Lakers coach: Chance for Lin, Price

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
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[+] EnlargeJeremy Lin
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesWith Steve Nash done for the season, Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin has a chance to play a larger role.

LAS VEGAS -- Less than a day after Steve Nash was ruled out for the season with recurring back problems, Lakers coach Byron Scott said he did not address the injury with the team outside of naming Ronnie Price the starting point guard for Friday night's preseason game, and he said he has yet to talk to the two-time MVP.

"We didn't bring it up in practice, and we haven't talked about it at all," Scott said. "I think most of the guys who have been in the league for a while and are professionals know this is part of life in the NBA. You send out your well wishes and you move on. Obviously he'll be missed. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get a chance to coach him. He has always been one of my favorite people in the league because he's such a professional and such a gentleman. I'm going to miss out on that opportunity, but just like everyone else, I'm wishing him all the best."


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Not Top Plays

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
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Watch the week's worst plays on "SportsCenter."

Steve Nash's lost season in L.A.

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
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Steve Nash has back and nerve problems that will sideline him for the 2014-15 season, and now Kobe Bryant's contract is no longer a leading candidate for What's Wrong With The Lakers.

Bryant looks as if he can still drop 20 points a night this season. That might not be commensurate with the production expected from the highest salary in the league ($23.5 million), but the cost/stats ratio won't be as bad as the steady stream of blank numbers that will accompany Nash's $9.7 million. Nash will make more than Pau Gasol ($7 million), Shaun Livingston ($5 million) and Spencer Hawes ($5 million) and the same as Luol Deng, to name just a few free agents who moved this season. Any of them would have been more helpful than even the 2012-13 version of Nash.

So Nash's salary looms as the bigger albatross, unless ... the Lakers use his expiring contract as a trade chip. That could turn Nash's contract from a detriment into a referendum on the mindset of the Lakers.

Teams seek expiring contracts only when they want to move long-term commitments that no longer appeal to them. For the Lakers to take two years or more of a contract back, it would imply they were no longer committed to clearing as much cap space as possible in 2016. It might even mean they acknowledged they no longer view themselves as the top shoppers who can have their choice of free agents.


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Ramona Shelburne discusses the Lakers announcing Steve Nash will miss the entire NBA season.

Steve Nash, 40, to sit out season

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
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LOS ANGELES -- Steve Nash hoped for one more chance to show off his playmaking skills after fighting injuries and time for two miserable years with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Instead, Nash couldn't even make it to opening night in the 19th season of his remarkable career.

Nash will miss the entire season because of a back injury, the Lakers announced Thursday, putting the two-time NBA MVP point guard's career in doubt.

The Lakers and the 40-year-old Nash announced their joint decision less than a week before the start of the regular season. He played in only 15 games last season with nerve root irritation but hoped for a comeback season after several months of rehabilitation.

The Canadian star played in just three preseason games, feeling more back pain in the second outing. He then strained his back while carrying travel bags several days ago.

"Being on the court this season has been my top priority, and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now," Nash said. "I work very hard to stay healthy, and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest and will focus on my long-term health."

Nash will "focus on rest and rehabilitation," according to the team's news release. He is in the final season of his three-year contract with the Lakers, but the club's announcement made no mention of possible retirement.

Nash has played in only 65 games since the Lakers traded four draft picks for him in 2012 in a spectacularly failed attempt to assemble a title contender built around Kobe Bryant


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Lakers president Jeanie Buss joins Keith Olbermann to discuss criticism of Kobe Bryant, her relationship with Phil Jackson, and the Lakers' season outlook for 2014-15.

Biggest storylines of the season

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
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What a season we are in for. I get excited about every NBA season, but 2014-15 will go down as one of the most anticipated seasons in recent history.

There's a new Big Three aiming to bring the city of Cleveland its first major sports title since Jim Brown was in his prime; a former MVP returning from knee injuries to play essentially for the first time in three years; and another former MVP (and five-time champion) dusting off the cobwebs to prove his detractors and Father Time' wrong.

That's just scratching the surface.

