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Key questions remain unanswered

October 11, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

By the time practice finally ended and the Lakers trudged off the court Friday, they were fewer in number than when the session began, and those who remained were more than slightly fatigued.

The morning after the Lakers were pummeled by the Clippers, they were hit by an inability to finish off a drill that led to extra running -- a lot of it.

If there's such a thing as the dog days of the exhibition season, the Lakers might be feeling it.

"We had a little challenge for them today, and it took a while for them to meet the challenge," said Coach Phil Jackson, alluding to a drill in which players needed to score a certain number of baskets in two minutes.

The Lakers are 0-2 in exhibitions after a 107-80 loss Thursday to the Clippers, and they're still figuring out a few details. Can Lamar Odom be a primary ballhandler? Is there room in the frontcourt for both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum?

The regular season begins Oct. 28 against Portland, but the Lakers aren't close to worrying.

Jackson on Odom: "He really needs to be a positive influence on the floor. He's really capable of doing that. It doesn't mean he needs to score. It means he rebounds and gets assists and just fills gaps that we have to have."

Kobe Bryant on Gasol and Bynum playing together: "I don't really see a problem with it. . . . It's a lot of work to do before we get to that point [of success], but it's exciting to think of the potential."

Meanwhile, Derek Fisher sat out practice Friday because of a sore right knee, Jordan Farmar sat out because of a sore right foot and DJ Mbenga missed the second half of practice because of a sore right heel. Sasha Vujacic did not practice after an MRI exam confirmed a sprained left ankle. Their status for Sunday's game against Sacramento was unclear.

Sun finally plays

Rookie Sun Yue didn't look tired after playing nine minutes against the Clippers, his first game while battling mononucleosis.

"I'm a good actor," he said.

His stats were insignificant -- one missed shot and one foul, nothing else -- but Jackson declined to look too far into Sun's future, which could ultimately include a stint in the Development League.

"We're not making any decision on that until we see how he performs at this level," Jackson said.

Players in their first two seasons can be assigned to the Development League up to three times a season. If Sun were assigned to the Lakers' Development League affiliate, the D-Fenders, he would still be part of the Lakers' roster.


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