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Jackson Praises Mihm for ‘Playing Really Well’

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Times Staff Writer

Chris Mihm’s new year has been more than happy, with his alma mater beating USC in the Rose Bowl and a personal scoring streak that, though not Kobe Bryant’s, makes him the only other Laker to reach double figures each of the last seven games.

“He’s been playing really well,” Laker Coach Phil Jackson said. “He holds the post, does some things on the exterior. It’s important for us. He’s probably our third-most-steady scorer in his ability to score double figures.”

Mihm, averaging 11.9 points since Jan. 11, has increased his productivity by developing a left-handed jump hook to go with a right-handed hook he has had since his days at Texas.

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“One of my goals for this season and especially the second half of the season is being a consistent presence for this team,” Mihm said. “I want to be in double-digit scoring, find a way to do that, whether it’s getting offensive putbacks, whatever I need to do to try and stay up in that range. I want to get it where I’m up there with a double-double almost every night.”

Mihm is averaging 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds this season.

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Laker play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers was almost sleepless after realizing what he missed while in Seattle.

Meyers did not work Bryant’s 81-point performance because he had worked the NFC championship game Sunday for CBS Radio-Westwood One. Meyers, contractually allowed to call three NFL playoff games, began receiving phone updates after the football game from sons Drew and J.J., who were at the Laker game.

“As much as it hurt, I’m happy for the most talented guy I’ve ever worked with,” Meyers said. “I’m not predicting anything, but I think there’s the possibility of more of this. This guy is unlimited in what he can do. I’m not predicting Hershey 1962, but he is that gifted, that much of an artist, nothing would surprise me. It wouldn’t shock me if he topped 81 in the near future.”

Meyers, who spent two years as the Lakers’ radio play-by-play announcer before moving to TV this season, has called NFL games since 1985.

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New Jersey Net forward Vince Carter, at Staples Center to play against the Clippers on Wednesday, tried to clarify unflattering comments he made about Bryant.

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“The message I was saying was that you’re going to have a lot of kids who think they’re Kobe Bryant and are gonna try to score 81,” Carter told AM 570. “There’s only one Kobe Bryant. If Kobe Bryant was standing here now, I would shake his hand and say, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ It’s an amazing accomplishment. It is team play because his teammates wanted him to score 81.”

Carter told reporters this week that “The only bad thing about it is young kids, whose minds are easily warped, are going to think, ‘Ohhh, I am going to go out there and do it’ instead of the team concept first.”

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Team LA stores at Staples Center and Universal CityWalk will begin selling “81” T-shirts, basketballs and “PhotoMint” collections commemorating Bryant’s 81-point game. The “PhotoMint” collection includes three photos from the game and two coins, and will begin being sold Friday, as will the basketball. The T-shirts are already being sold. ... Bryant’s shoes from Sunday’s game were sent to the basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, but Bryant wasn’t the one affixing postage stamps and waiting in post-office lines. “I’m Hollywood now,” he said, smiling. “I had my assistant do it.”

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