OK, I’ll admit it. I was totally dragging today at practice. Even after my relatively late morning flight home from Denver. By NBA standards, a 9:40 a.m. flight home is on the late side.
It wasn’t until reading Jon Saraceno’s article in USA Today, which had been conveniently left in the press room, that I realized why. The Lakers had just played their 11th game in 22 days. Which means that we sportswriters had just covered our 11th game in 22 days, not to mention the practices and shootarounds in between.
Now, I don’t have Dahntay Jones tripping me on the way to the pressbox, or Kenyon Martin grabbing my arm as I make my way to the lockeroom, but that’s a whole lot of games, travel and basketball in 22 days.
In other words, you can imagine why the entire local and national media seemed fixated on how tired everyone was after the two hard fought games in Denver.
You’ll have to excuse me then, if I don’t do more to set up this quote from Lakers quote Phil Jackson, on how tired his team is and whether fatigue is playing a factor in the series:
“It’s possible. But you know we’re really trying to take care of our players in the process between,” Jackson said. “Guys are doing anything from ice baths to massage, to we’re not asking players to play over 35 minutes, 30 minutes, really, to do anything physical.
So there’s a recovery period, and they have to take care of themselves in that period and we hope they’re doing that off site here.
“But we think that they can respond to this. We’re not going to use it as an excuse.”