Archive for the 'Phil Jackson' Category

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Phil Jackson One Away From Riley

Phil JacksonWhen the Lakers beat the Celtics on Christmas Day last season, Phil Jackson earned the 1,000th win in his illustrious coaching career, then proceeded to pass Celtics legend Red Auerbach with his 10th NBA coaching title.

Fast forward to Sunday in Boston, when Jackson has the chance to tie Pat Riley for the most regular-season victories as the head coach of the Lakers at 533.

Jackson, who won 545 games and six championships with the Chicago Bulls from 1989-1998, explained that different people will identify him with both teams.

“There’s a generation of people that identify with the Showtime Lakers of the 80s and similarly with the 90s Chicago teams,” Jackson said. “I don’t know if you can say we’re the dominant team of this decade, but we are pretty close. I’m sure there’s a whole generation of kids who see me only as the Lakers coach.”

Either way … it’s quite a remarkable accomplishment, particularly as his .707 winning percentage (he’s lost only 446 games) is the league’s best of all time.

Practice Notes From Boston

Practice in BostonWhile winning three straight games has made the road a bit less weary for the Lakers*, the team was nonetheless a bit on the tired side after a morning flight out of Philadelphia to Boston prior to the team’s first full practice since the current trip began on January 20.
*Eleven of 13 days and seven of eight cities: check.

We took some notes during pre-practice interviews with Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to make sure you didn’t miss anything important:

- Jackson explained that the Lakers – Celtics rivalry is still alive, even if it’s different from how it was back in the 1960′s and 1980′s. “It’s a more civilized crowd,” he said, after referencing old fighting in the stands, beer throwing and the like.

- To Phil, Ron Artest can certainly continue to play as well as he did in Philadelphia. Jackson quipped that perhaps it was due to the presence of Artest’s father, though we learned last night that Artest is simply feeling healthy, finally.

- Jackson failed to attribute too much to Boston’s two-game losing streak through Orlando and Atlanta. “They’re still a team to be reckoned with in the playoffs,” he said.

- Kevin Garnett missed the first nine games in January with a knee injury and may not be back to 100 percent, but Jackson said that L.A. will still approach him as if he were. “He’s still a rover defensively, and he’s still a guy that’s going to hit those shots from 20 feet – you have to account for that.”

- Bryant said that he’s feeling OK after tweaking his knee and ankle in Friday evening’s win at Philly. He explained that it was his knee that hurt at first, but he simply walked it off until the pain was gone about five minutes later. His ankle began to get sore as the game wore on, but is not an issue for Bryant, who said he’s looking forward to trading blows with the Celtics.

- To Bryant, L.A. simply needs to match Boston’s intensity and energy on Sunday. It’s not so much about playing a specific style (i.e. a physical style), but bringing effort.

- The 2008 Finals loss isn’t something Bryant really thinks about; he focuses more on the fact that Boston simply plays very well at home.

- Bryant said that his finger is feeling about 80 percent better than it was at its worst point, and demonstrated to reporters that he has a bit better range of motion. Of course, it still looked pretty swollen, but to Bryant it had undergone “an improvement.”

- On the affect of losing in the Finals: “Last season we played the way we were supposed to. We played hard, and we carried the frustration from the year before. Hopefully we’ll do the same (on Sunday). It’s a game we look forward to, a game that’s going to be extremely hard.”

- Gasol said that while this is certainly a game L.A. would like to win, it’s not something that’s going to define a season one way or the other. Jackson and Bryant have echoed that sentiment as well.

- On attacking Kevin Garnett: “My understanding is that his leg is not completely healthy. I’ve seen him play, and I don’t know how much he’s struggling and hurting with it, because his injury was never clear to the public. But I’m just going to try and be aggressive with him no matter how his leg is doing. He’s playing, he’s a competitor and he wants to help out his team; I think he’s a good leader, and his team needs him.”

- Since Brown was traded just a few days after the team’s win in Boston last season, he’s yet to face the Celtics while wearing a Lakers jersey. Yet he already realizes that the stakes are different: “I never had the chance to play in this matchup, but I’m definitely excited to be apart of it. You still have to take the approach of respective them as a basketball team while just playing our own game. But maybe a little bit more focused.”

