Kobe Bryant netted 37 points while collecting 14 rebounds to lead the Western Conference to a 148-143 victory in Sunday’s All-Star contest, claiming MVP rights for the fourth time in front of his home crowd at the Staples Center. “I feel like we have a sense of responsibility and we are voted in for what we do during the season, which is play hard,” said Bryant. “And we come here, that’s what the fans want to see. They want to see us go at it and see us compete and that’s what I try to do and that’s what I try to tell my teammates to do.”
The West kept in control through the majority of the game until LeBron James surged the East back in the fourth block. James finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to join Michael Jordan as the only players with a triple-double in the All-Star game. Amar’e Stoudemire also produced 29 points for the East from 11-of-20 shooting. Kevin Durant followed up Bryant’s 37 points with 34 of his own for the West, adding the clinching free throws after the East pulled within three in the final seconds.
Carmelo Anthony added eight points in what could be his final game representing the Western Conference. The New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets are currently trying strike a deal with the Denver Nuggets, hoping to land the 4X All-Star before the February 24th trade deadline. Anthony was able to enjoy the weekend despite the recent media attention, saying “at times, it can be tough, but it’s fun at the same time.”
Kobe Bryant collected 33 points and six rebounds to lift his Los Angeles Lakers past the Minnesota Timberwolves 99-94 yesterday at the Staples Center. The 1-7 Timberwolves pulled within two late in the contest but could never create a lead over the two-time defending champions. Bryant and company can be grouped with the 1987 and 1997 Lakers as the only teams in franchise history to start the season at 8-0.
Pau Gasol came through with 18 points and 10 rebounds for LA. Lamar Odom and Ron Artest produced 15 and 13, respectively. “We won but we didn’t play well, and that bothers me a little bit,” said Artest. “If we have a loss and play well, that’s a different story. I guess it still feels better to get a win, even if it’s something like this. We’re still a good team, even on a night like this.”
Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with an impressive 23 points, 24 rebounds and five assists. Minnesota will hope to build from their efforts when they matchup with the Sacramento Kings tonight. “I think this was the best game we’ve played so far, despite the L at the end of the night,” said Love. “We got up to play the world champs and we went down with a fight. We played a lot better than we have played in the last four or five games.” The Lakers will next be challenged on the road against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.
The Los Angeles Lakers netted 36 points in the first quarter en route to claiming victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals over the Phoenix Suns 124-112 Wednesday at the Staples Center. Pau Gasol led the way for LA with 29 points and nine rebounds. Kobe Bryant racked up 21 points while dishing out 13 assists during his 43 minutes on the floor. Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar contributed 26 combined off the bench.
“It’s really tough because we have so many guys on this team that can hurt you offensively,” said Odom. “When we get four or five guys going offensively, it seems like our defense steps up. We do a great job of using our quickness, cutting guys off and making it hard for teams as well as putting that offensive pressure on them.”
Jason Richardson came up with 27 for the Suns as Grant Hill produced 23 in their losing efforts. “We still scored enough points tonight, but when they can score 120-something, that’s asking the offense to score too much,” PG Steve Nash said after recording 11 points and 15 assists. “If we’re going to beat them, we’ve got to find a way to slow them down.” Game 3 is set for Sunday night in Phoenix.
The Los Angeles Kings found the net eight times in 29 shots to dominate the Vancouver Canucks by five goals last night at the Staples Center. Alexander Frolov, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown contributed in the first block to give LA the initial 3-0 lead. Brown supplied the assist to Frolov 5:26 into the contest to add to his hat trick and career-high 4-point performance. “It was a huge statement game for us,” said Brown. “They’re a possible playoff opponent for us, and at this point of the year, it’s great. They’ve had our number all year, but we kept the game out of reach for them from the first period on.”
The Kings have now won two straight after their recent four-game skid to put themselves back in a good spot for postseason play. “We’re starting to talk about it,” said Kings coach Terry Murray. “It’s not there ’til it’s there, but it’s getting closer. I’m important that we keep the focus out there, but it’s starting to come around again. Everybody is hungry for the playoffs.” They will next matchup with the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, April 3rd and Tuesday, April 6th. Other teams left on the regular season schedule include Phoenix, Edmonton and Colorado. Los Angeles Kings tickets are now available!
The LA Kings produced four goals in the first period to dominate the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0 yesterday at the Staples Center. Three of the six goals provided were scored during power play opportunities. Michal Handzua and Alexander Frolov found the net 40 seconds apart to gain the clear advantage near the end of the initial block.
Fredrik Modin kept it going early in the second before Brad Richardson scored the final goal, resulting in a 6-0 lead with 30+ minutes left. “If you want to have success on the power play, you have to shoot as often as you can. That’s what we tried to do tonight,” said Frolov. “The power play worked out great for us. We changed our mentality and put more pucks on the net. We knew we had to have a strong game tonight, especially from the beginning.”
The 25-30 Blue Jackets have now lost five in a row heading into tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Kings will look to earn their 40th win of the season vs the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday at the United Center.
