Saturday report

Hope you’re having a good afternoon/evening watching the Final Four. Phil Jackson’s picks, in case you’re interested, are Georgetown and UCLA.

The Lakers were left talking about Friday’s overtime loss to Houston, a game that looked “impossible” to win in regulation, as Jackson put it, and then seemed “impossible” to lose in overtime. Of course, the Lakers did lose as the result of a couple of calls, a couple of missed free throws and a couple of blown defensive assignments.

“(The Rockets) got to win a game without earning it, basically,” Jackson said. “They (the Lakers) have to know how critical that is and how critical it is to finish a game.

As we were walking out the door, a team spokeswoman told us that Jordan Farmar would be playing in Sunday’s D-Fenders game. He’s going to be the first same-day call-up in NBA Development League history. The Lakers will recall Farmar after the game and have him in uniform when they play Sacramento.

Not sure if Farmar has had/will have the chance to practice with his teammates-for-a-day. The D-Fenders are fighting for a playoff spot and it can’t hurt to get Farmar some minutes since his role has been so reduced. Maybe he can get that spark back with an extended run of 30 minutes or so.

This is the first time the Lakers have taken advantage of their arrangement with the D-Fenders, who run the same triangle offense and share the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. Luke Walton was joking after practice Saturday that Andrew Bynum might be a potential ringer if the D-Fenders ever play for a championship.

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By Ross Siler
Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO–Thanks to an inventive tape job by trainer Gary Vitti, Lakers center Kwame Brown looked like a different player in the first quarter of Fridays game, even finding the strength in his injured ankle to sky for a follow-up dunk.

Brown eventually wore down after a night of banging with the immovable object that is Houstons Yao Ming but not before he managed to block one of Yaos shots and strip him of the ball as the Lakers made their fourth-quarter comeback.

Then Brown was fouled intentionally by the Rockets with 15.5 seconds left in regulation and looked very much like his old self. Brown bricked both free throws only to be bailed out by Kobe Bryants miracle 3-pointer.

Brown was able to joke Saturday at practice that “Me and Kobe, we planned that, but the question is if other teams wont follow the Rockets example and force the 43.1 percent foul shooter to the line late in games.

Although Brown wasnt expecting the immediate foul, the Rockets did the same thing twice in the last four minutes of regulation of a double-overtime loss to the Lakers on Dec. 15.

“Ive just got to be ready to step up there and hit the shots, Brown said, “because I was shooting the ball pretty well from the free-throw line (5 of 6) before that.

Asked about having confidence in Brown late in games, Lakers coach Phil Jackson asked reporters: “Whats his shooting percentage? He was told it was in the 40s, and even worse in the fourth quarter.

“Hes probably going to shoot about 40-some percent, Jackson said. “Thats why theres percentages. The percentages are pretty good that hes going to miss 1 out of 2.

Brown finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks in one of his most productive games of the season. Vitti found a way to tape Browns left ankle so that he wouldnt suffer pain because of a pre-existing bone spur.

“I felt great. I felt normal for once, Brown said. “There was no pain when I turned for my jump hook. As the game went on, it wore down. But if I can start games like that, Ill be fine because everybodys not as big and heavy as Yao Ming is.

Farmed out: The Lakers will make rookie guard Jordan Farmar the first same-day call-up in NBA Development League history today. Farmar will play for the D-Fenders in this afternoons game against Anaheim at Staples Center.

Then he will be recalled and will be in uniform for the Lakers game against Sacramento. The D-Fenders are in the stretch run of their season with only six games remaining.

Farmar hasnt gotten off the bench in three of the Lakers last six games. Under NBA rules, the Lakers can assign their first- or second-year players to the D-Fenders up to three times in any season.

Understanding Artest: Lamar Odom has known Sacramentos Ron Artest since they were both teenage basketball stars in New York. Odom also once questioned whether he would play again after the death of his infant son Jayden last summer.

So Odom said he could understand why Artest would send text messages to his Kings teammates two weeks ago telling them he was planning to retire after the season. Artest was arrested March 5 on domestic violence charges.

“Sometimes as athletes, our lives are of course under a microscope, so when things are not going the way you want them to go off the court, it can feel overwhelming, Odom said. “I can see why someone could feel like that.

“Ron is still young and he still has a lot to give as far as basketball and I hope thats not the case. . . .Hes human at the end of the day, no matter what people may think. Some of us, you see us as these figures that cant be beaten down, but thats not the case.

Also: Jackson said he expects Maurice Evans (sore knee) and Brian Cook (sprained ankle) to return tonight. The Lakers got only six points from their bench Friday.

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