With Game 2 in the best of seven series against the Nuggets looming, Coach Jackson said, “I anticipate both teams to play hard. I think that’s what you do in this situation. You play up to the limits and try not to go over them and I anticipate guys will be within the bounds.”
While the Lakers have all of the momentum as the series moves forward, Jackson said that, “The pressure’s still on us. We still have the pressure to win on our home court, play as hard as we did before. It’s very difficult for a team to come back with the same intensity.”
“There’s a natural tendency to relax,” said Jackson, noting Denver’s repeated knack for coming through with big victories when they need it most. “We talked about that both yesterday and today as a ball club. They have to come out and play hard and when they have the foot on the neck to keep it there.”
Kobe Bryant echoed Jackson’s statements, revealing that he thinks the Nuggets will come out focused and determined in Game 2.
“We want to protect our home court,” said Bryant. “That’s really the key. If I’m Denver, I’m still sitting over there comfortable because I know that our goal was to come here and get a split. It’s our duty and the pressure is on us to not let that happen.”
Kobe said that he is not sure if Denver will rely on Kenyon Martin’s height to try and bother him as he did in Game 1, but he will be prepared either way.
“I don’t know if they’re going to start out with Kenyon on me,” said Bryant. “I don’t know if they’re going to go with the matchups they used against me during the regular season, more zone. We don’t know, we just try to prepare ourselves for every scenario and when the game starts, execute accordingly.”
The Lakers star also addressed the five technical foul calls that were called during an especially chippy Game 1, explaining that it was nothing he has not seen before.
“It’s just playoff basketball,” Bryant said. “If you look around the league and other series, it just happens. I remember Denver last year had a series against San Antonio that was extremely physical. They have physical players. Kenyon Martin’s a physical player. Carmelo Anthony’s a physical player. It’s just part of it.”