The Lakers speak

Below, I’ve posted the transcript from the most recent media session, which includes extensive comments from Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson as well as a couple from Jordan Farmar. For info on Smush Parker, you can (and should, of course) read Steve Dilbeck’s column. After Steve finished talking to him for a couple minutes, Smush sat on a bench by himself and talked on his cell phone for about 20 minutes.

LAMAR ODOM
[On the best way to defend Leandro Barbosa]
Our team defense is going to have to step up and hes going to have to end up on his back.
You have to grip up on defense. Four of 21 from the field and a poor defensive effort will definitely end up in a loss.
[How to turn around the Lakers offense]
When youre playing a team like Phoenix, I wouldnt want to put too much pressure on our offense. Theyre a team that will kind of bate you to score, just to take the ball back down and push it down your throat. You have to make your stand on the defensive end.
[Spirits still high after Game 1 loss?]
Its not over. Its not a one-game series. Its a seven-game series and even though we lost Game 1 here (last year) we were still able to take it to seven games.
[How can you get things turned around quickly?]
Its the same talk weve been having all season. We have to find a way to play the same way for 48 minutes. If we do that, If we do that, I dont think theres a team that we cant beat. If we dont do that, weve shown that we can lose to any team, no matter what their record is.

KOBE BRYANT
[How to fix things when team struggles]
Youve to get some stops, get out in transition and get some easy opportunities. Getting to the free-throw line helps a lot as well. You have to spread the floor, you have to execute properly, you have to set strong screens and look for a lot of action off the ball.
[How do you defend Barbosa?]
Give him a soccer ball. Tell him he should be playing soccer, not basketball. Somebody dropped the ball when he was growing up. They didnt give him the memo. Hes a phenomenal player. Hes a hell of a talent and he has a great work ethic. I enjoy watching him play and obviously we have our hands full with that guy when he comes into the game. Im sure well make some adjustments.
[Is it frustrating when teammates dont hit shots?]
Yeah, its frustrating. But you know, theres nothing you can do except stick with it. You just have to go with it. Its tough to beat three or four guys off the dribble. Thats crazy. When we get opportunities we have to capitalize on the shots.
[What about the fourth-quarter problems?]
Its all execution. Its related to that. Particularly when you go into the playoffs, youre going to face experienced teams and what theyre going to try to do is take away your strengths. We have to learn, collectively, how to counter-punch. As a unit, we have to be able to make adjustments to what theyre doing defensively.
[How good a defender is Raja?]
I think Rajas right up there. Hes right up there with Bruce in terms of staying on me. What guys do, particularly him and Bruce, is they just stay on top of me. Obviously its not a one-on-one game, and he has a lot of help from the back side, but he does a great job of staying body to body and not giving up on plays. It makes the game more fun.
[It seems like theres more respect in the rivalry now. Is that true?]
I read a book this summer from Mr. Phil Jackson and it talked about warriors respecting other warriors. If you have respect for your opponent, the thing you have to do is play hard every time down. It gave me a new perspective on things. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Raja and what he does, and I enjoy matching up against him because I know hes going to play hard every possession, which makes it fun for me.
[What about when Marion switches over to guard you?]
Hes a freak. He guards all kinds of people, from me to Yao Ming. Hes extremely versatile, extremely talented and quick and obviously extremely long. So the strategy changes drastically when hes guarding me as opposed to Raja Bell.
[Are isolation plays pretty much done in the playoffs?]
When I catch the ball in isolation, I square up and Im looking at four guys. Thats just not happening.
(confidence from last year) I dont think anyone feels particularly bad about the Game 1 loss. We learned some good things from Game 1 and now well try to carry them over to Game 2 and see if we cant duplicate the success that we had last year.
[What can be done about the fourth-quarter woes?]
When teams, in the fourth quarter, try to take away our strengths and what were really good at or whats been working for us, we have to be just as good at counter attacking and forcing them to make adjustments.
[How do you think Jordan Farmar fared in Game 1?]
Hes fine. He comes from an incredible program and he played in a Final Four. Its like old hat for him. Hes not even batting an eye.When he got in foul trouble, that hurt our rhythm a lot, because when hes on the floor hes able to read the situation and read matchups and he has a very good understanding of the triangle.

JORDAN FARMAR
[Thoughts on what went wrong for Kobe in the fourth quarter]
We made it tough on him as a team. We got away from what was working, which was getting easy shots, running our offense, making them play defense, coming off screens and moving without the ball. We just made him work too hard. We need to stick with what got us there, keep running our stuff and make it easy on him, because that makes it easy on the rest of the team.
[Does the onus fall to you guys to pick him up?]
Its definitely on all of us. Basketball is a team sport, so weve got to do it together. We just kind of get discombobulated at first and make him work too hard at first, and then he has to work against a double or triple team like that, instead of just getting open looks or getting in a one-on-one situation where he can make a quick move and score.

PHIL JACKSON
[Thoughts on ``the Brazilian Blur, Leandro Barbosa]
Cant you call him something better than that, like `The Blitz or something like that? `Blur doesnt even designate how fast this guy is. Hes faster than that.
[Is there any way to defend him?]
Well, Im not going to say hes Kobe Bryant yet. Hes defendable. Theres a way we have to do it, and I think we have to focus on the right way.
[Can you pinpoint the one or two things that went wrong in Game 1?]
One or two, thats all youre giving me? I thought we didnt execute offensively. Obviously thats a big part of it. The other part is that I think our energy was taken out of the game.
[Kobe was frustrated that his teammates didnt make shots. Do you share that?]
So he was 1 for 10 and they were 3 for 11? They pretty much all were cold, so I dont know if anybody can put any blame on anyone in that situation.
[Do you need to get inside more to have success?]
They sat in there and protected the basket well and kept us off the foul line. Its a big part of the game, getting to the foul line, and people can look at the box score and see the difference between their free throws and ours.
[Do you remind the guys that you won Game 2 last year?]
I dont think we have to remind ourselves, but the idea is that you go out trying to win every game in the playoffs. You hope you learn from one to the next so you have the opportunity to do so.
[Talk about defending the Suns]
This Suns team doesnt have the same firepower that they had last year with the shooters. House and Thomas dropped the 3-point bombs on us, and those streaks that they ran up on us, those nine- or 12-point streaks. What theyre doing against us this year is more power ball, so were going to have to play more of an interior game and understand that rebounds and second shots are going to be important for us.
[How do you establish a better inside game?]
We didnt get the kind of penetration we wanted, either off the dribble or through the pass, into the post. Even on our (post plays) they were running guys off and making it difficult.

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  • tim

    sounds to me like farmar is saying what he wants to hear to be cool with kobe. smart guy.

  • Michael Teniente

    Now that was a nice layout. Direct from the players mouths. How did the interviews? Was it your people or just what the players said the media in general?

    mike

  • Brandon

    Word

  • Sanjaya

    Good stuff. As far Tim’s comment goes, then when can you ever believe what a player says? Only when it coincides with what you think is the truth?

  • gdchild

    Too bad the talent gap is so big between the Lakers and Suns. No matter what strategies we try, it’s hard to beat this Suns.