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Odom passing up his shots

December 03, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

INDIANAPOLIS — Lamar Odom was the Lakers' second option a year ago, averaging almost a dozen shots a game before Pau Gasol was acquired.

Now he's seventh on the team with 7.3 shots a game, lagging the obvious ones (Kobe Bryant and Gasol), the young ones (Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum) and the defense-minded one (Trevor Ariza).

Most of it can be traced to fewer minutes, but Coach Phil Jackson sounded a familiar theme Tuesday -- he'd like to see Odom shoot more often.

"We're trying to find a way for him to kind of jump-start so he gets going," Jackson said. "In a normal starting role, he gets opportunities early in the game to drive to the hoop. When you come off the bench, sometimes it takes a while to get in the flow of it. We want him to get involved offensively a little bit more."

Case in point: Odom had only three shots Tuesday against Indiana and cost the Lakers a possession when he passed up an open 16-footer to pass to a surprised Ariza down low. Ariza was promptly called for a three-second violation.

Jackson said he was pleased with Odom's all-around play, which has led to averages of 9.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in only 25.7 minutes a game this season.

To get more touches, Odom could just park himself in the post, but it hasn't happened on a consistent basis.

"That's not always his favorite spot," Jackson said. "We kind of kid him about being too slight to go in there and play the post."

Odom finished with six points, three rebounds and five assists in the Lakers' 118-117 loss to Indiana.


The fifth starter

Ariza has the better stats, but Vladimir Radmanovic continues to start at small forward because of one particular exhibition game against the Clippers, Jackson said.

Ariza started the first two exhibition games, but Jackson switched to Radmanovic after the Clippers drilled the Lakers, 107-80, in Fresno on Oct. 9.

"It put in my mind's eye that the first unit needed to spread the court, have more space," Jackson said. "There's more Kobe involvement all the time in that unit.

"You need to spread the court out because they're just going to throw bodies at him. We really feel that that's an important aspect."

Ariza is averaging 10.1 points and 5.5 rebounds in 24 minutes a game, Radmanovic is averaging 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 21.4 minutes a game.

Radmanovic has improved his three-point shooting to a notable 45% after a slow start from beyond the arc.


Who's prodding whom?

Jackson is known to zing players without much provocation, but he doesn't usually cop to doing it.

Then came Tuesday, when Jackson acknowledged lobbing occasional barbs at Bryant just to jab him a bit.

"It's very true. It's to prick him," Jackson said. "[It's] to kind of come in there and give him a little bit of a goose as far as, 'Hey, don't do this. Try not to do this.' "

Before Sunday's game against Toronto, Jackson feigned anger because a reporter wrote that Bryant needed 38 points that night to become the youngest player to reach 22,000 points.

"That was like a carrot in front of a donkey, whoever did that," Jackson said. "It was stupid. That could really mess up the game tonight."

It didn't.

Bryant scored 23 points in a Lakers victory that night.



After further review, rookie Sun Yue ended up joining the team for its three-game trip. Sun underwent medical tests for a sprained left foot Monday in Los Angeles before flying out later that night to meet up with the team. He did not dress against Indiana and has not played yet this season. . . . A public memorial service for former Lakers general manager Pete Newell will be held Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart at Loyola Marymount University. Speakers at the memorial will include Jerry West, Ann Meyers, Stu Lantz and Kermit Washington.



Lakers tonight


Time: 4 PST

Where: Wachovia Center.

On the air: TV: Channel 9. Radio: 570, 1330.

Records: Lakers 14-2; 76ers 8-10.

Record vs. 76ers (2007-08): 2-0.

Update: The Lakers hadn't won in Philadelphia since 2000 until a 106-101 victory there last season. Elton Brand, who left the Clippers after signing a five-year deal with the 76ers, is averaging 17.4 points a game, which would be his lowest scoring average in 10 pro seasons.

-- Mike Bresnahan

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