LAS VEGAS - At first glance, there wasn't anything terribly wrong with Ron Artest's line from the Lakers' 98-92 exhibition victory Thursday night over the Sacramento Kings. He had seven points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Upon further review, Lakers coach Phil Jackson found fault with Artest's game.
Artest, who signed a five-year, $34 million deal with the Lakers during the offseason, has played three exhibitions so far. He hasn't played with the aggression that Jackson would like to see from him, however.
"He still looks like he's standing around watching the other guys play at times, and he's not involved as much as I would like him to be involved," Jackson said after watching Artest play 26 minutes, 14 seconds against the Kings.
Asked if he believed Artest was deferring too much to his teammates, Jackson said, "Yeah, yeah, I think he's got to find his way in the post and do some things that asserts himself and put pressure on his teammates to get him the ball in the right spots.
"He's trying to be the right guy and try to fit in and not try to crowd his way in there, but he's got to do that. I'm going to have to force him to do it."
Artest admitted his immersion to all things Lakers remains a work in progress. He also said he's been reluctant to charge into the mix, particularly offensively, because he's studying the Lakers' pecking order in their triangle offense.
Artest is not accustomed to playing as the third or fourth or fifth option.
"If I get one shot a game, I want to make that one shot," he said.
"As long as I rebound and play hard, that's all I care about. I've never played with a player like Kobe (Bryant). We've got (Andrew) Bynum and (Pau) Gasol and (Lamar) Odom. ... It's totally different. I'm blessed to be in this situation, so I've got to continue to study."
Bynum had 24 points and eight rebounds in a little more than 32 minutes as the Lakers improved to 2-1 in exhibition play. Bynum scored 16 points and grabbed four rebounds in the first quarter.
The Lakers were 12-for-12 from the free-throw line in the first quarter.
Bryant added 18 points.
Jason Thompson scored 19 points to lead the Kings (0-3), who rallied from a 22-point deficit in the third quarter to make a game of it.
Spencer Hawes added 18 points, but was unable to stop Bynum in the low post.
Tyreke Evans and Andres Nocioni each added 13 points.
Lakers defeat Kings
Odom suffered a bruise on his lower right leg when he was kicked late in the second quarter. He tried to play again in the third, but couldn't run and went to the locker room. He couldn't remember exactly how it happened.
Gasol made the trip to Las Vegas, but did not play against the Kings because of a strained right hamstring. His status is day-to-day, but it's uncertain whether he will be fit to play in Saturday's exhibition against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Luke Walton also made the trip, but could not play because of a sore back. Walton said he would have been available to play if it had been a regular-season game. He hopes to play Saturday against the Bobcats.