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Phil Jackson split on poor shooting from Ron Artest and Derek Fisher

The Lakers have shot 39.7% through the first two games of the NBA playoffs, but Coach Phil Jackson said he's not concerned with those numbers unless the team gets eliminated from the postseason. He believes the team just needs to build a rhythm, but the Lakers' perimeter shooting has been inconsistent most of the regular season. And with the Thunder blocking a 17 shots in Game 2 against the Lakers, a playoff record for Lakers opponents, Jackson knows the main challenge heading into Game 3 Thursday at Oklahoma City.

Sure, the Lakers now have a resurgent Kobe Bryant, who overcame his recent shooting struggles by leading a fourth-quarter charge in Game 2. They also have forward Pau Gasol, whose consistency has resulted in seven double doubles in the last nine games. And the Lakers' 2-0 lead suggests they should eliminate the Thunder, because a top-seeded team has never lost to an eighth-seeded team after winning the series' first two games. 

But Lakers center Andrew Bynum provides a perfect example on why the team could use another scoring option. He came back from an injury to his left Achilles' tendon without a hitch in Game 1, but the Oklahoma City defense locked down on him inside in Game 2, limiting him to six points on three-of-nine shooting. Though he expects to play in Game 3 despite missing Wednesday's practice to get more treatment, there's no telling how effective he could be Thursday night.

That means there are others who need to fill the void. Jackson has called out forward Lamar Odom, who is averaging 5.5 points and shooting 30.8% this series. But there are other struggling players in the lineup.  Forward Ron Artest may have locked down Thunder forward Kevin Durant to 28 points on 38% shooting along with six turnovers a game, but his numbers aren't much better. Sure, Artest isn't the main option on offense, but his six points per game average on 28% shooting has disrupted the triangle offense. Yet, Artest, who's been nursing sore fingers, downplayed any offensive problems and even suggested in the video below that his main concern involves his effectiveness on defense. When I followed up and asked if that means he's not really worried about his offensive numbers, Artest shrugged and didn't answer the question.

Artest isn't alone. Lakers guard Derek Fisher has shot six of 22 from the field (27%), an area in which he has struggled in all season (shooting 38%). For all the leadership presence he provides, Fisher hasn't shown leadership in his shooting numbers. There are times he forces the action in the lanes, and then there are times he's simply missing wide-open shots. But Fisher didn't seem a bit concerned either when asked about his shooting.

Interestingly, Jackson remained split on what to make of the recent performances from Artest and Fisher. He didn't come up with an explanation for Artest's poor shooting when asked about it, pausing before saying, "Good question." When I asked Jackson about Fisher's shooting, he expressed more confidence, perhaps because Fisher in last year's postseason worked himself out of his poor shooting. "I don't worry about Derek that much," he said. "He'll shoot himself out of it."

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com.

 
Comments () | Archives (30)

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"I don't worry about Derek that much," he said. "He'll shoot himself out of it." - PJ

~~ "Out of it" may also mean out of the Lakers by the end of the season or will get it back with the Clippers. lol!
Here are what Laker fans are asking for, if the shooting is not there, why used the playoffs as his grand experiment to get out of it? Bricks lead to transitional defense nightmare against the young stallions of Thunder. Perhaps, three misses are enough to know that shooting is nowhere, if you get 33% FG,then continue but if it is 0-3 why not give the rock to Bynum or Gasol on a short range attempt?

We can continue debating this Fisher demise, it's still the stubborn Coach who will decide in the end on who to play? The only solution is to pray for divine intervention.

MM,

Excellent blog regarding Fishers poor shooting. We now have the official Laker word...they don't worry about it.

I, as a fan, worry about it tremendously. I also worry about Phil's comment about Fish "shooting his way out of it". This green lights Fish to shoot at will, and every missed shot of his tends to turn into a fast break opp for the Thunder.

I still say that Fish should come in closer, instead of launching up shots so far away from the rim. Also, he should start slashing and driving. He 's physically strong enough to get to the basket, and he stands a much better chance at scoring at the FT line, then on the perimeter.

We can continue debating this Fisher demise, it's still the stubborn Coach who will decide in the end on who to play? The only solution is to pray for divine intervention.
Posted by: Edwin Gueco | April 22, 2010 at 10:50 AM
AMEN I could not have said it better myself.
Mamba24

Tonight's game will show alot. Clearly Oklahoma HAS to win or they're DONE. In the past, more than likely the team that HAS to have game 3 does win. Let's hope the Lakers drub them and prove otherwise. Realistically, I am thinking we lose game 3 and win games 4 and 5.

Oh, as far as Fisher, PJ is going to start him and play him. If he can get his shot down in this series it would be super. We should advance even with his lousy shooting. But, after this series we need him or Farmar or Brown to SHOW UP big. I keep thinking if Shannon had 35-40 minutes a game, he just might be Kobe's Pippen.

"Sure, the Lakers now have a resurgent Kobe Bryant"

DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdk1gwWH-Cg

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Say MM,

I know this is future thinking, but do you have any ideas about whether D-Wade would play here in LA? I mean if he wanted to come here, couldn't he force a trade (if LA wanted him) of something like Drew and Sasha package or Lamar and Luke or?

