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Lakers try to stay focused while chaos engulfs ownership

Lakers try to stay focused while chaos engulfs ownership
Lakers Coach Luke Walton is unsure what the NBA is accomplishing with one-game trips more than one time zone away from L.A. (Harry How / Getty Images)

Theatrics have become an everyday occurrence in Lakerdom lately, but this year's drama has swirled levels above the Lakers players and coaches. It's not involved them; it's involved the front office and ownership.

So, Friday was like many other days in the past few weeks. Lakers Coach Luke Walton took his players through a morning shoot-around and prepared for a game.

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"It's easy for me," Walton said before the Lakers played the Boston Celtics in their 62nd game of the season. "I coach. I focus. We got a lot to focus on with our players and what we try to do. Stuff that's not in my control I don't spend much time thinking about."

Hours after they left the shoot-around, news broke that Lakers governor Jeanie Buss had filed for a restraining order to prevent her brothers, Jim and Johnny, from holding a shareholders meeting during which they would attempt to remove her as the Lakers' controlling owner. When her brothers retreated, she withdrew the petition for the restraining order.

On Feb. 21, Jeanie Buss fired Jim Buss as the Lakers vice president of basketball operations, hiring Magic Johnson as the Lakers president of basketball operations.

On Friday, as he has been often in the past few weeks, Walton was asked for his thoughts on the day's happenings but demurred.

"I don't know enough about it to have any sort of comment on it," he said.

Life without Lou

When the Lakers traded guard Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets, they lost his scoring, especially in the fourth quarter, and his veteran leadership.

But since then, the Lakers' passing numbers have actually improved. According to NBA.com's statistics, with Williams on the roster, the Lakers passed the ball 291.7 times per game. Since his trade, they have averaged 301.3 passes per game. Walton likes the Lakers to aim for at least 300 passes per game.

Walton said Williams did a good job of adjusting to the way the Lakers want to play.

"The problem was, he was playing so well that everyone on the court just gave him the ball every time, which meant the other guys weren't getting those reps, those opportunities at that," Walton said. "With him gone it's forcing a lot of those other guys to really step up and be in those situations and figure them out and make plays."

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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