Here’s how Phil Jackson saw the ejection of Kobe by referee Brian Forte, the son of long-time NBA official Joe Forte, courtesy of beat writer Elliott Teaford:
You dont know what the action was down there, but there were a
couple of situations where we got caught in the position where guys were
coming over the back, and we were complaining about it at halftime,
about rebound situations that were not called. Seattle is an aggressive
team. Theyre going to go get those balls if theyre free.
I told (Bryant) he shouldnt jump on Junior. His dad might carry a
grudge against him. Thats nepotism in our league. Thats Joe
Fortes son. Hes got a little bit of the red-ass as we say.
The same way David Stern gets a little bit of the red-ass when the integrity of NBA referees — gamblers, aside — is called into question. Phil’s wallet will no doubt be lighter in the next day or two.
This nobody’s-more-competitive-than-Kobe notion just got some more ammunition.
Or how else do you explain how when the Lakers are up 88-57 with four minutes left in the third quarter against hopelessly overmatched Seattle, and he’s already got 21 points and 10 assists, that Kobe picks up two quick technicals and is tossed?
Perhaps too many pre-game cups of Seattle’s finest?
In any event, about the only drama on the evening.
It’s Oscars night, so it seems appropriate to talk about the character actors, er, role players.
Once again, the Lakers went 10-11 deep last night. Expect to see more of this for two reasons:
It will keep the stars fresh down the stretch and into the playoffs — particularly when there’s back-to-backs like tonight. The other is that they’ve been able to handle it.
Said Phil Jackson, when asked if he expects the bench to play like this consistently (the implication being when they play better teams than the Clippers):
“Theyll play like that if they get the minutes. Theyre confident. In the playoffs, things will happen it will be a little different. Thats always been the way it is. But right now theyre supporting our team in a good way in the regular season.”
Derek Fisher noted that while he could play 35-40 minutes per game, it’s nice that he doesn’t have to.
No, it’s not the Catalan pronunciation of Ru-Paul, but it could be the Laker front court tandem once Bynum recovers. Jackson was asked about the possibility after Saturday night’s game.
“Thats still to be known,” he said. “We wont know until theyre on the court together how well they play. Pao has an outside shot. Guys have to play him out there. He can play the wing position, I think, quite comfortably. I think they can play in tandem for a considerable amount of time. Still the wait is for Andrew to be right. Thats the luxury that Pau gives us now.”
Translation: let’s see San Antonio deal with that.
At times, you can almost see Kobe’s eyes begin to roll before a question’s even been asked. Especially if the word “Shaq” is in it.
But he turned out to be rather reflective after Saturday night’s game when he was asked if last summer, amidst all the drama, if he ever envisioned it all working out like this — the Lakers looking like the team to beat in the Western Conference.[ep
“Not at all,” he said. I think they had me buying Oprahs penthouse or Michaels house in
Chicago. No, I didnt envision this. Absolutely not. It worked out
for the best. I didnt want to leave here. It’s just circumstances being what
they were, it was very difficult to see myself still being here.
Everything happens for a reason, and Im very thankful that things worked out
Dan Dickau drove strong to the basket for an apparent layup, only to have Rony Turiaf — his former Gonzaga teammate swat the shot all the way to the Lakers’ bench. . . . A moment later, a couple of Rhodies went after each other — Cuttino Mobley dunking on Lamar Odom.
Whatever went on in the locker room at halftime, the Lakers look like a new team — an interested one, really.
No more lackadasical defense and an agressive, go-at-em offense. Kobe has his game face on.
Pao Gasol just dunked on Tim Thomas, who fouled him, and lo and behold, Luke Walton, got the rebound and put it in. One of Walton’s few bright spots by the way. He’s been eaten up by Al Thornton and even by Josh Powell. It’s now 86-66.
With Odom on a rebounding run — he’s had 11, 15, 16, 10 and 18 in his last five games — Jackson was asked if he the type of guy who could compete for a rebounding title?
“No,” Jackson said.
Then he elaborated.[ep
“The guys who are [leading] rebounders they get offensive rebounds. Lamar doesnt get a lot of offensive rebounds, unless theyre his own misses. Dennis [Rodman] would get six, five offensive rebounds in a game. Add that with your defensive rebounds, that gives you an advantage. Lamar a lot of times is out on the perimeter, so he doesnt have as many opportunities.”
Phil Jackson learned about Kaman’s absence when he was asked how it would impact tonight’s game.
“I didnt know he wasnt playing,” Jackson said. “Thanks for the information. Hes an interior defender. He can be a problem if youre going to the basket. Offensively, it takes away a post up opportunity for them. Thats a big part, but we know theyve got plenty of guys that can post with [Cuttino] Mobley sitting down in there and [Tim] Thomas has even posted a little bit in recent games.”