Morrison & Che Guevara

blog_100121morrisonchephilLast night, we learned that Phil Jackson gifted Adam Morrison the book “Che,” by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon, which is a graphic biography (also known as a picture book) of Che Guevara.

“Adam has been sporting a Che Guevara t-shirt, so he got the picture book,” said Jackson. “Most of the books are hand-picked.”

Morrison said that he was quite happy with Jackson’s choice for him, as he read Guevara’s biography in high school and found it fascinating.

Prior to the tipoff in Cleveland, Morrison spent a moment discussing the revolutionary nature of the book … before returning to hit a few three-pointers. No word on if there’s any connection to shooting threes and Guevara’s ideas.

Phil Jackson, Book Distributor

blog_090619philjacksonEach NBA season, Phil Jackson distributes books to his players before what is generally the team’s longest road trip, and the current eight-game trek offered the perfect opportunity.

Thanks to the tweeting of Jeanie Buss, we learned what L.A.’s head coach gave to each of his players:

1) Kobe Bryant: “Montana 1948″ by Larry Watson
2) Derek Fisher: “Soul on Ice” by Eldridge Cleaver
3) Pau Gasol: “2666″ by Roberto Bolano
4) Lamar Odom: “The Right Mistake” by Walter Mosley (one of Jackson’s favorite authors, says Buss)
5) Ron Artest: “Sacred Hoops” by Phil Jackson* (Buss noted that Jackson likes his new players to become more familiar with his philosophies as laid out in his book)
6) Andrew Bynum: “Six Easy Pieces” by Walter Mosley
7) Jordan Farmar: “Makes Me Wanna Holler” by Nahan McCall
8) Shannon Brown: “Dreams from My Father” by Barack Obama
9) Luke Walton: “The Monkey Wrench Gang” by Edward Abbey
10) Josh Powell: “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois
11) Sasha Vujacic: “Reservation Blues” by Sherman Alexie
12) D.J. Mbenga: “Monster: the Autobiography of an LA Gang Member” by Sanyika Shakur (Author), Monster Kody Scott (Contributor)
13) Adam Morrison: “Che” – Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon – a Graphic Biography of Che Guevara

Phil Jackson After Practice (Audio)

Following Friday’s practice, Phil Jackson spoke to assembled media members about L.A.’s coming matchup with the Golden State Warriors, set for 7:30 p.m. in Oakland.

“There is a style they play, they’re going to play it whether it’s the preseason or the regular season,” he said of the team L.A. saw an inordinate number of times in the preseason. “The style is difficult to adjust to in the course of a season. You have to make adjustments and pick up people on the fly. Transition defense becomes ultimately important.”

Jackson made particular note of guard Monta Ellis, who’s averaging 23.4 points per game (seven spots behind league-leader Kobe Bryant) and talked about the importance of getting the ball in the paint against Golden State, even though the Warriors make that difficult to do.

Here’s the audio:

Phil Jackson on Retiring Jordan’s Jersey

Phil Jackson’s thoughts on the possibility that the NBA would retire Michael Jordan’s jersey:

I think it’s a great thing that hockey did for (Wayne) Gretzky. Here’s a guy that went through the game and really changed a lot of the way the game was played, broke a lot of records and won championships up in Edmonton that nobody every expected would happen and they honored him with that.

We haven’t seen this happen in basketball so it’s kind of unique … It’d be maybe a little step on the toes for guys like Magic (Johnson) and (Larry) Bird who made this era a bigger era that Michael could come in and have the dominance that he had and also the commercial appeal that went with it, but he certainly is a standard that we all admire. But that’s up to other people, not to me to make that decision.

Phil Jackson Pre-Memphis

A summary of Phil Jackson’s pregame presser:

On Andrew Bynum’s availability: “I’m still hoping that Andrew is going to walk in and say, ‘I’m OK I can play tonight,’ but we’re assuming that isn’t going to happen.”

On Pau Gasol’s potential of returning: “Pau indicated to us that he wasn’t going to be ready for us tonight.” Jackson added that he thinks Sunday is a possibility for Gasol’s return.

On combating Memphis’s low post players: “It’s about foul situations, basically. We have to stay out of fouls and try to limit them so we don’t get into trouble. Lamar (Odom) has a big job because Zach Randolph is a prolific scorer. We may have to double team down in the post and try to create situations where they (have to) shoot from the outside.”