I asked a few NBA types to comment on five of the most intriguing storylines of the season. Here's what they said:


LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers

Eastern Conference scout: "Those three guys -- LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving -- are really legitimate top players. Obviously, LeBron is the best player, but they might all be top 10 players. I'm a big Kyrie Irving fan. He's extremely, extremely talented. He has the talent to be the best point guard in the league. I think he's got the best left hand of any point guard in the league ... He can do anything with it -- shoot, pass. He's done a lot of losing, but I think LeBron will come in and change that culture. 

Lakers prez defends Kobe Bryant

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
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Lakers president Jeanie Buss has a message for any player who doesn't want to play with Kobe Bryant: good riddance. 

"Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser, and I'm glad they wouldn't come to the team," Buss said during a "SportsCenter" interview Thursday.

Buss was asked to comment on an ESPN The Magazine feature published earlier in the week, in which several agents and NBA personnel -- including Lakers insiders -- said that L.A. has been unable to attract top talent in free agency because players don't want to work with Bryant. 

"I read the story," Buss said Thursday. "I don't agree with any of it. If there is somebody that's on our payroll who is saying things like that, I'll soon get to the bottom of it, and they won't be working for us anymore."

In fact, Buss has a warning for all of Bryant's detractors: "I have no doubt that Kobe will make people regret ever saying" those comments, she said. 

The Lakers have won five championships with Bryant, though they haven't made a trip to The Finals since 2010 and missed the playoffs entirely last season as Bryant appeared in just six games because of injuries.

Bryant, now 36, signed a two-year extension with the Lakers last year worth $48.5 million. He is the league's highest-paid player.


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Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss voiced her opinion on "SportsCenter" regarding free agents and Kobe Bryant.

Davis-Lin pick and roll effective already

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
11:26
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Buha By Jovan Buha
Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
ONTARIO, Calif. -- The play starts the same way every time: Jeremy Lin dribbling atop the 3-point arc, patiently waiting for a screen from Ed Davis.

As Lin's yo-yoing lulls his defender, Davis flashes up and sets a pick. More often than not, Davis will go left, toward Lin's right side, which allows Lin to gain traction and comfortably attack with his dominant hand.

[+] EnlargeJeremy Lin
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsJeremy Lin, above, calls pick-and-roll partner Ed Davis "unselfish" and "smart" when it comes to his style of play.
Depending on how the defense reacts, Davis and Lin will usually do one of two things.

"You just have to read it," Lin said after the Los Angeles Lakers' 94-86 preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Arena. "It depends what the defense is doing. Sometimes [Davis] has got to get out of there quick. Sometimes he can meander around behind for a pop."

If Davis' defender comes up to trap Lin, or "show" with a hard hedge, Davis will slip the screen and dart to the rim. Lin can then pull up for a midrange jumper, hit Davis with a bounce pass or find the open man on the weak side as an opposing defender likely collapses into the paint to stop Davis from scoring undeterred.

But if Davis' defender drops back and hangs around the free throw line, Lin has the speed and ballhandling ability to pick up momentum off the dribble and blaze past the slower big man into the paint. From there, he can lay the ball in, dish to a trailing Davis or kick out to a weakside spot-up shooter (usually Wayne Ellington or Wesley Johnson).

The effectiveness of the game's bread-and-butter play best materialized in the fourth quarter with 3:22 left.

As Lin reset the offense on the right side of the floor after a Roscoe Smith offensive rebound, Davis came up on Lin's right side and screened his defender, C.J. McCollum. After taking McCollum out of the play, Davis rolled to the rim, and his defender, Meyers Leonard, stepped up to contest Lin.

The outcome was predictable, yet virtually unstoppable.

Lin threw a soft lob with his right hand and Davis flushed it home, giving the Lakers a commanding 88-75 lead with 3:16 left.

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Rookie Randle leads Lakers past Blazers 94-86

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
9:29
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ONTARIO, Calif. -- Rookie Julius Randle scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and Jeremy Lin added 13 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 94-86 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in a preseason game Wednesday night.

Wayne Ellington and Wesley Johnson scored 11 points apiece for the Lakers (3-4), who played a solid defensive game and surged in the fourth quarter despite 18 turnovers. Los Angeles won without Kobe Bryant, who sat out to rest.

C.J. McCollum scored 17 points and Meyers Leonard added 13 for the Trail Blazers (3-3), who rested four starters as their three-game winning streak ended.

Portland center Chris Kaman scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half against his former Lakers teammates.


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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0