Consistency is never Radmanovic's strength

Times Staff Writer

SALT LAKE CITY -- Phil Jackson knows exactly what to expect every time Vladimir Radmanovic steps on the court.

"Absolutely not," the Lakers coach said.

Radmanovic continues to run torrid and tepid, sometimes lighting up the scoring column and sometimes, well, getting lit up by his coach.

Jackson, however, continues to insert Radmanovic in the starting lineup even though Luke Walton finishes many games in Radmanovic's place.

"I really think that Vlade has done some good things with the first unit," Jackson said. "He doesn't have to be a scorer for us. He runs the court well. He makes spacing much better for that first unit. And ultimately, Luke is just not a 40-minute guy."

Radmanovic's scoring dipped from 8.4 points a game in the regular season to 7.8 points a game in the playoffs before he scored 12 Friday, seven in the first quarter as the Lakers took an early lead. His three-point shooting had also fallen from 40.6% in the regular season to 36.8% in the playoffs before he made two of three Friday.


Chris Mihm continues to wait, patiently, for his time on the court, gaining strength in his surgically repaired right foot with every passing day.

Mihm returned to action in late March after having a screw removed from his right heel, but has since experienced good days and bad ones. Specifically, he has had trouble with his foot tightening up after practice or exercise.

"In the last week or two, I'm starting to feel really good," he said. "It's gotten a lot better with [the foot] staying loose for a lot longer periods. I kind of thought that was something I was going to have to deal with the rest of this season."

Mihm has been doing foot-mobility exercises with athletic performance coordinator Alex McKechnie and has been working on his lower-body strength by doing leg lifts and squats under the watch of athletic performance director Chip Schaefer.

"My foot is just feeling really good," he said. "I'm starting to feel like myself two years ago, pre-injury."

Mihm was originally injured in March 2006 and has had three surgeries on the foot.

Mihm, 28, said he would return to the Lakers next season by exercising a one-year player option for $2.5 million.


Jackson and NBA Commissioner David Stern, off-and-on combatants over the years, actually have something in common -- they both have spoken out against the loud, extravagant, pyrotechnic-heavy pregame introduction ceremonies at most arenas around the league.

"I was just watching the Cleveland introductions before coming over here and just thinking how ridiculous it is we spend four or five minutes of national television time watching introductions," Jackson said. "If the commissioner said, 'Let's just cut these introductions out and go back to some basic introductions without all this fanfare,' we'd be a little more green, I think, in the NBA."

Stern said recently that the league would take a harder look at pregame festivities for next season.

Jackson, who has complained about the noise level at Utah and the Jazz's motorcycle-riding mascot, provided a more general view of his pregame dislikes around the league before Friday's game.

"There's been a lot of ash fallout over the years from pyrotechnics," he said. "How about the structural soundness from all that fire going up in the beams, how hot that is up there. We know how steel reacts to heat -- pretty much like spaghetti."


Trevor Ariza did not suit up for Friday's game. He began practicing earlier this week after sitting out almost four months because of a broken bone in his right foot.


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