there on the boards that were haunting us, starting with turnovers in transition plays and offensive rebounds, which are dead-giveway types of things, and understanding our rotations that we have to do when we get into screen-roll situations.”

Thursday’s victory was the Lakers’ 31st at home, eclipsing last season’s total, and kept them a full game behind Cleveland for the NBA’s best record and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs with 14 games remaining.

Monta Ellis scored 27 points and Azubuike added 25 for the Warriors, who have lost 19 of their last 22 meetings with the Lakers and are 2-18 at Staples Center since the arena opened in 1999.

“There’s nothing we can say. we left it all on the court,” Ellis said. They made more good plays than we did down the stretch.”

The Lakers took a 77-59 lead on Derek Fisher’s 3-pointer with 3:34 left in the third quarter. The Warriors scored the next 12 points to make it a six-point differential. But Sasha Vujacic scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, and Lamar Odom converted a pair of 3-point plays 66 seconds apart to give Los Angeles a 101-86 lead with 5:59 to play.

Golden State then went on a 16-4 run capped by Jackson’s fastbreak layup with 2:40 remaining, after off one of six Lakers turnovers in the final quarter. But Azubuike missed a 3 that would have tied the game, and that was the Warriors’ last gasp.

Bryant who did not shoot any free throws against Philadelphia, didn’t attempt a foul shot against the Warriors until he completed a three-point play that gave the Lakers a 105-95 lead with 3:49 to play.

In a game that pitted the league’s top rebounding team against the worst, the Lakers held a 50-42 advantage. Gasol had 14 boards and Odom had 12, along with 16 points.

Warriors leading scorer Stephen Jackson returned to the lineup, scoring 10 points and shooting 5-for-17. He sat out Tuesday’s victory over the Clippers because of an automatic one-game suspension he received for getting his 16th technical foul of the season in Sunday’s loss to Phoenix.

Another LeBron’s win

James leads Cavaliers past Trail Blazers in OT

                      

CLEVELAND (AP)—Despite getting his 24th career triple-double, LeBron James was more impressed by the Cleveland Cavaliers tying the NBA record for fewest turnovers.

James had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Cavaliers to a 97-92 overtime victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night. Cleveland committed only two turnovers, setting a franchise record and matching the mark set by Milwaukee against Indiana on April 1, 2006.

“That’s good basketball. We did a good job protecting the ball,” James said. “It’s all about the team.”

Cleveland, won its seventh straight and 10th in the last 11, nearly broke the record, but Mo Williams’ pass while trying to run out the clock hit the backboard and was picked up by the Trail Blazers.

The Cavaliers are 31-1 at home and have a 4 1/2 -game lead over Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

James, who had his seventh triple-double this season, scored six points in the overtime period. His driving basket in the lane after the Cavaliers won the jumpball put Cleveland ahead for good. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added a free throw and a basket, pushing the lead to 91-86 lead with 3:15 left. James hit two more baskets as the Cavaliers outscored Portland 11-6 in the extra session.Ilgauskas finished with 21 points.

                             

Cleveland, which made just 4-of-21 shots in the first period, couldn’t hold an eight-point lead in the fourth.

“It was an ugly ballgame, but you’ve got to win ugly sometimes,” said Cleveland coach Mike Brown, who recorded his 200th career victory.

James scored twice late in regulation to give Cleveland an 86-82 lead, but Brandon Roy, who led Portland with 24 points, hit four free throws in the final 34 seconds—the last two coming with 3.4 seconds left—to tie the game.

Roy faked James into the air and his foot barely straddled the 3-point line when contact was made, sending Roy to the line for the tying free throws.

“He wasn’t going to let me make a walkoff 3 on him,” Roy said of James. “As soon as I did my last move, I went for the pump and he went for it. It’s almost like he knew I was going to shoot a 3 and he was timing it. I got up in the air, and he did a somewhat good job of going straight up. So I had to lean into him a little bit. That’s when my toe went over the line.”

James missed a running 12-footer and the game went into overtime. Ever the perfectionist, James found fault with himself for missing the shot.

“I make those shots all the time,” he said. “It was just a little short.”

LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, Portland’s starting forwards, missed the game because of injuries. Both players were injured in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s 95-85 win over Indiana. Aldridge, the Trail Blazers’ second-leading scorer, suffered a concussion while Batum, Portland’s best perimeter defender, sprained his left ankle.

Channing Frye, who scored 14 points, started in Aldridge’s spot while Travis Outlaw, who added 17, started for Batum.

“You’ve gotta make plays down the stretch and we didn’t do it,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said. “They did. They made buckets when they needed to, they got stops when they needed to.”

Greg Oden, who played one season at Ohio State, had seven points and nine rebounds in 12 minutes for Portland. He was playing his second game after missing 15 games with a bone chip in his left knee.

NBA Player Can’t Use Twitter During Games Anymore

Twitter has lost its NBA locker room reporter: Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles told forward Charlie Villanueva — a.k.a. @cv31 — he can’t Tweet during the game anymore.

ESPN: “We made a point to Charlie and the team that it’s nothing we ever want to happen again,” Skiles said after practice Tuesday. “You know, [we] don’t want to blow it out of proportion. But anything that gives the impression that we’re not serious and focused at all times is not the correct way we want to go about our business.”

Using the screen name “CV31” — Villanueva’s initials and jersey number — Villanueva posted the following message during halftime Sunday:

“In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.”

