EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Throughout the season, the Lakers' bench has been the target of criticism. But Wednesday, coach Phil Jackson was generally complimentary of how his reserves performed over the first two games of their first-round matchup against Oklahoma City.
"I have to give them credit," he said. "They've held their own against the Oklahoma bench. We've really survived that well."
Still, heading into Ford Center for Thursday's Game 3, Jackson believes he'll need better play from his bench players, starting with the most prominent member of the group. "I think Lamar [Odom] has to give us an imprint in the ballgame," he said.
Through the first two games, Odom has scored a total of 11 points on only 13 attempts. Jackson believes Odom can have a far greater impact.
"It's an understanding of what the game is. Opportunities are going to be in shots and little things like that and probably little pockets he finds to make penetration," Jackson said. "He found a couple in the second half [of Game 2], or one for sure in the second half that looked like he had established the kind of game he plays."
Told of Jackson's commentary, Odom, who has spent most of his six seasons with the Lakers fighting criticism about a lack of aggression offensively, seemed unconcerned. "He wants to see me play well offensively," he said. "He wants to see me get involved. He just wants to see me go and get in my comfort zone."
Odom indicated concerns about his scoring could be overblown. "It's two games. We play 82 games in a year, and sometimes you might have two bad games offensively, back to back. It's no big deal," he said. "We've won. If I was the go-to man and I had seven and four points and we lost, then there would be something to talk about.
"We've got another game to play."
During the regular season, Odom averaged 9.5 points and 7.8 field-goal attempts in 27.1 minutes coming off the bench. As a starter, mostly in relief of injured big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, Odom's numbers jumped to 12.2 points and 10.4 field goal attempts in 36.7 minutes a night.
Asked whether he would consider putting Odom back into the starting lineup in an effort to jump start his versatile power forward, Jackson said no. "Not unless Drew has some lingering problems from [Game 2]. We'll stay with our lineup."
Bynum sits out
Lakers center Andrew Bynum sat out of practice Wednesday and did treatment, which he said was pre-planned, and expects to start Game 3 in Oklahoma City.
"A little bit of soreness in the Achilles but it's just [a question of doing] my treatment and keep going," Bynum said. "I just did treatment all day."
Artest's hair louder than shot
Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest's hair might have been bright and loud as he sat down following practice Wednesday, but his demeanor was just the opposite when the topic of his shooting struggles came up.
When asked about the frustration he showed after hitting only 2-of-10 from the field and 1-of-6 from beyond the arc, Artest asked, "What possession was I frustrated? I can't remember that."
When asked whether he worried about regaining his shooting touch, he simply said, "I just hope I get stops. I want to continue to play defense."
He simply ignored another question about his recent shooting woes.
While Artest, who has shot 5-of-21 from the field and 2-of-14 from the 3-point line, wasn't in the mood to answer questions about his shooting problems, Lakers coach Phil Jackson smiled when asked how Artest will be able to break out of his slump as the mercurial forward worked on his shot with his friend and Lakers special assistant Chuck Person.
"Good question," Jackson said. "He's shooting over there hopefully that will help him a little bit."
Although Artest has played well defensively, holding Durant to 19-of-50 shots in the first two games, Artest still wasn't pleased with his defensive effort."I got to do better," he said. "I think there are times where I can do better. I'm giving a 100 percent, it might not be all the time but as long as I get better everything should be OK."
Jackson was asked if Bryant's shooting performance had anything to do with his father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant being in attendance to watch his son play for the first time in five year.
"I hope not," Jackson said. "I hope that he just played the regular game he plays. I'm sure it was great to see his dad, but it might be nicer to see him off the court than on the court. I don't know. It was awful close to the bench, but he seemed to handle it well."
So will Jellybean be a regular fixture at Lakers games now?
"He's not on our plane," Jackson said. "I know that."
Nothing fast about the break
Because of the damage Oklahoma City can do in transition, a great deal of attention has been paid to stopping the Thunder fast break, but the Lakers are interested in running when possible.
Through two games, the results have been unimpressive. In Sunday's Game 1, the Lakers managed only a single basket in transition. Tuesday in Game 2 they were better, but only marginally, capitalizing on three of their eight fast break chances for six points.
It wasn't for lack of opportunity, said Jackson.
"We were very disappointed our fast breaks turned up for naught," he said. "Three or four of them in the first half. There were some fast breaks that were poorly passed in and poorly executed out there, which is a sign of poor coaching, if I would have to say anything."