After Thursday’s practice in Oklahoma City, Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson answered some questions to assembled L.A. media about his squad as well as Friday night’s opponent, the Thunder.
Among his comments:
On Sasha Vujacic:
Jackson: Sasha has had a year where his shot’s been inconsistent and his playing time has been inconsistent. So we’ve asked him to just play the role that he knows how to do. He’s an efficient guard, he knows how to run the offense, he knows the actions we’re (running). Don’t worry about the shot, it will come when it comes. He was playing really well in short minutes, because Shannon (Brown) has played well and started when Kobe (Bryant) was out and Jordan (Farmar) has had a dedicated role on this team and Sasha hasn’t. But that’s doesn’t mean he can’t help us, and that’s what we’ve been saying.
On Oklahoma City’s Defense:
Jackson: They are awfully active and athletic, and their defense is predicated a lot on steals, turnovers, tough shots, blocks and they run out very well from it. In fact, most of our practice today was concerned with our spacing, taking care of the basketball, getting the kind of shots we want to get. Not worrying about anything else but just controlling the perimeter, both offensively and defensively.
On if L.A. should handle the Thunder:
Jackson: Well, we had a last-second situation here the first meeting, and everybody said about the same thing: ‘Geez, how’s this young team taking (the Lakers) to the limit?’ But that’s the way it is on the road. You have these young teams that can play; they have an excitable crowd here and we have to keep them out of it.
On getting the type of good play off the bench from Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown as was offered against San Antonio:
Jackson: We hope so. We try to do that, and I told Jordan he may not match up with (Russell) Westbrook off the bat, but (Eric) Maynor is definitely going to be a matchup for him. So (Farmar) may not be the first guard off the bench; Westbrook wants to jump over people lots of times.