Not surprising that a NBA coach wouldn’t want his player to be goofing around on his iPhone during the game, even during halftime. But it’s still amusing (and amazing) how much access Twitter has given us to celebrity-types. Especially when they’re talking to each other, such as Villanueva’s tweet to Phoenix Suns star Shaq O’Neal, below.

                 

Iguodala’s 3 at buzzer gives Sixers win

LOS ANGELES f(AP)—The Philadelphia 76ers lost six games this season on game-winning shots in the final 5 seconds, including buzzer-beaters by Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris. So how nice it was to celebrate a last-second winner.

Andre Iguodala beat the final buzzer with a 3-pointer to finish with 25, and the 76ers overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun the Los Angeles Lakers 94-93 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory. Fifteen of Philadelphia’s 34 wins have been decided by six points or fewer.

“We cleared it out for Andre and gave him the option,” interim coach Tony DiLeo said. “He could have drove to the basket, he could pitch for a 3, but he said coming out: `I’m going to win the game.’ So he knew what he was going to do, and he did it.

“This was a great win for us. I can’t think of a better one. It shows the resiliency of the team.”

The Sixers were trailing 78-67 when DiLeo put in little-used forward Donyell Marshall for the first time, hoping he could provide the same spark he did in Sunday’s 85-77 win over Miami, when he scored 10 fourth-quarter points—his first since Feb. 17.

The 14-year veteran drained a 3-pointer 19 seconds later, igniting a 20-2 blitz that turned Philadelphia’s 12-point deficit into an 86-80 lead with 5:24 to play. Marshall capped the rally with another 3-pointer, then hit his third 3 of the game to put the Sixers back in front 91-89 with 2:22 left.

“You never know when your name is going to be called,” Marshall said. “I work out all the time with the strength and conditioning coach. Even though I haven’t been playing much, I still get some side stuff in.”

Pau Gasol hit two free throws for the Lakers with 1:39 to go, and Kobe Bryant—who scored 11 points during a foul-plagued 33 minutes—hit a 23-footer over Iguodala for a 93-91 lead after missing his previous five shots.

Following a timeout, Andre Miller inbounded to Iguodala, who was covered loosely by Trevor Ariza before connecting from the top of the key.

“Hats off to him. He’s an extremely talented player, and I think the world of him,” Bryant said. “We spent a great deal of time talking in the summer, and I was happy with the way he played. He had a good look at it and he knocked it down. In hindsight, we should have taken the foul”

Lakers coach Phil Jackson concurred.

“I don’t know if Trevor fully understood when I said we had a foul to use, because he did not use it,” Jackson said. “We don’t like to use a foul, especially when they catch and shoot. But when you handle the ball—and he took his time—then it’s time to use it.”

Bryant’s season low is 10 points, on Feb. 17 during a 96-83 win against Atlanta in which no Laker scored more than 15. The two-time scoring champ, who was 5-for-15 against Philadelphia, has missed 10 or more shots in 12 of the Lakers’ 14 losses.

The Lakers were ahead 59-58 when Bryant tried to set a screen for Ariza and was called for an offensive foul with 6:52 left in the third quarter. That was Bryant’s fourth of the game, and the reigning MVP didn’t report back in until the start of the fourth period.

“We did a good job of containing Kobe,” DiLeo said. “I know he had some foul problems and had to sit out a little more than he usually does, but Andre did a great job of defending Kobe. It’s a great way to start a road trip.”

The Lakers outscored Philadelphia 10-0 over the final 3:03 of the third quarter to pull ahead 73-62, and Jordan Farmar’s 3-pointer gave Los Angeles its biggest lead, 76-62, 16 seconds into the final period.

Gasol had 25 points for the defending Western Conference champion Lakers (53-14), who slipped a full game behind Cleveland for the NBA’s best record with 15 games remaining. Bryant failed to go to the free throw line for the fourth time this season, and this was the first time the Lakers lost when that happened.

The Sixers missed 10 of their first 11 shots while Los Angeles opened the game with a 12-2 run. But the Lakers were plagued by foul problems the rest of the half, leaving the floor at halftime tied 50-50 after squandering an early 11-point lead.

Farmar, the first player off the Los Angeles bench, picked up three fouls in his first 3:46 on the court and spent the final 10 minutes of the half on the bench wearing a towel around his neck. Bryant got his third foul with exactly 4 minutes left in the second quarter and the score tied at 40.

Gasol, 10-for-10 from the field in the first half of Sunday’s game, was 6-for-7 before halftime against Philadelphia. His rejection of Lou Williams’ layup with 26 seconds left in the second quarter extended his streak to a season-best seven straight games with at least one blocked shot.

Notes

The defeat was the Lakers’ first at home since their double-overtime loss to Charlotte on Jan. 27. They are 30-5 at Staples Center. … The 76ers had dropped eight of their previous nine against the Lakers at Staples Center. They are 20-48 against teams coached by Phil Jackson, including a 3-12 mark in the playoffs. … Bryant, who attended Philadelphia’s Lower Merion High School, is averaging 22.9 points and 46.5 percent from the field in 24 career games against his hometown team. His high-point game against them is 48, on Jan. 6, 2006, when he made all seven 3-point shots in a 119-93 win after serving a two-game suspension. … Miller, who turns 33 Thursday, played in his 513th consecutive game—the NBA’s longest active streak.