SALT LAKE CITY — In the second time in less than a week, Chris Kaman will start in place of Pau Gasol when the Lakers (13-16) play the Utah Jazz (8-23) tonight at EnergySolutions Arena because of a upper respiratory infection.
The lineup shift will mark the Lakers’ 15th different starting lineup since it also coincides with Jordan Farmar playing in his second consecutive game after nursing a strained left hamstring that sidelined him for the previous 10 games. Kaman has averaged 7.8 points on 46.4 percent shooting, but has played a diminished role because of D’Antoni’s preference for defensive-oriented players (Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre) and floor spacers (Shawne Williams).
“He has a lot of the characteristics that Pau has,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of Kaman. “It’s natural to start him. The only reason he wasn’t playing wasn’t because he was playing bad. IHe plays well. But Robert had a role of 5, 6 7 minutes at defense. Jordan at the 5 is devastating in there. That opens it up where he’ll have a body of work he’s comfortable with.”
The Lakers are also still nursing injuries to Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), Steve Nash (nerve issues in back) and Steve Blake (hyperextended right elbow). Bryant traveled with the Lakers’ on their two-day trip here to rehab his knee. Both Nash and Blake stayed in Los Angeles and have been given the days off to spend time with their family.
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