Support system gave Lakers a nice boost
Brown, Farmar were beneficial off bench
LOS ANGELES — Guard Shannon Brown accounted for 6 of the Lakers’ 102 points Thursday night. Guard Jordan Farmar chipped in 4.
For two players coming off the bench, those totals don’t look like much to applaud, but what they managed in a limited role goes beyond the stat sheet. Numbers don’t always tell the story for players who want to display their skills as much the starters, their success not always measured in baskets.
“It’s only so much you can do in a little amount of time,’’ said Brown, who played 17 minutes. “For us it’s not always about scoring. It’s about the little things, it’s about the rebounds, the defense, the deflections, the steals, running the offense and executing properly. Scoring is a plus. People try to compare the benches, but our bench is a little bit different from other benches around the league because we have a little bit different role. So I think we go out and try to do it to the best of our ability. It’s not always up to other people’s standards, but we know what we have to do.’’
To start the second quarter of Game 1, the Celtics went small with Rajon Rondo and Nate Robinson. Lakers coach Phil Jackson viewed the move as a way to pick up the pace and energize the team. Brown and Farmar were sent into the game, with the Lakers leading, 26-21. Farmar played the opening four minutes before Derek Fisher returned. But Brown stayed in. He played nearly eight minutes in the quarter and provided a jumper and layup. When he came out, the Lakers led, 37-35.
“We had good contribution from Shannon,’’ Jackson said. “I thought he did some things that were good for us, that sequence. Jordan did some good things on defense all right, and I think we kind of weathered the storm out there with fouls.’’
When a team has someone like Kobe Bryant, who can score and contribute in various ways, a bench player has to stay true to his role and not get caught up in numbers, forward Luke Walton said. The Lakers’ bench scored 15 points, compared with 16 for the Celtics.
“It’s tough with the bench. A lot of people want to credit the bench that does best by whoever scores the most, but with our team we have pretty much five All-Stars on this team, so a lot of the offense is run through them, so we know it’s not our job to come in and start scoring points,’’ Walton said. “Our job is to keep the offense moving and try to pick up the tempo a little bit for the minutes that we’re in and play sound defense and build the lead, as opposed to going out and just scoring points.
“We feel satisfied when that happens. We don’t really care if our bench scores more points than the other bench.’’
Brown and Farmar gave the Lakers a “huge spark’’ with their energy and defense, forward Lamar Odom said. The Lakers held the edge in rebounds (42-31) and second-chance points (16-0).
“You can only control the play that’s in front of you, and I think we did a good job of that,’’ Odom said.