Lakers Notebook: Vujacic's return

Updated: March 15, 2010, 9:45 AM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Lakers reserve Sasha Vujacic's re-entry into the rotation after returning from a sprained right shoulder has come at the expense of backup guard Jordan Farmar so far.

Farmar, who averaged 18 minutes per game in the eight games Vujacic missed with the injury, has seen his minutes cut in the two games since Vujacic's been back. Farmar played 15 minutes in Vujacic's first game back, when the sixth-year guard out of Slovenia played just three spot minutes against Toronto. Vujacic played 12 minutes in his next game against Phoenix, including playing the backup point guard position when he was on the court, and Farmar's role was reduced to just three minutes, all coming in the second quarter.

Farmar re-aggravated his sprained left pinkie in the Suns game when he slapped a ball out of the hands of Phoenix center Jarron Collins, but said after the Lakers practice that his hand wasn't the reason he sat on the bench the whole second half.

"I was good to go in," Farmar said. "I don't think it had anything to do with [me not playing] & [The pinkie is] messed up so every time it gets hit it's going to be a little sore but it's fine."

Farmar, in his fourth season with the Lakers after being drafted by the team with the No. 26 pick in the 2006 NBA draft, has wrestled with his role in coach Phil Jackson's triangle offense throughout his time with the team and his limited playing time as Derek Fisher's understudy. Despite his struggles, he's maintained his professionalism and performed well when given the opportunity to, notably filling in the starting lineup for a suspended Fisher during last season's playoffs against Houston and contributing 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals in a Los Angeles victory.

Farmar let it be known that his injury didn't keep him bolted to the bench Friday without completely complaining Sunday.

"I'm glad we won," Farmar said. "Sasha came in, gave us a spark and we got the victory so that's great."

SMALL GOLDEN STATE

The Warriors will be without starting center Andris Biedrins (groin), as well as backup bigs Ronny Turiaf (knee), Anthony Randolph (season-ending ankle surgery) and Brandan Wright (season-ending shoulder surgery) on Monday, causing them to go with 6-9, 243-pound Andrew Tolliver in the middle. For reference's sake, Ron Artest is 6-7, 260 and the Lakers' small forward.

The Lakers will look to take advantage with their pair of starting 7-footers, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

"We'll get the ball inside, we're going to control the tempo against them," Lamar Odom said. "Impose our will. Use our size. Go in there and do what we have to do. ... They're both 7-1, 7-2. It's kind of hard to stop. The science of the game of basketball is to get the ball inside and get as close to the hoop as you can to score and both of them do that."

Said Jackson: "We have the size, they have the speed and quickness and the outside shooting and we have the inside game. We really have to take that advantage and put it to play."

DIRTY PAU?

Just like after the Phoenix game, the conversation turned to Gasol's fourth-quarter foul on the Suns' Louis Amundson that was not called as a flagrant foul even though Gasol struck Amundson across the face.

"I really wasn't trying to foul him really hard," Gasol said. "I was just trying to stop him from getting [to the rim] because all the points he got and [Amare] Stoudemire got a lot of points in the paint and I felt like we have to stop that.

"It was an accident that my arm got to his face and seeing the replay, probably they could have called it a flagrant."

Jackson said that the play was not indicative of any request of Gasol by the team to exert himself in a meaner manner.

"We really asked him to be firm," Jackson said. "We have not asked him to give flagrant fouls at all, but we're asking him not to give up three-point plays and we're asking him to be very physical when the time comes. ... We're just asking him, 'When you have to give a foul, give a hard foul,' now. I think he got a flagrant foul, perhaps, unmeaning, but a flagrant foul and that was a surprise to us. I don't like flagrant fouls, I like seeing hard fouls."

Gasol said he is trying to ramp up his activity level, but not do anything dirty to shed his derisive "Ga-soft" label.

"I'm trying to play aggressive, that's all," Gasol said. "I'm trying to play with some physicality and aggressiveness."

SEVEN TIMES A CHARM?

This will be the Lakers' seventh game against the Warriors this season after going 2-1 against Golden State in the preseason and 3-0 during the regular season.

"There's a certain sense of they know what they want to do to attack us and vice versa and we have to find a way to extract that element that they have," Jackson said.

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