Lakers finally get some production from their reserves
Chris Duhon walked toward the Lakers’ bench during a timeout, saw a group of reporters sitting nearby and yelled at them.
“Second unit!” he said, accompanying it with a wink during a solid in-game run by the Lakers’ reserves.
Yes, he has read about it too. The Lakers’ backups have been anything but supportive, so inept that the starters have racked up huge minutes four weeks into the season.
It’s generally unwise to count two games as a trend, but the bench wasn’t half bad over the holiday weekend.
Antawn Jamison emerged for the first time this season, averaging 17.5 points and 11 rebounds against Memphis and Dallas. Jodie Meeks scored 12 points against Dallas.
In a side note, third-string point guard Darius Morris has played well enough to carve out future playing time for himself when Steve Nash and Steve Blake return.
Jamison, however, is the key.
He was supposed to be the big addition to a bench that was among the NBA’s worst last season. He averaged 17.2 points last season with Cleveland, but his numbers were stunningly low with the Lakers — 3.8 points and three rebounds a game before the weekend.
He flipped back and forth from small forward to power forward in his brief time under Lakers coach Mike Brown. Maybe the last two games were an indication of what he can do in Mike D’Antoni’s offense.
“I was waiting for that for a long time,” said Metta World Peace, suddenly an expert source on scoring after putting together a slew of good games of his own.
“It’s important for guys on this team to feel like they’re needed. The only way we’re going to win is with everybody’s contribution. If we bring that all together, we’re a monster team.”
Jamison, 36, had 16 points and seven rebounds against Memphis, taking Pau Gasol’s place in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 106-98 loss. A night later, Jamison had 19 points and 15 rebounds in a 115-89 victory over Dallas.
“Those are the type of nights that Coach has been preaching that is going to be a norm for us,” Jamison said. “I’m just glad that we were finally able to get to that point and hopefully we can build from there.”
The two Steves
The Lakers continue to wait for Nash and Blake, their point guards missing a combined 19 games.
Nash will be evaluated again Monday, though a return Tuesday against Indiana would be surprising because of his lack of conditioning since being injured Oct. 31.
He has missed 12 games because of a small, non-displaced fracture in the head of the fibula of his left leg, his longest stretch of skipped games since 22 in 1999 because of an ankle injury.
“We’re going to hope he gets back as soon as he can, not rush him, and try to tread water, try to get some wins and then see what we’ve got when Steve gets back,” D’Antoni said Saturday.
Blake has been sidelined by a strained abdominal muscle.
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