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Phil Jackson says he will determine Kobe Bryant's playing time in season opener during game

With Kobe Bryant continuing rehab on his surgically repaired right knee, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said he remains flexible on how much he'll play him during the team's season opener Tuesday against Houston.

"We'll see how it goes," Jackson said Monday after practice at the team's facility in El Segundo. "I just talked to him, and he said he's comfortable playing over 30 minutes. We'll see how it goes in the course of a game."

Bryant didn't speak to reporters after Monday's practice, but he described his knee as "good" after Sunday's practice and replied "sure" with a hint of sarcasm when asked if he could play 40 minutes.

Bryant's rehabilitation efforts coincided with a limited preseason during which he scored 12.6 points on 28.2% shooting, 17.2% from three-point range as well as three assists in 21.6 minutes per contest. He also sat out in the Lakers' 120-99 victory Thursday over the Golden State Warriors in San Diego. Though he progressively improved in terms of mobility and rhythm, Bryant's seven for eight third-quarter effort in the Lakers' 99-94 loss Oct. 17 to the Utah Jazz served as the small bright shot in an otherwise poor shooting effort.

With Bryant likely matching up against lockdown defender Shane Battier, the Lakers' opener against Houston should provide a revealing glimpse on how much progression Bryant needs to make to return to full form.

"We're as prepared as we can be at this particular time," Jackson said. "Obviously we don't have Andrew [Bynum] and Kobe's coming off a situation which limited his participation ... This is OK. We know that this is part of getting ready for the season and we'll have members of our team back and ready in a couple of weeks."

In other news, Lamar Odom and Theo Ratliff both practiced Tuesday and are expected to play. They both missed the Lakers' preseason finale in a 105-102 overtime win Friday over the Golden State Warriors, with Odom nursing a sore left thumb, tight back and hurt nose and Ratliff suffering a swollen left knee.

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com.

 
Comments () | Archives (16)

The comments to this entry are closed.

@MVP… “However, putting Gasol-Artest as the best NBA forward tandem over Bosh-James is either interesting or an oversight. I think it's a bit of a stretch, but this is a TEAM sport, so individual match ups only go so far. I agree that Pau has the edge over Bosh, but ....”
~
LOL. I was waiting for somebody to come back and contest that remark. I did actually think about LeBron and Bosh before making that statement and what it comes down to is building a team that fits and works together. I realize that most people would immediately pick LeBron and Bosh over Gasol and Artest, however, if you really look at what they bring to the table for their respective teams, the choice is not a slam dunk by any measure.
~
Unless you were picking a fantasy team, there are solid reasons for picking Gasol and Artest as the best forward duo. Both Gasol and Artest have proven that they can play at a true championship level whereas neither LeBron or Bosh have performed well at the highest level. In fact, LeBron totally bailed out on the Cavs during the playoffs last year and Bosh has never even won a playoff series. While critics can claim that neither LeBron or Bosh ever had the supporting teammates that Gasol and Artest have had, the simple fact remains that the latter have shown they can be clutch in their biggest games while the former have shown nothing to speak of.
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Additionally, NBA championships are won by defense and there is no doubt that Gasol is a superior defender than Bosh and Artest a superior defender than LeBron. Gasol also has the versatility to backup Andrew Bynum at center as well as playing power forward and is capable of defending players like Dwight Howard one-on-one while Artest can defend and play multiple positions and it probably the league’s top defender among forwards. To me, LeBron until he proves otherwise, is really just a great athlete who does not have a consistent outside shot and has yet to prove that he win or even compete at the highest level. And Bosh in my opinion is a highly rated due to inflated stats from playing on weak teams. Head to head, both Gasol and Bynum outplayed him.
~
Bottom line, who would you prefer to have on your team – and we are not talking about fantasy basketball. Would you trade Pau Gasol and Ron Artest for LeBron James and Chris Bosh? The fans and bloggers who would probably have already anointed the Heat as this year’s NBA champs. Personally, I think that would be a trade of two winners for two losers. Such a trade would make the Lakers a weaker rather than stronger team and destroy the championship chemistry that this team shares. So from a Lakers perspective, the most valuable forward duo in the NBA right now is Pau Gasol and Ron Artest and I stand by that declaration.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

LakerTom,

As usual, your (very articulate) post is bound to instigate some good ol' fashioned disagreement. Your question -- "Would you trade Pau Gasol and Ron Artest for LeBron James and Chris Bosh?" -- brings up one of the oldest and most profound basketball quandaries: talent vs. chemistry.

