The most notable of Phil Jackson’s pregame comments was that Pau Gasol “worked pain free” in L.A.’s shootaround on Wednesday.
While shootarounds don’t involve contact drills or really anything at full speed, it’s certainly a positive sign for the Spaniard and the Lakers. Gasol remains listed as “day-to-day” with a minor strain of his left hamstring, though no timetable exists for his return.
Some other notes:
- If you recall, Andrew Bynum had his best statistical game of the season last year against the Clippers, recording 42 points and 10 rebounds … BUT, neither Marcus Camby nor Chris Kaman played. Bynum downplayed the effort following last night’s win over Houston when prompted.
- As for the Clippers … Jackson mentioned that his team’s nine-game winning streak against L.A.’s other squad is a complete non-starter for Wednesday evening’s game, at least for the Lakers. The Clips, on the other hand, certainly have no interest in losing 10 straight to the purple and gold.
- Clipper forward Craig Smith said before the game that he had no doubt the Lakers would get his team’s best effort.
- In the Clippers locker room, swingman Ricky Davis confirmed* what Phil Jackson speculated: the Clips certainly feel like they’re good enough to make the playoffs. To Davis, it’s simply a matter of putting their capable talent together in the right way, which has been difficult in the past two seasons due in large part to injuries. Their talent, however, goes deep enough to beat anybody on a given night. The Clips have won four straight at STAPLES Center, defeating the Wizards, Celtics, 76ers and Blazers.
- Lakers vs Clips in the playoffs? Davis’ eyes grew bright when thinking about a potential first round playoff matchup between L.A.’s two NBA teams, which could certainly happen. The Lakers currently have a 4.5 game lead on Dallas, while the Clippers are 2.5 games behind Oklahoma City for No. 8.
- While Baron Davis remains the biggest name on the Clippers’ roster, Kaman has been their best player this season. In the last 10 games, he’s averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds by utilizing his mix of inside and outside play. The Lakers do have a good defensive counter in Andrew Bynum, and D.J. Mbenga could see some time on Kaman as well.