Here’s a transcription of interviews from Pau Gasol*, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Mike D’Antoni from Monday’s Lakers practice. The team faces the Indiana Pacers at STAPLES Center Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.
*Click on each name to watch the video.
Q: On adjusting to D’Antoni’s style:
Gasol: We are all trying to get adjusted to the faster pace. (We’re) running hard to our spots, the spacing is better, the flow is better and I think we have a better feel on that last game when the fatigue level was a little higher.
Q: On adjusting to the offense:
Gasol: Just figuring things out, figuring out how you can be more effective on offense and how you can get to your positions, and again, (trying to be) more effective and more comfortable so you can do more things out there.
Q: On if Nash will help this team when he comes back:
Gasol: Of course he’ll help. He’s a great point guard and he’s familiar with the system and coach, so he will definitely help. He won’t solve everything, but he will have a positive impact for sure.
Q: On how he can help himself in this system:
Gasol: I’m going to make sure I push through the first couple steps of my sprints on both ends of the floor and run to the spots, and from there, get myself to spots where I can attack.
Q: On if his knees are bothering him:
Gasol: A little, a little. It’s been bothering me for awhile. Again, I’m going to play through it and try to keep it under control. It’s a little limiting, but it is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s been under control more or less. Hopefully, it won’t force me to miss any games unless my performance is way down. I can’t do that to myself or to my team.
Q: On the adjustment period in getting down the timing in D’Antoni’s system:
Gasol: There are a few aspects we have to improve and clean up. Timing is one of them, position and spacing is another and conditioning. There are a lot of concepts that we have to improve (upon), but so far, we’ve been pretty successful except the two road losses that we had against Sacramento and Memphis.
Q: On which offense (Triangle, Princeton or D’Antoni’s) was more difficult to grasp:
Gasol: The most complex was probably the Princeton offense, even though the Triangle was very rich. The Princeton had more options to it. I don’t think in a month-and-a-half, I don’t think we got to 100 percent of the offense – it was probably 75 percent of the offense. This offense will have more stuff to it. We’re adding little by little, which is a little better for us in order to function effectively. So far, it’s been pretty clear and now we just have to adjust and figure things out.
Q: On coming in and learning the Triangle and the difference now:
Gasol: It was just one guy learning a couple things. It put me in a natural position in the post. It put me in a position where I could score and I could pass. It was a perfect fit for me once I got here. Now it’s different personnel, different needs, different looks, different system and different positioning. But you have to adjust. As a professional, you adjust to a different position in your company and try to do your best so the company still finds you a valuable asset, and the company still performs as well as it did before.
Q: On the season thus far:
Kobe: It’s just been a process. It’s part of the NBA, and sometimes things happen. As players, you have to do your job, come to work and try to get better every single day. We’re still trying to figure things out individually that can help us as a group.
Q: On the two losses on the road trip:
Kobe: In Sacramento, we pretty much laid an egg. We didn’t come ready to perform or match their energy. Memphis is a really good team. They played very well, made some big shots and won the game – and deservedly so.
Q: On why he’s been so efficient so far:
Kobe: I think the system has a lot to do with it. We’re more spaced out a little bit more, I can penetrate and get to the free throw line a lot more. I have more lanes to the basket. We don’t have people on the block or in the post all the time, so it enables me to drive to the rim, draw fouls and get to the free-throw line a lot.
Q: On the bench play recently:
Dwight: They’ve been working hard. That’s one thing we need. We need to have guys come off the bench and give us a spark on the offensive end. The last couple games, the bench has been doing a great job. (Antawn Jamison) has been playing excellent the last couple games. We just have to keep it up.
Q: On where he feels defensively:
Dwight: I know against (Sacramento and Memphis), my energy wasn’t there. For this team to be successful, it doesn’t matter how many points I score or how many rebounds I get. But as long as my energy is there on the defensive end, and I’m active on the offensive end, it just picks everybody up. My energy level has to stay high for our team.
Q: On him and Pau Gasol getting more looks and touches:
Dwight: Me and Pau want to get as many touches as we can on the block, but we have to dictate that by running the floor and being active. If we don’t get the ball, make up for it on the defensive end and get stops.
METTA WORLD PEACE
Q: On his uptick in production and what he attributes it to:
MWP: Just being healthy, and a lot of extra work. Previous seasons, I was hurt. I wasn’t injured, but I was hurt.
Q: On what is getting him open looks in D’Antoni’s system:
MWP: Just being in shape. The previous season, I wasn’t able to play defense, go coast-to-coast, come back down and have the energy to shoot a 3-pointer. I was off balance. I was overweight and I wasn’t able to work out in the summer time. Just being in shape has helped me out a lot.
Q: On if the team fell back into old habits on the road trip:
D’Antoni: We started off that way. I think it’s normal. It’s normal you have a little shock to the system when you change coaches. I’ll talk about up tempo and I’ll talk about running. You come out and do that, and then you go back to your normal way to play – your habits that have been engraved for years. We have to change that little by little.
Q: On what he learned about the team on the road trip:
D’Antoni: We’re really good if we play with energy. We’re really good defensively if we play with energy. That has to be supplied by them. We can’t cheerlead and coach at the same time. I think they got the message. They did it, and they looked good. I’m expecting on Tuesday to build on what we did on Saturday and have a great home stand, and eventually get Steve (Nash) back to see what we got offensively.
Q: On Pau Gasol’s performance in the Dallas game:
D’Antoni: It tells me what I know about him. He’s a great guy, he’s a great competitor, he’s got a great career – he’s had one and will have one. I didn’t have any doubts. It’s just a matter of simplifying and getting everybody knowing what we want as coaches, and getting all the frustrations out, and he did it. I would really be shocked if he responded any other way because he’s that good of a (player). He needed to play well, and he did. He needed to respond like that, and he did. I didn’t have a doubt. He can easily play our system and he’s going to be a very important player for us, and I’m looking forward to going forward with it.
Q: On Jamison’s play the last couple games:
D’Antoni: I’ve always liked Antawn (Jamison) as a player and he’s had a great career. It doesn’t surprise me what he’s doing. We’re trying to put him in a position where he’s really good at. He’s a great stretch 4 … trying to find his niche and he’s definitely found it for a couple games.
Q: On the team’s spirit after the day off:
D’Antoni: I think they see some improvement in some stuff we’re trying to do. You can’t think and be energetic on the floor; it has to be a reaction type process. This is the learning period that where we’re trying to simplify everything so now they can just go play without having to think too much.