Offense: Pau > Bosh
Defense: Pau > Bosh

Offense: LeBron > Artest
Defense: Artest > LeBron

Talent -- as this year's "superteam" Miami heat will demonstrate -- only gets you so far.

Oftentimes, it's chemistry that determines the last team standing when the final Finals buzzer sounds.

So, yeah, I guess I agree with you, LT. I wouldn't trade Pau or Artest for... anyone. Then again, I'm a total and complete Lakerholic, and my condition is terminal.

Go Lake Show!

HELP...I'm a prisoner in a Chinese Fortune Cookie Co...

LOL...what's wrong with this post...can't go to 'Previous Post' or 'Next Post'...

MM - Is this your way of 'corralling us...'

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up!!!

Laker squad: get ready to see a lot of passes from #24 tomorrow night. Answer the bell or he will go "jack-a-rama" at Staples.

LEWSTRS -

It's like that scene in the Matrix (either #2 or 3) where Neo keeps running through the train station tunnel on one side and comes out on the other side. lol

@Tom & MVP888 -

I'll take our best two vs. their best two, any day and twice on Sunday.

That's not just vs. the meat, that's anyone.

News flash!

League-wide destruction starting tomorrow night!

Point of origin: Staples Center.


[dbdh]

LT and Outlaw, Two dieharded Lakerholics as much as I love the Lakers it's a NO BRAINER. Pau/Ron Ron for Bosh/LeBron c'mon what are you two smoking? Your talking chemistry vs talent you can have BOTH. That trade will be made in a New York minute, no questions ask. Mitch wouldn't think twice, and wonder what you guy's are smoking.

MM has most definitively covered the coming hours six ways to gametime. LT has done yeoman's work on the front court. Searching for an unscathed blade of grass, I've taken a stab at dark horse candidates for the 8th slot (if anybody's so bored as to click on my name). Cofusion awaits you.

Cofusion is what happens when I get confused.

2Phatt,

Well, I *know* what LT's smoking, and it's the good stuff. Hey, the stuff I've got isn't too shabby, either.

But I would NOT make that trade in a NY minute. No way, no how. Until LeBron wins, he's just a super-athletic player with an ugly jumpshot and a tendency toward choking. Artest is frickin' NAILS, man. He's crazy, he's driven, and he knows it. And Bosh? Come on... Pau will eat him up all day long. And twice on Sunday. (Thanks, htj.)

But, hey, I'm an unabashed homer. Good thing my home team always wins.

Go Lake Show!

Outlaw- Pau and Ron Ron have not won anything till joining the Lakers, hell Ron couldn't spell championship. Putting LeBron and Bosh with Kobe a true winner, will transform them to winners. Kobe, Fish(Blake), Bosh, Drew, LeBron next 5 RINGS.

LEWSTRS - I'm not sure the issue. If you click on a specific blog post, at the top there should be an option to go to previous post or next post. Let me know if this problem persists and, if so, I'll let management know. Thanks!

Also we got a new post with a whole lotta polls. No need to register to vote, so click away!

@2PHATT… “LT and Outlaw, Two dieharded Lakerholics as much as I love the Lakers it's a NO BRAINER. Pau/Ron Ron for Bosh/LeBron c'mon what are you two smoking? Your talking chemistry vs talent you can have BOTH. That trade will be made in a New York minute, no questions ask. Mitch wouldn't think twice, and wonder what you guy's are smoking.”
~
LOL!. Actually, what we’re smoking is a wonderful blend of back-to-back championships mixed with a heavy dose of Laker Mystique. It’s called the Blessed Lakers Purple-and-Gold Sky-High Sky’s-the-Limit Don’t-Trade-Away-Championship-Character -and-Chemistry for Fool’s Gold Grass-Is-Greener Smoke-and-Mirrors.
By the way, that New York minute you were talking about is why the Knicks have sucked for the last 30 years.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

PJ's teams never won anything until he came on board. Will his next stop be Miami? Stay tuned for more on The Twilight Zone.
I'm a huuuge NBA fan and I would love to see PJ head out to Miami after wrapping up this championship. If he pulls out a 'chip in Miami, his legacy is signed, sealed and delivered! Right now, he still gets that dumb rap about not being able to win with superstars but as it has been stated, those "superstars" didn't win until his arrival. We are all "Witnesses" to the greatest coach in sports history!!

at least jackson wont have to worry about luke wall tons playing time.


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