NBA notebook: Lakers pay tribute to Buss
If the Lakers can continue to be fueled by the overflowing of emotions and memories in the aftermath of the death of their beloved owner, maybe this season won't be a lost cause after all.
After a moving tribute to Dr. Jerry Buss at Staples Center on Wednesday night before the Lakers' first game since his death, the Lakers went out and thrashed the team Buss disliked most: the Celtics.
Thursday, at a memorial service held across the street from the Staples Center at the Nokia Theatre, the emotion continued to pour out as great Lakers past and present, including coaches Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, player/executive Jerry West, Showtime-era Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson and champions of a later era, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, talked about their relationships and experiences with Buss.
They talked of his friendly touch with common folks, his love of blue jeans, his penchant for staying out late (or all night), his uncommon vision, his sharp intellect and his surprising humility.
They talked of how Buss would like nothing more than for the Lakers to continue to win at the astounding level they did under his ownership.
Buss often said he wanted Los Angeles to be synonymous with the Lakers, and the Lakers synonymous with winning.
And so it was, to an astounding degree. In his nearly 34 years as owner, the Lakers had the best record in the league by far, went to the NBA Finals 16 times and won 10 titles.
Buss died Monday at age 80 amid one of the Lakers' most troubling seasons, a season that was expected to parlay the union of Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash into another Lakers title.
The Lakers will wear “JB” patches on their jerseys the rest of the season.
Said Johnson: “Please, Buss family, never sell the Lakers ... and win more championships.”
Rose backs Bulls
Bulls star Derrick Rose said he believes the organization is trying to win a championship.
Rose, who's recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee, said in a statement that management's goals “have been the same as mine and that is to bring another championship to this city.”
His comment comes after older brother Reggie ripped the Bulls, telling ESPNChicago.com they don't have the talent to compete for a championship and that their decision to stand pat before Thursday's trade deadline could be a “big factor” in whether Derrick returns this season from a knee injury.
Hinrich out again
Kirk Hinrich is sidelined again for the Bulls.
The veteran point guard sat out Thursday's game against the Heat because of an ongoing problem with his right elbow.
Hinrich missed seven games with an infection in the elbow before delivering 10 assists Tuesday in a win at New Orleans.
Magic's Nelson out
Magic point guard Jameer Nelson was diagnosed with a strained left knee patella tendon.
The team said in a statement Thursday that the veteran's return will be determined after further evaluation when he returns with the team on Saturday from its current road trip.
Nelson has missed 11 games this season.