Down one starter and then down the backup to that starter because of an injury, the Lakers were forced to use a smaller starting lineup Saturday night in an exhibition game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center.
With power forward Lamar Odom unable to play because of a bruise on his lower right leg, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson started guard Shannon Brown in the backcourt with Derek Fisher. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest started at the forward spots and Andrew Bynum started at center.
Despite being without Odom, Pau Gasol (strained right hamstring) and Luke Walton (sore back), the Lakers beat the Bobcats, 91-87.
"I'm concerned that we have some minor injuries at this point," Jackson said.
The Lakers tonight will play the Clippers, who beat Utah in the first game of a doubleheader at Staples.
Bynum had another strong game for the Lakers, scoring 15 points on six-for-eight shooting. Josh Powell had 15 points off the bench.
Is it a new rule by the NBA, or is it a refinement of an old rule the league has had a hard time enforcing over the years?
If you ask Jackson, the new rule under which players are allowed to take two steps before they have to stop, pass or shoot, is really nothing new.
"Well, I guess if you can't call it, you just regulate it as a rule," Jackson quipped about something players had been doing for years. "But, it's really hard to digest that as a person that's been in basketball for as long as I've been in basketball, that we're just going to give in to this new rule of doing it."
Jackson said he's always been against the "two-step walk," even mentioning how Reggie Miller used to catch the basketball and then go two steps back to get behind the three-point line for a shot.
Jackson said there has been a European style influencing the NBA in which players "guys pick it up and run a couple of steps with the ball."
Jackson said he believes that a player's footwork could become an issue with the new rules. He was asked whether the NBA will soon put in a rule allowing players to carry the basketball.
"Well, palming the ball or carrying the ball has been in our game for quite a while now," Jackson said, adding that Allen Iverson "was probably the most egregious in that distinction. But the discontinue-dribble is the one to stop. When the rhythm of the basketball dribble stops, then there's a definite advantage to the offensive player."
When Vladimir Radmanovic checked into the game in the first quarter, he was booed.
Radmanovic, whom the Lakers traded Feb. 7 to Charlotte for Brown and Adam Morrison, had an up-and-down 2 1/2 seasons with the Lakers. He was called "space cadet" and "my favorite Martian" by Jackson.
They may be the defending NBA champions, and still in training camp, and still have to play 82 regular season games, but Jackson said players are practicing hard.
"Sometimes it's hard for players to push themselves in the preseason," Jackson said. "It doesn't seem to be as important when you're coming off a high, winning a championship when you have to go through the drudgery of practices. . . . It's nice to have them motivated."