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LAKERS REPORT

Vujacic finds groove again

March 31, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Sasha Vujacic was making three-point shots again after a rough outing Friday.

Or, in nickname parlance, the Machine was up and running after some maintenance.

Vujacic scored 20 points and made six of eight three-pointers Sunday against Washington, a welcome sight for him after making only five of 17 shots two days earlier against Memphis.

Vujacic also made two free throws with 10.2 seconds left in overtime to give the Lakers a 124-120 lead.

"I shot 14 three-point shots [against Memphis] and that was kind of embarrassing, but that's way behind me," Vujacic said.

"The only thing we have in front of us right now is eight games, and we want to go on that winning streak. We want to win all eight games. It's not a question. We want to finish first."

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Pau Gasol looked down at his still-swollen left ankle and offered a somber self-diagnosis before Sunday's game.

"It's still a pretty bad sprain," he said.

It looked too large to be true, although he hoped to play on it in Wednesday's game against Portland, which would end a string of nine consecutive games missed.

Gasol couldn't push off hard enough on the foot during Sunday morning's shoot-around to play against Washington.

He was averaging 18.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in 19 games with the Lakers before being injured in the first few minutes of a March 14 loss at New Orleans.

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Derek Fisher did not practice Saturday, perhaps a sign of what's to come the rest of the season on non-game days as he battles a partially torn ligament in his right foot.

"We really don't know what's going to happen with this," Coach Phil Jackson said. "We'll just have to kind of wait and see how he's going to be and what direction it's going to take."

Fisher seemed fine Sunday against Washington, scoring 17 points in 33 minutes.

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The Lakers will decide today whether to sign forward Ira Newble to another 10-day contract.

The defense-minded forward had not played any games for the Lakers, although "he was the star of our practice [Saturday]," Jackson said.

"Of course, he's got the most energy. He and Coby Karl haven't played a lot the last [six] games. He's starting to feel his way through this and starting to feel comfortable."

Newble would be eligible for playoffs if the Lakers decided to sign him for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract expired.

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mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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