The Lakers are on an upswing with the return of Nick Young and a tough win over the Atlanta Hawks, while the team is also eyeing some free agents.
Check out the latest buzz below.
Bryant Addresses Criticism
The Lakers got their second win of the season but Kobe Bryant is still the target for a lot of criticism, especially as he's been missing a lot of shots.
Bryant made more than 45 percent of his shots for the first time this season against the Hawks.
He's now 291 points behind Michael Jordan in his career, becoming the fourth NBA player of all-time to score 32,000 points.
Bryant now has 32,001 points, while Jordan has 32,292.
Bryant was asked after the game if he heard the chatter that his shot volume was so high this season because he wanted to pass Jordan.
There's always something, especially with me," Bryant told reporters, per the Los Angeles Times.
"First, it's 'I can't come back and play.' Now it's, 'Well he's not playing well enough.' Well you just said I'd be in a wheelchair and I wouldn't be able to play at all. I won't even waste my time trying to shut people up."
"It's a lot of work over 19 years," Bryant added in terms of the points.
The Lakers offense ran well against the Hawks, with Bryant passing more and shooting only 18 shots, and Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill, Nick Young, and Jeremy Lin all scoring in double figures. Lin also had 10 assists.
Young Helps Lakers Get Second Win
Nick Young returned from injury and helped the Lakers get the win over the Hawks.
"It's like my swag just rubbed off on everybody," Young said after the game. "It's unbelievable."
Young scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 28 minutes, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. He also had 5 rebounds and 1 steal, and no turnovers.
The L.A. Daily News noted after the game that Young's return to the lineup injected all sorts of energy.
"He provided the Lakers (2-9) a definitive scoring option to complement Bryant. Young also lightened the Lakers' mood with his playful personality that included plenty of smiles and trash talk.:
Bryant said Young's presence "lifts the spirit of the guys."
"It keeps things light. I think it's great," he said. "That's great leadership from that standpoint."
"Swaggy P is not a superstar and is not going to miraculously propel this team to the playoffs," noted Lakers Nation before the game.
"What he is, however, is a player who can get his own shot and create offense for the team in a hurry. He's not going to drop a bunch of dimes, but he poses a threat to opposing teams' defenses in a number of ways, which essentially alleviates some of the offensive pressure placed on his teammates. He can knock down the long ball, but can also penetrate at times and can certainly draw multiple defenders to him when he handles the ball. This will certainly take some of the pressure off of Kobe Bryant.
"Conversely, he doesn't need to handle the ball in order to score. Last season, 47.6 percent of his two-point field goals were assisted, and 79.3 percent of his three-pointers were as well. This is paramount because the ball is still going to be in Kobe's hands the majority of the time.
"Whereas Young can score with the ball in his hands and take pressure off of Kobe, he is more than comfortable playing off-ball as well and as long as he maintains his aggressiveness, Kobe will likely look to get him the ball."
Lakers Regroup on Defense
The Lakers had a long film session on Monday night as well as a meeting about what they can do differently.
The session focused on the Lakers defense, which has averaged a league-worst 112 points per game.
"The question to the guys was, 'Are we asking you to do things that are impossible for you to do,'" coach Byron Scott recalled.
"'Or are there things you have to think about too much? Because we'll try to simplify everything as much as possible.' The answer they gave was no. It's not impossible and not difficult."
Ronnie Price spearheaded the meeting and was the only player who spoke up.
"Everyone shares things differently each time," Price said. "I just talked about the same things we've been talking about for the past four weeks."
Scott said that he used new motivation to get players to buckle down, especially in the final minutes of the game.
"The fact I told them that if they didn't play, I would take them out," Scott said. "That had something to do with it."
Lakers Eying Mekel, Buycks
The Lakers are still looking for more options, including bringing in a number of free agents.
Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that the Lakers will also audition Gal Mekel, a point guard who was released by the Dallas Mavericks recently.
"Makes sense given how much Lakers need a shot-creator," reporter Marc Stein noted.
The Lakers are also looking at Dwight Buycks, who they will bring in for a head-to-head workout, reported David Pick of Basketball Insiders.
He added that free agent small forward Jordan Hamilton is also expected to audition on Thursday.
The Lakers have 15 players on the roster. Wayne Ellington and Ronnie Price are on partially guaranteed contacts, but reports indicate that Xavier Henry would be the one waived if another player is picked up.
