During this time of Thanksgiving, the Lakers no longer can express gratitude about recent NBA championships.
But the Lakers can count their blessings on how backup point guard Jordan Farmar has stuffed the box score, making his $1 million signing to return in his second stint here a far better sale than anything found on Black Friday.
He has proven to be a key cog in ensuring the Lakers (8-8) entering tonight's game against the Detroit Pistons (6-9) at the Palace of Auburn Hills leading the league in scoring (46.3 points per game). In three of the past four contests, Farmar has posted double-digit efforts. Farmar's 4.8 assists also have played a large part in Nick Young averaging a bench-leading 14.1 points per game.
Farmar won two NBA championships as a key reserve with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, but is this his greatest individual stretch in the purple and gold?
"This was my goal coming here," said Farmar, who took a $3 million paycut to opt out of his deal with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish League and join the Lakers. "That was my goal to have that responsibility and take my abilities that I worked so hard to develop to be a leader out there on the floor."
The Lakers have noticed.
Although Steve Blake has retained the starting point guard spot during the looming absences of Kobe Bryant (left Achilles tendon) and Steve Nash (back), Farmar's playing time has steadily increased. In the past two games, Farmar has played above 20 minutes.
"He knows his role and I think he embraces it," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. "He knows that if he plays well, I'll leave him in the rest of the game. I think he understands that. It's up to the guys. If they play really well, we'll find the minutes. He's fine with it. I'm sure he'd love to start and I'm sure he'd love to play 40 minutes."
Farmar said he has also shown more aggressiveness on looking to score after spending the early part of the season trying to make his teammates comfortable. In the Lakers' win Wednesday against Brooklyn, Farmar opened the second quarter making three consecutive three-pointers and set Young up for a season-high 26 points. Last week in a win against Golden State, Farmar and Young closed out the third quarter with a 10-0 run.
"I love the way he's been playing," said Young, who also played with Farmar on a high school summer league team. "He's playing with confidence. I've seen it already growing up with him. He's starting to get into his comfort zone. He's a problem. We need him to be Jordan and do what he's got to do."
It appears Farmar would like to help himself to seconds.
Farmar has averaged 13.3 points on 49.4 percent shooting in eight games he has played at least 20 minutes. When he's played fewer than 20 minutes, Farmar has only posted 5.8 points on 34.6 percent shooting.
"The more I'm out there I feel like guys respond to me differently," Farmar said. "I get in a rhythm and I'm knocking down shots. When my minutes are spotty, the one thing that will go is my shooting. I'm a rhythm kind of guy. Once I get a feel for the game, it's much easier for me to make shots at a consistent level."
Time to feast
On the Lakers' desgnated day off Thursday for the holiday, Bryant hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for his teammates and staff members in Detroit. ___