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Odom's energy concerns Jackson

Lamar Odom has experienced a drop-off in scoring since returning to the bench.

November 29, 2009|By Mike Bresnahan

Reporting from Oakland — Don't bother getting Lamar Odom any coffeehouse gift certificates for the holidays.

No mocha lattes or frappuccinos for him. No regular coffee either, apparently.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson didn't even pause a millisecond before decreeing what needed to be done to get Odom to the land of the relevant after a sluggish return to reserve status.

"Take the caffeine away from him before the game," Jackson said before Satuday's game against Golden State. "I think he burns energy up before he gets in the ballgame. No coffee before the game."

OK, maybe Jackson was joking.

But there was no denying Odom's drop-off in scoring since being relegated to the bench with the return of a healthy Pau Gasol.

He was averaging six points, 8.3 rebounds and three assists in three games as a reserve before Saturday. He had eight points, 10 rebounds and four assists against Golden State.

"He's distracted so much," Jackson said. "We have to get his mind back in focus when he's on the bench. But he's trying."

Jackson suggested that Odom is having difficulties transitioning from being in the flow of the game right away to entering it midway through the first quarter.

Odom had only five points Tuesday against New York but also had 12 rebounds and five assists, which Jackson noted.

"I'm not so worried about his scoring as I am just his rebounding and assists," Jackson said. "I think those are the keys for Lamar. He's going to find his scoring."

You too

Jackson also had a message for Ron Artest -- be more selfish.

Not necessarily as a life strategy, particularly with the holiday season underway, but more in a shoot-the-ball way.

It's the latest reminder from the Lakers coach to the team's main off-season acquisition.

Jackson doesn't like too much shooting in the triangle offense, sometimes cringing when Kobe Bryant has to take over the entire scoring load, but he also doesn't like over-passing.

"He likes to pass the ball," Jackson said Saturday. "He gets a little bit too involved in play-making. Not enough offensive opportunities, we think at times."

Artest seemed more aggressive Saturday against Golden State, finishing with 19 points on seven-for-11 shooting.

Defensively, Artest has been fine. He recently said he was playing the best basketball of his 11-year career. He credited Bryant.

"Kobe gets up for everybody. He's actually making me a better player," Artest said. "I feel like I'm better now than I was ever. He's just always going for blood. And I learned that now. That's what I've been doing now when I'm out there."

Back-to-back attack

The Lakers better get used to this concept.

They play tonight against New Jersey, their third back-to-back situation this season. They will play a total of 20 back to backs this season, their most since doing it 22 times in 1999-2000.

The key is getting the starters enough rest in the first game, Jackson said.

"That's when the bench has to help you," Jackson said. "We hope the bench can help us out these next two games."

The Lakers were 14-5 in the second game of back-to-back sets last season. The Lakers are 1-1 this season in the second game of back-to-back situations.

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