Brian Shaw takes Lakers helm as Phil Jackson stays home

The assistant coaches the Lakers to a 120-99 exhibition win over Golden State after Jackson misses the trip to San Diego because of flu symptoms.

October 21, 2010|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from San Diego — The assistant coaches the Lakers in 120-99 exhibition win over Golden State as Jackson misses the trip to San Diego because of flu symptoms. Kobe Bryant sits out to rest his surgically repaired knee.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson didn't make the trip here for the game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night because he had flu symptoms.

Kobe Bryant didn't play because the Lakers wanted to rest his surgically repaired right knee and keep him out of back-to-back games. Bryant sat on the bench during the game.

So, assistant coach Brian Shaw, how does it feel to be calling the shots with Jackson home sick and star guard Bryant unable to play?

"It's a preseason game and I'm excited about the fact that I finally get to see what it feels like," Shaw said. "But at the same time, I just want to concentrate on us executing and trying to get better as we get closer to the season."

Shaw replaced Jackson as the head man because his regular-season assignment is to scout the Warriors.

When Jackson is coaching, he has his special high chair known among the players as the "Throne" at every game.

Shaw was asked whether Jackson's chair would be set up and whether he would sit in it during the game.

"Absolutely not," Shaw said, laughing. "If it does happen to be out there, I'll still be sitting in my seat."

The seat wasn't in the Sports Arena.

Shaw has had his sights on being a head coach in the NBA.

He interviewed for the head job with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer but turned it down.

He has interviewed in past years for head-coaching positions but didn't get the job.

Many think if Jackson retires after this season — he signed only a one-year contract extension this summer — Shaw will be the leading candidate to become the Lakers' next head coach.

Behind Pau Gasol's 23 points and seven rebounds and Steve Blake's 18 points, the Lakers beat the Warriors, 120-99.

The Lakers, who finish exhibition play Friday night against the Warriors in Ontario at Citizens Business Bank Arena and with Bryant expected back in the lineup, are 3-4 in exhibition play.

So it's another win for Jackson — not Shaw.

"Well, the last I remember, preseason games don't count, anyway," said Shaw, who called only one timeout in a game that lasted 2 hours 15 minutes.

Vujacic back playing again

Sasha Vujacic was back playing after he suffered a concussion Oct. 14 in practice. He was cleared to practice Wednesday and felt good during and after the session.

Vujacic, who started in place of Bryant, finished with nine points on four-for-five shooting in 14 minutes 44 seconds.

"I'm kind of excited about it," Vujacic said. "Kobe is not playing. No, I'm joking. No, I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to it. I've been out for a while."

Vujacic also said that he is engaged to tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Vujacic said no date has been set.

"We are both very happy," said Vujacic, who popped the question on their one-year dating anniversary.

Walton returns

Luke Walton sat out the first six exhibition games because of a strained right hamstring, but he was back on the court Thursday night.

Walton, who will be inducted in the University of Arizona Hall of Fame on Friday, had five points and two assists in 11 minutes.


The Lakers waived guard Trey Johnson and center Andrew Naymick on Thursday, trimming their roster to 14 players.

Rookie forward Derrick Caracter didn't play Thursday night because of back spasms.

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