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Lakers' Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar instrumental in Lakers' 98-92 victory over Orlando Magic

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With the Lakers facing a seven-point deficit against the Orlando Magic with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter, backup guards Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar entered the game and immediately locked eyes on each other.

"Now is our time," Farmar said to Brown. "Let's go."

"I'm in," Brown responded.

Brown and Farmar made good on their word. They were instrumental in helping the Lakers put together 15 unanswered fourth-quarter points en route to a 98-92 victory over the Magic, the first time the two teams had met since the Lakers won 4-1 in the 2009 NBA Finals. 

If it weren't for the bench play led by Brown and Farmar, the Lakers (32-9) would have losses this season from every single team they eliminated in last season's playoffs.

"I told them they were the ones," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "They were the reason why we got this game."

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant scored 11 points on only four of 19 shooting, partly because of poor shot selection and partly because an attempted wraparound pass to D.J. Mbenga in the second quarter irritated the injury to his right index finger, he said. Center Andrew Bynum, suffering what Jackson referred to as low energy level, scored only eight points and missed the entire fourth quarter, sick in the locker room.  

Brown and Farmar certainly spiked the Lakers' energy level. Brown scored a career-high 22 points, while Farmar added nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. It was, all in all, a memorable day for Brown, who earlier had been included, officially, in the NBA Dunk Contest. 

"We went out there, caused a little bit of havoc, got some steals, created easy looks for each other and for our teammates," Brown said, "and we came out with a win."

That all started when the Lakers opened the fourth quarter on a 15-0 run. Brown's steal ultimately set up Farmar's nine consecutive points, a sequence that included a three-pointer, a 21-foot jumper, a layup, a steal and then two free throws.

"That opened up everything," Farmar said. "I stayed really comfortable and confident and tried to stay aggressive."

This kind of production isn't an entirely new revelation. 

Brown also led the Lakers with 19 points in last week's win against the Milwaukee Bucks, just two games after replacing a struggling Derek Fisher against the Clippers and posting 15 points.  Meanwhile, Farmar scored 17 points in that game, a week after notching a career-high 24 points in a 131-96 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, which featured the bench scoring a season-high 66 points.

Bryant said this after Monday's victory: "The season is built on momentums. They’ll sustain this hopefully for quite a few games. It’s such a long season. It’s tough to sustain it for now until the end of the season. But I think it’s a good momentum turner for them."

-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers guard Shannon Brown, who finished with 22 points, drives to the hoop against Magic center Dwight Howard in the second quarter Monday night. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/ Los Angeles Times

 
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Jordan "Brown?" Is that Kwame's kid brother? :-)

check the title. I love me some Shannon Brown, but but you obviously got him on the brain!

NINE GAMES: One Down, Eight to Go . . .

~Report Card Categories of Toughness, Endurance, and Focus will be given following this nine game stretch ending with a road game at Memphis on 2/1.

~First assignment was Orlando at home. Grades for that assignment only are . . .

TOUGHNESS -- B+
They beat a contender, thus no lower than a B can be given. Howard had a good game, Orlando up by 9 in the 3rd Q, yet Lakers did not panic or wilt.

ENDURANCE -- No Grade

FOCUS -- C-
In control most of 1st half, then fiddle most of the lead away in the last couple minutes. Then lose lead entirely in the 3rd Q due to poor decision making and shot taking... eg., loss of focus

Mike

Great game last night, thought Brown and Farmer looked fantastic, Pow did a great job on Howard in the second half (seems as if Pow has got Howard’s number!). It’s really hard to watch Kobe play these days, his finger and back is really slowing him down, he might consider shooting less until he gets better, but I doubt he will! Now let’s get ready for the road!

To some of the old-timers around here,

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't people been calling for J-Farmar's
trade for the last two years? J-Crit was supposed to be better wasn't he?

Now people are calling for D-Fish's retirement. Hmm ... We should
probably get rid of that Kobe guy. He was what? 4-14? He sucks!

[ hobbit shakes his head in disgust. ]

This game was not a good sign for Orlando. Kobe was not Kobe at all. Lamar was playing with one hand. Bynum only played 22 minutes. And the Lakers won.


