Lakers Coach Phil Jackson looking to limit Derek Fisher's minutes - LA Times
By Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
In five of the Lakers' seven regular-season games, veteran guard Derek Fisher has played way too many minutes for Coach Phil Jackson's liking.
"Fish, I'm trying to keep his minutes under 30 and want to keep him under 25," Jackson said recently. "Because we're not playing well in the other areas, we're going to have to work that out a little bit as we go along."
The Lakers bench has sometimes struggled this young season, and backup guards Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown weren't performing to Jackson's standards, so Fisher logged a lot of minutes early on.
He averaged 32.2 minutes per game in the first five games. Two of those games went into overtime, with Fisher playing a season-high 35 minutes in one of them.
"I don't work as hard as I work in the summer to sit on the side," Fisher said. "But whatever it takes for us to be successful is what I'm prepared to do."
In the last two games, Farmar and Brown played more, with both performing better to ease Jackson's mind.
"If it's a situation where you have to come back to finish a game or if it's 20 minutes [of playing time] and the game is over and the ice is on the knees, I'm fine by that as well," Fisher said. "Either way. But as far as physically what I'm capable of doing, I can play as many minutes as we need me out there on the floor."
Fisher is 35, and Jackson's preference is to limit the playing time of the 14-year veteran to have him fresh for the playoffs.
In Friday's blowout win over Memphis, Fisher's playing time dipped to 24 minutes, and he played about 14 minutes Sunday against New Orleans because of foul trouble and because of the inspired play of Brown.
Overall this season, Fisher is averaging 28.4 minutes per game.
"Phil is always going to have his idea of what is going to fit best for our team based on personnel, based on situations [and] games," said Fisher.
Lakers at rest
The Lakers didn't practice Monday, but will be back at work Tuesday.
They don't play again until Thursday, when they meet the surprising Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. Then the Lakers play at Denver on Friday.
The Lakers and Suns are 6-1, while Denver is 5-2 and leads the Northwest division.
The Suns defeated the Celtics on Friday in Boston, handing the Celtics their first loss of the season.
"They [the Suns] are playing well," Lamar Odom said. "Phoenix and Denver will be a challenge, a challenge that we'll be ready for."
The Lakers may get center Andrew Bynum (strained right elbow) back for Thursday night's game.
Pau Gasol (strained right hamstring) appears unlikely to play Thursday.