Wednesday Practice Report

A few tidbits emerged from L.A.’s practice facility on Wednesday, including a Trevor Ariza’s post-Iggy thoughts, NCAA tournament talk, a look at the coming seven-game road trip and even some jury duty talk:

Ariza Guarantees Effort
Lakers small forward Trevor Ariza, who failed to commit L.A.’s foul to give before Andre Iguodala pulled up for a game-winning three pointer on Tuesday night, simply took the blame and said it wouldn’t happen again:

“We can’t settle for what we’re doing at the time, we have to keep the effort going the whole game,” explained Ariza after a few heated games of four-on-four. “Sometimes we just relax when we shouldn’t, we take things for granted a little bit, but I guarantee you that won’t happen again. We won’t take anything for granted again.”

Six Lakers Fill Out NCAA Tourney Brackets
Jordan Farmar (UCLA), Luke Walton (Arizona), Shannon Brown (Michigan State), Adam Morrison (Gonzaga), Derek Fisher (Arkansas-Little Rock) and Josh Powell (NC State) filled out NCAA Tourney brackets for us to score on Lakers.com. Lakers.com threw its collective hat into the competition as well, though Ty Nowell’s bias/insistence towards Alma mater Arizona State could be our downfall. Alas, you can track their respective brackets throughout the tournament to see whose personal bias affects them the least (Arizona in the final game, Luke? Really?). Click here to see everyone’s brackets.

Road Trip Looming
Chicago, Oklahoma City, Detroit, New Jersey, Atlanta, Charlotte and Milwaukee. That’s quite a bit of travel, right? While the seven teams don’t look as good as Boston, Cleveland or San Antonio on paper, most of the squads play well at home, and several are playing much better basketball of late. For example, the Bulls have won seven straight home games to improve to 21-11 in Chicago; Atlanta 26-7 at home, the league’s fourth best record; Charlotte is for some strange reason L.A.’s toughest opponent; Detroit’s playing better basketball, Milwaukee’s well above .500 in Wisconsin and OKC gets fired up in their building, leaving only New Jersey (14-19) as a team that’s struggled in their arena (is it the smog?). Of course, L.A. seems to bring out the best in its road opponent regardless of placement on the map.

Jury Duty
Finally, Kobe Bryant wasn’t available for L.A.’s team photo to be taken at the practice facility today thanks to … you guessed it … jury duty. Phil Jackson said that he doesn’t expect Bryant to be selected for a case, and that Kobe will be in the starting lineup for Thursday’s game against Golden State.