I have no doubt that Fish and Ron will break out of their respective shooting slumps eventually in the playoffs. That's what mentally tough players do.

Anyhow, an excellent bday gift today would be (1) a Cleveland loss, and (2) a Laker win.

Edwin G,

Eloquently stated, as usual. I agree 100%.

EJK,

The problem with your premise is that you fail to acknowledge that Fish has been shooting poorly for TWO YEARS.

TWO YEARS of poor shooting is no longer a slump; it's a condition.

Happy Birthday EJK,

You ask the Lakers to win, they will win for EJK's birthday.
You ask the Cavaliers to lose, I think Bulls will continue losing because they are very close to the Cubs. lol!

DJ,

If only Pat Riley and Kurt Rambis will remember their Laker links, then we can get what we wish for? Jerry West gave us Pau, will Riles package for D'Wade or Rambis for Rubio? Unfortunately, once they leave the Lakers, they just think of their own security with the team they're affiliated with.

It's hard to fathom why Phil would leave Fisher out there all season, costing us games and embarrassing himself. Not looking good for a repeat at all right now.

D(erek)J(eter) - I highly doubt it that Wade would go to L.A. The Lakers have their main corps locked into long-term deals including Kobe, Lamar, Pau, Bynum and Artest. Fisher, Brown, Farmar, Morrison and Powell are all free agents after this season but I don't think that would entice a trade for Wade. Plus, the Lakers are well above the luxury tax threshold. Absorbing Wade's contract would put them way over board

MM

First of all and most importantly HAPPY BDAY EJK!

Mamba, please add me to the we support Fisher bandwagon. It's been said before and I'll say it again, I'd rather have a guy who plays with 100% heart, passion, energy, and effort than a guy with tons of talent who doesn't play hard.

As to LO, please read the above paragraph. Really, if LO would play with the passion and effort that Fish displays, he would either be a starter or win sixth man of the year. He would also get some votes for the allstar game.

I think that's the frustrating thing about this team, although there isn't a clear #3 scorer, they have at least 3 guys who could be expected to fill that role on any specific night. Odom's play of late has been perplexing as has Artest (at least offensively) and Bynum is simply a reminder that big men are so valuable, but so hard to develop.

One thing we could straighten up is that D-Wade can simply walk away from Miami and they get nothing, thus he could tell them I am walking unless you can work a trade with LA and get something. Yeah, I know it probably wouldn't happen, but it could. We would just have to balance the $$. That's why I said Bynum and Vuyacic and perhaps Walton (that salary adds up to $24 Mil). Kinda the deal is Miami would basically have no choice if Wade demanded that. Anyway, just thoughts.

I have a question to ask: How many dominant point guards have won titles since Magic?

Stockton has none.

Peyton has none.

Kidd has none.

CP3? Zip.

Deron Williams? Nada.

Nash? Zippo.

All those guys won a LOT in the regular season. All lead teams that were imminently exciting to watch. All made their team mates better. But, none won championships.

Heck, on the winning teams, some star player from another position takes over play-making duties in crunch time of games. At least in the playoffs.

Shoring up your point guard position is not a recipe to a championship. At least not for about the last 20 years. It is a recipe to win a lot of regular season games. But, the Lakers do that with or without a dominant point guard. So, I'm not really seeing the point of the debate.

The Lakers have spent the last 50 years or so demonstrating that they can win multiple championships no matter who plays the point. Why do you honestly think that the PG position is such a low priority with the Front Office? Because they are stupid? Or maybe because they have smartly allowed history to be their guide?

Just a thought.

--FEARless

I don't understand what kind of leadership does Fisher bring to the lakers team. What does he have to show the youngsters: Shooting? Defense? or Flopping? Because that's the only thing he's good at though he was better at it before. In game one Lakers held OK to zero points the first 4-5 minutes , until they scored to 2, 4, and 6 points in a very short span - just when Fish started taking his brick shots which resulted in easy rebound and hence score for OK.

There're also many instances in the past when Gasol or Bynum were wide open under the post but guess what, fisher still take his shots from near the 3-point line and he misses them. The only thing he isn't afraid of doing is keep taking shots when he missed the last 25 shots consecutively. Why not start Shanon or Farmer instead? They'll score at least 40-50% given the same playing time that Fisher gets and you also get better defense out of those two.

"I know this is future thinking, but do you have any ideas about whether D-Wade would play here in LA? I mean if he wanted to come here, couldn't he force a trade (if LA wanted him) of something like Drew and Sasha package or Lamar and Luke or? "

I'm not sure why this keeps coming up. Franchise players are rarely traded, if they are, it's when they have a huge contract and the team decides to go another direction. Being that Wade is a free agent, Miami would have to sign him, then turn around and trade him. If they could sign their main draw and franchise player to a long-term deal, why would they trade him to LA for the bench players you don't want?

To win the championship, the Lakers needs a BIG THREE.

Currently, they have a BIG TWO (Kobe and Gasol).

