Maybe the Lakers caught the Warriors off guard
Nobody can predict Phil Jackson‘s substitution patterns -- not even his players.
The Lakers’ coach has done pretty well for himself over the years, winning 10 NBA championships in 18 seasons of coaching, but he surprised almost everybody with his fourth-quarter lineup Tuesday against Golden State.
Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic played the entire quarter. Derek Fisher didn’t play at all.
“I was probably the most surprised person out of everybody out there, but happy, very fortunate to be in that situation,” said Farmar, who had six points and two assists in the quarter. “I wanted to make the most of it and just tried to stay aggressive, make some things happen defensively.”
Vujacic had two points, two assists and three fouls in the quarter, as the Lakers outscored the Warriors, 36-32, on the way to a 124-118 victory.
“They came in and played well and gave us some really good minutes,” Kobe Bryant said. “That’s what we need from them on a consistent basis.”
Ah, yes. Consistency.
Farmar is averaging 6.5 points and shooting only 40.7% in the last season of his contract. He will be a restricted free agent in July, the Lakers able to match if he signs an offer sheet with another team.
Vujacic is averaging only 2.3 points and shooting 39.3% in the middle season of a three-year, $15-million contract.
“Jordan was active and aggressive,” Jackson said. “Sasha had matchups that we could use. It was the direction that we wanted to do things out there.”
Struggling without Artest
The Lakers obviously miss Ron Artest’s defense, but they also miss his offense, according to Jackson.
“He certainly is somebody that people have to play [honestly] -- he’s a three-point shooter and he’s got the range,” Jackson said. “That in itself helps us out. His placement on the floor a lot of times isn’t what we want. He’s not completely comfortable with knowing where he should react and go to on the floor or visually conceptually what we do [in the triangle offense]. But he’s getting it.”
Artest might play Friday against Sacramento after sitting out three games because of a concussion. He is averaging 12.3 points and four assists a game, and is shooting 36.4% from three-point range.
Maybe the slumping Andrew Bynum misses Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has been around the Lakers sporadically since being diagnosed with leukemia.
Jackson thought Bynum might be missing somebody else.
“I think maybe Kurt [Rambis] being in Minnesota might have an effect because Kurt was working with him a lot more than Kareem the last year,” Jackson said. “I think Kareem had a big impact on Andrew two years ago, three years ago, but Kurt was working with him more hand in hand than Kareem this last year. Kareem hasn’t been here in maybe three weeks. I don’t know if they’re that close in their communications.”
Bynum hasn’t had a double-double in the last 20 games. He started the season with eight in his first nine games.