2008-09 LAKERS NEWS AND NOTES
Lakers vs Utah Jazz / W 125-112 / Streak: won 2 / Record 65-17
Apr 14: In their final season game the Lakers defeated the Jazz 125-112. Utah will be L.A.'s first-round rival in the 2009 playoffs.
With 22 points from Andrew Bynum and 20 from Pau Gasol the Lakers got their 65th victory to tie the 1986-87 season for the 3rd best in franchise history. Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom added 16 points each and Sasha Vujacic 15 that included 3 three-pointers in 4 attempts.
Deron Williams had 25 points and 13 assists for the Jazz that led by 8 points twice in the second quarter and stayed in the game until late in the third (were down 74-75) but in the final 2:42 L.A. outscored them 16-9 to take a 91-83 lead into the fourth and then opened the final period with a 13-2 run for a 104-85 lead. - Highlights -
Apr 13: Lebron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers won at Indiana, clinching that way the best record in the 2008-09 NBA Season and home-court advantage throughout the Playoffs. The Lakers have already secured the second-best record, meaning they will have home-court advantage in the Western Conference and if they can make it back to the Finals, they'll have that margin against any team other than Cleveland, situation that includes the Celtics and the Magic.
Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies / W 92-75 / Streak: won 1 / Record 64-17
Apr 12: Despite their chase for the best record in the NBA is almost over the Lakers are happy with the number one seed in the West and the return of a healthy Andrew Bynum, who led them with 18 points to a comfortable 92-75 victory over the Grizzlies.
After his previous knee injury he had needed a lot of time to get in basketball rhythm but this time he returned just in time for the playoffs playing better than expected. He made his presence felt in the middle, went 6-of-10 from the floor and took 5 rebounds in 25 minutes. Kobe Bryant added 16 points in 7-for-9 shooting, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in just 29 minutes and Pau Gasol also had some rest playing 32 minutes in which he got 12 points and 13 rebounds. O.J. Mayo led the Grizzlies with 20 points, and Marc Gasol had 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Lebron James and his Cavaliers demolished the Celtics 107-76 and only have to win one of their 2 remaining games to end the season with the best mark. The Lakers have already secured the second place, which gives them home-court advantage if they reach the finals again and play against any team other than the Cavs.
Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers / L 98-106 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 63-17
Apr 10: The city of Portland has officially became the nightmare for the Lakers who have lost their last 8 games there. It was a hard-to-digest 106-98 loss against the Trail Blazers, one possible second-round adversary in the 2009 Playoffs and the only team from the West who has defeated L.A. twice this season.
In fact the game was played in a Playoff atmosphere, with both teams battling for every point. The Lakers had a 50-40 lead late in the second quarter but Portland went on a 9-0 run which was stopped by Vujacic's 3-pointer to seal the first half 53-49. Bryant passed Charles Barkley for 17th on the all-time NBA scoring list but despite his 32 points it won't be a happy night to remember. The best clutch player in the league airballed two 3-point attempts and had a turnover in the final minute killing the Lakers already slim chances.
With Assistant Kurt Rambis in the bench replacing Phil Jackson, who stayed at home with pain in his right leg, the Lakers fell1 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the best record in the NBA. The only chance to get it is by winning the two remaining games and hoping that the Cavaliers loss 2 out of 3.
Lakers at. Denver Nuggets / W 116-102 / Streak: won 5 / Record 63-16
Apr 9: Andrew Bynum returned after missing 32 games and the Lakers celebrated with a good victory against Denver 116-102. The Nuggets were trying to secure the second seed in the Western Conference but the Lakers reminded them who is the best team in the West.
Kobe Bryant had 33 points, Pau Gasol looked happy to play power forward again and was great with 27 points and 19 rebounds. He missed shots than usually (he was 9-for-19) but also took 11 offensive rebounds. Wearing a black brace on the knee Bynum made 7 of his 11 shots for 16 points and took 7 rebounds in 21 minutes. The return of their starting center is great news for the Lakers who have just 3 games left in the season and are still half-game behind the Cavs for the best record.
The first half ended tied at 56 with a buzzer-beater from J.R. Smith (19 points) but in the third quarter the Lakers took control of the game when Kobe and Pau combined for 11 points in the middle of a 16-5 run that started with less than six minutes remaining. Carmelo Anthony had 23 points for Denver.
Lakers at Sacramento Kings / W 122-104 / Streak: won 4 / Record 62-16
Apr 7: The Lakers had no problem defeating the Kings 122-104. By winning against the worst team in the NBA they also moved within half-game of the Cavaliers for the best record in the league.
Pau Gasol led his team with 26 points and 12 rebounds, Kobe Bryant added 22 points and rested in the fourth quarter while the reserves did a good job. Lamar Odom had 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Kings opened the game making 11 of 15 shots for a 29-17 lead but L.A. recovered zoom with a 40-point second quarter to go to the halftime leading 71-55. The Kings never got closer than 10 points after that.
Lakers vs. L.A. Clippers / W 88-85 / Streak: won 3 / Record 61-16
Apr 5: The Lakers barely defeated the Clippers 88-85 but a win is a win in their race for the best record in the NBA where they are 1 game behind the Cavaliers, the only team with a better record.
Three times the Lakers had a 19-point lead, the last one with the score 81-62 in the fourth quarter before the Clippers went into a 16-point run to close to 81-87 with 2 1/2 minutes left. With 1:09 the Lakers lead was just 83-82 but Pau Gasol (14 points) scored in a layup and Kobe Bryant (18 points) made 2 free-throws to give their team enough margin to win. Odom had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Eric Gordon led the Clippers with 24 points.
Lakers vs. Houston Rockets / W 93-81 / Streak: won 2 / Record 60-16
Apr 3: Thanks to a 93-81 home victory over the Rockets the Lakers reached the 60-win mark for the 11th time in franchise history, the first time since they went 67-15 in 1999-2000. They also got within one game of the Cavaliers for the best record in the league with 6 games left.
Pau Gasol had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Kobe Bryant added 20 points and 7 assists and Derek Fisher also had a solid game and contributed 15 points. Ron Artest led the Rockets, that were swept in their season series against L.A., with 21 points while Yao Ming and Luis Scola added 16 each. Yao also had 10 rebounds and 6 blocks.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter the Rockets got to within 1 point (68-69) but the Lakers scored the next 6 points, then with 4:41 left Houston again got close (76-81) but Kobe hit 2 consecutive 3-pointers to clear all doubts about who was going to win it.
Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks / W 104-98 / Streak: won 1 / Record 59-16
Apr 1: The Lakers ended their longest trip of the season with a victory 104-98 at Milwaukee. They return home with 5 victories and the positive note of the return of Kobe Bryant's shooting touch. He made all his seven shots in the first half and ended with 30 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists to help the team avoid their first 3-game losing streak since acquiring Pau Gasol last year.
The Bucks, playing without Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, led by as many as 11 in the second quarter and were ahead by one by the end of the third but Pau Gasol scored 8 of his 15 points in a fourth period where the Lakers outscored Milwaukee 24-17.
Lakers at Charlotte Bobcats / L 84-94 / Streak: lost 2 / Record 58-16
Mar 31: The Bobcats are not just another 34-win team or the second-lowest scoring squad in the NBA, they are also the only team other than the Celtics with a winning record against L.A. The Lakers fell 84-94 at Charlotte in their 6th loss in the last 7 meets. It extended the Bobcats positive record against L.A. to 6-4.
A promising 4-0 road trip now includes two losses who have sent the Lakers 3 games behind the Cavaliers in the race for the NBA's best record. Both teams have 9 games left. On their side the Bobcats -- coached by Larry Brown and commanded by Michael Jordan -- set a franchise record with their 34th win and are still alive trying to grab the 8th place in the East.
Kobe Bryant scored 25 points, but hit just 11 of 28 shots, Lamar Odom added 20 points. Gerald Wallace had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Bobcats who were at their best against a tired rival. Vladimir Radmanovic scored 7 in the first game against his former team.
Lakers at Atlanta Hawks / L 76-86 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 58-15
Mar 29: Playing with an ailing Kobe Bryant the Lakers were awful and lost 76-86 at Atlanta. Now they are 4-1 on their 7-game road trip but fell 2 games behind the Cavaliers in their race for the best record in the NBA.
Kobe had 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting after being bothered all day by an upset stomach. Pau Gasol was the only other Los Angeles player in double figures with 21 points while the Lakers as a team made just 35 percent (28 of 80) from the field including Odom shooting 3-for-14, Ariza 3-for-11 and Fisher also 3-for-11. Mike Bibby led the Hawks with 21 points.
