Farmar, Vujacic battle for backup minutes

first_imgBy Elliott Teaford STAFF WRITER Jordan Farmar stepped behind the 3-point line and launched jump shot after jump shot Saturday at the University of Hawaii. He shot from the corner, from the wing and from straight away, making far more than his missed. Then it was Farmar’s turn to rebound and Sasha Vujacic began to shoot. When Vujacic was finished, he rebounded while rookie Javaris Crittenton took his shots. Guard play has been pivotal for the Lakers, who struggled to fill the void created when Fisher signed with the Golden State Warriors after the tumultuous 2003-04 season. Neither Chucky Atkins nor Smush Parker proved to be a suitable replacement. Naturally, Farmar believes he is the man for the job after averaging 4.4 points and 1.9 assists in 15.1 minutes as a rookie last season. “There’s no substitute for experience,” Farmar said. “I’m a completely different player than I was last year. I’m no longer playing to impress the coaches. I’m meant to be here.” Reading is fundamental Jackson left reporters waiting awhile as he read through the daily press clippings. He said he was curious to learn what Turiaf and Walton had to say about his plan to move Turiaf to the starting five and Walton to the bench. “I had to see the response of some of my players to what you guys wrote,” Jackson said, breaking into a grin. “I usually don’t do that, so I come in here like a blind pig and I don’t have a chance. Compliance is what I’m looking for from the players.” Injuries, injuries, injuries Bryant didn’t participate in the first of two practices because of a sore right knee. Brown and Mihm sat out as they continued their slow recoveries from their offseason surgeries. Walton also did not practice because of a strained right hamstring. “Some of it is just preventative,” Jackson said, “but some of it is the two-a-days and the attrition from it.” Around the league Warriors: Golden State guard Monta Ellis was released from the hospital after injuring his neck in practice and sat out Saturday’s workout in La’ie, Hawaii. He left Castle Hospital in Kailua on Friday night on his own accord with what the team said was a neck sprain. Ellis underwent a battery of tests, including an MRI exam and CT scan, and all were normal. He hit his head on teammate Brandan Wright’s hip as he was driving toward the basket. He lay face down for 20 minutes, showing only slight movement before he was carried off the court on a stretcher. Celtics: Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 16 rebounds in his Celtics debut, and Boston ruined Andrea Bargnani’s homecoming in Rome with an 89-85 preseason victory over the Toronto Raptors. Paul Pierce added 21 points for Boston, while Ray Allen had an off night with only 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting. The Associated Press contributed to this notebook.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The three young Lakers guards tried to win bragging rights in a shooting drill while also attempting to win the third guard spot behind Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. It’s a significant role since the 33-year-old Fisher doesn’t figure to play as many minutes as he did during his first stint with the Lakers. Fisher and Bryant hardly ever seemed to leave the floor while leading the team to three straight NBA titles to start the decade. The difference between then and now is not lost on Farmar, a second-year player from UCLA. “I want to push him every day, and it’s the same with Javaris,” Farmar said when asked about battling for Fisher’s leftover minutes. “(Crittenton) is learning every day, trying to push us both. I think it’s only going to make us a better team.” Backup point guard was one of two job openings going into training camp, but then Coach Phil Jackson added a third Friday when he said he was considering starting Ronny Turiaf ahead of Luke Walton at power forward. last_img

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