After a close win in Game 5, the talk after practice today was all about energy and execution as the team looks to take the series victory night in Salt Lake City. Coach Jackson said that if the Lakers want to win Game 6 on the road—something only the Pistons have been able to do in the Second Round—they’ll need to play at least 10 points better.
Looking back on last night’s win, Jackson said, “The energy was frenetic, the pace was awfully high and because of that, our execution suffered a little bit. I just think that the idea of the importance of this game to these players lifted the level of their energy considerably.”
With the team flying out this afternoon for tomorrow night’s contest, Jackson rested Kobe, Odom, Gasol and Fisher while the rest of the team scrimmaged.
“We thought we could have played better last night,” said Odom. “It was an emotional game, everybody was fired up, we played with a lot of energy. I think you have to save that for the defensive end and on the offensive end, you have to slow it down, keep our composure, make the right plays, execute our offense and just take our time.”
According to the forward, the message has been received by the Lakers.
“If we execute and stay focused throughout the game, we won’t let those guys get out to a 10 point lead, 12 point lead,” said Odom, alluding to the Lakers’ near comeback on the road in Game 4. “Hopefully, we’ll be just fine.”
With the Lakers on the verge of going to the Western Conference Finals, Lamar took time to reflect on the team’s current playoff run–the deepest he’s ever been in the post-season.
“When I was about six or seven years old, I always thought it would be my destiny to win a championship or at least play for one,” said Odom. “It’s something I always dreamed about and continue to dream about.”
“It’s something that I guess the city of L.A. feels,” said Lamar. “When I walk out for a warm-up on the layup line to see the stands completely full even before the ball even goes up is incredible. As a team, we just have that special feeling right now that we can win any basketball game that we play in.”