Lamar Odom stepped up with 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead the LA Lakers to defeat the Denver Nuggets 95-89 last night at the Staples Center. In both 2008 and 2009, Los Angeles found themselves responsible for sending the Nuggets back home in the playoffs. Denver has since become highly motivated to prevent the recent trend, winning in their first two regular season matchups and boasting to have the NBA Champions all figured out. Even with franchise player Kobe Bryant collecting just 14 points, Los Angeles featured four other players in double digit numbers to find their rhythm and earn their 45th win of the year.
“Toward the end of the season, you need games like this to start firing you up toward a playoff type of consistency,” said Nuggets coach George Karl. “I think with teams that have won championships and have been there more consistently, there’s more confidence to be able to turn the switch on.”
Denver kept the lead through most of the contest until the Lakers came together for a 12-2 run at the start of the fourth block. Pau Gasol supplied the dagger with 2:26 left with a driving layup assisted by Bryant. The Nuggets couldn’t produce from there, marking a six point advantage in favor of LA at the sound of the final buzzer. The Nuggets are set to arrive in Phoenix tonight to take on the Suns before the Lakers host the Indiana Pacers the following day.
New additions Drew Gooden and Travis Outlaw contributed 10 points apiece to lift the Los Angeles Clippers past the Charlotte Bobcats 98-94 last night at the Staples Center. Rasual Butler and Chris Kaman led in scoring with 20 and 18, giving the refreshed roster their second straight victory. The 27-28 Bobcats have been successful against some of the league’s top organizations despite losing 11 games to a number of sub-par teams.
“I’m not worrying about that. Those games are over,” said head coach Larry Brown. “I mean, who would have suspected us to beat Cleveland three straight? And last year, we beat the Lakers twice and still had a lot of bad losses. We have 27 games where we’ll decide whether we deserve to be in the playoffs or not. So if we don’t make it, it will be on us.”
The Clippers are now 22-33 with hopes to find their rhythm for the last few months of the season. They’re next scheduled to face the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night as the Bobcats head to Utah to meet up with the Jazz.
Ray Allen hit 10 of his first 11 shots, finishing the game with 24 points to lead the Boston Celtics past the Los Angeles Lakers 87-86 Thursday night at the Staples Center. Allen missed the potential game-winner in their last matchup against LA at the final buzzer. This time around he was able to shut down Derek Fisher on the defensive end to solidify the victory for Boston.
Allen has been the center of attention lately in regards to potential Celtics trade options. Last night the 14-year veteran definitely assured the front office that he’s better fit in green. “Ray was huge tonight. I think we should threaten to trade him all the time and then pull him back,” said coach Doc Rivers. “He was phenomenal. That stretch in the third quarter won the game for us, in my opinion.”
Boston just recently dealt for Knicks guard Nate Robinson at the cost of Eddie House and JR Giddens. Allen offers his best for Eddie in New York, saying “we’re sad to see Eddie go because he’s a brother of ours. We won a championship together, so we’re forever connected. He’s a good dude and an integral part of the team. My heart goes out to him.” Robinson will prepare to join the rest of the C’s on Friday for their game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
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This week has been all about breaking franchise records in Lakerland. Following Kobe Bryant netting 44 points in Tuesdays loss to Memphis to pass Jerry West on the all-time Lakers scoring list, Phil Jackson added another piece to his resume Wednesday during LA’s 99-97 victory over the Bobcats at the Staples Center. Charlotte kept the pressure on but Los Angeles wouldn’t fold in order to give their beloved coach his 545th win as a Laker.
Jackson is the only coach to earn the most wins for two separate franchises (Chicago, Los Angeles). His incredible run with Jordan, Pippen and Co. won six NBA titles before he traveled West to collect another four. “It’s been a really good run,” said Jackson. “Having this opportunity to coach this team is always special. The fact that we’ve had some great teams, great players, is always a credit to them. It’s not really an individual record in my mind.”
Last night’s game featured Andrew Bynum leading the way with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Lamar Odom came up with 19, including a few necessary buckets to keep the advantage down the stretch. Bryant, despite just recently edging the top spot within the orgnization could only produce five points.
The 4-time NBA champ has been struggling with a broken finger on his shooting hand. “It was just stiff — stiff and tight,” he said. “Lamar stepped on my foot as I was changing directions, so it just made it worse. It just set it back to Square One.” The Lakers will next matchup with the Nuggets tomorrow as the Bobcats prepare to challenge the Hornets back in Charlotte on Saturday.
Shannon Brown came off the bench for 22 points to push the Los Angeles Lakers past the Orlando Magic 98-92 in yesterday’s 2009 NBA Finals regular season rematch at the STAPLES Center. The 24-year old PG after receiving an invitation to participate in the annual slam dunk competition was out to prove himself as more than just a high riser.
“We knew they were going to be ready to get some kind of revenge from the series, so we knew how the reserves played would be really important,” said Brown. “If you want to be the best at this game, you’ve got to have a great all-around game. I definitely work on more than my dunks.”
Yesterday featured an assortment of lead changes until the start of the fourth quarter when LA went on to score 15 straight. Kobe Bryant finished the game with 11 points, leaving him 22 shy of becoming the youngest NBA player to join the 25,000 point club. LA is scheduled to take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this Thursday in Cleveland. The Magic will next host the Indiana Pacers tomorrow night at 7:00 PM.