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LAKERS FYI

Lakers' Jordan Farmar turns it around

After his UCLA Bruins lose, guard sparks Lakers' victory over Bulls.

March 22, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

CHICAGO — Despite the sun reflecting off Lake Michigan on an unusually warm March afternoon here, things started out on a cool note for Jordan Farmar.

The Lakers reserve guard went to a restaurant near the team hotel and watched his alma mater, UCLA, get squashed by Villanova in the NCAA basketball tournament.

The rest of the day wasn't so bad, though.

Farmar shook off an ineffective string of games by scoring 13 points in the Lakers' 117-109 victory Saturday over Chicago.

He was a main reason the Lakers overcame a six-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, making three of five shots, including two three-pointers, as the Lakers employed a 21-6 run to start the quarter.

"It's been tough," Farmar said. "Once you get in that lull, you have to do something to get out of it. It's a snowball effect."

Farmar hadn't scored this many points since a 14-point effort Jan. 25 against San Antonio.

He also had three assists and three steals against Chicago.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson pulled him aside recently and told him to be more aggressive at both ends of the court. Farmar had averaged 4.7 points on dreadful 32.6% shooting in nine other games this month. He had also been struggling on defense.

The talk from Jackson seemed to work Saturday.

"He's an attack player," Jackson said. "You saw the last couple games, where's he's passing off shooting opportunities and a couple of them were turned into turnovers. That tentativeness, I don't like to see in him."

The day obviously ended better for Farmar's pro team than his college team.

"They had a great run for quite a while. Now they have to pretty much restart," he said of the Bruins, who lost 89-69. "The older guys are going to be gone now, so it's up to the young guys to take it over again like we had to."

Standing pat?

Jackson typically coaches one year at a time, evaluating how he feels physically during the off-season before determining whether to return for the next season.

He still has another year on his contract for $12 million and will undoubtedly go through his annual checklist this summer before committing to next season, though he provided a glimpse into the future Saturday when asked whether he envisioned himself "riding off into the sunset" if the Lakers won the championship this season.

"No, I certainly don't," he said. "I still have a year left on the contract."

Jackson, 63, has had both hips replaced and underwent an angioplasty in 2003 to clear a blocked artery in his heart.

The Circus, Part 2?

The Bulls during the Michael Jordan era were an instant attraction in every road city, drawing hordes of fans who wanted to be part of the spectacle.

Jackson was asked before Saturday's game if these Lakers were close to those Bulls in popularity.

"Just a little bit," he said, holding his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart. "We have people coming out to meet the bus at midnight and later. They may be professional autograph-seekers, I don't know. But there's still a contingent of kids that meet us and greet us and send us off to games.

"This is a team that gets a lot of notice, but when you have Dennis [Rodman] and Scottie [Pippen] and Michael, it had a lot of different types of people that would be [there]."

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mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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