Lakers at New Jersey Nets / W 103-95 / Streak: won 5 / Record 58-14
Mar 27: The Lakers clinched the West top seed with a 103-95 win at New Jersey. They also proved that they are much more just the scoring provided by Kobe Bryant. Kobe sprained his right ankle and finished 5-for-19 from the field for 14 points. But he also had 9 assists and Pau Gasol led L.A. with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists.
Derek Fisher added 18 points and Lamar Odom had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Meanwhile Phil Jackson set a Lakers record by coaching his 728th game, one more than Pat Riley.
Vince Carter scored 20 points for the Nets who erased a couple of big leads by L.A. They tied it at 57 early in the third but the Lakers scored the next 16 points. In the fourth the Nets got within 3 points twice.
Lakers at Detroit Pistons / W 92-77 / Streak: won 4 / Record 57-14
Mar 26: With a 92-77 win at Detroit the Lakers snapped a 9-game losing streak at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Lakers hadn't won there since Jan 8, 2002, including 3 losses in the 2004 NBA Finals.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points to go with his 8 rebounds and 7 assists against a Pistons who played without Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson and are fighting to make the playoffs in the East. .
Led by reserve Will Bynum (had career highs of 25 points and 11 assists) the Pistons outscored the Lakers 30-14 in the second quarter to lead 42-39 by halftime. They led by as many as 10 points early in the third and were still up by 5 when Bryant's layup triggered a 20-0 run and left the Pistons without reaction. Derek Fisher scored 15 points and Odom and Pau Gasol each had 12
Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder / W 107-89 / Streak: won 3 / Record 56-14
Mar 24: Kobe Bryant scored 19 points and rested in the fourth quarter and none of the other starters saw action in the final 8 minutes while the Lakers easily defeated the Thunder 107-89.
The Lakers outscored Oklahoma City 37-20 in the first quarter and took a 24-point lead to halftime. Lamar Odom scored 18 points before fouling out and Pau Gasol had 14 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Duran scored 24 points.
The Lakers moved to 2-0 on their seven-game trip and trail Cleveland (57-13) by one game for the best record in the NBA. The Lakers own the tiebreaker, but the Cavaliers have only 4 more regular-season road games ahead and are 32-1 at home.
Lakers at Chicago Bulls / W 117-109 / Streak: won 2 / Record 55-14
Mar 21: The Lakers started their longest road trip of the season with a victory 117-109 at Chicago. Kobe Bryant led his team with 28 points and 7 assists and Pau Gasol added 23 points and 10 rebounds.
John Salmons scored 30 and rookie sensation Derrick Rose 25 for the Bulls, who had won their previous 3 games including victories against the Hornets and the defending champions Celtics. In fact they also had a chance in this game, going to the halftime with a 62-48 margin. But after Chicago opened the third quarter with a free throw from Salmons, the Lakers went 12-0. The Bulls entered the fourth still with a 87-81 lead but for the first time in many games the Lakers second unit had a strong performance and led by Jordan Farmar they went into a 21-6 run. L.A. outscored the Bulls 36-22 in that final 12 minutes.
Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors / W 114-106 / Streak: won 1 / Record 54-14
Mar 19: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol scored 21 points each to lead the Lakers to a 114-106 victory over the Warriors. This way L.A. swept the 4-game season series with Golden State.
An 18-point, third-quarter lead for L.A. almost disappeared and was reduced to 3 points late in the fourth quarter. The Warriors closed to within 107-104 on a basket by Monta Ellis --- who led all scorers with 27 points--- with 1:31 left, but Ariza answered with a 3-pointer as the fans at the Staples Center breathed again.
The Lakers are the best in the West (8.5 games ahead of the Spurs) but have lost their margin for the best record in the league falling 1 game behind the Cavaliers. With their longest road trip of the season ahead (7 games), the Lakers will have to keep the focus if they still want to compete for home court advantage in the 2009 Playoffs including the NBA Finals.
Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers / L 93-94 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 53-14
Mar 17: Andre Iguodala's buzzer beater gave the 76ers a 94-93 victory over the Lakers. Kobe Bryant -- who had a subpar game scoring just 11 points on 5-for-15 shooting -- had missed his previous 5 shots when he hit a 23-footer to put L.A. ahead 93-91 with 6 seconds left.
Iguodala led Philadelphia with 25 points while Pau Gasol had 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks for the Lakers who had things under control until 2 minutes into the fourth. Their 78-66 lead disappeared when the 76ers went into a 20-2 run.
Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks / W 107-100 / Streak: won 3 / Record 53-13
Mar 15: The Lakers proved that Kobe Bryant in not the only reason why they have the best record in the NBA. With big performances by Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom they defeated the Mavericks 107-100.
Kobe had 28 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and led a 12-0 run in the fourth that started with L.A. down 92-95. Ariza contributed a career-high 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting, Gasol scored 25 making 12 of 13 shots, including his first 10 attempts and Odom had 10 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
Lakers at San Antonio Spurs / W 102-95 / Streak: won 2 / Record 52-13
Mar 12: In what is usually hostile territory for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant left the court hearing "M-V-P" chants after L.A. defeated the home team Spurs 102-95 to clinch the Pacific Division and a playoff spot with still a month to play in the regular season.
Kobe had 23 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists, Pau Gasol 23 points and 11 rebounds and Lamar Odom added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Tony Parker and Michael Finley had 25 points apiece for the Spurs. The Lakers led by as many as 18 points but Parker's 3-pointer with 2:19 left in the fourth cut the lead to 95-93. Kobe answered right back with his own 3-pointer to put things in place.
Lakers at Houston Rockets / W 102-96 / Streak: won 1 / Record 51-13
Mar 11: Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, won his personal battle with Ron Artest and the Los Angeles Lakers ended Houston’s 12-game home winning streak with a 102-96 victory.
Former Laker Von Wafer scored 20 points for the Rockets while Artest not only couldn't stop Kobe despite using all his tricks and trash-talking, he was completely ineffective missing 12 of 16 shots that included an embarrassing 0-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. The Rockets have lost all three meetings with the Lakers this season.
Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers / L 94-111 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 50-13
Mar 9: The Lakers can't win at the Rose Garden lately and this game wasn't the exception, L.A. lost 94-111 at the hands of the Trail Blazers. Despite having one of the best road records at 21-9 it was the third straight road loss for Phil Jackson's team.
Portland had complete control of the game in a first they won 61-38 but in the final minutes of the third quarter the scary moment of the night came when Ariza fouled Rudy Fernandez who fell hard under the basket on his hip and remained on the floor being attended for more than 10 minutes before being taken from on a stretcher. Initial reports said he suffered a soft-tissue injury to the upper chest and side. A skirmish broke out and Ariza was ejected. The Blazers went flat after that and the Lakers closed the gap to 89-73 midway through the fourth but it wasn't enough to avoid their 7th consecutive loss at Portland.
Lakers vs. Minnesota T-wolves / W 110-90 / Streak: won 2 / Record 50-12
Mar 6: Kobe Bryant scored 23 points, Pau Gasol 21 and the Lakers became the first team with 50 victories this season by defeating the Timberwolves 110-90
Kobe played only the first 3 quarters and passed Robert Parish for 18th on the NBA's all-time career scoring list with 23,354 points.
Ryan Gomes scored 20 points and rookie Kevin Love added 18 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota.
Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies / W 99-89 / Streak: won 1 / Record 49-12
Mar 3: The Lakers wanted to avoid their first 3-game losing streak of the season and the Grizzlies were the ideal team to play. It wasn't a great win but with 31 points from Kobe L.A. defeated Memphis 99-89 at the Staples Center.
Matched against his younger brother Marc, Pau Gasol contributed 13 points and 8 rebounds. Marc Gasol had 17 points and 14 rebounds. Fisher added 11 points for the Lakers and Lamar Odom had a bad shooting night (1-for-8) and ended with 2 points but also 13 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 blocks. The Lakers was up by 15 early in the second quarter but the Grizzlies got within 52-47 by halftime. Then L.A. gradually extended their lead to 11 after three quarters.
Lakers at Phoenix Suns / L 111-118 / Streak: lost 2 / Record 48-12
Mar 1: Led by a rejuvenated Shaquille O'Neal the Suns beat the Lakers 118-111 just 3 days after being blown out by 26 points at the Staples Center. In the absence of injured Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, Shaq had 33 points and the win to overshadow his All-Star co-MVP Kobe Bryant who had a strong performance with 49 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lakers tried to keep the pace with the run-and-gun Suns but trailed most of the game with Phoenix leading by as many as 15 in the first half and by 10 at the break. Then, 1:15 into the third quarter Kobe's best moment started. He scored 17 points in a 19-2 Lakers run that put his team ahead 75-70 almost four minutes and a half later, but after a timeout the Suns scored the next 13 points to recover the lead 83-75 and never trailed again. With an 8-1 run that started with 1:20 left in the game L.A. got within 111-115 but that was all. Pau Gasol had 30 points but had no opportunity to stop Shaq and his big weight difference.
