In Kobe Bryant’s estimation, the Lakers are doing just fine
Kobe Bryant is always looking for something to improve, something to fix, some way to gain an edge, part of what drives him to be, well, Kobe Bryant.
But he seemed satisfied when asked whether there was anything the Lakers could be doing better these days.
“Not really,” he said. “We are doing well.”
The Lakers (16-3) have won nine consecutive games, eight with Pau Gasol back in the lineup, and their only close call came against Miami, when Bryant’s 27-foot three-point basket at the buzzer prevented a loss.
Coach Phil Jackson gave the starters and Lamar Odom a day off after the Lakers throttled the Phoenix Suns on Sunday for the second time in a month. Their reserves were required to report to the team training facility and do some light work Monday, but the only thing staring uncomfortably at the Lakers is the end of the home-friendly part of their schedule.
They have two more games at Staples Center before hitting the road, finally, for five games. Beyond that, there’s really no reason to complain.
Victories against Utah on Wednesday and Minnesota on Friday would give them their longest winning streak since they won 11 in a row toward the end of the 2003-04 season.
“We’ve got the best record in the league and we want to keep it that way,” Gasol said. “It’s just the first quarter of the regular season. We’ve still got a long ways to go. We understand that we’ve had a lot of home games this first part of the season and that it’s going to get complicated and a lot harder. So we have to be ready for it.”
Seventeen of the Lakers’ first 21 games will have been at Staples Center before they play Saturday at Utah. They will then fly home for two days before heading back out for a four-game trip to Chicago, Milwaukee, New Jersey and Detroit.
The Lakers have two 7-footers in the starting lineup and the 6-foot-10 Odomoff the bench.
They’re simply too big for the smallish Suns, no?
“If we were, I wouldn’t give away our secrets,” Odom said. “But we like to get the ball inside.”
The Suns have two comparatively small players down low -- power forward Amare Stoudemire, who is listed at 6-10, and center Channing Frye, who is listed at 6-11 but mainly stays on the perimeter on offense.
Odom low on “O”
Odom hasn’t scored in double figures since Nov. 19, a span of seven games. He has had four points each of the last two games.
“We’re still concerned that he gets into a game and [isn’t] active in a game offensively,” Jackson said. “He’s doing good things defensively, but just [needs] to have a presence out there offensively to help that second unit and get some scoring on his own part.”
Former Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis will get his championship ring in a brief ceremony before the Lakers play Minnesota on Friday.
Rambis is in his first season as coach of the struggling Timberwolves, who improved to 3-17 after beating Utah on Saturday.
“I’m aware that he’s coming,” said Jackson, who has been close friends with Rambis for years. “We’re going to give him a ring, I’ll tell you that.”