- Jackson noted that among the biggest changes with Kobe Bryant’s return is the minute deduction for Shannon Brown, who will have to adjust back to his traditional role off the bench. Brown, however – along with Adam Morrison and Josh Powell – could see a few more minutes in the absence of Sasha Vujacic (shoulder) and Luke Walton (back).
- The major theme of our preview of tonight’s contest was LA’s need to get the ball into the paint, something they didn’t do in the two-point Memphis win on Feb. 1. Jackson brought that idea up almost right away, suggesting that the “Get the ball inside!” mantra has to happen immediately. The game plan is very explicitly to attack Memphis from the inside out.
Later, he expounded on the issue:
We looked at the tape from last game, and a few guys noticeably were not making the second effort. Our big guys … Andrew missed a dunk at the basket … we turned the ball over (passing it to the post), post players turned it over when we got there … there were just a lot of things that contributed to that. We got offensive fouls. So that’s some of the reason that it happened like that, we hope to remedy that (tonight).
- Andrew Bynum said in the locker room that his hip continues to bother him, but he essentially has learned how to play through it. Jackson said that he continues, of course, to be aware of the injury, but that Bynum has looked fine to him in practice.
- On Pau Gasol’s play at his old home: “I think it really has affected him coming back and playing. Maybe it’s playing against his brother. He hears the rabble out there in the crowd and he is somewhat affected. He hasn’t played as well as he plays for us in a normal situation against Memphis.”
- Jackson credited Ron Artest’s addition to LA’s improved overall defense (second in the NBA) at this point in the season. He rightly pointed out that Trevor Ariza really didn’t emerge until late in the season, as Vladimir Radmanovic and Luke Walton started for much of the year at small forward. The head coach also explained that Ariza wasn’t a 35-minute a night guy, as Artest is, which certainly affects the overall defensive production.
- That Cleveland lost three straight wasn’t a huge deal to Jackson, who said things will get interesting more in the last two weeks of the season than now. He did acknowledge that Cleveland has the easier schedule going forward, obviously because they’re in the weaker Eastern Conference.
- The Grizzlies didn’t have rookie swing man Sam Young available last game, but got a surprising career-high 13 points from unknown Lester Hudson, who received DNPCD’s in the last two Memphis games.