The Lakers did not practice on Friday as a team, though Phil Jackson explained that the players who didn’t play major minutes will do some playing as well as lifting weights and the like. Those that played big minutes, particularly Kobe Bryant (43) and Pau Gasol (44) have the day off.
Here is the full transcript of Jackson’s comments, including a non-update on Andrew Bynum:
Q. What is the condition of Andrew today? And what do you expect from him from Game 5 on Sunday?
PHIL JACKSON: I haven’t got any expectations. I don’t know what his condition is today. He was going to see the doctor later this morning, but in the transition I didn’t get another check with him.
Q. Are you surprised that the fluid has come back?
PHIL JACKSON: No, not surprised at all. It’s come back every game.
Q. What can you do to get Lamar jump started seeing as how he’s going to be playing a lot more time in the series it looks like?
PHIL JACKSON: I was thinking of an electrode, you know. (Laughter). Something that would really be a stimulus. What do you suggest?
Q. That’s a good start.
PHIL JACKSON: No, we’re just trying to find a comfort spot for him out there. He looked uncomfortable last night, and he got a couple double whammies go against him; Garnett out there for a while and then he had Davis coming at him, and things kind of snowballed on him.
Q. When Andrew has gone out and Lamar has come in, it seems like Lamar is playing on top, and you lose your inside game. Is that by design? Is he supposed to start on top and wind up someplace else, or is he supposed to get the ball around the basket ever?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, we’re trying to get him through the offense and into various spots. But he still has a guard role out there. So his responsibility is to actually bring the ball up and initiate the offense. That gives us kind of an unusual attack and gets Kobe at the wing, and it’s something that obviously Boston is quite prepared to try and stop. And the quickness of Davis, who’s a rather unusual player in the NBA with his size, still his quickness is I think affecting Lamar.
Q. Would it be good if Lamar could wind up closer to the basket more often?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, he had a couple post‑up opportunities that he chose to step out and take the ball outside rather than post it, so you know, there was something that I thought ‑‑ that’s what I referred to as probably wasn’t quite comfortable in those positions at that time.
Q. The way that Lamar came up 19 and 19 in the Phoenix series, a couple big games, do you have the confidence he is going to come out with one of those big performances in these last best of three?
PHIL JACKSON: Both he and Ron, I think, have the ability to rebound and come back. Both of them are capable of playing big in games that are like this. We have confidence, and I have confidence that Ron is going to have a game and be ready for a ballgame. He’s had a really tough shooting situation in this series and he hasn’t done well, and defensively he’s been fine, but offensively it hasn’t been quite the same. So he has, you know, a game to get to and to play. Lamar struggled two years ago in this series in this match‑up, and he has to break through kind of that mental gap that he had from that experience to move forward.
Q. With Andrew, to what extent are you making the call on this? Obviously you would think if he goes and warms up on Sunday a young player in the NBA Finals would say, I want to play. I want to try it. Do you have to at some point say it’s just not working for our team?
PHIL JACKSON: If he can’t get back in defense transition‑wise, and that’s one of the things they’re trying to attack with our first unit obviously when Andrew is out there is try and run, then obviously he’s going to hurt the team. But even with him dragging the leg around a little bit, he still helped us in situations last night getting rebounds, that I thought a lot of our other guys ‑‑ got the ball knocked out of their hands, fumbled the ball, went out of bounds off of them. Andrew still has the length and the strength to capture rebounds that we need. So we’ll use him if he’s available and able, but we’re certainly not going to put him in a situation that’s either going to hurt himself or the team.
Q. Some of the players last night mentioned that there was a lack of ball movement. What would you point your finger to as to why there was that lack of ball movement later on in the game?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, the Celtics’ defense, a touted defense, likes to get up into players and make them put the ball on the floor. I mean, that’s part of their game plan is to make a guy uncomfortable enough to have to drive and then put him under duress on a drive. So our situation is obviously to be able to use that to our advantage, and that’s the skill and the aspect that some of our players still haven’t developed yet. Our starters are pretty good at it, some of our bench players haven’t developed the skill yet to kind of handle that and succeed and actually use it against the Celtics.
Q. What will you guys do, if anything, as a team today?
PHIL JACKSON: The players were getting on a bus at noon when I was coming over here, that haven’t played substantial minutes, to go do extra work, aerobic, weight, whatever. There’s a basket and a gym at the facility that we have ‑‑ that we use, that we use when we’re here, and they’ll do some of that. I have one of my coaches going over if guys want to do individual work. The rest of the guys who played heavy minutes are going to have a day off, and this afternoon we’ll probably have a short meeting just to connect ourselves again and go about our day, so it’s not disconnectedness that might happen or loss of focus. So we’ll get it back.
Q. No film, watch film or anything like that?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, we might save them from that for a day. We’ll see.
