Lakers vs. Nets Pre-Game

The Lakers are currently enduring a mini slump, dropping the final two games of their road trip at Milwaukee and Boston. The Lakers began their three game stint back east with an easy win over the Pacers and should have beaten the Bucks after controlling the game up until the fourth quarter. Tonight’s game versus the New Jersey Nets—the first in a stretch in which the Lakers will play at home in four of their next five games—could be the exact remedy the Lakers are looking for. However, like their game versus Milwaukee, the Nets are a potentially dangerous team whose subpar 6-7 record does not necessarily indicate how capable they are.

Prior to tonight’s contest, Coach Jackson said he is not concerned about the Nets’ abundance of All-Stars, alluding to the fact that it is often the referees, not the players, who over emphasize star power. However, he did praise perennial All-NBA guard Jason Kidd’s uncanny ability to rebound from the guard spot and push the ball up the floor. When asked about the possibility of Kidd’s trade prospects as the deadline gets closer, Jackson explained that he prefers not to deal with hypotheticals as 90% of trades that are discussed never happen.

Jackson also spoke about the Lakers emerging strength at the point guard spot, a weakness last season that prompted widespread speculation about Kidd being traded to L.A. The Lakers coach singled out Jordan Farmar’s excellent play to open up the season, disregarding his average game against the Celtics on Friday night. According to Jackson, Farmar hit the proverbial rookie wall around the Lakers 35th game last year, but has come out his year ready to earn more minutes. Jackson also made sure rookie Javaris Crittenton was included in the point guard conversation, revealing that despite the fact that he’s been “sheltering” Crittenton as he learns the NBA game, “He’s going to be a player some day.”

Tonight’s game will also mark the potential debut of Trevor Ariza in a Lakers uniform, who Jackson said might be used to matchup against Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. Ariza has yet to practice with the team, but with the team in L.A. for a week, it is safe to say that Trevor will likely see some time on the court.

With the Lakers having just completed their first extended road trip of the season this past week, Jackson said he was able to test his surgically replaced hip for the first time since his summer surgery—a key factor in whether or not he plans to extend his Lakers tenure beyond this season. According to Jackson, his hip successfully passed his first, self-imposed hurdle. Jackson also singled out the Lakers success as another factor that he is taking into consideration when deciding whether or not resign with the team.