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LOS ANGELES – The pieces of the puzzle that have been the Lakers’ confounding season so far are starting to fall into place. Kobe Bryant engineered a second-half comeback, the defense stepped up, and Los Angeles beat the New York Knicks 100-94 on Tuesday, extending its winning streak to five games.
LOS ANGELES – For years, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t shy about saying he thought the Los Angeles Lakers should have erected a statue of him outside Staples Center. On Friday, standing beside the nearly 16-foot-tall, 1,500-pound statue of himself in his classic skyhook pose, Abdul-Jabbar concluded the timing of the honor was right. “I’m glad we got here before the pigeons got to it,” he said, drawing laughter from an array of former NBA players, executives, family and friends.
The Los Angeles Lakers fired coach Mike Brown on Friday after a 1-4 start to his second season in charge. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak announced the move several hours before they hosted Golden State. Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach the Lakers against the Warriors while the club searches for Brown’s replacement after just 18 months in charge. Kupchak did nothing to squelch speculation that Phil Jackson could return for a third tenure with the Lakers. Los Angeles began the season with championship expectations after trading for center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash, adding two superstars alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. But the Lakers went 0-8 during the preseason and opened the regular season with three more losses. – AP
Never mind that the Los Angeles Lakers added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the offseason, the majority of NBA general managers still believe the Miami Heat will raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy come June. In NBA.com’s annual preseason survey of general managers, 70 percent picked the Heat to successfully defend its championship. Last season, 74.1 percent of the league’s GMs predicted the Heat would win it all.
LOS ANGELES – Dwight Howard had 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in his Lakers debut, but Los Angeles still dropped to 0-6 in the preseason when DeMarcus Cousins rallied the Sacramento Kings to a 99-92 victory on Sunday. The Lakers finally unveiled their new franchise center after Howard sat out the first five preseason games while exercising caution with his surgically repaired back. The six-time All-Star played 33 minutes and made five turnovers, overcoming six months of game rust with energy from the opening tip.
The Los Angeles Lakers signed second-round draft pick Robert Sacre on Friday. Sacre, a 7-foot Canadian who played at Gonzaga, finished his Bulldogs career with 1,270 points and 679 rebounds. He averaged 11.6 ppg during his senior season. The Lakers also added assistant coaches Eddie Jordan, Bernie Bickerstaff and Steve Clifford to Mike Brown’s coaching staff. Jordan is the former head coach at Sacramento, Washington and Philadelphia. The 68-year-old Bickerstaff was a head coach in Charlotte, Seattle, Denver and Washington. Clifford was Stan Van Gundy’s assistant in Orlando the past five seasons. – AP
Surrounded by family in Ville Platte, La., former Gonzaga Bulldog Robert Sacre was trying to get 9-month-old son Quinton to sleep when Sacre’s name popped up on the TV screen as the last pick of the two-round NBA draft Thursday night. “I had my son in my arms and everyone screamed and my son just jumped,” Sacre said in a phone interview. “It’s great to be part of something like that, especially being with my family at the time.”
LOS ANGELES – Mitch Kupchak says he must explore every opportunity to improve the Los Angeles Lakers, even if Kobe Bryant doesn’t like it. The Lakers general manager issued a statement Monday night in response to Bryant’s criticism of the club brass over the haze of uncertainty surrounding Pau Gasol. The 7-foot Spanish star is having the lowest-scoring season of his career amid rampant speculation about his departure in a trade ever since the Lakers attempted to move him for Chris Paul before the season.
LOS ANGELES – Kobe Bryant did not play in the Los Angeles Lakers’ preseason finale against the Clippers on Wednesday night, a 108-103 loss, because of a torn ligament in his right wrist, and his status for the season opener on Christmas Day is up in the air. A MRI revealed the extent of the injury, which occurred early in the in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 114-95 loss to the Clippers on Monday night. Bryant was examined by Dr. Steven Shin of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Depending on the degree of the tear, he could be sidelined as long as three to four weeks.
DALLAS – Phil Jackson walked off the court with a tight smile, shaking hands and accepting congratulations like he has after so many series-ending playoff games. Never like this, though.
DALLAS — Phil Jackson walked off the court with a tight smile, shaking hands and accepting congratulations like he has after so many series-ending playoff games. Never like this, though. His team didn’t win; they were crushed. Swept, too. And he wasn’t just heading to the offseason — he’s calling it a career, ending the most successful run by any coach in NBA history. Jason Terry and the Dallas Mavericks ended Jackson’s tenure, and the Lakers’ reign as two-time champions, with a 122-86 victory Sunday.
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol had 21 and the visiting Los Angeles Lakers embarrassed the NBA-best San Antonio Spurs for their seventh consecutive victory, 99-83 on Sunday. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 14 points. He was their only starter in double figures.
LOS ANGELES – The trade deadline came and went Thursday. The Los Angeles Lakers stuck with what they had all along. Were they close to a deal?
LOS ANGELES – Paul Pierce says the Boston Celtics had no reason to discuss their heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the NBA finals last summer before they returned to Staples Center on Sunday. With a spectacularly fluid performance on offense against the outclassed Lakers, Pierce and the Celtics showed some things just don’t need to be said out loud.
NBA: Eric Gordon scored 30 points, Blake Griffin had 18 points and 15 rebounds after a foul-plagued start, and the Los Angeles Clippers snapped the visiting Los Angeles Lakers’ seven-game winning streak with a 99-92 victory Sunday. Four players were ejected from this crosstown rivalry game after a scuffle under the basket with 5.7 seconds to play.
MILWAUKEE – On the road again. It’s a recurring theme for teams as they navigate through the marathon National Basketball Association season trying to win while living out of a suitcase.
LOS ANGELES – LeBron James and Kobe Bryant ran their mouths while they jogged downcourt, not quite making eye contact during an unpleasant conversation in the closing minutes. “Just asked him what he got for Christmas,” James said. Although the two superstars wouldn’t reveal what angry words they exchanged, it wasn’t tough to pick out a few statements Saturday. While Kobe and the Los Angeles Lakers got a disturbing first look at the Miami Heat, LeBron got the last word at Staples Center yet again. James had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists while hitting a season-high five 3-pointers, and the Heat thrived on the holiday stage in a 96-80 victory.