Even before Odom averaged 21 points and nearly 22 rebounds in his last two outings, the forward was well on his way to another stellar second half. “I think that he gets acclimated to the game,” said Jackson. “He’s a great conditioned athlete.” The Lakers coach praised Lamar for not forcing shots like he was in the season’s first half, noting that he is playing game at really high level and doing everything the team wants him to do.
Although several Lakers starters logged season highs in minutes in their overtime win over the Warriors on Monday, Jackson said that he does not think fatigue is a major factor right now with a day off tomorrow, even for a veteran like Fisher who played 37 minutes against Golden State. According to Jackson, Derek is ready to match up against one of the stronger point guards in the league in the Bobcats’ Raymond Felton.
The Lakers may be getting help on their front line with impending return of Gasol, but it likely won’t be as soon as the team had initially hoped. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not until next Wednesday that he plays again. We’re hopeful that maybe it’s Sunday, but we’ll let time take its course,” said Jackson after Pau suffered a set-back in his recovery process.
With Sasha Vujacic having a career season in a contract year, Jackson was asked whether or not money was the reason behind the guard’s success. “I hate that to be the motivating factor for a player, but sometimes it just seems that way,” Jackson said. “With Sasha, it’s maturity, just getting comfortable with the game and playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”