LOS ANGELES -- Ramon Sessions earned his first battle scar as a Los Angeles Laker on Sunday, getting a scratched forearm on a flagrant foul by Utah's Jamaal Tinsley early in the fourth quarter.
Sessions' performance in the Lakers' sloppy 103-99 loss to the Utah Jazz at Staples Center should also earn him the starting point guard role, and fairly soon.
Sessions' 10-point, six-assist effort in 22 minutes and 38 seconds wasn't perfect. In his second game as a Laker, he made only one of seven shots from the field and there were times he needed prompting from teammates on where to be. All of which is totally understandable, given that he had the benefit of exactly one practice and Sunday morning's shootaround since he made his debut with a seven-point, five-assist game in 19 minutes Friday.
When in doubt Sunday, he pushed the ball quickly and tried to penetrate a physical Jazz defense, good choices in a bad overall game in which the Lakers committed 24 turnovers. None of them, incidentally, by Sessions.
Steve Blake, given the starting job after Derek Fisher was traded to Houston, committed two turnovers, missed his only shot and had two assists in 26 minutes and 30 seconds. The Lakers were outscored by nine when he was on the court. They outscored the Jazz by one when Sessions was on the court.
"They told me to be aggressive and that's what I'm trying to do," Sessions said. "Still, it hurts me not to know the plays and not to know where everybody is at, me being a point guard always knowing what's going on. I definitely don't like the feeling, but it's something I've got to deal with until I get comfortable."
Coach Mike Brown said he had no quarrel with the shots Sessions took but said he is still getting used to his new teammates and they're still learning about him. Until that process is more advanced, Brown said he's inclined to keep Sessions on the bench.
"He's still getting a feel for us. Obviously, he's doing what we thought he would do -- pushing the pace, attacking the rim. And playing pick and roll," Brown said. "And he's just got to keep going. ...
"I thought he played a solid game. Obviously, he missed some shots, but I thought he was pretty good when he was out on the floor."
Brown also called Sessions "an intelligent player," and Sessions proved that true. Instead of waiting for veteran teammates such as Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to approach him to say how and where they prefer the ball, he went to them out of deference and eagerness.
"This is a winning culture team," Sessions said. "I go up to those guys. I went up to Kobe, Bynum, Pau, asked them certain things, how they want the ball, so I can kind of know how to give it to them."
They can expect him to operate at a high tempo and dish off the kinds of no-look passes he delivered Sunday in bringing energy to an offense that needs it.
"He's very fast. He's a very talented guy and he brings a different dimension to our team with his speed and his ability to get out in the open floor and create for himself as well as other players," Andrew Goudelock said. "I think it was a great addition to the team. Great guy too."
But, for now, a reserve, though Brown said he would continue to monitor Blake and Sessions and see whether he wants to keep the lineup as it is the rest of the season.
Blake said he was "very disappointed" with the result Sunday. "They made the right plays. They made some tough shots and they executed down the stretch," he said of the Jazz.
Sessions said he's happy with whatever role he's assigned and said he enjoyed teaming on the second unit with Matt Barnes.
"I love playing with a guy with his intensity," Sessions said. "He gets out there. He's a slasher. He can catch the ball. And he's looking to run. I like to run, so it's definitely a good one-two punch."
There's a reason why Sessions, 25, is playing for his fourth team in five seasons. He's good at a lot of things but not great at any single part of the game, but his speed and assertiveness seem to energize the Lakers' often-stale offense.
Soon, he should be delivering for them in a starting role.