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Category: Practice notes

Phil Jackson says Kobe Bryant expects to play tonight

Kobe-bryant_325 The extra rest has apparently helped Kobe Bryant. It's not stunning news, but he plans to play tonight against Minnesota.

"He feels he's healthy enough to play," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said after the team's Monday morning shoot-around.

Bryant sprained his left ankle on Saturday during the victory over Dallas. He had 16 points on seven-for-19 shooting two days later against Orlando and hasn't practiced since then.

His activity level was understandably minimal Friday morning.

"Not a thing," Jackson said. "He's been laying on the [trainer's] table. We watched film together, talked about our game plan."

The Lakers are 10-1 since the All-Star break.

--Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant receives a pass on the move against Magic guard Jason Richardson. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters


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Lakers start trip with a loss but still decide not to practice

Bulls1_300 The Lakers have lost six of their last eight games, including a defeat Friday night at Chicago that kicked off a six-game trip.

The Lakers have scored fewer than 100 points in seven of their last nine games. They won only two games during that span.

So what does Lakers Coach Phil Jackson do when the team arrives today in New York in advance of Sunday's game against the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center?

Jackson canceled practice.

Maybe it's because the Lakers have defeated the Nets in their last five meetings, and in seven of the last eight.

The Lakers will see former teammate Jordan Farmar, who signed a three-year, $12-million contract with the Nets over the summer as a free agent.

Farmar is averaging 10.4 points and 4.6 assists in 26.1 minutes a game. The point guard is a reserve, but he did start twice when Devin Harris was out with an injury.

Farmar spent the first four years of his professional career with the Lakers. He played two seasons at UCLA.

 -- Broderick Turner, reporting from New York

Photo: Some in-your-face defense by Kobe Bryant and the Lakers couldn't prevent a loss on Friday night to Derrick Rose and the Bulls. Credit: Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune

Observations from Lakers' Wednesday practice

This idea may prove short-lived, knowing most of the Lakers' practices aren't open to the media. Typically the doors open around when they're wrapping up. But when we are privy to a healthy portion of practice to notice some things, I'll be sure to take some notes. In the future, I also plan to shoot video of those practices for your viewing pleasure.

Here's a few notes to chew on:

-- As The Times' Broderick Turner mentioned in a previous post,  Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum sat out of Wednesday's practice. Bryant participated in non-basketball drills (weightlifting), but didn't see any time on the court. I noticed a few instances where he was sitting on the sideline, dribbling a basketball. Clearly, he's eager to play. Meanwhile, Bynum completed drills in which he shot the ball flat-footed, but Jackson said he's done nothing beyond his physical therapy.

-- Lakers forward Ron Artest seemed to have gotten his stroke back. He nailed four consecutive jumpers, penetrated the lane through traffic and drew contact. You obviously take it for what it's worth, but it's a good sign considering Artest confirmed Jackson's assessment that he's had some hamstring issues.

-- If I filmed practice today (which I didn't, I'm sorry), you would've seen Lamar Odom personify his game in a nutshell. He worked in the lane through tight spaces and also played on the perimeter. Today marked one of those days where you watched Odom and appreciated the nuances he brings to the game.

-- The team seems to have a really good attitude. They're very business-like, but loose. No one seems to be rowdy, no one is getting upset. Of course, you take this for what it's worth: the media caught about the last 20 minutes of practice and the Lakers are in good spirits coming off back-to-back championships. But it's the right approach to have for now.

-- Mark Medina

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