Lakers notes: Wesley Johnson playing tough D against bigger foes

first_imgMEMPHIS, Tenn. — The scrawny 6-foot-7, 215-pound frame suggests Wesley Johnson would become flattened the instant he’d battle inside. So much that Pau Gasol publicly questioned coach Mike D’Antoni’s strategy in using Johnson to defend bruising forwards when the Lakers boast plenty of size. But in the Lakers’ 108-103 loss Wednesday to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum, Johnson proved Gasol wrong. Johnson held Pau’s brother, Marc, a burly 7-foot-1, 265 pound center, to 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting while also posting 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. In the Lakers’ loss Tuesday to Indiana, Johnson also held Pacers forward David West to 11 points on a 4-of-12 clip. How does Johnson do it? Lakers center Chris Kaman sat out of the team’s loss to Memphis after feeling soreness in his back during L.A.’s loss Tuesday to Indiana. He plans to see the Lakers’ training staff today on the team’s day off.“Something doesn’t feel right,” Kaman said. “It feels off. I’m sure it’s nothing, but I want to make sure.” Kaman still reported some improvement.“I took some drugs,” said Kaman, pausing for dramatic effect. “Some legal drugs to fix it up. I tried to get it warmed up, but it didn’t feel right.” “Just run,” Johnson said. “When I’m out on the wings and they swing it to me in the rotations, the bigs don’t attack. They stay in the paint. So I’m getting a lot of open shots.”Johnson’s gone on a stretch this month where he’s averaged 13.5 points on 51.4 percent shooting. But D’Antoni has often griped about Johnson’s defensive awareness and allowing a bad statistical night to alter his focus. Not anymore.“His energy is better the whole game,” D’Antoni said. “He’s running the floor better. He has to disrupt everything. When he’s on the floor, his talents are unbelievable with his athletic body and length. If he uses that to his advantage, it can be positive and good.”Watch your backcenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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