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NCAA action is distraction to Jackson

Times Staff Writer

Then there was the other subplot, the one involving the Memphis Tigers and not Kobe Bryant.

As the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies played Thursday night at FedExForum, fans erupted in cheers at inopportune times that had nothing to do with the antics of the Grizzlies’ mascot.

Fans were simply watching the Tigers play Texas A&M; in the NCAA tournament, a game shown on the scoreboard at FedExForum for the final minutes of the Tigers’ 65-64 victory over the Aggies.

Grizzlies fans cheered during dramatic moments of the Tigers’ game several times, including two occasions while Lamar Odom was shooting free throws.

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Odom missed both free throws during one of the crowd’s outbursts and missed one of two a little later during another eruption.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson eventually complained to referee Bob Delaney, who told Grizzlies game-operations officials to stop showing the Tigers’ game on the scoreboard.

“I went to the scorer’s table and said, ‘That’s not right,’ ” Jackson said later. “This is the game that’s being played here. Delaney did the right thing.”

There were three seconds left in the Tigers’ game when it was taken off the scoreboard. The Tigers were clinging to a one-point lead.

The crowd gave a standing ovation with 3:39 left in the third quarter of the Lakers-Grizzlies game when the final score of the Tigers-Aggies game was announced.

Odom later laughed about the noise that invaded his free-throw attempts. “Their team is in the race for a national championship,” he said. “It wasn’t surprising at all.”

*

Vladimir Radmanovic has started running, another step in his comeback from a separated right shoulder that could have him back on the court within two weeks, Jackson said.

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Jackson was asked whether more production would be expected from Radmanovic, who has been a bust in the first season of a five-year, $30.2-million contract.

“Like we say, he better pay the rent,” Jackson said. “When you’ve got a guy that’s making that kind of money, you want him to be successful.”

*

Jackson predicted a victory for USC in tonight’s Sweet 16 game against North Carolina.

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“I actually think USC is going to cover the point spread,” he said. “I think they have a chance to upset North Carolina. I know ‘Pinky’ Floyd [Jackson’s pet name for USC Coach Tim Floyd] has got a real defensive mind-set and can screw up some games [for opponents].”

TONIGHT

at New Orleans, 5 PDT, Channel 9

Site -- New Orleans Arena.

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Radio -- 570, 1330.

Records -- Lakers 36-32, Hornets 31-37.

Record vs. Hornets -- 0-2.

Update -- The Lakers have lost to the Hornets by 16 and 10 points.

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mike.bresnahan@latimes.com


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