Pregame with Phil

The Lakers went into Friday’s game against the Kings with an 18-3 record, best in the Western Conference and third overall in the NBA, but Coach Phil Jackson admitted he had no idea what to expect from his team.

“Check the moons, check where the stars are and give your best,” he said with a chuckle. “We have too many Scorpio and Capricorn guys on this team. … I’m not nervous about it. I’d like to see them play with a better sense of purpose out there.”

Asked about the team’s lackluster play, he added:

“I thought we had a little down period coming back from the road trip (last week) and then had to go back out on the road again (to play the Kings on Tuesday in Sacramento). Things kind of snowballed and the mood of the team fell along that line.

“(But) we’re back and we’re pointing toward this next road trip as kind of the set up for us to play really well. We have three games before we go on the road. That road trip is extremely important. We need to finish out this month really strong.”

After home games against Minnesota on Sunday and New York on Tuesday, the Lakers hit the road to play Miami, Orlando, Memphis and New Orleans. Then they return home to play the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics on Christmas Day.

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