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Phil Jackson, Lakers talk Celtics

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff  January 30, 2010 07:00 PM

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The Lakers practiced Saturday at Emerson College and before they took the floor, they talked about their showdown with the Celtics, who are vulnerable after dropping two straight games and seven at home overall.

The most interesting comments came from Lakers center Pau Gasol who was asked about playing against Kevin Garnett who has been ailing with his surgically repaired right knee but is still considered a standout interior defender.

"I don't know about 14 seasons," he said when told that Garnett had been one of the league's best defenders for the past 14 seasons. "But a few, sure. My understanding is that leg is not completely healthy and I seen him play and I don't know how much he's struggling and hurting with it because his injury was never clear to the public. But I am just going to try to be aggressive with him. It doesn't matter how his leg is feeling or doing. He's playing. He's competing. He's a competitor and helping out with his team.

"He's a good leader and his team needs him. I will try to attack him just like just like I would attack anybody else."

Gasol showed respect for the Celtics.

"It's a game that we look forward to and it's a game that's going to be extremely hard. We are going to have to compete at the highest level," he said. "We have to be ready. Boston right now is in a little bit of a losing streak, lost two games in a row and they are ready to bounce back and what a better chance to play against us at home after back-to-back losses. We have to understand that too. We have to understand that because we're on a three-game losing streak and they are on a two-game losing streak, their mentality and their aggressiveness is going to be there. We have to make sure ours is there, too."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson assessed these current Celtics and specifically Garnett:

"I don't know if they're struggling so much as they couldn't hold on to the win in Orlando, they played a good game," he said. "I think maybe a back-to-back against a team that's sitting there like Atlanta might be a tough order in a situation like that, coming in late at night. They're still a team to be reckoned with in the playoffs when that times comes."

Jackson on Garnett:

"He's still a rover defensively and he's still a guy that's going to hit those shots from 20 feet if he's in a screen-and-roll. You have to account for that. He can stand and shoot those shots, even though he had trouble making them the other night."

Jackson on Rajon Rondo:

"He's the engine that drives that drives this machine a little bit, getting easy baskets, pushing the ball down the floor, finding guys. He's really stepped into a game, that an All-Star vote-getting game. The attention we have to pay to him is tremendous because the easy baskets come usually from his direction." 

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