Lakers at. Denver Nuggets / L 79-90 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 48-11
Feb 27: Just one night after tying their season-high with 132 points the Lakers had their worst scoring game in a 90-79 defeat in Denver.
In fact they shot so bad that it could had been the worst-shooting game for the franchise since it moved to Los Angeles 48 years ago, but Jordan Farmar's layup with 5 seconds left in the game raised their percentage to 29.8 barely beating the 29.4% they shot against Utah in November 2004. Kobe Bryant had 29 points making just 10 of 31 shots, Pau Gasol had 18 points, and Lamar Odom collected 19 rebounds but had 12 points shooting 5-for-17. Nobody else in the team scored at least 10 points. Fisher and Walton each missed 5 of 7 shots and Ariza missed all his 6 attempts. Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith each had 22 points for the Nuggets and the Lakers bench was outscored 47-7.
Despite their night off which ended a 6-game winning streak, the Lakers still hold the best record in the NBA. Now they have no chance to match the 1996 Bulls season record of 72-10 but they still could try to tie the second-best record of 69-13 by the 1972 Lakers. To do that they should end the season with a 21-2 streak which is not impossible for this team who has had two 17-2 streaks so far this season.
Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns / W 132-106 / Streak: won 6 / Record 48-10
Feb 26: Playing without Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire the Suns didn't have a chance against the Lakers in a 132-106 rout.
Lamar Odom, the only Laker who played more than 30 minutes had 23 points and 9 rebounds, Kobe Bryant 22 points and 8 assists in 26 minutes and Gasol added 16 points and 9 rebounds. Shaquille O'Neal who was always complaining about not getting the ball enough while playing for L.A. could take only 7 shots for 12 points. The Lakers scored at least 30 points in each quarter including 70 points in the first half. In the third the Lakers led by as many as 25.
Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder / W 107-93 / Streak: won 5 / Record 47-10
Feb 22: Kobe Bryant led his team in the fourth quarter and they got a win 107-93 at Oklahoma City to improve their record to 47-10, the best in the NBA and their road record to a fantastic 21-6.
In the second quarter the Lakers took an 18-point lead (47-29) but the Thunder got within 2 points, 79-77 before Kobe entered the game with 9:17 remaining in the fourth. Three seconds later he made a 17-foot jumper and there was no way to stop him after that, he scored 15 points in the period and ended with 36.
Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves / W 111-108 / Streak: won 4 / Record 46-10
Feb 22: In the Lakers victory 111-108 over the Timberwolves Kobe Bryant scored 28 points to move past
Elgin Baylor into 20th place on the NBA’s career scoring list. this way he also became the third top scorer in the Lakers franchise history, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West.
Both teams are playing without their injured starting centers (Andrew Bynum and Al Jefferson) but the Lakers had the edge with big games from Pau Gasol (25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Lamar Odom (25 points, 14 assists). Kobe also added 6 rebounds and 7 assists and committed 6 turnovers. Odom has averaged 17.2 points and 13.9 rebounds since Bynum went out and he became a starter. Ryan Gomes and Sebastian Telfair had 20 points each for the T-Wolves who, playing against a very uninspired Lakers defense stayed in the game until the final second, when Randy Foye's long three-point attempt as time expired didn't touch the rim.
Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets / W 115-111 OT / Streak: won 3 / Record 45-10
Feb 20: Derek Fisher made the key plays at the end of regulation, Kobe Bryant exploded with 11 points in overtime and the Lakers defeated the Hornets 115-111.
The Lakers took a 45-41 lead into halftime and looked on their way to an easy win in the third quarter where they led by as many as 15 but Phil Jackson rested most of his starters in the first 5 minutes of the fourth while the Hornets outscored the Lakers bench 18-8 to close the gap to 5 points. By the end of the period the Lakers were down 98-95 when Derek Fisher used his experience to draw an offensive foul on Chris Paul (21 points, 16 assists) and then made the game tying 3-pointer with 14.6 seconds left to send it to overtime. Fisher ended with 14 points that also included 4 free throws in the final 14 seconds of the extra period. But the extra time belonged to Kobe (39 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) who almost single-handed ended the Hornets NBA-Record streak of 13 overtime wins dating to December 2005. Pau Gasol contributed 20 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists while Lamar Odom added 12 points and continued his streak of strong games under the board with 17 rebounds.
Lakers at Golden State Warriors / W 129-121 / Streak: won 2 / Record 44-10
Feb 18 In the matchup between the NBA's top scoring teams the Lakers overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit to win 129-121 at Golden State.
The Warriors won the high-scoring first half 68-62 and the Lakers were still down 105-109 with 4:18 left in the fourth when two 3-pointers by Trevor Ariza (17 points) triggered a 17-3 run that sealed the destiny of the game. Kobe Bryant ended with 30 points, 9 assists and 3 steals, Pau Gasol had 24 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists and Lamar Odom contributed 22 points and 7 rebounds. Josh Powell keeps piling minutes and had 16 points from the bench, one of the main reasons why Chris Mihm was traded to Memphis. The Lakers won for the 9th time in the last 10 games.
Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette scored 24 points apiece for the Warriors.
Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks / W 96-83 / Streak: won 1 / Record 43-10
Feb 17: Pau Gasol had his first triple-double as a Laker, Lamar Odom took more rebounds than the previous game (again) and the Lakers defeated the Hawks 96-83 in the first game after the All-Star game trying to set the tone for the remaining of the season and their championship aspirations.
Gasol got the 3rd triple-double of his career with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists while Odom had 15 points and 20 rebounds after getting 17,18 and 19 rebounds in the previous 3 games. It was a quiet night for Kobe Bryant who scored a season-low 10 points taking only 12 shots. The All-Star MVP scored just 4 points in the first half but his team recovered from a slow start and took a 45-36 lead into halftime. With everybody contributing the Lakers grew the lead to 25 points in a third quarter where they outscored Atlanta 40-24. The fourth was just resting time for the Lakers starters.
Lakers at Utah Jazz / L 109-113 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 42-10
Feb 11: 109-113
Lakers vs. at Oklahoma City Thunder / W 105-98 / Streak: won 7 / Record 42-9
Feb 10: 105-98
Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers / W 101-91 / Streak: won 6 / Record 41-9
Feb 8: 101-91
Lakers at Boston Celtics / W / Streak: won 5 / Record 40-9
Feb 5: This time the Lakers didn't allow the Celtics to outmuscle them. Their physical defense lasted until the final second of overtime forcing Ray Allen to airball a shot as time expired and allowing L.A. to defeat the Champions 110-109.
Kobe Bryant didn't shoot very well going 10-for-29 and missing his 4 shots in overtime but he made a couple of key 3-pointers at the end of regulation, had 26 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and his defense on Paul Pierce (21 points) when the game was on the line was crucial for the Lakers destiny. The most criticized players in the 2008 Finals, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom both had big games: Gasol ended with 24 points making 10 of 14 shots, 14 rebounds (7 of them offensive) and was everywhere at the end of the fourth and in overtime when he scored 5 points, blocked a shot with 17 seconds left and came to help Derek Fisher when Ray Allen (22 points) was trying to find a shot at the end. Odom had 20 points and 6 rebounds and made 2 free throws that won the game for L.A. Kevin Garnett scored 16 points before fouling out with 4:22 left in the fourth after pushing Derek Fisher who ended with 13 points and 5 assists and chased Allen all around the court, setting the tone of L.A.'s defense.
This way the Lakers moved to 5-0 on their 6-game trip, swept the series with their arch rivals to have the tie-breaker in case both teams have the same record when the 2008-09 season ends, and ended the Celtics' 12-game winning streak, the second longest this season. The longest so far also belongs to Boston: a streak of 19 consecutive wins ended by the Lakers on Christmas Day.
Lakers at Toronto Raptors / W 115-107 / Streak: won 4 / Record 39-9
Feb 4: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol combined for 67 points to get a victory at Toronto 115-107 and stay undefeated in the first 4 of a 6-game trip.
But it wasn't an easy win against a team who was playing without its starting point guard Jose Calderon and lost Chris Bosh in the fourth quarter because of a sprained knee. L.A. had never led by more than 2 points and trailed 87-85 to begin a fourth quarter where they took control by outscoring the raptors 30-20. Toronto got within 2 points, 105-107 with 42 seconds left but Kobe answered with 4 consecutive points and Gasol added 2 free throws to put the game out of reach.