Q. Every series takes on its own tone. How would you characterize this series?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, I kind of anticipated this was going to be a back and forth series like this. I said this the other day, it’s a lot of teeter‑totter here, despair and elation, but we’re going to try and establish the fact that we’re going back to LA with a 3‑2 lead. We believe we can do it. We felt we let one get away last night. We didn’t think that the Celtics played well enough for three quarters, and we squandered our opportunities in the third quarter, and that we came out without the kind of energy you have to sustain in the fourth quarter situation like this.
Q. Not for you to make any enemies around here, but did you also feel like you let Game 2 get away?
PHIL JACKSON: Game 2 they established something in that game. Sometimes you get the momentum ‑‑ they had that surge in the first half, and we had to come back and combat it. But sometimes games are dictated by who controls the game, most of the minutes of the game. Pau came back at the end of the third quarter unhappy about our finish in the third quarter. I said, who’s got the lead? He said, we have the lead. I said, who sustained the energy in this game? And he said, we have. Going into halftime, going into the end of the third quarter with the lead, I said, we’re fine, just go out there and play with that kind of energy. But it was a 19‑18 quarter, we lost just that one point, that little momentum surge that you want to have in the third quarter, and that’s enough to I think kind of bend it, kind of make the things happen. Tipped balls, steals, blocked charge call at the end of the game that went their direction instead of ours, all those things are little momentum surges that change the complexity of the game.
Q. If Andrew can’t go Sunday do you have to come up with a different game plan or do you keep the same one and hope that he can go? How does that kind of play out?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, we have multiple scenarios that we go through about our match‑ups and about who can play whom and about how we’re going to run a game and the skills we’re going to use during the game. So we know what we want to do if Lamar is in the lineup, and we have to go in that direction, or if we have to go another direction if Luke comes in and plays for Ron and whatnot. We’ll make those necessary adjustments. Match‑ups are key in important situations. Now we have to debate can Lamar actually play Davis in a situation in the course of a game or do we have to change the match‑ups? This has happened a couple times now. Those are the situations the coaching staff will go through. So we’ll make those decisions in the next 48 hours.
Q. Can you use D.J. Mbenga if need be?
PHIL JACKSON: Sure. If his head is into it.
Q. He hasn’t played much.
PHIL JACKSON: Sometimes a guy hasn’t played in a while and you’ll look in there and it may be kind of vacant in there, a wake‑up type of thing. But I do check every game or so to see if these guys are still on beam. D.J. has lost a little bit in the process of not playing, and he needs that. But Josh Powell is ready to play.
Q. Doc Rivers has expressed some concern about two of his players being a technical away from a suspension. Anything you can do to attack that and increase that?
PHIL JACKSON: That’s not fair play. That’s not the way to play games.
Q. Don’t think you can capitalize on that emotion that they’ve shown, or lack of?
PHIL JACKSON: Yeah, you can be provocative and get out there and act kind of like they do if you want to and get in people’s faces and do that. But that’s not the way I like to coach a team. That’s not what I consider positive coaching, and that’s what I like to think is the right way to do things.
Q. You mentioned last night that you thought Kobe might have gotten a little tired towards the end, but for the guys who are playing a lot of minutes, is there any concern as the series goes on about minutes?
PHIL JACKSON: Yeah, you know, if this series continues on into a sixth, seventh game, obviously it’s going to be a six‑game series but if it goes into a seven game then it’s Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday again, and this was the third game in five days that was last night, and I thought that the effect of them playing longer minutes was obvious to our players, and it was obvious their bench had a little more energy than ours did.
Q. Can you speak about Doc Rivers and the coaching job that he’s done up until this point, because I think coming into the series and throughout the season, of course, that nobody thought the Celtics would even get to this point to challenge you guys at this level. Has he proven that he’s an even better coach than most people thought that he was before this?
PHIL JACKSON: You know, I’m not the person to ask that type of question. I’m going to try and downplay Doc, right? I mean, that’s my job. But I’ll tell you what he’s done well, he’s done well with match‑ups. He’s done well in attacking some of our weaker guys out there on the floor in situations that’s given them an advantage. I thought he’s used his bench exceptionally well. As far as the other stuff, the players that he has on the team, they’re all ‑‑ they’re experienced players. During the regular season they knew what was important about the year. The year was important about coming in the playoffs and playing, the Garnetts and the Pierces and the Allens and the Wallaces, they’ve been through these things, they know a little bit about what’s important. Sometimes those last 15, 20 games in the regular season can get to be arduous and you can beat a dead horse into a situation you don’t want to get into, and I think Doc rode his team the right way. So they came into the playoffs knowing what was important. It’s the second season that’s important in this game, and they’ve come in with a good amount of energy and the right team play here. Is that enough for you? I’ll give him a gold star. (Laughter).