Lakers Coach Phil Jackson isn’t happy with bench


The coach is not happy with how his bench has played in recent games.

The reserves aren’t happy with how they have performed in recent games.

So it appears that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and his substitutes are in agreement, and that is that the reserves must improve their play.


“If I had to grade it, the last 10 games would be a ‘C,’ and close to an ‘F,’ ” Lakers reserve Lamar Odom said after practice Saturday.

“We’re not winning our quarters. We’re giving up leads. We weren’t doing that earlier in the year.”

Derek Fisher pushes right buttons for the Lakers

Jackson is not happy that his reserves let a 16-point lead Friday against the Clippers slip and a 21-point lead Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns get away, even though the Lakers won both games.

“They have to play defense a lot better and not turn the ball over,” Jackson said. “So without trying to bring a huge focus to it, it’s a problem right now.”

The reserve unit of Odom, Matt Barnes, Shannon Brown and Steve Blake has been solid for most of the season, but they admit that they are in a rut.

Pau Gasol runs up the score for charity

“I think we’re all a little bit frustrated,” Blake said. “We want to perform well for our teammates and for our coaches.

“I don’t know. We’re just not getting stops the way we believe that we can. I think that’s mentally affecting our offense a little bit.”

Odom said it has to start with better communication on defense, taking care of the basketball and being efficient on the fastbreak.

“That unit is a different unit than the first unit so we’ve got to look to run at times,” Odom said.

Elgin Baylor: A star on a Lakers team nobody saw

As a group, Jackson said his second unit’s shooting percentages are down and that the “execution skills are not as good as I’d like them to be.”

“We’re playing a little bit faster than we have to play,” Jackson said. “Even though it’s a team that can speed up the tempo of the game, they are playing too fast for their accelerated capabilities. So that bothers me a little about them. And defensively, we haven’t been good. We haven’t made stops.”

No West

The Hornets lost their leading scorer and rebounder for the rest of the season, but it does not mean that the Lakers will take New Orleans for granted Sunday night at Staples Center.

Hornets power forward David West tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Thursday against the Utah Jazz, a season-ending injury.

He led the Hornets in scoring (18.9) and rebounding (7.6).

In his place, the Hornets started Carl Landry on Friday night against Phoenix. Landry, who was acquired by the Hornets from the Sacramento Kings before the February trading deadline, had 19 points against the Suns.

The Lakers know Landry all too well.

“He’s had some good runs against us with Houston and with Sacramento,” Jackson said. “He’s strong. He’s a good shooter from inside 18 feet. He’s a good offensive rebounder. He’s compact, not a rangy player, not a long player. He’s got pretty good footwork down in the post.”