Lamar Odom says ball movement is the key for Lakers
As he strolled down a hallway inside Energy Solutions Arena on his way to the Lakers’ team bus after Saturday night’s game at Utah, Pau Gasol was asked to elaborate on his request to get more touches.
Seconds after Gasol began to explain, Lamar Odom eased his way in, asking what the conversation was about. Gasol informed Odom that the topic was “how can I get more touches? How can I get more looks?”
Odom put on his analytical hat and offered his opinion, saying the Lakers went through the same situation last season and found a way to get it resolved.
At issue, Odom said, is that when the ball does go inside, the Lakers still need to make the extra pass. He said they need to be more patient and move the ball rather than make one pass, perhaps two, and then shoot.
“Like [Saturday night], I’m watching the game and I’m like, ‘The ball is going inside, but it’s still only one pass on a side,’ ” Odom said.
Indeed, the Lakers had 11 assists in the first half. Of the eight players who played in the first half, seven had at least one assist.
But the Lakers finished the night with only 16 assists in a 102-94 loss to the Jazz that ended their 11-game winning streak.
Besides Gasol, the Lakers can go inside to Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and Odom.
“It’s tough,” Gasol said. “We’ve got so many guys out there, and it’s tough. Sometimes the ball goes in one direction.
“I’m just going to continue to play hard. Obviously when I think there’s going to be more points in the season where there’s going to be more needs than it is at this point, then I think we’re going to be able to find a way on putting the ball where it needs to be.”
The Lakers venture away from Staples Center this week for their first extensive trip of the season, playing four games in six days.
Will it be much of a test for the Lakers? Perhaps only in the sense that they are on the road after playing 17 of their first 21 games at home, and because they play two sets of back-to-back games on this trip.
Otherwise, the Lakers won’t face any team with a current record above .500. Only the Milwaukee Bucks (11-11) are even at .500.
The trip begins in Chicago against the Bulls (8-14) Tuesday night and then takes the Lakers to Milwaukee on Wednesday, New Jersey (2-22) on Saturday and Detroit (11-12) on Sunday.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said it won’t be a mental adjustment for his team to be on the road after so many home games.
“These guys are experienced enough to know what it’s like to be on the road,” Jackson said.