Farmar and Brown stepped up to make up for Kobe's struggles. DFish opened the game aggressively to get 8 quick points. Odom pulled down 16 boards even though he had to corral most of them one handed with his sore right hand clearly bothering him. Gasol grabbed 10. Even Bynum, who had his struggles, had 8 boards in a mere 22 minutes. Kobe had 7 asissts. A nice team effort.


Howard showed he was pretty tough to stop when the Lakers tried to single cover him with Bynum or Gasol in the first half. But a quick double team pretty much shut him down in the second half. And the Lakers did a good job defensively on the 3 point line.


Orlando made a lot of changes in the offseason for a team that was in the Finals. It might work in fantasy leagues, but in the NBA it is a very risky move. Turk-o-Glue seemed like he played well and smart for this team and helped spread the floor. Carter seems like a poor fit so far.


Off to the ROAD now, where young bench players tend to struggle. Kobe will have to be a lot more effective in this next stretch. Hopefully his hand and back will allow him to do that.


Tom Daniels

If he "was the reason" according to Phil, then why was Farmar riding the pine the last 7 minutes of the game?

Fish's -15 in 27 minutes vs. Farmar's +21 in 20. I just don't get it.

WTH is going on with Kobe's finger?

Bynum had this one possession on the right block against Dwight, he starts dribbling towards the middle, I'm thinking now is the time to go the other way and throw "the shot" - of course, he doesn't do it, he turns all right, but he throws that weak jump hook. When Dwight easily blocks it, Bynum appeals to the ref for a goaltending - Socks has it all in his head but he doesn't bring it out. And I'm tired of hearing how difficult it is to throw the shot, That's a bunch of BS by guys that are athletic but apparently not intelligent enough to develop a motor skill outside their strength and quickness...

Hope Thriller returns to his normal form soon - he looked good out there, but the minutes seemed a little skinny to me

Just a few of my minor frustrations. It was a nice win, I'm happy with everything (other than my 70 win bandwagon in massive default)

Can't wait for Thursday. We'll either get an excellent win on the road, or Kobe's 25k and hopefully BOTH.

I was thrilled by last night's game. To see Jordan, Shannon and Lamar step up and put their stamp on the game was great. Lamar basically controlled the game during the winning surge early in the 4th Q with his rebounding and energy. His alley oop pass that lead to a three point play for Pau was just a super, super play.

I've often thought that since the Lakers made no big changes since last year other than Ron for Trevor, (which was basically a lateral move IMO) that internal improvement among the Laker role players would be the key to a repeat. Now it's coming to fruition. Shannon is this year's breakout player, a la Trevor Ariza last year.

I don't visit this site as often as I used to, so this video may already have made the rounds on the blog. Seems like Shannon and Ron know how to take advantage of their free time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cETtDC59-I

GO LAKERS!!

MM,

Jordan "Farmar", not Jordan "Brown". Though it did look like Brown was everywhere last night, didn't it?

--FEARless

I thought that Kobe's 7 assists were especially telling. He could have had more but it seemed the Lakers missed a LOT of inside shots all night. It seems like he is still determined to get his team to produce in his "absence" from the offense.

That is true leadership. Also, only 19 shot attempts proves he wasn't looking at trying to meet any milestone, or maintain any scoring title or something else similarly trivial.

I count this as a good game from Kobe.

Also, I think by Kobe ever so subtly taking easing his foot back off the gas is the thing that has allowed Farmar to thrive. Farmar now sees it as critical that he be both aggressive and under control for the Lakers to win. The team is slowly getting out of that, "they can't win if Kobe isn't Kobe" mentality. That may have been the case at the start of the season because all of our young guys came out of training camp so horribly. But, that is obviously no longer the case. This past week is a testament to that fact.

I think Kobe has always known this. But, sometimes when you turn Kobe on, it is hard for him to turn himself back off. This injury may have been a blessing in disguise. It both allows Kobe to show his willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for his team and for his team to show that they really don't need it.

PJ couldn't have planned it better if he tried.

--FEARless

Satisfying win last night, glad to see that Farmar and Brown have a great chemistry on the court. They still need to polish their offense and not fall in love with the PUJIT. But overall, I liked the intensity they've provided when we needed it the most. Im excited to see what UPS will deliver during the SLAM DUNK competition.

LO was great last night, what a difference maker. His selfless service alone gives the needed strength and courage to awaken the sleeping offense and defense coming into 3rd Q.

