Lakers coach Phil Jackson spoke briefly with reporters today at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, Calif. today. Below is a partial transcript.
Are you considering any lineup changes or rotation changes for the next game?
Phil Jackson: No, not at this point. But we’re likely to do pull out everything as this series goes along.
When did you decide to cancel practice today, and why?
Phil Jackson: You know, just in the checking out how the guys were and how they felt, I just felt it was a good idea. We have to two days to work on things we need to work on. We have guys that are well conditioned at this time, and we need rest and recuperation in this situation, probably more psychologically than we do physically.
I think Kobe said that you didn’t say much to them last night after the game in terms of getting them up for the next game, and I assume you’ve had no communication with them today. What are you thinking in terms of getting them up? Are you getting them up or are they supposed to get themselves up?
Phil Jackson: Well, these young men are really resilient. That’s one of the things I think I mentioned last night. I don’t think there’s any doubt that if we had to play this morning, we probably wouldn’t feel that great about playing this morning, but fortunately we’re not playing until Sunday, and we’ll be back ready to go on Sunday.
I just told them as a team, they had their heart ripped out. It’s tough to recover from that, but they will. This thing is not over, and we want to force the action, want to continue to force the play.
Kareem had said out in the parking lot that the players did come in and you talked to them this morning; is that correct?
Phil Jackson: That’s right.
Can you maybe relay a little bit of the overall message and how they were feeling, that sort of stuff?
Phil Jackson: I told them that the series is not over and we want to force the action (laughter).
In hindsight looking back at last night, anything you think you could have done differently? How much responsibility do you take for what happened last night?
Phil Jackson: Well, expanding on what I told the team, I said, I think everybody who has a part of this, from Rudy Garciduenas, who’s our equipment manager, probably thought he put the wrong Tide in the uniforms. Everybody that feels like they did something they could have done to help the team and weren’t able to help the team has to consider that. That’s what you mull as a coach over in your mind at 1:00 or 5:00 in the morning after a situation like that, what could have we done differently.
But the other aspect is that you’ve got to give credit when credit is due.
After the game Kobe obviously was probably joking with the self medication, a few beers, some wine. Any concern about that with their hearts being ripped out?
Phil Jackson: No, I think that they looked clear eyed today for the most part. They looked relatively clear eyed. We watched some tape, we looked at the first half.
Obviously we were successful in the first half and did some things that got a lead for us, and I wanted to explain to them that they were the same ballclub, the same personnel that went out there in the second half, and if they can get that kind of a lead, they can maintain that kind of a game if they really put their minds to it.
Knowing Kobe as a competitor, the report is that Pierce wanted to guard Kobe in the second half. When that information gets back to him, what do you expect out of Kobe coming into Sunday, if anything, different?
Phil Jackson: I think more or less that’s not going to be as much of an interest point to him as probably what Garnett said, and that’ll probably weigh strongly with Kobe, than that aspect, that Pierce wanted to guard him.
It was sort of a chess match as far as Doc deciding to move Paul onto Kobe after Ray was there. Is there a way you can sort of look at video and decide there’s a better way to get Kobe some better looks? Is there something you can do?
Phil Jackson: You know, I think they’ve had many match ups over the course of the years. There’s nothing unusual. All Paul did was try to deny him the basketball and use his length to deny the ball to him. It wasn’t particularly that action.
Kobe didn’t score the first half and we had an 18 point lead. He didn’t score a basket the first half. We wanted to reiterate that, that we can still win this ballgame if we play the way we did the first half. That’s something that’s important for us as a team to understand.
In looking at the game film, what jumps out at you in that second half, maybe two or three things?
Phil Jackson: Well, there’s some little things that jump out. I mentioned last night that Pau had a situation where he had a dunk and it came out or it was blocked or there was a foul; there’s action in that situation. He didn’t go perhaps hard enough to the basket in one of those situations. But that turned out to be a critical play. That’s right where we could have gone from 12 to 14 and instead we go from 12 to 10, or 14 to 16, and it went back to 14 to 12.
There’s some little key plays right there at the end of the third quarter that changed the energy that they were able to bring, the hope that they were able to bring. Any team that’s down that deep says, let’s just get it back to 10 points, let’s not try to make it up all in a row or in a hurry. Not only were they able to get it back to 10 points, they were able to get it back almost entirely by the end of the third quarter.
Those are the things that inspired their team, and we have to look at that as a critical element. It was still a 10 point lead with 2:02 left in the third quarter, I think. Those are the points of the game that are really important to us.