Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson wasn’t surprised.
“I like players to get their rest, there’s no doubt,” Jackson said Monday. “But any time you have a game of that importance and you don’t play well, you’re upset. It’s bothersome.”
Bothered might be an understatement for Odom.
“I got to the point where I couldn’t make a shot,” said Odom, who went 2-of-11 from the field and finished with seven points on Sunday. “But then I got to the free throw line and I wasn’t making free throws. That can’t happen.”
Odom, who hit just 3-of-8 from the foul line, wasn’t alone in his struggles in the 103-84 loss. Fisher scored just two points on 1-of-4 shooting and Gasol fared somewhat better, going 7-of-18 for 15 points.
“A little bit indecisive, not aggressive enough finishing,” Gasol said of his offensive performance. “I didn’t finish strong enough. I was just kind of floating a few shots and they weren’t going in.”
The Lakers hold a 2-1 advantage in the Western Conference finals. Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday in San Antonio.
Jackson said he’s “comfortable we can get Lamar back on track.”
“Once it gets going bad for him, there’s a lot of times he can’t turn his game around in the course of the night,” Jackson said. “So that’s one of the things we keep talking about, finding a way to recapture your ball game even though things haven’t gone well for you early.”
While league MVP Kobe Bryant may be as close to a one-man team as there is— his four fourth-quarter 3-pointers got the Lakers as close as 12 late in Game 3 — more help from Odom, Gasol and Fisher could go a long way toward the Lakers stealing one in San Antonio.
“I don’t think they did anything differently,” Bryant said of Gasol and Odom’s shooting. “I think they just missed a lot that they usually normally make, so you just chalk it up.”
Jackson said Fisher simply needs more shots.
“We’ve got to get six, eight shots for him, in that kind of minutes where he has an opportunity to help us,” Jackson said.
Fisher and Odom also struggled in the Lakers’ come-from-behind Game 1 victory. Odom scored eight points on 3-of-12 shooting in the 89-85 win and Fisher had four points while going 1-of-9.
The Lakers shot nearly 43 percent (35-of-82) from the field in Game 3, but the Spurs hit 38-of-74 (51 percent), including 10 3-pointers.
Manu Ginobili hit five 3s and broke out of his shooting slump to lead San Antonio with 30 points off the bench. Bryant led the Lakers with 30.
“Making shots is part of it. And we did a better job of that,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They (Los Angeles) missed some shots that could have gone in without a doubt.”
Offense aside, Tim Duncan said the Spurs always return to their old standby: defense.
“We have to contain them, limit what they do,” Duncan said. “They have the best scorer in the league. He can get off in stretches. We have to be able to contain the rest of their team and understand that defense is what’s going to get us over the hump.”
Now it’s the Lakers trying to get over the hump of Sunday’s loss as they look for a Game 4 win—one Bryant said the Lakers want “in the worst way”— to set up the chance to eliminate the defending champions in five games.
Fisher said doing that requires both keeping the Game 3 loss close, and also letting go of it.
“I think you hold on to the fact that it’s very frustrating and very disappointing in the sense that we couldn’t give ourselves a chance to win the game,” Fisher said. “So you hold on to some of that frustration, some of that resentment that you have for the opponent. You keep that.
“But you let go of the fact that you lost a game. … You get past that part of it and you keep your focus on the things that will motivate you and help you to win the next game.”