Kobe had 36 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists and Gasol had his second night with 31 points and collected 15 rebounds. Joey Graham led the Raptors with 24 points, Andrea Bargnani added 21 and 9 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points, 9 rebounds and 9 blocked shots. In was L.A.'s final opportunity to adapt to the new starting line-up of Fisher-Bryant-Walton-Odom-Gasol before facing the Celtics for the first time at the TD Banknorth Garden since their 131-92 loss in Game 6 of the 2008 Finals, the second-most lopsided game in Finals history. The Lakers defeated them in Los Angeles on Christmas Day but this time the situation will be similar to last year's final when they couldn't count with Andrew Bynum.
Lakers at New York Knicks / W 126-117 / Streak: won 3 / Record 38-9
Feb 2: Kobe Bryant set an arena record by scoring 61 points at the legendary Madison Square Garden in the Lakers victory 126-117 against the Knicks.
Former Knick Bernard King had scored 60 points in 1984 and Michael Jordan had the opponent's record with 55. It is Kobe's 5th game with 60 or more points and the fourth best total on the list of his top scoring games. It is also the highest-scoring total for a player so far this 2008-09 NBA season.
In his fifth 40-point performance at the MSG, Kobe made 19 of 31 shots, all 20 of his free throws, was booed, heard "MVP" chants and finally felt to a loud ovation from the sold-out crowd. He had 18 points in the first quarter and 16 in the second guiding the Lakers to 65-54 halftime lead. Then 12 in the third and 15 in the fourth, when the lead was as big as 20 points.
The feat was like a breeze of fresh air after the bad news that Andrew Bynum will be out for 8 to 12 weeks with a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. To replace him Pau Gasol played center and also had a great night with 31 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists. With the absence of Bynum and Gasol moved to center Lamar Odom (6 points and 14 rebounds) returned to the starting line-up.
Al Harrington scored 24 points, David Lee had 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies / W 115-98 / Streak: won 2 / Record 37-9
Jan 31: Kobe Bryant scored 25 points and Pau Gasol added 24 and 8 rebounds helping the Lakers beat Memphis 115-98 but L.A. has nothing to celebrate after Andrew Bynum left the game in the first quarter with a sprained knee that raises doubts about his future for the rest of season.
Rudy Gay had 23 points and O.J. Mayo scored 21 but they couldn't stop Memphis from getting the 12th consecutive loss. The Grizzlies took a 61-55 lead to the halftime but were outscored 60-37 after that.
Bynum was injured just 5 minutes into the game while Kobe Bryant was driving to the basket, missed the shot, came down awkwardly and crashed into his right leg. He was helped from the floor and did not return. It wasn't the same knee that sidelined him for the final 46 games of the 2007-2008 season after being injured... against Memphis. He had averaged 26.2 points, 14 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots in his previous 5 games
Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves / W 132-119 / Streak: won 1 / Record 36-9
Jan 30: The Lakers started a 6-game road trip with a 132-119 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
While Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, the Lakers two big men combined for 48 that included another big game from Andrew Bynum with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Pau Gasol added 21 and 9. It was too much for Minnesota despite a 34-point and 13-rebounds effort from their center Al Jefferson. The Lakers won a high-scoring first half 64-60 but made the difference with a 36-25 third quarter.
Lakers vs. Charlotte Bobcats / L 110-117 2OT / Streak: lost 1 / Record 35-9
Jan 27: The Bobcats defeated the Lakers at Staples Center 117-110 in a double overtime game that gave them their 5th win in the last 6 games against Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant had 38 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists but fouled out in the first overtime. Bynum added 24 points and 14 rebounds and gave Gerald Wallace a flagrant foul that sent him to the hospital with 15 points and a a possible broken rib. Two Bobcats toyed with a triple-double: Boris Diaw had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists while Raymond Felton added 21, 11 and 9. Charlotte missed five free throws in the final 2:08 of the fourth quarter, allowing L.A. to erase a 7-point deficit and force the first overtime with a 3-pointer by Fisher that tied the score at 93. The Lakers opened the first OT with a 7-0 run but the Bobcats came back, Kobe fouled out for the first time this season with 39 seconds left and a 3-pointer by Diaw with 32 seconds to play tied the game at 103. In the second OT the Bobcats took the lead for good 110-107 with 2:14 left and outscored their rivals 14-7.
It was the first game with overtime in this 2008-09 season for the Lakers, who after playing an NBA-high 27 home games will play 22 of next 31 on the road including the next 6 in a row.
Lakers at San Antonio Spurs / W 99-85 / Streak: won 4 / Record 35-8
Jan 25: The Lakers faced the second-best team in the West but with all their players available to play for the first time in a month they had no problem at all to defeat the Spurs 99-85.
Kobe Bryant scored 22 points, Trevor Ariza 17, Pau Gasol added 16 points and Andrew Bynum (15 points and 11 rebounds) was a headache for Tim Duncan (15 points and 8 rebounds). In an unusual situation against a rival like the Spurs, Gasol was the only starter to see action in the fourth quarter.
Ginobili's jumper with 4 minutes left in the second quarter gave San Antonio the lead for the last time, the Lakers closed the half with an 11-4 run that included 7 points from Kobe. Then the Spurs started the third disoriented, leaving Kobe and Derek Fisher open for consecutive 3-pointers and then 2 free throws from Bynum opened the gap to 59-45. The Lakers had another strong start in the fourth with a 10-2 run that made the score 89-68 and basically ended the game.
Jordan Farmar scored 14 points after missing 18 games with an injured knee. He was the last to return from a series of injuries that affected key players like Walton, Odom and Vujacic.
Lakers vs. Washington Wizards / W 117-97 / Streak: won 3 / Record 34-8
Jan 22: Andrew Bynum had another good games with 23 points and 14 rebounds in the Lakers 117-97 rout of the Washington Wizards.
After outscoring the Wizards 15-5 over the final 3 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, Los Angeles led 72-47 at halftime. Bynum sat out the final 8:28 of the game and the rest of the starters rested in the final quarter. None of them played more than 28 minutes. Antawn Jamison scored 19 points for the Wizards and Kobe, in the third anniversary of his 81-point game had 11 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists.
Lakers at L.A. Clippers / W 108-97 / Streak: won 2 / Record 33-8
Jan 21: Andrew Bynum had the biggest night of his career so far with 42 points (career-high) and 15 rebounds to lead the Lakers to the third victory of the season over the Clippers, this time 108-97.
He also became the first Laker other than Kobe Bryant to score at least 40 points since Shaquille O’Neal scored 48 against Boston on March 21, 2003. Kobe, on his part, played despite the pain on his dislocated right ring finger and had the second triple-double in 3 games by ending with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. It was his 16th career triple-double. He has averaged 11.3 assists in the last 4 games.
The Clippers who are having a bad season were without Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph and Marcus Camby but managed to stay in the game in a first half where Bynum shot 11-of-14 for 25 points and had 10 rebounds. After 58-55 margin at halftime, the Lakers made the difference by outscoring the Clippers 30-18 in the third, and with everybody trying to feed Bynum in the fourth the Clippers reduced an 16-point deficit to 7 but that was all.
The Lakers have the best half-season record (33-8) in the Western Conference meaning Phil Jackson will coach the West team at the All-Star Game on Feb. 15 in Phoenix.
Lakers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers / W 105-88 / Streak: won 1 / Record 32-8
Jan 19: Kobe Bryant and Lebron James combined to miss 29 shots but the Lakers have Pau Gasol, as a team are better than Cleveland and defeated them 105-88 to avoid their first 3-game losing streak of the season. If fact they haven't lost 3 in a row since acquiring Gasol last February. He shot 11-of-13 and led L.A. with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Playing without injured starters Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Delonte West the Cavaliers won the first half 50-49 but the Lakers took control in the third and led by 18 after a run early in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers got within 91-84 with 3:32 to play but L.A. close the game with a 14-4 run.
Kobe dislocated the ring finger on his shooting hand less than two minutes into the game and it had to be popped back into place and taped together with his pinkie by trainer Gary Vitti. The Lakers star managed to keep playing and ended with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 12 assists and 5 turnovers in 41 minutes. He shot 9-for-22 while Lebron went 9-for-25 and finished with 23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 turnovers. Andrew Bynum and Sasha Vujacic added 14 points each.
Lakers vs. Orlando Magic / L 103-109 / Streak: lost 2 / Record 31-8
Jan 16: The Magic won 109-103 at Staples Center and sweep their season series with the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant had the 15th triple-double of his career and the first since April 2005 with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. But it wasn't all roses for Kobe who also had 6 turnovers and on the same night when his big teammates Gasol (13 points, 9 rebounds) and Bynum (14 points, 3 rebounds) were being out powered by Dwight Howard (25 points, 20 rebounds), tried to do everything by himself in the fourth quarter. He had 11 of his points but his shot didn't fall at the end and he missed the 6 shots he took in the final 1:15 minutes of the game.
