With only a win tomorrow over the Spurs standing in the way of the Lakers’ first trip to the NBA Finals in four years, the team is confident they can get the job done, but still mindful of San Antonio’s experienced squad.
Derek Fisher–a key player on last year’s Jazz team that had a chance to defeat the Spurs and advance to the finals–is particularly appreciative of the opportunity the Lakers have in front of them.
“This doesn’t come around every season,” said Fisher. “There’s been hundreds of guys that have played many years in this league and haven’t really gotten this opportunity so you have to cherish it and appreciate it.”
According to the veteran, the key to this year’s team is the chemistry that has been carefully fostered all season long, even with several roster changes threatening to ruin the team dynamic.
“Playing in Utah last year, I thought I wouldn’t get that experience again of playing with an entire team of guys that I really enjoy being with on and off the court,” said Fisher. “We respect each other, from top to bottom. To come onto this group and not really know what was going to happen in terms of personnel and what guys were going to perform at this level or that level and really start to come together at this point in the season is a really good feeling and I’m glad I can be a part of it.”
For Coach Jackson, today’s practice was all about staying in the moment and making sure that the Lakers understand that San Antonio is prepared to fight for their lives tomorrow.
“We try to stay where we’re at right now, but what you’re trying to figure out is what experience is necessary to grow these players and being able to perform at this level and have a mental attitude about it,” said Jackson.
“They played a seven game series just a couple of weeks ago and they had to bring other things out in Games 5, 6 and 7,” said Jackson.
Pau Gasol–the newest addition to this Lakers team said that the chance to win the Western Conference crown is obviously on the team’s mind and will no doubt give the team an extra boost in tomorrow’s game.
“Their backs are against the wall and they’re going to have to come out and do something and fight with all they’ve got and we want to the same,” said Gasol.