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Lakers get first of three games in a row out of the way

After losing to Chicago in the season opener, they play at Sacramento on Monday and against Utah at home Tuesday. Kobe Bryant says it's better now than later in the season.

December 25, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers power forward Troy Murphy falls into the courtside seats as he tries to chase down a loose ball in the first half Sunday at Staples Center.
Lakers power forward Troy Murphy falls into the courtside seats as he tries… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

One down, two to go in the frantic, anything-but-sleepy NBA schedule.

The lockout cost the league its traditional 82-game schedule, so the Lakers must cram 66 games into 124 days, including a back-to-back-to-back situation to start the season.

After losing to Chicago, 88-87, on Sunday, the Lakers play in Sacramento on Monday before returning home Tuesday to play Utah.

They haven't played three games in three days since the lockout-shortened season of 1999.

"I really don't even remember much [of that] because I was like 19," Kobe Bryant said. "I don't even know if I was tired or not."

Things could be worse for the Lakers. They played 50 games in 89 days in 1999, including three sets of back-to-back-to-backs.

They have only one such run this season. The Clippers, by comparison, have two sets of them, including a rapid-fire trip in March at Indiana, Oklahoma City and New Orleans on consecutive days.

"It's better to get them done now while we're still fresh," Bryant said. "Just play three in a row right off the top instead of waiting until February or March."

Pau Gasol has played games on three consecutive days in international play, but said he logged only about 25 minutes per game.

"You can't worry about, 'This is going to be so many games, I'm going to be so tired,' " Gasol said before Sunday's season opener. "If you're able to go 3-0 or you're able to go 2-1, you're in good shape. If you're maybe 1-2 or 0-3, things start to get ugly."

Monday's game is the Kings' season opener.

"They're going to be pretty excited," Gasol said. "We know how hard they play and how much they like to beat us on their home floor."

Rookie surprise

Andrew Goudelock was shipped to the Development League last week for a brief stay with the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Now he's Bryant's backup at shooting guard.

Goudelock scored six points in his pro debut Sunday, making two of three three-point shots in nearly 13 minutes.

He was drafted in the second round out of College of Charleston, with the Lakers hoping to turn him into a point guard. But Goudelock, who is generously listed at 6 feet 3, is now a shooting guard.

"He's a four-year college guy that's not afraid," Coach Mike Brown said.


The Dallas Mavericks unfurled their championship banner and then lost Lamar Odom in the third quarter against Miami. The former Lakers forward had four points, four rebounds and four fouls in his Mavericks debut before he was ejected for arguing a referee's call that he charged into LeBron James in the Heat's 105-94 victory. … Bryant set a record by playing in his 14th Christmas game, passing Earl Monroe, Shaquille O'Neal and Dolph Schayes.

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