On the other hand Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 28 points, 15 of them in a final period that had 15 lead changes and the 7 ties before the Magic took the lead for good with 35 seconds left. Vladimir Radmanovic added 15 points, all coming from behind the 3-point line. He was 5-for-8 in the night and leads the team with a .452 percentage in the season.
Lakers at San Antonio Spurs / L 111-112 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 31-7
Jan 14: In the first meeting between them since the Western Conference finals, the Spurs beat the Lakers 112-111 at San Antonio.
It looked like everything was under control for the Lakers who erased an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit and took the lead 111-109 on Kobe Bryant's 3-pointer with 12 seconds left almost duplicating the end of the game at Houston the night before. But everything went bad for L.A. after that. Roger Mason took an inbounds pass and completed a 3-point play when he was fouled by Derek Fisher while shooting a long jumper with 10 seconds left. Then Kobe who a couple of years ago would not doubt have taken the final shot decided to show he trust he teammates and passed the ball to Trevor Ariza at the top of the key. But Ariza was called for traveling with 0.8 seconds left while trying to attack the basket.
Kobe had 29 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists, Pau Gasol added 21 points and Bynum 18. Manu Ginobili who looked in great shape after an offseason surgery, led the Spurs with 27 points while Tony Parker and Tim Duncan added 20 each.
Lakers at Houston Rockets / W 105-100 / Streak: won 4 / Record 31-6
Jan 13: Despite playing without injured Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady, the Rockets were leading 100-99 with 27 seconds left. But Kobe Bryant sank a long 3-pointer to give the Lakers the lead for good and at the end L.A. defeated Houston 105-100.
The score was tied at 54 by halftime and with a great third quarter from Yao Ming the Rockets entered the fourth leading 82-72 but Kobe had another big fourth quarter where he scored 13 of his 33 points. Playing with a bandage covering a four-stitch wound over his right eye (result of a collision with Wade two days earlier) Kobe also added 7 assists and 4 assists while 5 other Lakers scored in double figures, including Trevor Ariza with 14 points and Radmanovic with 12. Former Laker Von Wafer was the top scorer for Houston with 23 points and Yao Ming dominated the boards with 19 points and 17 rebounds.
For the Rockets it was just the second loss in their last 11 home games and it was also the first game of the season for the 42-year-old Dikembe Mutombo who signed on Dec. 30 a contract with the team until the end of 2008-09.
Lakers vs. Miami Heat / W 108-105 / Streak: won 3 / Record 30-6
Jan 11: With Kobe Bryant chasing Dwyane Wade around, it was Andrew Bynum who led the Lakers in their 108-105 victory over the Heat. The Lakers won for the 9th time in the last 10 games and lead the NBA with a 30-6 record.
In the same game when L.A.'s top scores had bad shooting nights, Bynum had a season-high 24 points including the go-ahead basket (104-102) by tipping in Bryant’s miss with 18.5 seconds remaining in the fourth.
Kobe had 19 points and 7 assists but went 5-for-14 from the field while Gasol went 4-for-15 for 14 points and added 18 rebounds. Radmanovic contributed 18 points that included 4 3-pointers and Fisher 13 points and a season-high 11 assists for his 10th career double-double. Wade led Miami with 27 points and 9 assists and Michael Beasley added 23 points.
Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers / W 121-119 / Streak: won 2 / Record 29-6
Jan 9: In the Lakers victory 121-119 over the Pacers, Kobe Bryant had 36 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds and basically won the game by scoring L.A.'s final 11 points including a fadeaway jumper with just 3 seconds left and the score tied at 119.
With both teams playing bad defense, in the first half there were 10 lead changes and by halftime the Lakers were leading 68-66. They never trailed after an 11-2 run (9 points from Kobe) that began with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter. Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum added 20 points while Danny Granger had 28 for Indiana.
The Pacers had beaten the Lakers 118-117 on Dec. 2, and stayed close until the end this time but they couldn't get their first victory at the Staples Center in 10 attempts.
Lakers at Golden State Warriors / W 114-106 / Streak: won 1 / Record 28-6
Jan 7: Playing without regular contributors Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar and Luke Walton the Lakers fought until the final minute to defeat the Warriors 114-106.
After a bad game the night before Pau Gasol bounced back with a great performance that included 33 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. He scored 14 of his points and took 8 rebounds in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant added 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the Lakers who lost a 17-point second-quarter lead and started the fourth trailing 80-77. A 3-pointer by Sasha Vujacic (12 points) gave L.A. the lead for good 90-87 with 7:18 to go and although everything looked under control the Warriors got within 3 points, 104-101, with 1:14 left.
Trevor Ariza scored a season-high 17 points and Bynum who had struggled in recent weeks changed his image with 18 points and 11 rebounds. - Highlights -
Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets / L 105-116 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 27-6
Jan 6: Kobe Bryant scored 39 points but it wasn't enough and the Lakers lost 116-105 at the hands of the New Orleans Hornets, ending this way their winning streaks of 6 consecutive games and 15 home games.
The Lakers led 92-89 entering the fourth quarter but shoot just 5-of-21 in the period, including 3-of-11 from 3-point range and were outscored 27-13. In fact David West by himself outscored them netting 15 of his 40 points in the quarter. Superstar point guard Chris Paul added 32 points, 15 assists, 3 steals and no turnovers in 44 minutes.
And the worst news of the day was provided by Lamar Odom with an hyper-extended right knee in the second quarter, joining Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar on the injured list.
Farmar will be out at least another six weeks after undergoing knee surgery and Walton is out at least 2 weeks because of a sore right foot.
Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers / W 100-86 / Streak: won 6 / Record 27-5
Jan 4: With a home victory 100-86 over the Trail Blazers on the same day Cleveland and Boston lost their games, the Lakers became the team with the best record in the NBA.
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points and Pau Gasol added 19 for L.A. while LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but his team despite having all the starters scoring in double figures, was held to 39 percent from the field and shot an awful 59 percent from the free-throw line.
The Lakers made the difference with a 15-3 run that ended with 2:12 left in the third quarter leaving them up by 16 (75-59). Portland, playing without injured Brandon Roy, never got closer than 14 in a fourth quarter where Vladimir Radmanovic scored 12 of his 16 points.
The Bynum-Oden match-up didn't offer much (again). Bynum had 4 points and 10 rebounds while Oden ended with 10 points and 4 rebounds both playing almost 35 minutes each.
Lakers vs Utah Jazz / W 113-100 / Streak: won 5 / Record 26-5
Jan 2: By defeating the Utah Jazz 113-100 at Staples Center the Lakers won their fifth consecutive game. Kobe Bryant led the way with 40 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists while Pau Gasol added 21 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
Gasol not only became just the 4th player to reach 10,000th career points after going directly from Europe to the NBA (Dirk Nowitzki, Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac are the others), he also provided the highlight: of the night after grabbing a defensive rebound he led the fast break with a series of movements the included a between-the-legs dribbling and then a Magic Johnson tribute with a no-look pass to Trevor Ariza for a dunk with 34 seconds left in the game.
The Lakers took a 55-35 lead with 2:29 left in the second quarter but the Jazz opened the third with an 18-9 run that reduced the margin to 3 points 65-62. The Lakers retook control and were up 81-66 by the end of the period but Utah got into another run 11-2 to start the fourth and got within 7. Kirilenko's dunk with 2:28 remaining put the score 97-93 but it was all for the Lakers after that including 7 points and 2 steals from Ariza.
Lakers vs Golden State Warriors / W 130-113 / Streak: won 4 / Record 25-5
Dec 28: The Lakers didn't let their big win against the Celtics confuse them and returned to their usual duties by winning at home against the Warriors 130-113.
L.A. took advantage of the team that gives up the most points in the NBA by leading 54-39 in the second quarter and by as many as 26 in the second half despite the Warriors efforts to close the gap.
Among seven Lakers that scored in double digits Kobe Bryant had 31 points, Derek Fisher added 19 and Sasha Vujacic -- playing as backup point guard in the absence of Jordan Farmar who had surgery on his left knee for a torn cartilage and will be out for 8 weeks.-- scored 17 points.
Lakers vs Boston Celtics / W 92-83 / Streak: won 3 / Record 24-5
Dec 25: The Lakers victory 92-83 over their archrival Celtics didn't bring a championship to L.A., but it wasn't just another win. The Celtics arrived to Los Angeles hotter than ever in their history, with a franchise-record 19-game winning streak. It was also the 4th best streak in NBA history and the best 29-game start the league had ever seen. But the Lakers put an end to all of that led by Kobe Bryant who scored 27 points and at the end assisted Pau Gasol in three consecutive possessions that put the game in the Lakers hands for good. Gasol scored 9 of his 20 points in the final 5 minutes and his team closed the game with a 13-2 run that started with the Celtics ahead 81-79 and 3:36 left.
