The most interesting pregame information regarded the fact that Kobe Bryant didn’t come on the team bus, instead taking a few more moments at the team hotel due to a stomach ailment.
“He’ll be here,” said Phil Jackson. “He’s going to be all right.”
Sure enough, Bryant showed up shortly after Jackson’s media session, and will start.
Some other notes:
- Jackson reiterated that the team spent some time talking about their defense during Saturday’s practice. “We did a defensive skeleton drill and (went through) some of the things we anticipate that Orlando has done and would do against us and just tried to get ourselves playing again with that vigor that we have to play with to stop penetration. (Miami and Charlotte) cut us up pretty good.
- Phil’s thoughts on the differences between Orlando this year and last: “Vince is very explosive, as everybody knows. I think the addition of (Matt) Barnes is also something that people don’t talk about, Jason Williams, (Brandon) Bass … they all contribute. They play 10 guys. Basically, Carter uses the Turkoglu plays, they run the same plays just with a different guy.” Jackson added that Carter may be a better scorer and Turkoglu the better passer, and that Carter goes right more while Turkoglu went left.
- Ron Artest had “defense” dyed and carved into his head in Hindi, Japanese and Hebrew, about which Jackson had this to say: “”Well, if it gives him the idea of what’s on his head, then we’ll be in great shape.” Artest, however, opted not to discuss his hair until after the game, focusing on the task at hand.
- Jordan Farmar said he definitely began recollecting the last time L.A. was in the visitor’s locker room at Amway Arena, pouring champagne on the heads of his teammates.