Lakers' Bynum to come off bench for first game; Gasol playing "poorly," Jackson says
The wait will have to last a few minutes longer than planned.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum is expected to come off the bench instead of starting Tuesday night against Washington. Lamar Odom has been told he will stay in the starting lineup, though Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was coy when asked about it an hour before tipoff.
"I still hold that in reserve," he said.
Jackson, however, wasn't as shy when asked what he thought of Pau Gasol's recent slide.
Gasol's scoring and shooting accuracy are down in recent weeks, causing Jackson to say his All-Star forward-center has been playing "poorly."
"He started off great but he has just really faltered," he said. "We've had a struggle since he has [declined]. I think we're .500 in the last 10 games and a lot of it's because Pau's kind of run out of gas and he's played too many minutes. Andrew Bynum coming back will help out his cause."
Gasol was bothered by a minor hamstring issue, but Jackson said he thought the 7-footer was genuinely fatigued.
Whern told that some people question how Gasol could be tired after taking off the entire summer, Jackson said, "I do too."
Then Jackson stepped back a bit verbally and supported Gasol.
"Forty minutes [a game] is a long period to play in an NBA basketball game. You have to have a lot of stamina and he's getting everything thrown at him," Jackson said. "A very physical game is being applied to his game right now. That's kind of like what's gone on around the league -- attack Pau physically at both ends of the court. He's given up more points sometimes than he's scored and those are things that are remarkable for us. We value his play as an All-Star and it's been tough for him."
--Mike Bresnahan, reporting from Washington