Andrew Bynum, the big absence in the 2008 Finals had 9 points and 7 rebounds. He also added 2 blocks, both in the fourth quarter as part of the team's excellent defensive effort in the period.
For the Celtics Kevin Garnett scored 22 points, Paul Pierce had 20 points and 10 rebounds but was scoreless in the fourth quarter, Ray Allen scored 14 and Rajon Rondo dished 12 assists but was held to 6 points.
The victory was the 1,000th for Los Angeles’ Phil Jackson, enabling him to become the sixth NBA coach to reach that milestone. He became the fastest to win 1,000, doing it in 1,423 games and surpassing Pat Riley, who did it in 1,434 games.
Lakers at New Orleans Hornets / W 100-87 / Streak: won 2 / Record 23-5
Dec 23: Just two days before facing the Celtics and their 19-game winning streak the Lakers played one of their best games of the season against the the Hornets and defeated them 100-87.
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 20 and the team ended a 4-game trip that started with two losses in a good note against one of the Western Conference best teams. Playing strong defense on Chris Paul for much of the game, the Lakers had a 19-point halftime lead and led by as many as 20 early in the fourth quarter.
Paul finished with 17 points and 10 assists for New Orleans, who had won 11 of its previous 13 games.
Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies / W 105-96 / Streak: won 1 / Record 22-5
Dec 22: The Lakers snapped their only 2-game losing streak of the season with a victory 105-96 at Memphis. But it wasn't easy, the Grizzlies led 57-49 at the half and were still 91-85 up with 4 minutes left in the fourth. The score was tied at 96 with 34 seconds to go when Kobe Bryant was assisted by Pau Gasol for a 3-pointer the gave L.A. the lead for good.
Kobe made 12 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter. Gasol, playing at Memphis for the first time since being traded had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. It was also his first NBA game against his brother Marc who had 8 points and 7 rebounds. Rudy Gay led Memphis with 23 points, while rookie O.J. Mayo had 22 and 6 assists.
Lakers at Orlando Magic / L 103-106 / Streak: lost 2 / Record 21-5
Dec 20: Kobe Bryant had a season-high 41 points but with Andrew Bynum in foul trouble and contributing just 3 points in 11 minutes, the Lakers lost at Orlando 103-106, just their 5th loss of the season but the second in two nights.
Kobe had 25 points in the first half as the Lakers took a 58-49 halftime lead, but the Lakers had problems in the match-up with center Dwight Howard (18 points, 12 rebounds). It was another awful night for Bynum but it wasn't much better for Pau Gasol who ended with 11 points in 42 minutes. In the third quarter Jameer Nelson scored 15 of his 27 points helping the Magic outscore L.A. 36-26
To complete the unbalanced Lakers offense Derek Fisher had 27 points, two shy of his career best while Sasha Vujacic ended with 1 point, he had missed all his 5 previous attempts when Bryant found him alone in the corner with just seconds to go and the Lakers down by 1. Vujacic missed his 3-point attempt to end 0-6 from the field. After Howard made 2 free throws, Kobe had a final chance to send it to overtime but his missed a long and desperate 3-point attempt.
Lakers at Miami Heat / L 87-89 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 21-4
Dec 19: Holding the Lakers to a season low in points and surviving Kobe Bryant's final shot, the Heat won 89-87 led by 35 point from Dwyane Wade.
The game was tied after each of the first two quarters but it slowly slipped away from the Lakers hands at the end of a third quarter which finished with Wade's buzzer-beater 3-pointer and a 12-point lead for the Heat. The Lakers committed 21 turnovers - second highest for them this season.
Kobe had 28 points and a chance to send the game to overtime but his 14-foot jumper rimmed around the cylinder and went out as time expired.
Lakers vs. New York Knicks / W 116-114 / Streak: won 4 / Record 21-3
Dec 16: The Lakers rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to defeat the Knicks 116-114 and improve their record to 21-3 the best in the Western Conference.
Playing in the Staples Center for the last time before a 4-game road trip the Lakers were without a sick Pau Gasol and allowed 65 points to the new Mike D'Antoni-style Knicks who made eleven 3-pointers in the half.
Kobe Bryant had 28 points (9 in the final 7 1/2 minutes), 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals but the play of the game came at the end when Ariza almost gave the ball away in a bad pass trying to inbound it to Lamar Odom who grabbed it anyway and gave it back to Ariza whose layup put the Lakers ahead 113-112 with 1:03 to play. The two teams traded free throws after that and Chris Duhon missed a very long 3-point attempt as time expired.
Odom despite suffering from an upper respiratory infection started for the first time this season and finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Nate Robinson led the Knicks with 33 points from the bench.
Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves / W 98-86 / Streak: won 3 / Record 20-3
Dec 14: The Lakers improved their record to an impressive 20-3 with a victory 98-86 over the Timberwolves. But the best start in Phil Jackson's career as Laker coach does no hide the fact that lately they are not playing well especially against poor teams. And the T-Wolves weren't the exception giving battle until the fourth quarter when the Lakers finally who got rid of them. It was 76-70 for L.A. with 7:43 remaining when a basket by Ariza and 4 straight points for Bryant made it a 12-point lead that was too much for Minnesota.
Kobe Bryant had 26 points and 5 assist, Pau Gasol added 18 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks while Bynum ended with 14 points, 9 rebounds and also 3 blocks. Despite the good numbers for the Lakers big men, the Timberwolves dominated the boards 53-46 including 16-9 on the offensive side.. At least the Lakers managed to keep their rival under 100 points for the second time in the last 8 games. Al Jefferson had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota.
Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings / W 112-103 / Streak: won 2 / Record 19-3
Dec 12: Three days after their worst loss of the season at Sacramento, the Lakers took revenge with a 112-103 win at home.
After a 52-52 tie at halftime, led by Kobe Bryant (who ended the game with 32 points) the Lakers built a lead that was as big as 92-77 early in the fourth, then was reduced to 4, 101-98 with 3:02 remaining but Fisher sank a 14-footer, Bryant made a jumper, a driving dunk and one throw, and the Lakers were leading by 10 again.
Pau Gasol added 18 points and 11 rebounds while Andrew Bynum, who publicly asked to on the floor at the end of the games had 8 points and 10 rebounds when he fouled out with 4:24 remaining. John Salmons scored 26 points for Sacramento.
Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns / W 115-110 / Streak: won 1 / Record 18-3
Dec 10: The 18-3 record doesn't show how the Lakers are playing. The defense has allowed 100 points to 7 of their last 10 rivals and that includes the short-handed Suns that lost 115-110 but gave battle with just 8 players.
They played without Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and rookie Sean Singletary, traded to Charlotte earlier the day for Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round pick. Shaquille O'Neal was in New Jersey in the funeral of his great-grandmother.
The Suns got an 86-85 lead early in the fourth but a basket by Gasol (28 points) and two by Odom put the Lakers ahead 91-86, the Suns got to 91-90 but Bryant (18 points) made a 3-pointer and the Suns weren't closer than 4 points after that.
Matt Barnes led Phoenix with season-high totals of 25 points and 10 rebounds, Grant Hill added 23 points and Stoudemire 21. Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 11 rebounds while Vujacic added a season-high 15 points. In a surprising move by Phil Jackson started Luke Walton (8 points and 6 assists) for the first time this season while Radmanovic didn't play at all after starting the previous 20 games.
Lakers at Sacramento Kings / L 101-113 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 17-3
Dec 9: Sacramento hosted the Lakers bringing an 8-game losing streak and an awful 5-16 record but the Kings managed to win 113-101.
Kobe Bryant scored 28 points but shot 9-for-25, Gasol had 25 points and 12 rebounds and Bynum had a bad game with 8 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes in the first defeat of the season against a Western Conference rival (11-1)
Francisco Garcia and John Salmons scored 21 points apiece for the Kings who despite playing without their injured leading scorer Kevin Martin, took a 7-point lead into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 18 in that period.
The Lakers defense is not working as Phil Jackson expects lately and has surrendered more than 100 points for the fourth time in the last five games.
Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks / W 105-92 / Streak: won 3 / Record 17-2
Dec 7: The defense reappeared after 3 subpar games on the road. The Lakers not only defeated the Bucks 105-92, they held them to 31 points in the first half, 54 after three quarters and a 38% overall shooting. The defense was so good through that Michael Redd ended with 2 points and Richard Jefferson with 3.
