Before tonight’s pivotal Game 5 against the Celtics, Coach Jackson said that the team’s mood was good. The veteran coach said that he told his team that “The only way to approach this is to keep playing,” reiterating to them that they were “young enough and dumb enough” to pull off the impossible by becoming the first team in NBA Finals history to come back from a 3-1 deficit.
According to Jackson, the veteran players on the team responded particularly well to the Lakers’ crushing 24 point collapse in Game 4, noting that the light was back in their eyes. Jackson said he isn’t worried about how the Kobe Bryant’s and Derek Fisher’s will play tonight, but more so the team’s youthful bench who particularly suffered in the second half on Thursday.
“Our bench didn’t score in the second half of the game on Thursday night and I really wanted them to get the confidence back because they’ve supported us all year and that’s where I need to see the confidence come back in their faces, their eyes,” said Jackson.
For the Lakers, tonight’s matchup is all about “focusing on what’s happening right now in this game,” said Jackson, instructing his team to remain in the present instead of looking at the potentially daunting task of having to win the final two games of the series in Boston.