Very seldom does Phil Jackson say things for the sake of saying them. So when Jackson dubs his bench as The Renegades, you better believe it wasn’t just for lack of a better word.
As good as the bench has been for the Lakers in the first two regular season games, they got a healthy sampling of humble pie during the second quarter of the Lakers Sunday night 107-83 victory over the Warriors.
Going into the third game of the season, 36 of the 57 points the Lakers’ bench had scored came from 3-pointers. Although they shot an excellent 57 percent from the outside, Jackson wanted to re-iterate what the team’s true strength was.
“We’re more of an inside team,” Jackson said. “Kobe [Bryant is] going to post people up, Lamar [Odom is] going to post people up and so is Pau [Gasol] and Andrew [Bynum] when he gets back.”
Just hours after Jackson told the media he was looking for his team to make it a priority to go inside for offense, as opposed to taking perimeter shots, it’s exactly what the new-and-improved bench did, nearly wasting away a Lakers 20-point lead going into the second quarter.
Here’s how the offense went during the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Steve Blake missed a 21-foot jumper. Shannon Brown missed a 21-foot jumper. Devin Ebanks missed a 15-foot jumper. Theo Ratliff missed a 12-foot jumper. Matt Barnes missed a 26-foot jumper.
Five reserves on the floor, eight possessions in two minutes and the bench mustered up a total of zero points.
The Renegades deserted Jackson’s advice, choosing to deviate from the Lakers strength of going inside-out, staying true to the definition of their given name.
Three minutes later, Jackson was left with no choice but to revert back to his starters, leaving Barnes in to spark two back-to-back, momentum-changing plays by going—you guessed it—inside.
Looks like there’s a reason why Jackson doesn’t have enough fingers to display all 12 of his championship rings on. Clearly, he knows what he’s talking about.