Kobe was playing hurt last night, when TNT showed PJ's timeout huddle, Kobe was tying his shorts using his right thumb and not the index, it seems like he couldn't even move it. PJ needs to be mindful and smart of Kobe's minutes, the opponents are smacking KB's index finger, not sure if its intentional or just a harmless foul.

We have a tough road trip coming up, hopefully we win all the games, thats not too much to ask! LOL, well it's more important to win the ones against the elite teams, Cavs and Boston need to be TACO'd, enough said! Let's get er done Lakers!

Hobb

"haven't people been calling for J-Farmar's
trade for the last two years"

that and everything else has been posted about the Farm including the nickname controversy.

as good as this stretch is, there have been others. this time may be different though. he's got a running mate that makes things happen. I don't want to mention the contract year, but it is a contract year.

AND, ya think Kobe's hand is loosening the strings on some games down the bench?

Hummmmm, I think Pau Gasol is the best laker player. His ofense, is defense, wooo powwwww. Not disrespect for KB24, but Pau is the Key for repeat Championship. Pau Gasol is a amazing player, a real Superstar that can play center, porwer forwar, small forwar, shooting guard and point guard, too. A total player. The combo Bynum-GAsol is perfect because Gasol needs a big body alonside for loading is game. With Bynum reboundig and defending, Pau will be HOF. THE COMBO PAU-ANDREW WILL BE FINE.

vman,

you wrote: ya think Kobe's hand is loosening the strings on some games down the bench?

my response: It's easy to reach that conclusion, isn't it? :)

During this awful stretch for Kobe, if he had made an additional 5 shots we
would have had nothing but blowouts. Of course, would the bench have
played with the same drive?

One would hope, and guess, from their words at the beginning of the
season, that the Bench was constantly trying to get better and this would
have happened regardless of Kobe's finger. To a man, they all seem to
understand what's at stake and what they need to do.

However, *THIS* is the 64,000 question:

Will they play like this consistently?

Isn't that an amazing question?

Our starting 5 playing well + our bench playing like last night .....

Before the Drew bashing gets going too far along, he had 8 boards in 22 minutes. It the was most aggressive on the glass I've seen him in a while. I think at halftime he and Howard both had 6. Howard did end up with 12 boards but he played twice as many minutes as Drew. Howard didn't end up dominating the glass, which to me was the biggest concern in their match-up. Was I happy with his 18 points at halftime, no, but I'll give up that 13 foot bank shot to Howard all night long.

VMan,

>>> he's got a running mate that makes things happen.

This is a very salient point.

At the start of last season, Jordan had Trevor Ariza as a running mate on the bench mob. The starters would ply their half-court offense and lull the other team to sleep, then Jordan and Trevor would come out and blow the doors out fast breaking like madmen.

When Trevor went to the starting lineup, Farmar would often be running the break with guys like Sasha or Vlad Rad, who couldn't really keep up with his frenzied pace. Or Farmar would be getting to the rim vs two defenders while Luke and Lamar were just crossing half court. And even if they Sasha or Vlad did keep up on a fast break, they'd run to the 3-point line.

Shannon keeps right up with Farmar, and they play really well off of each other. Many of Shannon's big thunderous dunks have come from alley-oop passes from Farmar. Both of them are capable of finishing at the rim, even in traffic (which we all know Derek Fisher is much less capable of). But also, both of them are smart enough to stop and take a 10 footer if there's a big back standing right under the basket to stop them. And they're both capable of hitting those midrange shots as well.

One ironic thing is that as the season has progressed, Shannon's 3-point shooting has slipped a bit (he's down to 31% in January) while Jordan has steadily increased his shooting from the arc (Jordy is 39% for January).

With Sasha back to hitting 40% of his 3's this year and Luke coming back to be a glue guy, I think the bench mob could get back to being better than two years ago. Imagine Jordan, Odom, and the Machine playing like they did two seasons ago, Luke playing better than he did, and substitute Shannon Brown for Vlad Rad. Add that to having Bynum at full strength and Artest making the starters extra stingy on defense and this will be a hard team to beat come June.

The one thing I wish the Lakers bench possessed was one more slightly higher quality big. The dropoff when MBenga or Powell comes in is huge.

