In case you prefer the written word to our practice video, here are some of the more interesting quotes that came out of the mouths of Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom following Tuesday’s practice:
On why he wasn’t surprised with the opening loss:
Phil Jackson: I felt we hadn’t connected well after the series with Utah – we had a few days off, Kobe gets sick. There just wasn’t that type of connection you have to have with a team, so that’s not a surprise. We’d beaten them four times and they were out there to prove a point, and they did.
On “Settle down, everybody.”
Jackson: We’re not happy about losing, but the sky is not falling … We’re not ready to pack up and go home yet.
On the lack of focus:
Jackson: It might have been our attitude. We came unfocused. In a game like that there are two or three possessions that are critical … There were a few things that happened that changed the dimension of the game. Our relationship to each other, communication – passing the ball and being crisp with it, putting each other in rhythm on our shots, that’s where our game lacked its precision. The other aspect of it is that we messed around on the defensive end and allowed them to do exactly what they wanted and get the ball where they wanted to have it; that’s one of the things you can’t do, you have to be aggressive.
On getting Yao Ming out of the paint:
Jackson: Obviously he’s not the most active guy on the floor – he’s a guy that’s going to clog the lane, so you want to make him be active out there. We didn’t do that (last night) but it should happen naturally with what we do.”
On Andrew Bynum’s effort and the expectation for him:
Jackson: He got his hand caught in the cookie jar and had to pay the price, but I thought he played OK last night. He actually shot the ball as well as anybody, but it’s really not about that, it’s about the activity level that we have to have. He’s gotta be much more active as a defender, not letting Yao catch the ball where he wants to and those types of things. He has to be aware of that. The offense should come as a product, so defense and rebounding are the focus that we want to have.
On the energy level of the team heading into Game 2:
Kobe Bryant: Everybody’s pretty edgy and excited about it … I think we’re really looking forward to this challenge. We’re ready to go. If you want to be a champion, you have to be tested. You have to answer the bell, answer the call, and I’m anxious to see how we do.
On Tony Parker … Err Aaron Brooks:
Bryant: He’s good. He’s extremely good, you almost have to treat him like Tony Parker in terms of his speed and quickness and getting to the rim. You have to pay a lot of attention to him.
On getting into his personal rhythm:
Bryant: In the first half, my rhythm was a little off, but in the second half, not so much. I felt great.”
On putting the loss in perspective:
Bryant: It’s not the end of the world. We’re not the first team ever to lose a Game 1 at home. It’s just here in Los Angeles, people get nervous. It is what it is.
On moving on:
Odom: We put the loss behind us and it’s time to move onto the next game. (Losing) is news because we expect to win. You probably expect us to win or especially play at a high level, and we didn’t last night.
On the team’s mindset at practice:
Odom: Focused. It wasn’t like it was the fourth game we lost in the series. There’s no reason to panic. We want to understand this team, what they do and don’t do so we can combat (it).
On how his approach changes with Ron Artest guarding him:
Odom: None. Just play my same game and take shots when they’re there. (Luis) Scola is on Trevor, so we have to try and get Trevor to use his ball-handling skills and drive the basketball.