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Sekou Smith

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Jordan Farmar went all out in a Game 2 win, helping the Lakers move within two wins of The Finals.
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Who is that guy? Lakers' Farmar makes a name for himself


Posted May 20 2010 6:57PM

LOS ANGELES -- Anonymity isn't hard to come by when you share space daily with Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and other members of a star-studded Los Angeles Lakers cast.

Obscurity, however, is more of what Jordan Farmar is experiencing these days.

Farmar, the Lakers' backup point guard -- and a surprisingly crucial component to the Lakers' 2-0 start in the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Suns -- didn't even register with Suns point guard Steve Nash after his stellar showing in Game 2.

Farmar nailed two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The first broke a 90-90 tie and the second ended any hope the Suns had of stealing the game, pushing the Lakers' lead to 104-95 with 7:22 to play.

Yet when asked about Farmar's contributions in the clutch, the always candid Nash said, "I can't remember, to be honest."

It's easy to forget that the stars don't play every single second, make every shot and tote the entire load without some assistance. But it's hard to miss what guys like Farmar and Shannon Brown have done off the bench for the Lakers in this series. They combined, along with Odom, to outscore the Suns' more celebrated reserves 36-26 in Game 2.

Even Nash recognizes that much.

"They're all doing a great job," he said. "They've played really well for two nights."

The momentum shift they brought wasn't lost on Bryant, who knew exactly where to point the finger when asked about the turning point late in Game 2.

"Jordan Farmar," Bryant said. "He came in and made a big three for us and got a big deflection and a steal for us. That changed the momentum of the game. Up until that point, they had all the momentum. And he single-handedly was responsible for changing that at the start of the fourth."

Bit player is a role Farmar has no choice but to accept on the Lakers. It's already earned him a championship and consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, resume builders that will look good to lots of teams. Farmar is a restricted free agent this summer.

In the meantime, Farmar has come to grips with the reality of his situation with his hometown Lakers. He starred at Taft High in the San Fernando Valley and at UCLA before the Lakers selected him with the 26th pick in the 2006 draft.

He plays short stretches, is counted on to provide the sort of spark he did in Game 2 (11 points, on 4-for-5 shooting, including a 3-for-3 effort from deep to go along with two steals and thorough demolition of Suns backup point guard Goran Dragic) and will have to settle for the appreciation of those in the know as opposed to the adoration of the masses.

He's averaging 10.5 points and 2.5 assists in 16.5 minutes against the Suns in this series.

"I'm in for short stretches," Farmar said to a handful of reporters crowded around his locker while Odom and Artest were swarmed with five times as many in their respective corners of the Lakers' locker room after the game. "It's six minutes, eight minutes if I'm lucky. It's been tough, the hardest thing in my career. The way I play basketball, I'm the type of player that likes to come in and feel the flow, pick spots, figure things out, get the big guys involved and be aggressive on my own. I don't have that luxury playing quick segments, so I've had to learn how to catch and shoot, stretch the defense out that way. I've had to adjust and make the most of it."

There is at least one luxury that comes with the sort of anonymity -- if there is such a thing in L.A. -- that Farmar and some of the lesser known Lakers have. They don't have to worry about the media crush that the more high-profile members of the operation have to deal with on a daily basis, which makes for a quicker and easier exit on most nights.

Not that Farmar is looking to go anywhere.

"I'm just happy to be on this team contributing to trying to win a championship," he said. "In this league, you want to do whatever you can to play well for your team and I think I'm doing that."

So what if Nash couldn't pick him out a lineup.

Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and the author of NBA.com's Hang Time blog. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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