Lakers head coach Phil Jackson spent the first two minutes of his pregame press access deflecting questions and joking around, which the media can look forward to every few games or so.
Phil revealed that he didn’t watch Shaq’s 45-point explosion against Toronto on Friday; said he doesn’t know if Steve Nash is going to play today; failed to make a comparison between L.A.’s last two losses in Denver and Utah (“That was before the All-Star break, I don’t remember”); didn’t seem concerned about Trevor Ariza’s shooting when asked and said he thinks Phoenix can still make the playoffs if healthy.
That was about it.
D.J. Mbenga had a little more to offer.
He said the key to containing Shaq actually mirrored the key to beating Phoenix in general: get your butt back on defense as fast as possible. This is especially key with Shaq, Mbenga said, because if you don’t hit him hard above the free throw line extended or so, he’s simply going to set up shop in the paint where you can’t stop him.
Mbenga will surely see at least a few minutes on Shaq, as he did during L.A.’s 132-106 win on Thursday night when D.J. matched a career high with eight points. He said he’s much less concerned with his scoring that he is with his defense.