After seeing Houston, Toronto, and Washington all win Game 3 after falling 2-0 in their playoff matchups, the Lakers know they have to be ready for Denver’s best shot. “We expect them to come out and play,” said Bryant. “They’re competitors.”
Lamar Odom recognizes that the Nuggets aren’t going to give the Lakers the series after being down 2-0, and feels that the Lakers need to be “really focused to pull this one out” and grab a playoff win on the road. He does however believe that the team is feeling a little more confident after going up two games to none. “Whenever you have a lead period, you’re going to have a little more confidence, but if you watched playoff basketball last night every team that had a 2-0 lead, lost.”
Kobe remained confident in his team and is prepared to go on the road. “We’ve been a pretty solid road team.” Bryant added. “We’ve had some big games on the road – Utah, Dallas, Denver and some other places that are tough to play and I think it helps because you understand how to get it done.”
After watching the first two games of the first round series against the Denver Nuggets, it is easy to see that Kobe Bryant wants to win; but how does that desire to win another ring compare to his passion for the first time he went through a championship run in 2000.
“It’s different. The first one, I was so young. Plus I was sharing that pressure with somebody else.” Bryant said. “Now, the pressure is squarely on my shoulders to try and bring another championship here. It’s something I accept. I’m a little hungrier now than I was the first time.”
Does he like having all of the pressure rest on his shoulders? “It comes with the territory.” Bryant added. “Can’t be superman and not deal with the pressure of dropping somebody when you go to rescue them.”
When asked about the hunger Coach Phil Jackson has to grab his tenth championship, compared to his first title with Chicago or the Lakers in 2000, Jackson responded saying he is very hungry. “I haven’t had breakfast since 8:30 a.m. actually” and pointed out that “it’s past my lunchtime.”
Allen Iverson has already received three technical fouls, including being tossed from Game 1, as the Nuggets (who have a total of six technical fouls) have dropped the first two games of the series in Los Angeles. Several Lakers realize that emotion could turn the other way once they arrive in Denver.
“They’re an emotional bunch. We have to understand that could work against us, particularly in game 3;” said Bryant. “Once they get the crowd behind them and they gain momentum, their emotions all of a sudden now becomes their biggest strength. What we have to try to do is keep it quiet as much as we possibly can.”
“In the playoffs you get a little more emotional, can’t help it;” added Odom. “Every game is important. When we’re up there and facing their crowd, we will try to keep our composure so that doesn’t happen to us.”
Luke Walton did not seem to be as worried about the tables being turned in Denver as he has his relaxation methods down to a science. Taking deep breaths usually works for him, but in dire needs he suggested that he might have to rub his ears to calm himself.
Ronny Turiaf may have looked “slow and lethargic” on the court today, but according to Coach Jackson, he hopes to have Ronny be active for Game 3. “I thought he got a sweat today and I think he looks better.” Jackson noted. “He says he feels better.”
Turiaf has lost 11 founds due to the illness.