Phil Jackson impressed with Steve Blake's three-point shooting
In what often becomes a signature play between Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the two ran a high screen and roll only to see Toronto's defenders lock down on both of him. No worries. After Bryant drove into the lane, he fired a pass to the far corner where Lakers guard Steve Blake knocked down a three-pointer.
A similar sequence happened a few players earlier, and Blake's hot shooting in the Lakers' 108-103 victory Friday over the Toronto Raptors resulted in a 14-point performance his four of six field goal clip all came from behind the three-point line. In a line Lakers Coach Phil Jackson described as "adequate," Blake's gone 12 of 23 (52.2%) from three-point range in the team's first six games, a mark entering the Lakers game tonight at Staples Center against Portland that ranks 13th in the NBA.
"You're playing with guys who get double teams, you're going to be open sometimes," Blake said. "I happened to get open four straight times and I knocked them down. There's going to be times where I get hot and they stand a little bit closer and the other guys will do their thing. It will be in the rhythm of an offense."
It wasn't a role the Lakers exactly expected him to fulfill considering they wanted him primarily for his playmaking abilities, which stemmed from stints where he worked with Washington's Gilbert Arenas (2003-2005), Portland's Brandon Roy (2005-06, 2007-2010) and Denver's Carmelo Anthony (2006-2007). It's also a role Jackson didn't see Blake excelling in at the University of Maryland, though he shot 34.4% from three-point range during the 2001-02 season and 41.6% the following year. But Blake's strong three-point shooting seems to be an added bonus considering the team's poor mark last season. And though Jackson still prefers his team to play inside-out, the Lakers' depleting front-line in Andrew Bynum's absence, heavy minutes to Gasol (38.5 minutes) and Lamar Odom (35.7 minutes), Derrick Caracter's inexperience and Theo Ratliff's immobility, strong outside shooting will surely come in handy.
"I like to consider myself still a playmaker but it's a different type of role in this offense," Blake said. "In the NBA, you start to play with better players. You want the ball in their hands."
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