Helping me out with Friday evening’s pregame scouting report was Trevor Ariza, who talked about matching up with Caron Butler, his individual area of focus heading into games and how he thinks the Lakers should attack the Wizards.
One area of focus Ariza said he has every game is feeding the ball to Andrew Bynum (pictured warming up before the game) and Pau Gasol, as at least one of the two seven-footers has a mismatch on a nightly basis. Against the Wizards, it’s probably fair to say that both Bynum (JaVale McGee) and Gasol (Antawn Jamison) have a mismatch.
Phil Jackson Pregame
Jackson emphasized that his team needs to play with a “great amount of energy” against the Wizards, whom he implied are better than their 3-13 record, mentioning their two All-Star forwards in particular (Butler and Jamison).
Phil’s been happy with the job Gasol’s been able to do defensively on smaller forwards, about which I asked after writing that piece earlier today. “He’s done very well” was the quote, amidst a slightly longer explanation.
When prompted about Kobe Bryant’s defense, Jackson was careful to explain that the coaches are “trying to work with Kobe in staying inside the team framework on how we play defense.” Sometimes, Jackson said Kobe might “take a foray into the steal market” and come away empty-handed, which “compromises our defense.”
Going on, Jackson said that steals are “not a mark of a great defensive player,” citing the competition for swipes amongst Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar, Ariza and Bryant.
When a reporter implied that Gasol might not be a “star,” Jackson responded very clearly that anybody who doesn’t think Gasol is very clearly the second star on this team simply doesn’t know his game, or the game.