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LAKERS FYI

Farmar asks for clarity on role

December 18, 2008|Broderick Turner and Mike Bresnahan

It was a meeting of the minds Monday between Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar and Coach Phil Jackson. They talked about differences in philosophies and styles of play.

By Tuesday night, Farmar seemed disgruntled, the telling sign coming when Jackson yanked him out of the game against New York 4:01 into the fourth quarter and the 6-foot-2 guard stormed off the court and exchanged words with his coach. Farmar played just nine minutes against the Knicks.

On Wednesday after practice, Farmar sounded more disillusioned about his role when he talked about his meeting in Jackson's office at the team's practice facility.

"He didn't call me up there, I asked to talk to him -- to vent," Farmar said. "Just trying to get some things across."

It was as if Farmar popped into the "principal's office," Jackson said. "I felt he was frustrated."

Earlier in the season, Jackson allowed Farmar the freedom to run the fastbreak, to run more pick and rolls on offense and less of the triangle offense.

Now, Farmar said, Jackson wants him to be more precise, to run the triangle offense and throttle down on the fastbreak when it's not there.

"I asked them what they wanted me to do so I can go out there and do it and not be confused about my job," Farmar said. "They're not looking for me to do anything personal -- just run our offense. It affects my performance and what I do.

"I'm a guard coming off the bench playing limited minutes so I got to make those minutes count and do what the coaching staff and the organization wants."

Jackson is not trying to stifle Farmar's creativity, but he wants the 22-year-old to be a better decision-maker.

"I think there are some things about playing his game kind of thing and conforming to our style," Jackson said.

Farmar, who is averaging 19.7 minutes a game this season, is shooting only 39.5% from the field and 32.8% from the three-point arc, well below his career averages.

Farmar also said he has issues with the team's defensive concepts.

"I was trying to go out there and do what I was told. Every time I would do what they asked me to do, it seemed like it was the wrong thing at that time, the wrong choice. I'm just trying to figure it out and do what they ask me in any capacity, whatever it is," Farmar said.

"I want to have decision-making opportunities, but if that's not in their plans right now, I can't let what I want go over what the team wants. I love these guys and we have a chance to be special, and I'll sacrifice as much as I have to for us to win."

Front-line illnesses

Pau Gasol sat out Tuesday's game against New York and did not practice Wednesday. He will travel with the team for its four-game trip, but Jackson did not know if Gasol would be available Friday against Miami.

Gasol, averaging 18 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game, was obviously missed in the first half Tuesday as the Lakers fell behind the Knicks, 65-50.

"He's a very good defensive player and one of the top shooters in the league," Jackson said. "That makes a big difference. I think he's been the most consistent [on the team]. He's had one, maybe two bad games I can remember where he hasn't shot the ball well."

Lamar Odom would take Gasol's place, although Odom was fighting an upper respiratory infection that forced him to leave Tuesday's game briefly in the second quarter.

He practiced Wednesday and was not expected to miss Friday's game. He said he looked forward to some time on the road.

"We need, like, a test right now," Odom said. "Last time we were on the road, we lost to Indiana in a game we thought we should have won -- up 16. I want to get back on the road and kind of see how our mind-set is as a team."

--

broderick.turner@latimes.com

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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