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LAKERS REPORT

They'll need to get on board with this

May 05, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Lamar Odom wiped the sweat off his face with a towel. Then he spoke of what took a toll in the Lakers' choppy Game 1 victory.

"Giving up 25 offensive rebounds won't work," he said matter-of-factly, without much argument.

The Lakers outlasted the Utah Jazz, 109-98, despite being pounded in the rebounding department, 58-41. The Jazz had 17 more offensive rebounds than the Lakers.

Utah finished 24th in rebounding during the regular season, averaging only 40.9 a game. The Lakers were fourth overall with 44.2 rebounds a game.

The Jazz definitely swept the category Sunday.

"They were tough and pushing and shoving," Odom said. "It was a tough game down there, but we answered the call when we needed to."

Utah center Mehmet Okur took a season-high 19 rebounds, eight of them at the offensive end. Carlos Boozer had 14 rebounds, six offensive.

Pau Gasol had 10 rebounds for the Lakers, Odom had nine and it tailed off badly for the Lakers from there.

Then again, it might not be that big a deal. A humorous alternative was provided by Kobe Bryant.

"We're just being very consistent," he said, smiling. "We got our butts kicked on the boards against Denver too, so we probably don't want to change that too much."

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Derek Fisher, spy?

The veteran Lakers guard has imparted his knowledge of the Jazz to his current teammates after spending last season with Utah.

"It's good for us," Bryant said. "He's obviously played with that team and he's very intelligent. He retains a lot of information, so he remembers everything that they were executing over there."

Not coincidentally, Fisher had six steals in Sunday's game, one shy of the team playoff record shared by Magic Johnson and Byron Scott.

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The Lakers didn't need more rest after six days between games, but they got plenty of it during typically long timeouts in Sunday's game on ABC, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson facetiously pointed out.

Jackson has long been irritated by the length of nationally televised games.

"They take two hours and 45 minutes, and a locally televised game takes two hours and 15 minutes," he said.

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The Lakers are obviously doing well in the playoffs, though Bryant was asked if Sunday's physical game might have been a little easier with a healthy Andrew Bynum.

"We've missed Andrew the whole time," Bryant said. "I think, defensively, because you have a natural shot-blocker. A lot of times, guys have been getting penetration against us. . . . With Andrew back there, he cancels all of that stuff. Players have to think about it. As a result, they take more perimeter jumpers."

Bynum said a few days ago he did not expect to return from a knee injury this season.

"He has to rest up and get ready for next season and we'll be a much, much improved team," Bryant said.

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mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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