Lakers start Ramon Sessions

Updated: March 23, 2012, 10:32 PM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Ramon Sessions was the Los Angeles Lakers' starting point guard Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"I'm going to start Sessions tonight," Lakers coach Mike Brown told reporters after the Lakers' shootaround Friday. "The biggest thing is there's a comfort level there with all of us and Sessions. If you talk to him, he'll tell you at the end of the Dallas game when he was on the floor, there was a comfort level that he had out there running the offense.

"The game before that, in Houston, when he was on the floor, he'll tell you that he didn't feel comfortable down the stretch knowing what we can run and or do on the offensive end of the floor. So, it's just a matter of him feeling a comfort level of running the team, not necessarily during the flow of the game, but in tight situations when it's close down the stretch and he's starting to get that. And he's shown leadership qualities too, which is another positive."

Sessions averaged 12.0 points, 6.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds in his first four games with the Lakers, being implemented as Steve Blake's backup after being acquired at the trade deadline from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had 17 points and nine assists in a 109-93 win against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and ended up playing more minutes (29) than Blake (17).

"I think it just divvies up the minutes a little bit better with him starting and being on the floor as much as he needs to be," Brown said.

Brown added he will use Blake and Sessions in the backcourt together at times.

Sessions, who reported to the Lakers practice facility on Thursday to go over scripted plays in Brown's offense even though the team had the day off, said he's doing his best to cram in the new system in a short period of time.

"It's definitely learning on the go and on the go is almost in the game with this shortened season, but it's one of those things where you just got to get a lot of extra work in," said Sessions, who has been working closely with Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder.

Sessions said he appreciated the trust Brown has showed in him after joining the team just last week.

"He's been big for me," Sessions said. "Him being the head coach and him just giving me the green light to play my game, to believe in me. ... This is a team that's won many championships and to bring me along four to five days in and give me the green light to play my game is big."

Added Brown: "I need him to trust his instincts first and know the sets second, because I think he can be that good, so I want him to have the freedom to go play basketball and then get a feel for what we're trying to do after that."

710 ESPN's Beto Duran contributed to this report.