Pregame comments

Here are a few pearls of wisdom from Phil Jackson before the Lakers’ first road game of the season. OK, it’s against the Clippers at Staples, so it’s not really a travel day at all.
Anyway, here’s Phil on a variety of topics, including the Lakers-Clippers rivalry.

(On the Lakers’ tighter defense) “We’ve got a different philosophy and we’re still trying to get used to it. It’s more zone-like than we’ve ever played before.”

(On Luke Walton’s limited minutes Tuesday) “It’s a numbers game. Trevor (Ariza) is coming in as a backup. He played well (Tuesday) night. Sasha (Vujacic) was a 12-minute guy. He’ll be back later on. … Those things will work themselves out over the course of the season. I know a lot of people asked me if Luke was hurt, but he’s OK.”

(On Ariza’s shot) “That was a point of emphasis for us with him, not that he’s not a good shooter, it’s just that he doesn’t think shot and a lot of times that takes him away from a shot because he’s looking to drive or penetrate, so we try to get him to think about the fact that if you’re open take a shot. This offense is an offense that creates shots.”

(On playing zone) “I think it’s still a problem to give up 3s. The (Blazers) had looks. We didn’t recover fast enough. We didn’t cover those passing lanes. That’s one of those ideas. It opened up the lanes to those cross-court shooters. We have to cover that up.
(On overconfidence) The hardest thing to do is to play up to your expectations. I think it’s great to be an underdog. When you’re picked to win and everyone is gunning for you. You just can’t be impressed with yourself. You just can’t take a night off. It does demand excellence.”

(On the Lakers’ rivalry with the Clippers) “It’s always going to be rivalry because this is a town game between guys who grew up together, know each other, who see each other out of the atmosphere of the basketball arena. They have bragging rights when they go out and play when they see each other in the city. It’s an urban crowd that’s here tonight that will be fun to be a part of.”

(Do you ever feel sorry for the Clippers?) “Not yet.”