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Schedule works in their favor

November 14, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

As if the Lakers needed more help.

The league's only undefeated team returned from a brisk two-game sweep at Dallas and New Orleans to find their schedule pleasantly appealing.

Seven of their next eight games are at home, and only three of them are against teams with winning records.

"Wow," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said when told the details of the next 16 days. "We're not thinking about anything but one game at a time, and that's a hard concept right now because when things start going well, you start anticipating that, 'Oh, yeah, we're going to win games easily.' There's no such thing in this game."

After tonight's game against Detroit, the upcoming schedule is littered with injured-depleted teams (Chicago) and ineffective teams so far this season (New Jersey, Sacramento and Dallas).

The Lakers' lone road game the next two weeks is in Phoenix, but the players insist they won't take anybody lightly.

Lamar Odom provided at least one reason -- more victories typically mean fewer practices.

"The better you do, the more days off," he said.

Detroit's new answer

The Pistons are 2-2 since acquiring Allen Iverson from Denver for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess, who was subsequently released by the Nuggets and is free to sign with another team.

Some observers wondered if Iverson's free-flowing mind-set on offense would work in Detroit's disciplined, defense-first approach.

"I think they're going to have good times and bad times until they all adjust," Jackson said. "This is a team that, remember, they've been playing 80- and 90-point games, and suddenly he's coming off a team that's playing 100-plus-point games. His activity level is going to increase what they do."

Said Odom: "Iverson played at Georgetown, where it's a half-court offense and he'd get 30 [points]. He's going to get 30 his whole life. I don't expect anything else but for him to try and get 30."

His turn

Odom followed up a 12-point effort against Dallas with two points in 27 minutes against New Orleans.

He didn't shoot well against New Orleans, making only one of seven shots, but another principle was at work: Lakernomics.

Loosely defined, it's too many Lakers with scoring ability and only one basketball in play.

"It's going to go like that," Odom said. "It's 'Any Given Sunday' in football and 'Any Given Night' for the Lakers because we've got so many guys that can play."

Rest area ahead?

The Lakers returned from New Orleans after 1 a.m. Thursday, but Jackson made the team practice nine hours later.

After a team video session, four starters sat out a scrimmage -- Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

"The rest of the guys got a run," Jackson said.

The Lakers probably will take a day off Saturday or Sunday.


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