The Los Angeles Lakers lost Kobe Bryant due to an injury to his left knee that he suffered against the Memphis Grizzlies. Many started to think and talk about the Lakers having to tank now. They have no point guards and Bryant is expected to miss six weeks.
It did not matter against the Minnesota Timberwolves because the Lakers played an impressive game to come out on top 104-91. The Lakers lost their first meeting with the Timberwolves back when Nash only played 13 minutes before sitting out the game due to back issues. Even though the Lakers have been hit with big injuries they managed to move on and show that they can still be entertaining and stay competitive.
Pau Gasol had a big game with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists, even hitting a big three in the fourth quarter to push the Lakers lead. Both Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry also hit double digits in the starting lineup. Meeks hit some difficult shots in the game to give him 17 points while Xavier Henry started at point guard and finished with 21 points and 4 assists. Off the bench, Nicky Young provided some great energy and offense with 25 points to lead his team in scoring, and hitting a total of four three-pointers. It was a great team effort and it was the second game in a row with Pau having a great offensive game after struggling a few games ago.
The Lakers did sign a new point guard in Kendall Marshall, a former Phoenix Sun lottery pick, but he did not play in the game. Chris Kaman, who had fallen out of the rotation played 16 minutes and finished with six points. The team will be on the road again and will face the Golden State Warriors tomorrow, in a game that can put them back over the .500 mark.
(NY Daily News)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that they have officially signed free agent forward Shawne Williams. It was announced today by general manager Mitch Kupchak but the terms of the agreement were not released although it is believed he will make about $1.1 million.
Williams last played for the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets(now known as Brooklyn Nets). He was also on the Portland Trailblazers but did not appear in the game.
The 27-year old has played under coach Mike D’Antoni back when he was on the Knicks. He has averaged 5.7 points and 2.8 rebounds throughout his six years in the NBA. The former 17th overall pick played his college ball in Memphis where he was also born.
The signing comes on the same day forward Michael Beasley was waived by the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers had interest in Beasley and planned to acquire him after trading Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol for Chris Paul but the trade was later vetoed by David Stern. Talks were circulating around the web whether the Lakers should look to take a chance on the troubled forward after being waived.
Lamar Odom who has also run into trouble remains a free agent. Odom recently received a DUI and there have been numerous reports of him using drugs. Many Laker fans were hoping for Odom to make a return to the Lakers but it was looking less likely throughout the summer.
(Getty Images/Sam Forencich)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to sign shooting guard Wesley Johnson according to Mike Bresnahan. the Lakers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times. Johnson will be sigining with the Lakers on a one year deal for the veteran’s minimum of $1 million. Johnson was the 4th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft and was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Johnson has only played for two NBA teams, the Timberwolves and the Phoenix Suns. Last season with the Suns he averaged 8 points per game. The former Syracuse college basketball player is a solid signing by the Lakers. Johnson can play both shooting guard and the small forward position which will be important after the Lakers decided to amnesty Metta World Peace to save the team money.
The 26-year old brings size and athleticism to a Laker team that will need it. Johnson can look to start fresh with the Lakers after struggling with his first two teams. The Lakers now have Nick Young, who is expected to start, and Johnson that can play at the small forward position.
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The Lakers continue to struggle in winning back to back games as they lost against the Phoenix Suns 76 to 99. The shots were not going in and the 7 man rotation Mike D’Antoni played with his stars Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant out looked too tired for the Suns.
Dwight Howard and Steve Nash had trouble knocking down shots but scored in double digits. Nash led the way with 19 points while Howard added 16. Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake scored a combined 43 points against the Sacramento Kings in the first game of the back to back games but could not repeat another great performance against the Suns. Steve Blake did have a solid game scoring 13 points but Jamison only had 3.
The Lakers for the most part came into the game sluggish and tired from the previous night especially on defence. It was clear that they needed their super star Kobe Bryant and a possible early return from Gasol who were out with injuries.
D’Antoni did not put in Devin Ebanks, Darius Morris, Chris Duhon and Robert Sacre until the last few minutes of the game. With a veteran filled rotation, Mike could have looked to provide a few more minutes of rest by maybe playing one or two of the four players out of the rotation earlier in the game. Pau Gasol is still out and is not giving a specific date on a return but said it would be soon. Bryant will look to return to the floor on Friday.
The Lakers are ahead of the Utah Jazz and caught a break in the conference standings because Utah was defeated by the New York Knicks 83 to 90. The Lakers have two days off before their next game on Friday against the Washington Wizards at Staples Center.