A few hours after the Lakers returned from practice on Wednesday evening, they were instructed to meet in their hotel lobby to climb back onto the team bus. Attendance was mandatory. Here’s how Luke Walton described the event – which ended up being a trip to see Denzel Washington’s “The Taking of Pelham 123” – in his NBA.com blog:
Destination Unknown: At the end of practice today, Phil called us to the middle circle. He said everybody meet in the hotel lobby at 7:30 for a mandatory team bus tonight. Where are we going? Good question. I have no idea. Maybe we’ll see Mickey at Disney World or visit Epcot, go see a movie. Who knows?
The surprise trips are not uncommon. One time this season, we were in D.C. and we all got on the bus for a shootaround and next thing we know we were touring the city for two hours. Or another time in training camp in Hawaii, everyone thought we were going to practice and instead, Phil took us to a military field and we did paint ball for about four or five hours. I can’t imagine we’re doing paint ball tonight but you never know with Phil. Most of the time when Phil schedules these excursions, they end up pretty cool.
As it turned out, seeing what Josh Powell called “the Denzel joint” ended up being an ideal way for the Lakers to calm their collective mind prior to Thursday evening’s Game 4. As a point of fact, L.A. is 6-0 in the 2009 playoffs after a loss, and at the same time, is pretty confident that they know what to expect from the Magic.
We’ll see how Phil Jackson’s plan worked out at 6 p.m. Pacific.