Campbell Good as the Starter


Elden Campbell became the extremely interim starting center Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks, taking the place of Shaquille O’Neal for at least one more game in what has been another nice run as a substitute.

When O’Neal sat out much of the second half of last season, Campbell averaged 19.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in 25 games in the opening lineup there. This time, Campbell contributed 17.5 points and 7.6 rebounds in the 20 games before Friday, all the more solid because it came in a relatively low 31.8 minutes.

“He’s done a really good job,” Coach Del Harris said. “His numbers speak for themselves.”

Certainly more than Campbell does.

“Yeah,” he said when asked if he felt good about the play the last six weeks. “It was cool.”


Harris, meanwhile, said he has not decided when he will make the change from Campbell to O’Neal, only that it will be soon. That could be the next game, or it could be a couple more.


Corie Blount, out Friday because of a sprained right ankle, will also sit out Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers and Tuesday at Vancouver, the latter on the same day he is scheduled to see a foot and ankle specialist.

That means the soonest he could return is Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. How much the Lakers miss him should depend on how quickly O’Neal is able to increase his minutes, thus allowing Campbell to get the minutes that belonged to Blount at power forward.