Who better to preview the Lakers – Spurs game than Lakers Coach Phil Jackson?
Below is a portion of Jackson’s comments to assembled media members before the Lakers and Spurs tipped off on Sunday afternoon:
On if any gamesmanship might exist in case the Lakers and Spurs meet up in the playoffs:
Jackson: I think you just try and execute what you can execute. We have emphasis on specific things today. In a playoff situation, we may have emphasis on something else. I probably won’t really use my full court press.
On defensive assignments for Manu Ginobili and George Hill:
Jackson: Hill had a big first quarter and a big first half, and we just kept (Derek) Fish(er) on him in the second half. Ron (Artest) is designated to play Ginobili, and (Ginobili) has been hot regardless of whether he was (when L.A. beat S.A. last week) that particular game or not. He seems to be the provocateur, Hill also. They’re going to run off screens and try to generate offense for other people.
On if Tony Parker (out with a hand injury) will be able to assimilate back into the Spurs team into the playoffs:
Jackson: I see no reason why not. He’s only been there seven years as a player.
On if George Hill is one of the league’s most improved players:
Jackson: Yeah, he’s in the group, I’m sure. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that.
On if it would feel weird to play San Antonio in the first round:
Jackson: No, it would feel very common and very natural to go to San Antonio and spend this part of the year in San Antonio, which is always one of my favorite towns … But I don’t think (seeding) matters once you get into the playoffs. It’s just seeding. You’re in the playoffs, you’re in the mix.
On if he’d rest players when L.A. clinches the No. 1 seed in the West:
Jackson: No. I would not rest players. There is an opportunity to rest somebody at some point, I may do it, but this game following this one against Denver I think is an important game to play, I think Sunday’s game against Portland is an important game for us to play hard, and we know we have a back-to-back finish where I’ll probably shorten minutes if that’s possible.