This doesn't bode well against the stronger teams.

They already struggle with Oklahoma when no one else steps up.

Lamar or Bynum are the ones who need to particularly show up to SCORE.

Six points or fewer in the last game is unacceptable.

Wade and Kobe COULD play together and I dont think like it could never happen.None of us know that for a fact.

Wherever Wade plays, he wants it to be sunny -- LA has that..LA wants to win, he has experienced that. So never say never...

I am not a GM for a reason of course, and I like drew, but yeah I would give him up for Wade and a few picks or whatever it takes..Having him would extend Kobe's career a couple more years and of course add more hardware to the shelves.......

Hey guys we a got a few new posts. Brad Turner has a report from shoot around and I apologize about the timing because I wasn't sure when shoot around would be done so there's a lunch time links post too.

Does anyone want to try to use the caught in the web post as the main conversation thread? Up to you guys, just trying to find that happy medium so you can guys don't feel like your conversation is being cut short while I also can produce ongoing developments with the Lakers. Let me know

MM

I love my Lakers ryde or die and or however pathetic they play or madd they make me -- I am here to stay! It's just that simple. Sometimes they make me madd cuz I am thinking, damn, do I want them to win more than THEY do?? That's ridiculous..These guys are professionals and but they are HUMAN first and they are gonna play funky. But I know they know whassup. Can we just admit the competition is that much tougher a year later, with older legs, compounded injuries, chemistry adjustments and re-adjustments..Its hard out there! Pimpin these teams aint easy! lol, But I think they will pull through..Part of me being a Laker fan for so long is believing.....

One more time and hope all understand. A sign and trade would be only agreed on by Wade. Obviously he wouldn't sign anything that didn't include the deal he was interested in. Anyway, just trying to figure a way to improve our team with a Pippen-type. My theory could work, but only if Wade was the instigator. He may not want to play here.

TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT WHERE WE GO TO OKLOHOMA AND DELIVER A HOMER AND KNOCK THIS TEAM OUT. IT WILL BE LIKE WATCHING AN ALI BOXING BOUT. SHOUT OUT TO MAMBA 24, WHO IS THAT KNOCKING ON THE DOOR? OH YEAH, IT IS KOBE WITH A 5TH RING WALKING DOWN THE STAPLES FLOOR. WE KNOW WE THE BEST AND EVERY LAKER FAN CAN WALK WITH A "S" ON THEIR CHEST. WE HAD ONE SUPERMAN, BUT NOW IS A SUPERWOMAN. BESIDES WE HAVE THE TRUE HERO WITH FOUR RINGS. HOW MANY DOES THE QUEEN HAVE? OH YEAH, I KEEP REMEMBERING.... ZERO. TONIGHT WE TAKE GAME THREE AND WE WILL SEE KOBE AT HIS BEST. I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE THUGGETS OR JAZZ I WANT TO SEE GINOBILLI AGAINST KOBE SO WE CAN TAKE THEM OUT TOO!!! FINALLY, I WANT TO SEE LEQUEEN GETTING BRUISED UP BY RON RON AND EVERYONE WILL CONCEEDE THAT HE IS NO KING, BUT RATHER BRONZE BRONZE. CAN'T WIN GOLD WITHOUT THE BEST. I BET KOBE WOULD WIN IT WITH COLLEGE PLAYER!! I MAY SEEM A HATER, BUT I AM A CONRATULATER TO THE BEST. LET'S GO LAKERS LET'S GO!

FEARless

You are absolutely right. Now the time to support ur team, encourage them as a TEAM. It is NOT the time to break your team.It is NOT the time to talk about TRADE.Accept your team as it is and support them. Should help ur team by talking about their opponents strong and weakness.

"One more time and hope all understand. A sign and trade would be only agreed on by Wade. Obviously he wouldn't sign anything that didn't include the deal he was interested in. Anyway, just trying to figure a way to improve our team with a Pippen-type. My theory could work, but only if Wade was the instigator. He may not want to play here."

I understand what you are saying but just see no incentive for Miami to do this. Even if Wade decides to walk, the Heat would be able to use that max contract money on the free agents of their choice under their own terms and contracts. In a sign and trade deal with the Lakers, they would have to instead spend that money on underperforming players that the Lakers are willing to do without.

The unfair trades we are accustomed to seeing are designed to free up money by acquiring expiring contracts so the team can spend money in the offseason. Miami already has all of their money free and can do whatever they want with it. I can't imagine a Sasha or Luke is on their wish list.

Mark Medina,

"Does anyone want to try to use the caught in the web post as the main conversation thread?"

I think it's a good idea, but you'd have to have that thread as the thread at the top of the list of ongoing threads when someone first logs into the blog. I think it is human nature for people want to post on what is listed as the "most recent" thread.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Jon K - I see your point but I think it's best to have the Caught in the Web post as one of the morning posts. That way when most readers go to the Laker blog it's the beginning of their day and they know this place will have the one-stop shop to any Lakers story they would want to read. I think if I did that at the end of the day, it wouldn't serve its purpose since readers may have already read the stories I linked.

MM


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