LTLF

absolutely, and one more positive is that both Shannon and Farmar can get their own shot.

good point about Trevor. so far this year the loss of speed has been chartable. moving Kobe to the 3 with Shannon and JF trumps that.

VMan,

I posted that line-up last year, before game 3 of the Houston series ( DFish was on a 1 game suspension).

Jordan, Brown and Kobe at the 3 is a very fast line-up with lots of skill and good defense. I hope we see it more and more after the break!!!

GREAT WIN!

i think we can expect for kobe to be this inconsistent this whole season. Until his back and fingers heal up to 100%, hes going to have good nights (dallas 10/20 with 30 points) and really bad shooting nights (orlando 4/19 11 points). but if farmar/brow/odom can keep playing liek they did last nite and pau stay consistent as usual, we have a great chance at repeating. Kobe just needs to be good enuff to be a decoy in nights where his hand isnt as good as it could be

If Brown can continue to play like he has, that should allow Kobe to play less, which should speed up the healing of his finger.

Calm down Laker fans. We're going to see what this team is really made of, during this 8 game road trip. Yes you guys have the best record in the league, but you've also played the least amount of plus .500 teams, and you've had a heavy dose of home games.

During the 2nd half of the season you have Cle(away)Bos(2x), Atl, SA(3x) Den(3x), Dallas(1 away), Phx (away), Orl(away) Portlan (away 2x. That scheduled should wipe the smiles of those faces, and not to mention Kobe's not 100%.

That was a terrific win last night. A real team effort, with everyone contributing at different points along the way. This team is building real team character and mutual trust. It's important that everyone feels they CAN contribute, especially when the stars aren't doing well in a given game.

I think Phil is among the best coaches in sticking with role players, and veterans in particular, to let them know he's got confidence in them (when others don't) and that he's ready to throw them in at any time he thinks they can help. Just think back over the years to all the supposedly washed up veterans that helped Phil win rings...Harper, Longley, Kerr, Horry, Fox, etc..

So all you geniuses here who think you're much better judges of DFish, Bynum, Farmar, Luke, etc....watch and learn.

ChicNstu, VMan, & LongTimeLakerFan

It's really hard to get a read on this team. I like the changes that were made, but it seems this team still lacks that killer instinct. Even with the injuries. I have not seen the Lakers play very well this season. Home games and below .500 competetion will greatly inflate your win lose record. The true test comes over the 8 game road trip.

Anything less than 6-2 on this trip will furthure my reserve.

Yeah realistically its gonna be almost impossible to go say 6-2(this is hoping too much) especially due to Kobe's injury, Lamar's hand, Fisher's aging and the bench playing much better but still questionable in consistency. The only guy who has been consistent for 2 years has been Pau. But Luke came back at the perfect time because they're gonna have to keep passing the ball around. Wait Shannon Brown is the other consistent player on the team but Jordy is playing much better.

Couldn't Phil see that Fish was KILLING his team? the Magic made their 3rd quarter run from 5 down at halftime to 7 up while Fish was on the court. OK so maybe Fish was not the entire reason for the Magic's run but he was a big part of it.

Is it coincident that the Lakers made their counter-run after that with Brown and Farmar in the backcourt? I think not!

Sorry but Derek really shouldn't be playing more than 20 minutes a game PERIOD. It's time he, his teammates, his coach, Laker fans... all realize that he just doesn't have it anymore.


Hello Lakerland -

Am I the only one thats concerned about Kobe's current struggles? I know he has a broken finger, but wouldn't it make more sense if he just sat out a couple of games to let it heal so he can come stronger for the final months and the playoffs? I don't know if the finger is the culprit, but I also noticed that his shots have been blocked a lot of times this year. I'm starting to wonder if Kobe is starting his decline.
I know he did have severe back spasms, and I completely respect his courage to go out and venture into battle, but I can't condone foolhardy bravery. I think a little rest in the middle of the season would do wonders, but knowing Kobe's work ethic, I know its not going to happen, especially since he was always used to rag on Shaq about the same thing - taking time off in the season. But seriously, a broken finger? Come on, thats a really serious injury.
II hope my rants here are just that - rants, but the evidence is telling me otherwise. This 8 game trip coming up is vital to measure where our team is at this moment.

oh and, GO LAKERS! [sigh]


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