It finally happened.
Lakers fans have been clamoring for it since the day Pau Gasol was acquired, a steady stream of e-mails to writers only partly describing an inexplicable fascination with a front line of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson had never used such a lineup since Gasol’s arrival in February 2008, but that changed in the final 1 minute 5 seconds of the second quarter Saturday against Golden State. Gasol, Bynum and Odom were finally on the court together.
“I just wanted to see how that effect would be on the ballclub,” Jackson said.
It was unremarkable.
The Lakers were outscored, 3-0, with Gasol getting called for a three-second violation on one possession and Derek Fisher missing a jump shot on another.
Jackson said last month he was open to the idea of a frontcourt with two 7-footers and the 6-10 Odom, but it would be situational. There are definite pluses -- size down low on both ends of the court -- but also a lack of defensive speed.
Jackson didn’t commit either way when asked whether he would do it again. It didn’t happen Sunday against New Jersey.
Artest’s free-throw mess
Ron Artest has gone 11 years in the league without something like this.
A career 72% shooter from the free-throw line, he is shooting only 52.2% this season, making 24 of 46.
There aren’t any one-for-sevens in a glance at his game-by-game attempts, but a lot of one-for-twos and one-for-threes. Last season, he shot 74.8% from the line.
“He told me he doesn’t shoot free throws well until somewhere in the second third of the season,” Jackson said, pausing a moment for effect. “So he’s given up already on this first third of the season.”
Score one for Jackson.
Seriously though, what’s the deal with Artest being amiss?
Apparently, a shoulder injury last season forced him to alter his free-throw stroke, and the change has carried over in a negative way for him.
“He’s got this nasty hitch in his shot that we’re trying to correct and he can’t rid of it,” Jackson said. “I’ve noticed a slight improvement.”
Artest did not attempt any free throws against New Jersey.
A family affair
During a timeout in Sunday’s game, members of the Rambis family crowded around a small TV monitor in the media area to watch the final seconds of Minnesota’s victory over the Denver Nuggets.
It was easily the best day of Kurt Rambis’ first season coaching the Timberwolves. Minnesota (2-15) hadn’t won since beating New Jersey in its opener.
Rambis’ wife, Linda, pumped her fist and high-fived a Staples Center usher while returning to her seat. Linda Rambis is a close friend of Lakers executive Jeanie Buss and sometimes attends Lakers games with her.