Phil Jackson Pregame – Washington

Prior to L.A’s Tuesday evening contest against the Wizards, a local media member asked him where he would you put this year’s team up against some of his better teams, and Jackson’s answer was interesting enough to quote directly:

It kind of feels to me like a team that’s won a championship and … having been to the Finals the year before the championship (also) and knowing the grind the season’s are, sometimes they don’t present the intensity (about) regular season games that I’d like them to.

Perhaps the good news is, Jackson’s early decade championship teams went through much of the same before going on to win; he has no reason to believe his 2009-10 version won’t ultimately lock in.

One thing that helps, thinks Jackson, is the road, where opposing crowds and teams have it out for the Purple and Gold.

“We got stagnant at home a little bit,” he said. “Now that we’re on the road we want to find some traction.”

A few other notes prior to tipoff:

- Jackson wasn’t worried that the team would have any letdown after an emotional day at the White House. He was, however, concerned with the team’s lack of practice time due to the crazy schedule of late.

- Jackson emphasized that the Lakers absolutely couldn’t take the Wizards lightly, noting a few players in particular: “(Antawn) Jamison and (Caron) Butler are very good scorers, and they have a track record of playing well against us. I don’t know if we’ve ever stopped (Earl) Boykins.”

- Phil revealed that he voted for Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Paul for the All-Star team, but wouldn’t divulge his other picks.

- The head coach tempered his criticism of Ron Artest’s shoes, disclosing that he was purely speculating about why his forward was suffering from plantar fasciitis.

- Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser from ESPN’s “PTI” program stayed after the media session to catch up with their frequent guest.