Lakers reserves are struggling in their fill-in role – LA Times

By Broderick Turner
Los Angeles Times

December 21, 2009

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has turned to his bench in each of the last two games, and the results haven’t been what he had hoped.

Jackson put his reserves into the game against Detroit on Sunday night and asked them to protect what seemed like an insurmountable 21-point lead against a Pistons team that was missing three key players.

But the substitutes let that lead slip to 15 points and that forced Jackson to reinsert starters Kobe Bryant,Ron Artest and Pau Gasol with 5:59 left in the game to change the momentum the reserves had given away.

The Lakers’ bench was outscored, 34-15, by the Pistons.

Take away Lamar Odom (seven points, 10 rebounds) going three for five, and the rest of the Lakers’ reserves went three for 22.

Jordan Farmar was one for six, Shannon Brown one for nine, Adam Morrison one for five and Josh Powell 0 for 2.

“The second half I was very disappointed that we couldn’t execute in the fourth quarter,” Jackson said. “I had to bring the starters back in to save the game.”

The second unit allowed a 12-point, second-quarter lead to turn into a two-point deficit against the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night.

Jackson wasn’t happy about that. But he took the blame.

His idea was to get his starters rest for back-to-back games, knowing that the Lakers would arrive in Detroit early in the morning.

Lightest moment of the trip?

While talking to reporters Friday after practice in New York, Jackson couldn’t figure out how to stop the music from spontaneously playing out loud on his iPhone. The selection was “Brick House” by the Commodores. (And yes, Jackson was using an iPhone, not the T-Mobile MyTouch that he has endorsed in commercials and ads.)