It was tough to drive these lanes
Not even the Lakers are immune to Southland traffic.
They arrived only 39 minutes before tipoff in Tuesday’s exhibition because of a traffic snarl caused mainly by a brush fire near the Pomona Freeway.
It didn’t leave much time to get ready, though it didn’t really matter on this night.
The Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors for a third time in exhibition play, 113-107, at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
It took the Lakers 2 1/2 hours to travel 60 miles on a charter bus, their journey from the 105 to the 605 to the 60 freeways not exactly going as planned.
“I think we’ll take a helicopter next time,” Coach Phil Jackson said.
The team typically arrives 90 minutes before game time, as mandated by the NBA. The league reserves the right to fine a team for such a late arrival, but an NBA spokesman said it usually doesn’t happen if there are justifiable circumstances.
Jackson had a solution for the lack of pregame preparation.
“You just short-change the [locker room] talk that the guys normally have,” he said, before turning to a football metaphor. “You’re just going to strap them on, pull up your jocks and let’s go.”
At any rate, Kobe Bryant had 21 points and Andrew Bynum had 20 for the Lakers, who moved to 5-1 in exhibition play. Bynum made seven of 11 shots and had nine rebounds in almost 30 minutes.
Golden State guard-forward Stephen Jackson had 15 points and didn’t get sent to the locker room before halftime, as he did after a tiff with Bryant when the teams played at the Forum on Oct. 9.
Bryant was engaged defensively, helping hold Jackson to four-for-11 shooting after the Warrior berated him in an interview leading up to the game in which he called Bryant a “dirty” player who gets away with fouls that don’t get called.
“I’m not a fan of Kobe. I’m not somebody who looks up to him,” Jackson told Bay Area reporters. “I’m a grown man, so when I go out there and play the game, I play the game. I feel like I’m just as good as him. I might not get the publicity or the notoriety he gets, but I feel like I can play with anybody in the NBA.”
Bryant declined to comment after the game, but Phil Jackson said Stephen Jackson’s comments had an effect.
“That’ll motivate Kobe,” Jackson said. “I was wondering why he was so hyped up to start the game.”
Lamar Odom had 16 points in 22 minutes after sitting out two games because of a bruised right shin. Pau Gasol (strained right hamstring) and Luke Walton (sore back) did not play.
Warriors Coach Don Nelson was not at the game because his brother-in-law, Mark Van Kampen, was injured in a Southland motorcycle accident late Sunday and had to have one of his legs amputated. The Warriors were coached by assistant Keith Smart.
The NBA moved closer to a new contract with the referees’ union, meaning the league’s referees could be back in place by opening night next Tuesday, according to an ESPN report.
“I hope they’re in shape,” Jackson said. “It takes a while for them to get their game back in order too. We always see them starting slow . . . it’s a very difficult game to call. But we’d be happy to see them back.”
Replacement referees have been working NBA exhibition games, sometimes leading to more foul calls and longer games.