Nash Calls In
Steve Nash has been missing in action after the announcement that he's likely out for the season and perhaps for good.
Coach Scott called Nash last week and Nash finally returned the call about four days later.
Nash left a message saying he plans to be involved with the team soon despite the injury.
"He did say on his message that he's definitely going to come back and see everybody," Scott told the News.
"He just needed some time, which we all understood. But he didn't give me a set time."
"It was a very simple message: 'I heard that you called me. I don't check my voicemail, but I'm calling you back,' " Scott said. " 'Hope everything is well. Hang in there. See you guys soon.' "
Nash has made several blunders lately, including posting a video of himself golfing after the injury was announced.
Nash later responded to furor, explaining that he had tried his hardest to come back from injury, and that playing golf and hiking are less strenuous activities than playing basketball.
Recap: Lakers Beat Hawks 114-109
ATLANTA—For Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, it was a rare chance to celebrate.
They didn't pass it up.
Bryant scored 28 points and the Lakers held on for just their second win, beating the Atlanta Hawks 114-109 on Tuesday night.
A locker room that has been solemn most of the season was a lot more raucous this time.
"Man, oh man, that's a lot better," Jeremy Lin said. "It's been a rough start to the season."
Bryant's biggest shot came with 1:11 remaining, when he backed in against Thabo Sefolosha and made a fadeaway jumper despite being fouled. Bryant slapped hands with a fan on the front row and completed the three-point play, giving the Lakers a 108-102 lead.
"It's been tough," Bryant said. "But you find beauty in the process."
The Hawks had a chance to force overtime after the Lakers (2-9) failed to put it away at the line. But Los Angeles smothered long-range threat Kyle Korver, leaving Pero Antic to take an open 3-pointer. It clanked off the rim and the Lakers gobbled up the loose ball to seal the victory.
Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 29 points.
Carlos Boozer added 20 points for the Lakers. Nick Young, coming back from a thumb injury, had 17 in his first game of the season.
Jeff Teague scored 23 for the Hawks, who lost for the first time at home.
In the first half, the Lakers hardly looked like a team that had lost nine of its first 10 games, putting up a season high for points in a half while racing to a 67-52 lead. Bryant scored 19 points and Boozer chipped in with 18 as Los Angeles shot 61 percent (27 of 44) and outrebounded the Hawks 22-15.
"Games are not won in the first quarter," Korver said. "But they can be lost in the first quarter. We've got to do better at the start of the game. We've got to bring more energy, bring more juice."
The Hawks started the second half with a 13-0 run but never made it all the way back from the early deficit. Down the stretch, the Lakers made enough plays to snap a four-game losing streak.
Even after Bryant missed a wild one from the corner, Jordan Hill snatched away the offensive rebound and laid it back in to put Los Angeles ahead 111-106 with 17.7 seconds remaining.
The only thing that gave Atlanta hope was the Lakers' woes at the foul line. They missed three of five at one point in the closing seconds.
But Antic, left all alone outside the arc, couldn't make the tying 3.
"It's basically an easy shot," he said. "I usually make that shot."
After falling behind by 43 points in their last game, a 127-94 blowout at Cleveland, the Hawks got off to another sluggish start. "I thought we would come out with more energy," Millsap said. "But that was not the case. We dug ourselves a hole and paid for it."
Lakers: The Lakers' biggest lead was 17 points. ... Wayne Ellington missed his fifth straight game since the death of his father, who was fatally shot on Nov. 9. He could rejoin the team for its game Friday at Dallas, coach Scott said.
Hawks: Atlanta dropped to 4-1 at Philips Arena. ... DeMarre Carroll missed his fourth straight game with a strained groin. ... Antic finished 2 of 9 from the field, while another backup, Mike Scott, was 3 of 11.
Kelly Out for Six Weeks
EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly will be out for at least six weeks with a torn right hamstring.
The Lakers announced their latest major injury Monday.
Kelly played only five minutes in the Lakers' blowout loss to Golden State on Sunday night. An ultrasound exam revealed the tear.
Kelly had played in only three games this season due to previous injuries to both hamstrings. The second-year pro from Duke excelled as a rookie last season.
Steve Nash and Julius Randle are already out for the season for Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.