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Offense lost in triangle

first_img They staggered and struggled with the offense all game, totaling 27 turnovers and managing just one field goal in the fourth quarter. It was a “futile exercise” in coach Phil Jackson’s estimation. “When it’s not moving fluid, when you look out on the floor, nobody looks like they know the system,” guard Aaron McKie said. “That’s just a matter of playing with each other a little bit more and getting to know each other a little bit better.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week By the middle of the third quarter, though, Bryant had to direct his teammates to the right spots on the floor and grew frustrated when he couldn’t get fed the ball in the post. He never got in rhythm, finishing with 11 points and taking only eight shots. The Lakers split their two-game series with the Warriors – though they trailed 24-8 in the first quarter Tuesday with their starters on the floor – and returned home Thursday after 10 days of training camp and trade winds in Oahu. It was a trip that did not end on a good note. Odom struggled in his second game playing in the backcourt. Chris Mihm threw away too many passes and picked up too many fouls. Kwame Brown was two steps slow getting to places he should have been. And with Bryant unable to take control as he did Tuesday – scoring 16 of his game-high 28 points in the second quarter – the Lakers never were a threat. Even so, Bryant tried to encourage his teammates to run the triangle despite the score. “I could have broken out of the system and just went nuts, but it just doesn’t make sense to do that because it doesn’t improve us as a ballclub,” Bryant said. “Just stay patient. It will come.” They won’t be playing Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom for only a half each. They won’t be facing the same team on back-to-back nights. They won’t have had just 12 practices to get to know each other from total strangers on the court. But the Lakers at least had to wonder after Wednesday night’s 112-81 exhibition loss to the Golden State Warriors in Honolulu just how long it will take to get the triangle offense together, especially with the season opener less than three weeks away. center_img The Lakers had hoped their pressure defense could cover for their lack of familiarity in the offense. It didn’t work, though, as Golden State countered the basics of the triangle and the Lakers were unable to turn to the automatic sets they use in certain situations. One problem is the Lakers have players with varying comfort levels in the offense. There are five players who learned the triangle in Jackson’s first tenure as coach. There are another five who got a taste of it at the end of last season with interim coach Frank Hamblen. Then there are nine players who are totally new to the triangle. And further compounding things, the Lakers have been trying at the same time to learn a defense that is new to everyone. They have spent mornings working on defense and afternoons on offense. Yet the Lakers insist that there is time enough to learn the offense before their season opener, fast approaching on Nov. 2 at Denver. “It’s tricky because when you get it, you get it,” Bryant said. “It seems like it just kind of comes out of nowhere. But in reality, it’s all the little steps that we’ve been doing. When you get it, you get it. Then you just start seeing the rhythm click.” Point taken: With Bryant struggling, the Lakers searched for a secondary scorer Wednesday and ended up totaling only 18 points in the second quarter. And where they will find points besides Bryant and Odom this season is a major question. After trading away Caron Butler in the offseason, the Lakers have a roster with only two players (Bryant and Odom) who are career double-figure scorers. “There was a dearth there,” Jackson said. “We’ll have different things for our team when we get into the season that’ll take care of things like that. But right now, I force them into a struggle situation sometimes to make sure that they have a resolve or see who can step in and fill that void. It didn’t work (Wednesday) at all.” Ross Siler, (818) 713-3610 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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