On who will start in the absence of Bynum and Gasol:
“I talked to D.J. (Mbenga) about the starting role. He had a couple of starts in the preseason and I thought he did OK. I think he feels that it can be a good opportunity.”

Lakers – Hawks Pregame

After shootaround on Sunday morning, assistant coach Brian Shaw joined us to talk about the Atlanta Hawks (2-0), in Los Angeles for the only time this season. Here’s what he had to say:

Phil Jackson Pregame
As has become customary, one of the first questions addressed to L.A.’s head coach was about the health of All-Star Pau Gasol, set to miss his third straight game to open the season. The latest news is that Gasol will accompany his teammates on a two-game road trip through Oklahoma City and Houston, but his playing status has yet to be determined.

“We’re close enough (with his injury) that he’ll do some work on the trip (if he doesn’t play),” said Jackson. “You can’t be 100 percent on this unless you take forever to let it heal … He has to have some security that he’s not going to go out there and hurt himself.”

One of the primary areas that L.A. is missing Gasol, according to Jackson, is on pick-and-roll defense, where he says Gasol is among the league’s best. The skilled Spaniard’s offensive contributions go without saying.

Jackson added that he and his staff weren’t happy with L.A.’s effort level in Friday’s loss to Dallas, but that it wasn’t entirely unexpected after the emotional high of Ring Night. He also briefly addressed what the Lakers want to focus on against Atlanta, such as cutting out easy baskets and contesting perimeter shots.

Sunday Practice Report

Andrew BynumAfter a long practice on Sunday morning, assembled reporters learned that Andrew Bynum is absolutely ready to play on Tuesday, that Pau Gasol may not be and that Ron Artest is very happy to be in L.A.

Before the round up, here’s the audio from Head Coach Phil Jackson:

Jackson said that Bynum “did well” and “had no problems out there” in practice, after the young center had missed consecutive preseason games while recovering from minor shoulder and leg issues.

Bynum concurred.

“I felt good,” he said. “I came in early yesterday and got a lot done … I’m excited for (Tuesday’s game). I want to get the ring, go through the ceremony, then take care of business at night time and really go at (the Clippers).”

Gasol, on the other hand, spent the day doing only cardio, though he was in good spirits when speaking to reporters. He reiterated what had been reported on Friday in San Diego: while his hamstring injury isn’t something that he’d call serious, he wants to make sure he’s not pushing it too hard, too fast.

“It’s most important that I get myself healthy at this point in the year so I can go through the whole year,” said the Spaniard. “If I put myself in a risky situation then I won’t be helping my team in the long run.”

Jackson seemed to share Gasol’s sentiments.

“We have three days in between our first game and our second one,” said Jackson. so if worse comes to worse, we have a really great replacement for (Gasol) with Lamar Odom.”

Skeptics that had expected Ron Artest to be doing his own thing on the court for L.A. saw a collective counterexample from the forward throughout eight preseason games.

The evidence is in the statistics, which showed Artest taking fewer shots per game than five other Lakers, and found him placed second on the team only to point guard Jordan Farmar in assists.

In 25 minutes per game, Artest averaged 7.9 points, 3.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.38 steals.

After Sunday’s practice, he had this to say about preseason play:

Monday Injury Update

58679772After Monday’s practice at L.A.’s facility in El Segundo, Phil Jackson provided an injury update for his three players on the MASH list:

Lamar Odom: The small forward, who suffered a bruised shin against Sacramento on Thursday in Las Vegas, participated almost fully in practice and is probable for Tuesday night’s game in Ontario, CA, against Golden State. Odom confirmed that he was feeling better after a few days of ice and stim.

Pau Gasol: Gasol, who tweaked a hamstring and first missed practice on Tuesday, Oct. 13, was a limited participant in practice but is listed as doubtful to face the Warriors.

Luke Walton: Like Gasol, Walton first missed practice last Tuesday, and is also doubtful for the Ontario game.

The next chance for Gasol and Walton to play will be on Thursday in Anaheim when the Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets, though Jackson has said that team’s priority is getting each Lakers’ player ready for the Oct. 27 season opener.