The Lakers led by as many as 27 points, but Phil Jackson is not very happy with how the second unit has been unable to sustain big leads lately, so he started fourth quarter with Kobe Bryant (20 points and 8 assists) and Andrew Bynum (14 points and 14 rebounds) on the floor. Kobe left with 7:41 remaining and Bynum seconds later with L.A. ahead 85-63. Although the game was never at risk after that the Bucks scored 29 points with the Lakers reserves on the floor reducing the margin to 11.
Rookie Chinese star Sun Yue had his first 5 minutes of NBA action in the fourth. He scored 4 points and committed 4 fouls.
Lakers at Washington Wizards / W 106-104 / Streak: won 2 / Record 16-2
Dec 5: The Lakers almost repeated the story of the Indiana game a couple of day ago when they blew a big lead and lost in the final second. but this time they were lucky because Caron Butler missed his 3-point attempt as time expired and L.A. defeated the Wizards 106-104.
The Lakers led by 16 in the first quarter, but just by to two a few minutes before halftime. The lead was as big as 20 points in the third quarter, and still 19 with 7:27 left to play, but in what is becoming a pattern lately they saw it slip away in the fourth with Kobe Bryant a Pau Gasol on the bench.
Kobe had 23 points on 5-for-17 from the field, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and as usual a couple of incredible plays including the one when he found his path blocked on a drive into the lane and “shot” the ball off the glass right back to himself to then throw a perfect pass to Pau Gasol for a wide-open jumper. Andrew Bynum had a season-high 19 points, along with 10 rebounds, and Gasol 17 points and 10 rebounds while 3 other Lakers scored in double figures.
Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers / W 114-102 / Streak: won 1 / Record 15-2
Dec 3: Led by Kobe Bryant's 32 points the Lakers rebounded from a last-second loss the night before with a 114-102 victory at Philadelphia.
The Lakers started slow, trailing 17-7 four and half minutes into the game but the offensive worked great from then on, they outscored their rival 26-8 the rest of the first quarter and ended with a season high 58.14% from the floor.
In the fourth, sparked by Louis Williams' 15 points, the 76ers reduced an 18-point deficit to 104-97 with 2:53 to play but this time Kobe stayed aggressive attacking the rim and scoring L.A.'s 8 next points. He was 12-for-20 from the floor.
Andre Miller had 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the 76ers and Iguodala had 19. While former Clipper Elton Brand Brand had 3 points on 1-for-7 shooting in 25 minutes apparently limited by a strained right hamstring, the paint was dominated by Pau Gasol with 22 points and 13 rebounds and Andrew Bynum added 18 points.
Lakers at Indiana Pacers / L 117-118 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 14-2
Dec 2: The Lakers closed the third quarter with a 17-0 run to take a 101-86 lead into the fourth but they just watched as the Pacers slowly build an improbable comeback. The lack of defense and second opportunities allowed gave Indiana the chance for the win, Marquis Daniels airballed a wild reverse layup attempt with 1.9 seconds left, but Troy Murphy tapped the ball, it bounce around the rim before falling into the hoop as time ran out and the Pacers won the game 118-117.
Kobe Bryant led his team with 28 points and put L.A. ahead 117-116 with a long jumper with 58 seconds left but he also was short on an 18-footer in the next possession with 14.9 remaining. Danny Granger kept his team alive with 32 points.
This way, the Lakers failed to keep pace with the franchise best start of 16-1 in 2001-02. Kobe with his 28 points, became the second-fastest player in league history to reach 22,000 career points. Wilt Chamberlain was one day younger when he did it.
Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors / W 112-99 / Streak: won 7 / Record 14-1
Nov 30: Pau Gasol had 24 points, Kobe Bryant 23 and both spent the fourth quarter in the bench watching as the second unit finished the game for a 112-99 win over the Raptors.
Kobe Bryant needed 38 points to become the youngest player to reach 22,000 points. He has been the fastest to get 12,000 and every level from there to 20,000. By scoring 38 he would have done it a day younger than Wilt Chamberlain. Instead, after getting 21 in a 61-51 first half for L.A. he showed that his goals are higher these days, took just 3 shots in a third quarter where he was the "facilitator" of Phil Jackson's offense and rested the whole fourth quarter. Once again Andrew Bynum dominated the paint, with 18 points and 10 rebounds despite playing with some pain and still adjusting to a bone spur in his right foot, which he’s had since landing on Vince Carter’s foot during last Tuesday. Anthony Parker led the Raptors with 19 points and center Jermaine O'Neal missed the third straight because of a sprained left ankle.
Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks / W 114-107 / Streak: won 6 / Record 13-1
Nov 28: After a 12-point game on Tuesday Kobe Bryant rebounded for a season-high 35 points and the Lakers defeated the Mavericks 117-107. It's the second victory over Dallas this season.
Dallas led by 78-67 midway with 3:47 to play in the third but the Lakers went into a 17-0 run the take command of the game 84-78 two minutes into the fourth. Despite playing with a sore right foot, center Andrew Bynum had 18 points and 10 rebounds for L.A. while Jason Terry scored 29 for Dallas.
Lakers vs. New Jersey Nets / W 120-93 / Streak: won 5 / Record 12-1
Nov 25: A really bad shooting night from Kobe Bryant (12 points, 5-for-17 from the field) didn't stop the Lakers to extend the best NBA record to 12-1 with a 120-93 win against the Nets. Pau Gasol carried the team on his shoulders with 24 points and the second unit provided a much needed energy and outscored the Nets bench 56-19 led by 18 points from Jordan Farmar.
With Kobe going 1-for-9 mostly contained by Vince Carter's defense, the Lakers barely won the first half 56-54. It was 72-68 with 4:15 to go in the third but the Nets disappeared as L.A. went on a 33-10 run that made it 105-78 with 8:18 left in the fourth and ended with a 27 point margin that is the largest in 32 years of playing the Nets.
Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings / W 118-108 / Streak: won 4 / Record 11-1
Nov 23: The defense, which is one of the Lakers strong points this season wasn't there against Sacramento but the offense saved the day for L.A. who ended with a 118-108 victory over the Kings.
The Lakers had 8 players scoring in double figures, including Kobe Bryant with 24 points and 6 assists, Pau Gasol with 16 points and Andrew Bynum with 15 points and 10 rebounds but also committed 17 turnovers that the Kings, playing without their top scorer Kevin Martin, transformed in 30 points. Just seconds into the fourth quarter the Lakers took a 19-point lead but the Kings used a 21-6 run to narrowed the gap to 105-101 with 6:17 left. The Lakers scored the next 9 points to regain control of the game.
Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets / W 104-90 / Streak: won 3 / Record 10-1
Nov 21: So one-sided was the win over Denver that none of the Lakers starters spent 30 minutes on the court. Kobe had 29 points, Bynum 13 points and 13 rebounds as L.A. cruised over Denver 104-90.
The Lakers started the game making 14 of 21 shots in the first quarter and never trailed. For the post-Allen Iverson Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony had a bad night with just 10 points on 5-for-19 shooting while Chauncy Billups added 15 points and 9 assists.
Lakers at Phoenix Suns / W 105-92 / Streak: won 2 / Record 9-1
Nov 20: What was supposed to be a new chapter in the Bryant/O'Neal confrontation was just another game where Kobe stayed on the bench most of the fourth quarter watching his teammates finishing the rival of the day. The Lakers easily defeated the Suns 105-92 to improve their record to 9-1, the best in the NBA.
The Lakers led Lakers 50-44 at halftime, the distance grew to 80-67 by the end of the third quarter and and Odom's 3 pointer put L.A.: 18 points ahead 3 and s half minutes later.
Kobe had 24 points shooting 8-for-23, Radmanovic recovered his lost long-distance touch making his 5 three-points attempts for 15 points.and 4 other Lakers scored in double figures against a Phoenix team that without coach Mike D'Antoni is not the run-and-gun team of the past. Shaq had 15 points and 9 rebounds and Bynum got in early foul trouble and finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds in 21 minutes in just their second game against each other since Bynum was drafted in 2005. In their first encounter they played only 2 minutes, but they were memorable..
Lakers vs. Chicago Bulls / W 116-109 / Streak: won 1 / Record 8-1
Nov 18: Pau Gasol scored 34 points to lead the Lakers back to the winning path with a 116-109 victory over the Chicago Bulls. L.A. took advantage of the size difference in the post from the beginning as Gasol had 18 of his points in the first quarter. He shot 14-for-21 from the field while Andrew Bynum added 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Kobe Bryant had 7 of his 21 points in a 12-2 run in the third that put the game in the Lakers hands for good (73-58). Later Chicago drew within 8 but Bynum scored 6 in a row and Kobe added a 3-pointer to make it 82-65. He was in the floor only for 1:21 minutes in the fourth. Rookie sensation Derrick Rose led Chicago with 25 points and 9 assists
Bynum became the 8th youngest player in NBA history to grab 1,000 rebounds (21 years and 22 days old).
Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons / W 95-106 / Streak: lost 1 / Record 7-1
Nov 14: Kwame Brown had a double-double, that's how weird the night was for the Lakers who lost their first game of the season, a 95-106 loss at the hands of Allen Iverson and his new team, the Pistons.
Kobe Bryant had 29 points for the Lakers, but went 12-of-30 from the field, Iverson and Rasheed Wallace had 25 points each while Detroit dominated both ends of the court and made shot after shot. - read more -
Lakers at New Orleans Hornets / W 93-86 / Streak: won 7 / Record 7-0
Nov 12: After a 93-86 win at New Orleans the Lakers are the lone undefeated team in the NBA with a 7-0 record, their best since 2001-02. With just over a minute left Kobe Bryant made a tough 3-pointer over former Celtic James Posey to stop and adverse 17-4 run and kill the Hornets hopes of a comeback.
In the same night that Shaquille O'Neal entered the top ten in the NBA all-time scoring list, Kobe, who had 20 points, moved to just 3 points from Larry Bird who is 23rd in that list. Derek Fisher hit four of his six 3-point attempts to also finish with 20 while Bynum and Gasol added 14 each. Chris Paul had 30 points, 7 rebounds and 13 assists for the Hornets extending his NBA-record to seven consecutive 20-point/10-assist games to start a season.
Lakers at Dallas Mavericks / W 106-99 / Streak: won 6 / Record 6-0
Nov 11: Trailing most of the way, the Lakers didn't panic and escaped from Dallas with a victory 106-99 to grow their perfect record to 6-0. the best start since 2001-02 (7-0).
Jason Kidd got the 101st triple-double of his career with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and Jerry Stackhouse added 21 points for the Mavericks but they felt the absence of Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki's disappearing act in the final period.
Kobe Bryant led the way with 27 points but had a lot of help: Pau Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Andrew Bynum 11 points, 10 rebounds (7 offensive) and 3 blocks and coming from the bench, Odom provided 12 points and Trevor Ariza who played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter, had 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and the play of the game, blocking a late three-point attempt by Jerry Stackhouse with the Lakers ahead 99-97 and 45 seconds to go.
The block was with one second left in the Mavericks possession, they committed a shot clock violation and 20 seconds later Gasol grabbed and offensive rebound from Fisher's missed shot, made a layup and got a foul to put the game out of reach for Dallas.
Lakers vs. Houston Rockets / W 111-82 / Streak: won 5 / Record 5-0
Nov 9: In the first quarter it looked like just another bad shooting night for the Lakers, but after falling 16 points behind one minute into the second, they finally found their rhythm to defeat the Rockets 111-82.
Awakened by the aggressiveness brought from the bench by Jordan Farmar and Co., L.A. outscored Houston the rest of the way, 95-50. Defense was the key, and the Rockets numbers prove it: Tracy McGrady 3 points on 1-for-11 shooting, Ron Artest 8 on 2-for-11, Yao Ming 12 points. Kobe scored 23 points for the Lakers, Pau Gasol added 20 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocked shots and Farmar had 16 points and 6 assists.
The Lakers, who shot 43.5 % in their first 4 games (the third worst in the league), shot 65.8 % in the second half and ended up with a 53.2 % against Houston, the first title contender they faced this season.
Lakers vs. L.A. Clippers / W 106-88 / Streak: won 4 / Record 4-0
Nov 5: It was another poor shooting night for the Lakers but they used a 22-0 run in the fourth quarter to get another win over the Clippers 106-88. This time playing with Marcus Camby, the Clippers didn't suffer another 38-point embarrassment and stayed in the game until the fourth quarter, but couldn't avoid their 5th loss of the season. They had the lead 81-79 with 8:15 to play but didn't score again in the next 7 minutes.
Kobe Bryant had 27 points but shot 13-for-21, Odom had 15 points and 9 rebounds coming from the bench and was in the floor with the starters in the key moments of the final period, and Andrew Bynum presence in the paint provided 9 points, 17 rebounds (tying career-high) and 4 blocks.
Lakers at Denver Nuggets / W 104-97 / Streak: won 3 / Record 3-0
Nov 1: Despite all the talented players the Lakers have in their roster, the fourth quarter still belongs to Kobe Bryant who scored 14 of his 33 points in the final 7 minutes of the game to help his team improve to 3-0 with a win 107-97 over the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets were tired after an OT win the night before, the Lakers were shooting pretty bad, Andrew Bynum was battling with foul trouble (he ended with 4 points and 8 rebounds) and the ugly game was tied at 86 with less than 7 minutes to go until Kobe Bryant who had missed 10 of 17 shots saved the night for the fans. His attack mode started with a 3-pointer that put L.A. ahead for good. Pau Gasol had 16 points and 16 rebounds while the Lakers did a good job controlling Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, the NBA's highest scoring duo last season who had just 13 points each.
Lakers at L.A. Clippers / W 117-79 / Streak: won 2 / Record 2-0
Oct 29: One night after ruining Greg Oden's NBA debut, the Lakers spoiled Baron Davis first day at work in L.A. It was a 117-79 win over the Clippers, 38 points of distance that make it the second biggest point differential between the two teams in their history. The Lakers continued with their good defensive effort and had a very balanced offense with 7 players scoring in double digits, including Kobe Bryant with 16 (and 8 rebounds), and Fisher and Farmar 15 each. Bynum bounced back from a quiet game with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks and started to establish himself as a defensive presence in the post.
The Clippers led 32-30 early in the second quarter but a 24-6 run basically ended the game. For the Clippers It was also the first game without Elton Brand (gone to Philadelphia) and Corey Maggette. Davis had 7 assists and 11 points but needed 13 shots to get them while Marcus Camby couldn't make his debut because of a bruised heel.
Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers / W 96-76 / Streak: won 1 / Record 1-0
Oct 28: The Lakers regular season started as everybody expected, or even better with an easy victory 96-76 over the Trail Blazers. The defense was excellent, the Lakers led by 15 at halftime and Pau Gasol was more than effective making 7 of 10 shots in his new role of power forward. All his 15 points were in the first half while Kobe Bryant scored 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter. Kobe also added 11 rebounds and 5 assists.
The much anticipated match-up between Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum will have to wait for another opportunity because Oden, playing his first NBA game ever, blocked a shot attempt by the Lakers center but left late in the first half with a sprained right foot, no points, 4 missed shots, 2 missed free throws and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes and Bynum had a quiet night with 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 28 minutes.
In his first game coming from the bench Lamar Odom received and ovation and collected 9 points and 7 rebounds. Radmanovic, who got the starting role at small forward, had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals and made 2 three-pointers for a Lakers team that shot 7 7-for-10 from beyond the arc, including 2 made by Ariza who is showing his new shooting range...
10/28: The Lakers start their season against the Portland Trail Blazers, one of the teams expected to make the already strong Western Conference even stronger. And all the eyes will be put in the match-up between Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum. Oden, the number 1 pick in the 2007 Draft, will make his official NBA debut after missing last season with an injury. Bynum, considered the Lakers future, will return from a knee injury that didn't allow him to play in the 2008 playoffs...
Lakers Preseason Games:
Oct 7: Lakers vs. Jazz - Loss 90-99
Oct 9: Lakers vs. Clippers - Loss 80-107
Oct 12: Lakers vs. Kings - Win 94-89
Oct 18: Lakers vs. Barcelona - Win 108-104
Oct 21: Lakers vs. Bobcats - Win 102-98
Oct 23: Lakers vs. Bobcats - Win 88-77
Oct 24: Lakers vs. Thunder - Win 105-94
With Andrew Bynum finally healthy this is the possible starting line up of the 2008-09 Lakers:
Derek Fisher - point guard
Kobe Bryant - shooting guard
small forward (also it could be Ariza or Radmanovic)
Pau Gasol -
Andrew Bynum - center
Odom could also play point and Fisher shooting guard with Kobe as the small forward, or he could also be moved to the second unit with Ariza or Radmanovic as the starters.
The reserves that will see more action will probably be Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Vlade Radmanovic, Luke Walton and Trevor Ariza.
9/15: When the Lakers 2008-2009 Regular Season starts on late October (Tuesday 28) you will find in this page all the news, stats, team leaders, standings, highlights and schedule related to Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and all the Lakers players...
In the meantime you can review the changes in the 2008-09 roster and the Lakers performance in the 2007-2008 season and playoffs
8/5: The NBA released the Lakers 2008-2009 regular season schedule.