Pregame: Phil Jackson on Kobe Bryant

D070840014.JPGPrior to L.A.’s Game 2 contest against Oklahoma City, Phil Jackson offered his take on Kobe Bryant’s struggle with his shooting and more in an interchange with collected media members. Here’s the transcription:

Q: On the reasons why Jackson wasn’t happy with how many touches his big men received in Game 1.
Jackson: I think a lot of it has to do with (having) Kobe back on the floor and the amount of attention he gets from some of our guys. They want to give him the ball inside of really seeing that the post is open, (and they’ve) got to pass it in there. They see where Kobe is a lot of times, and sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the most grease.

Q: On if he’s concerned about Kobe for the next 20 games.
Jackson: If Kobe’s going to play this style of basketball, he has to adjust his game to match ours. He can still play exactly the way he’s playing right now, but he has to limit the amount of shots he takes. Obviously he can’t shoot 30-something percent. He can’t shoot that percentage and have us be successful. Either his proficiency has to increase or he has to become a playmaker out of those things. But he can still draw all the attention and still make the plays.

Q: On how Jackson communicates about that with Bryant.
Jackson: Through various means. He is well aware of it. He’s a little befuddled by it, but coming to terms with it. He’s looking for a break out game. He hits a three the other night in a critical situation, clock-ending situation. Ball goes in. Great. Comes down and steps back for another three that doesn’t go in. Those are the things that he’s used to, that moment that when he gets hot he stays hot and can ride seven consecutive scoring opportunities down the floor. That hasn’t happened, and that makes all the difference in the world to his game. He’s still searching to step into that moment when he gets hot and stays hot.

Q: More on Bryant’s shooting:
Jackson: He had a lot of good look jump shots that he just didn’t want to shoot (on Sunday), or chose to drive or make a play. But he had some real good looks in the elbow area. His turnaround jump shot has always been a staple for him. That’s one of the things that he has to find. He’s been a guy that completes at the basket, and that’s something that hasn’t happened for him. He missed a couple inside that he makes on normal occasions.

Q: On what he thinks is specifically bothering Bryant the most:
Jackson: I thought he had live legs again on Sunday. I liked that. That’s why I’m optimistic. I think (what’s limiting him) is a combination of all these things. Right now it’s being out of rhythm having to sit out and get himself prepared for (the playoffs). But he’ll be back, and he’ll be back strong.

Q: On Bryant’s attitude and reception to coaching and playing:
Jackson: I think he searches for his teammates to show direction or initiative, and if they don’t, he’s going to step into the vacuum as quickly as a wink. Because if they’re not active and directive and attacking and doing things that he sees this offense has to do, then he’s going to step in and carry the torch.

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