Wednesday report

Nothing quite like getting up at 6:30 a.m. in Fresno and driving home for 3 1-2 hours before going to practice. The Lakers will be back at it with an exhibition game Thursday night against Seattle in Anaheim. That drive might take just as long in rush-hour traffic.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson went over the game film from Tuesday and stayed until the very end of practice. Assistant coach Kurt Rambis offered the shared assessment from the coaches about the game.

“There were some good things that they did out there on the floor,” Rambis said. “There was not enough quick ball movement. There were a lot of times in our sequences where guys were holding the ball too long. We thought they did a better job of executing that principle in practice today.

There was another quote from Rambis last night in Fresno that I forgot to include in Tuesday’s entry. It dealt with Andrew Bynum and a nice block he had against Rafael Araujo in the second quarter.

“One of the things that we like about Andrew is that he will play and he wants to play and he likes to play both ends of the floor,” Rambis said. “One of the things that we’re really on him with is running from one end to the other at a pace that we like. Sometimes he wants to jog out there.

“He does like to defend, he does like to block shots and he likes to score at the other end. That type of attitude is going to carry him.”

What will be interesting to see is if the Lakers grow comfortable enough to give Bynum a role he can play this season or if they try to find tailor-made situations for him like they did last season. The Lakers played so many close games, Jackson was pressed to find spots where Bynum could get on the floor and not hurt the team.

If you look at Tuesday’s game, the Lakers outscored the Jazz 15-14 in the first half with Bynum on the floor and were outscored 17-13 with him playing in the second half. For what it’s worth, the Lakers were plus-19 with Lamar Odom playing in the second, third and fourth quarters.

I didn’t include this in the notes only because Sasha Vujacic is expected to play Thursday. But he is suffering from a bruised left foot.

By Ross Siler
Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO–It was admittedly the first exhibition game and the second week of October but Lakers forward Lamar Odom didnt look like a player who went weeks this summer without picking up a basketball.

Odom led the Lakers with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds in 28 minutes Tuesday, a reassuring performance considering he once wondered if he would play this season in the wake of his infant sons death.

For eight minutes at the start of the third quarter, Odom was the best player on the floor. He took Utahs Carlos Boozer off the dribble for two layups, connected on a 3-pointer in transition and set up forward Luke Walton for another 3.

Odom also grabbed four rebounds and pushed the ball the other way after each one. It was no coincidence the Lakers took a 12-point lead in what had been a close game at halftime.

“It was good for me individually to have a game like that to start the season off, Odom said Wednesday, “being aggressive, attacking, things like that.

After the game, Odom said he was “playing with the spirit of two people in me, referring to his son Jayden. The day before, Odom said he wished training camp would last “four or five more days for the sake of getting him in shape.

Odom also said the game was a “growing” experience in how to play without Kobe Bryant, who is recovering from knee surgery. The only blemish on his night came in missing three free throws in the fourth quarter as he tired.

Even with the tragedy in his life, Odom has retained his sense of humor. With Kwame Brown teasing him as he answered questions Wednesday, Odom declared that Brown could lead the team in rebounding.

The laughter grew as Odom adjusted those expectations upward.

“He can lead the league if he really wanted to, Odom said.

“That dude right there steals so many rebounds, Brown fired back. “Now its almost like, `Just box out and let him get it.

Slap happy: The lowlight for teenage center Andrew Bynum came in the third quarter Tuesday as he showed off a great spin move only to come up short on a point-blank shot at the rim.

Bynum was so upset he smacked himself in the head a couple of times to everyones surprise.

Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis said: “I told him at the timeout, `Andrew, I was going to chew you out for not using your left hand but I saw that you already beat yourself up, so I let it go.”’

Listen up: Rookie guard Jordan Farmar was so excited to play that he got up and went to check in when Ronny Turiafs name was called in the third quarter. Farmar had to save face and sit down as quickly as possible, squeezing in next to assistant Brian Shaw.

Farmar did play the last 4:19 and gave the Lakers a jolt of energy, finishing with three points and two steals.

The coaches have taken to counting the number of times Farmar gets his hands on the ball in practice. His record so far is seven, which counts deflections and steals. Farmar is committed to moving his hands as much as he moves his feet on defense.

Also: Lakers coach Phil Jackson watched game film and stayed for all of practice but left before reporters were allowed in the gym.

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  • John

    Thanks for these articles, I really enjoy reading them.

    It’s great that Bynum takes both ends seriously. Hopefully he contributes this season.

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