Lakers forward Ron Artest still can’t solve the triangle
Reporting from Oklahoma City -- Long before tipoff, just past noon on Saturday, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were instructing Ron Artest after the Lakers’ shoot-around.
Their goal was to demonstrate the best angles to make entry passes in the triangle offense.
“We were trying to show him how to do certain things,” Gasol said several hours before the Lakers lost Game 4 to Oklahoma City.
Artest is still trying to pick up an offense that took Scottie Pippen a year and a half to learn in Chicago. How intricate is the triangle? Tex Winter once wrote a 320-page book about it.
Artest has been a problem spot in the Lakers’ offense, making only three of 19 from three-point range heading into Game 4.
On Saturday, he had five points and made two of nine shots in the Lakers’ 110-89 loss. He was 0 for 4 from three-point range.
Phil Jackson told Artest beforehand to pass more often, but the Lakers’ coach isn’t frustrated with himÃÂ yet.
“He’s a naÃÂ¯ve, innocent lamb,” Jackson said. “I think he’s mistaken in a lot of ways, put in the same category as Dennis Rodman. There couldn’t be a bigger disparity between people.”
How did Kobe Bryant fare in his first game as the Lakers’ career playoff scoring leader?
Amazingly, he wasn’t much of a factor with with only 12 points on five-for-10 shooting in Game 4 and now has (4,477) in 179 playoff games.
He passed Jerry West in Game 3 against the Thunder with a mid-range jumper in the third quarter. West had 4,457 points in 153 games.
Bryant needs one more game to tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second place in career playoff games with the Lakers. Magic Johnson played 190 postseason games.
No matter what happens to the Thunder in this series, an impression has been made.
Oklahoma City should be a Western Conference threat for years, with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant only 21 years old, young stars who are also incredibly corrigible, according to Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons.
“I’ve been very much impressed at the manner in which their team seemingly accepts coaching,” said Cleamons, in charge of tracking the Thunder throughout the season for the Lakers. “From early on in the preseason, watching them grow and develop, it seemed to be a team without an attitude individually about who did what. They just wanted to mesh together.”
Bryant has been guarded this series by four different Thunder players -- Thabo Sefolosha, Jeff Green, James Harden and Durant.
“It’s very unique for a team to be able to do that,” he said. “It just shows how athletic they are.”
The Lakers heard a tornado siren on their way to the morning shoot-around. It turned out to be a test, but it reminded them of where they were playing.
“This is Tornado Alley, no doubt about it,” Jackson said.
Jackson heard tornado sirens plenty of times in Illinois while coaching Chicago, but never while attending college in North Dakota.
“They didn’t have them, although that was just past the Ice Age,” he said.
Times staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.