Coach Phil Jackson says offense, not defense, is fueling Lakers’ run of success
The Lakers’ four-game winning streak since the All-Star game seems attributable to their stifling defense, which has held opposing teams to 90.8 points a game in that stretch.
Or maybe not — at least in the eyes of Lakers Coach Phil Jackson.
He sees it more as a result of an effective offense by his team.
“I think it’s the pace of the game that we’re trying to establish,” Jackson said. “We’re not forcing the activity right now. When Matt [Barnes] comes back, we’ll probably pick the speed up in the game a little bit. But right now, we’re playing at . . . pretty much our [moderate] pace.”
Jackson said the pace has enabled the Lakers to reduce their opponents’ possessions and allowed the Lakers to shoot a higher percentage.
The Lakers have given up more than 100 points in only one of the four victories, and it took the Portland Trail Blazers an overtime to score 101.
“We’re not hurrying to a licking, as I say,” Jackson said.
Barnes not ready
Jackson said Barnes, still recovering from right knee surgery, got up and down the court “pretty good” in the team’s four-on-four, full-court practice Monday at the Target Center, but not enough to play Tuesday night against the Timberwolves.
Barnes still has to get through “traffic” in a five-on-five session, Jackson said.
“He’s getting close,” Jackson said. “He ran well.”
The Lakers probably will take Wednesday off when they return home from the two-game trip and practice again Thursday at the team’s training facility.
The Lakers will play the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday at Staples Center.
Bryant’s technical tally
Kobe Bryant picked up his 12th technical foul of the season Sunday in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.
If a player gets 16 technical fouls, he is suspended for one game and fined $5,000.
With 21 games left in the regular season, Bryant will have to be careful the rest of the way.
Bryant, who didn’t shoot a free throw during Sunday’s game, said he was surprised referee Steve Javie gave him a technical foul.
“I really didn’t say much of anything,” Bryant said after the game.
Loving the double-double
Minnesota power forward Kevin Love, the former UCLA star who made the All-Star team this season, has recorded a double-double in points and rebounds in 46 consecutive games.
He is closing in on Moses Malone’s NBA-record streak of 51 consecutive games, spanning the 1978-79 and ’79-80 seasons.
“He gets a lot of numbers,” Jackson said about Love, who is averaging 21 points and a league-high 15.5 rebounds per game. “He’s a guy that really goes after rebounds. [Love] gets all the missed free throws, the ones at the end of the quarter, those kinds. He gets a lot of numbers. It’s quite significant. It’s something that will happen.”
Love had 23 points and 24 rebounds against the Lakers on Nov. 9. However, 10 days later the Lakers held him scoreless, with seven rebounds, in 34 minutes — the last game in which Love failed to record a double-double.
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