The Riverside Press-Enterprise’s Jim Alexander is all warm and tingley watching the Lakers receive key contributions from the sort of untested players Phil Jackson would usually steer clear of.

Something tells me the Lakers’ kids are going to be all right.

It could be Andrew Bynum, showing the fruits of his tutorial sessions with the greatest scorer in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Or rookie Jordan Farmar (above, left), getting a good 18 minutes a game, running the triangle like a veteran and making those early projections that he would drop down to the National Basketball Development League look, well, premature.

(Yeah, This Space booted that one, all right.)

Or perhaps it’s Ronny Turiaf, the new Staples Center cult favorite, providing his team the same effect as a jolt of caffeine — and hearing “Ron-ny … Ron-ny … Ron-ny” at the free-throw line, only to mistake it for something else.

“I’m not trying to be funny,” he said Friday night. “I really thought they were saying ‘Kobe,’ because his name is chanted all the time.”

The speculation early on — bolstered by Phil Jackson’s historic reluctance to play rookies — was that Farmar, last June’s first-round pick, might drop down to the minors when the D-League’s season begins Nov. 28. But Farmar’s getting 18 minutes a game and is easily the second best point guard on the roster right now.

Paul Pierce credits Ricky Davis
with the introduction of a female dance team at the TD Banknorth Garden. Clearly, that was the one missing piece from John Havlicek’s resume.

Cornrows, a relatively new entry into Pacers blogdom, dishes the dirt on the duelling Blackberries of Spike Lee and Reggie Miller last night. There’s also a mention of Soon-Yi Preven’s appearance (“she’s starting to show her age. She better watch out because Woody may start looking into adopting his next wife,”) which is strangely fitting given that MSG gave away tickets to all of Mia Farrow’s adopted children in a last-ditch attempt to fill the building.

Jason Kidd’s turnovers are up, teammates are dropping passes and Richard Jefferson’s shots aren’t falling. When in doubt, blame the new ball, writes the Newark Star Ledger’s Dave D’Allessandro.

“We can’t do anything about it. If it’s slippery, (the opponent) also has to play with it,” Kidd said. “It takes some funny kicks. The ball does some funny things. We have to get used to it. But if it does get wet, it becomes a slippery ball.”

Worse than the leather ball?

“Yeah, way worse than the other one,” he said. “The leather would soak up the sweat or the oil from your hand, but this one (doesn’t).”

And how long will it take to get used to it?

“The whole season,” he replied, matter-of-factly.