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Jackson sees rest of story

November 22, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Bresnahan is a Times staff writer.

Sometimes a decrease in playing time isn't so bad.

File it under another perk for the Lakers this season: Winning so many blowout games often leads to fewer minutes for the starters, particularly in the fourth quarter.

Kobe Bryant's playing time is down to only 33.8 minutes a game, compared to 38.9 last season and 40.8 in 2006-07. He's not the only one getting extra down time.

Like Bryant, Pau Gasol did not play the fourth quarter Friday against Denver. Gasol played only 3:33 of the fourth quarter Thursday against Phoenix and is averaging 34.4 minutes, which might actually be a little too high for Lakers Coach Phil Jackson.

"If our guys like Pau and Kobe can spend less than 34 minutes on the floor . . . that's pretty good," Jackson said.

Why 34?

"It's a number in which I think players feel like they're not drained and leg-weary after a ballgame and they can still come back and play," Jackson said.

Whatever it is, it's fine with Gasol, who, along with Bryant, spent most of the summer playing for their respective national teams. The extra in-game breathers with the Lakers can only benefit Bryant and Gasol down the road.

"It's a wonderful thing that we have that luxury," Gasol said. "If we're winning big and we don't need to be out there, you can get a lot of rest, especially if we're playing back-to-backs.

"We played a lot in the summer [in Beijing] and your body will pay the price. If you get to save your legs and your body a few minutes here at the end, it's going to make a difference."

Of course, Jackson hardly ever played more than 34 minutes a game in his days as a sharp-elbowed power forward.

"I never lasted that long on the floor," he said, smiling. "I fouled out before then."

Radmanovic's stats revisited

Despite making all five of his three-point attempts Thursday against Phoenix, Vladimir Radmanovic is shooting only 38.3%, though he says it's somewhat misleading.

"Obviously, I don't get 20 shots a game, so if I miss three or four shots, that's pretty much it. You have awful stats," he said. "But I'm trying to do other stuff on the court, help defensively and get other guys in a rhythm on offense. I think I've done a solid job so far. I'll keep doing what I can."

Talking Clippers

The Lakers haven't made any trades yet this season, so they can only talk about other teams' moves, for now.

The Clippers picked up Zach Randolph from New York in what Jackson said was a good trade for them.

"He's a relentless scorer," Jackson said. "Whatever it cost them in that process, I think it was a pretty good deal for them."


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