Before tonight’s rematch against the Kings, Coach Jackson said that, “The last time we played them, there was still the possibility of the playoff hunt for them. Now, that window’s kind of closed off…You wonder if they can bring the same intensity to this game.” Sacramento followed up their defeat at the hands of the Lakers by losing to the Clippers the next night and the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
With five days to reflect on the two teams’ last meeting, Jackson said that there could be some carryover from a game he described as “chippy,” particularly when alluding to the physical matchup at center between Pau Gasol and Brad Miller. “I thought Brad delivered some blows out there,” said Jackson, noting that there was some “extra stuff” to Miller’s fouls. However, the Lakers coach explained Miller’s mindset as he is the lone enforcer in the paint for the Kings so they need his tenacity on defense to compete. When asked if the Lakers had an enforcer-type player, Jackson said, “We really don’t have a person like that on this team.” I’m not so sure you have to have it, but it makes people think about coming inside again.” Jackson said that while Andrew Bynum may not fit that mold just yet, his sheer size and shot-blocking ability alone can make opponents change their game.
With the post-season looming, Jackson said that the team needs to work on allowing fewer easy baskets to opponents if L.A. wants to become a lockdown defensive team in the playoffs. Jackson said he thought the Lakers did a good job of adjusting to the Kings and Clippers’ offensive schemes during the team’s two most recent games. With several repeat matchups looming, Jackson said identifying opposing teams’ ploys would likely become much easier as the Lakers’ familiarity with their opponents increases.