DALLAS — Coach Phil Jackson was fined by the NBA a cool $35,000 today for complaining Saturday about the lack of calls against the Dallas Mavericks in the low post against the Lakers’ big men, particularly power forward Pau Gasol. Jackson said he objected to the Mavericks’ use of their knees to move Gasol and fellow 7-footer Andrew Bynum out of the low post.
DALLAS — Magic Johnson said today on ESPN that perhaps it was time for Lakers owner Jerry Buss to break up the team. “I think, you know, you can be together too long,” Johnson said. “This group has been together too long. … They’re not in sync. They don’t really believe in one another. What it means is Dr. Buss has got a lot of work to do. He’s going to have to probably blow this team up after the season if the Lakers lose this series because now you’ve got to come back with some fresh faces.
“You’ve got to pick between the two big men, which one do you keep? And you trade the other one. I don’t think anybody is (untouchable when it comes to a trade) but Kobe (Bryant). The Lakers have two problems. They’re too slow and no athletes. This is an athletic league now. When you think about all the teams that are left in the playoffs right now, they can all run fast and jump high.”
Johnson joined a roundtable conversation with other ESPN analysts about the possibility that the Lakers could trade Andrew Bynum to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard. Johnson likened the move to the Lakers’ swap of Marc Gasol for Pau Gasol in 2008, saying the deal “could benefit both teams.”
DALLAS — Coach Phil Jackson said today he’s been unhappy during the playoffs because the referees haven’t called either the New Orleans Hornets or the Dallas Mavericks for kneeing the Lakers’ big men out of the low post, especially Pau Gasol. Here’s more:
“I’ve resisted this the whole playoffs, but the NBA used to call the knee up the (rear end), that’s what they used to call it. You couldn’t lift your knee off the floor to run a guy off the post. They’re doing it every time. They’re taking (Gasol) out of the post so he can’t get a tight post spot. We did complain about it (to the league office) against New Orleans, but the Mavs are doing the same damn thing. Until the league goes back to the rules they have about playing post play, Pau has to move out and face the basket. We’re kind of resigned if they’re not going to change the rules, they’re not going to go back to what they used to have, so he’s going to have to go out and face the basket and play more of a pinch post and do more screen-and-rolls.”
Jackson also said he wasn’t displeased by Gasol’s play during the series despite having a couple of animated conversations with him during Game 3 on Friday night.
“He’s obviously frustrated he can’t get anything accomplished in there,” Jackson said. “His defense I thought was exceptional last night. Obviously, (Dirk) Nowitzki had 30 points (actually 32 points0, but we’re not concerned about that aspect of it. The points don’t seem to bother us. It’s what else happens besides it.”
DALLAS — No team in NBA history has rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to win, which is what the Lakers are facing after tonight’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series. Three teams in the NHL have done it, most recently the Philadelphia Flyers overcoming a 3-0 deficit to the Boston Bruins last season. It’s also been done once in Major League Baseball. So, even Kobe Bryant had to laugh when he said he didn’t think the series was over. Said Bryant: “I don’t know, I mean, I might be sick in the head or crazy something like that because I still think we’re still going to win this series. I might be nuts. Win on Sunday and go back home and see if they can win in L.A.”
Game 4 is Sunday in Dallas. Game 5, if necessary, is Tuesday at Staples Center.
DALLAS — Andrew Bynum swiped an errant pass intended for Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, dribbled the length of the court and dunked late in the first half of Game 3 tonight. It propelled the Lakers to a modest lead by halftime. Bynum scored a team-leading 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. Lamar Odom, starting in place of the suspended Ron Artest, had 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting. Dirk Nowitzki had 18 for Dallas. All in all, the Lakers did not look like a team bent on an early vacation. Then again, crumbled mightily in the second half of each of the first two games.
DALLAS — Lamar Odom said this morning he would replace Ron Artest, who was suspended for Game 3 tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. Lakers coach Phil Jackson would neither confirm nor deny Odom would be the one to fill in at small forward. Power forward Pau Gasol made a funny face when told by reporters that Odom would join him in the starting lineup. Odom said he last started as a small forward while with the Clippers in the early 2000s. Artest was suspended for a flagrant foul against J.J. Barea. The teaming of Odom with Gasol and Andrew Bynum gives the Lakers a really big front court, but makes them vulnerable to the Mavericks’ speed in the back court. Let’s see how it works.
Ron Artest was suspended one game by the NBA today for cracking backup guard J.J Barea of the Dallas Mavericks in the face in the final minute of Game 2 on Wednesday night. Artest will sit out of Game 3 on Friday at Dallas and will regain his eligibility for Game 4 on Sunday. The Lakers trail in the best-of-7 series 2-0. Asked for his reaction, Artest said, “No reaction. I’m getting ready to move forward and play basketball.” Asked if the suspension was justified, he said, “I’m just ready to move forward and play basketball.”
Artest used the phrase “moving on” eight times in a 2 1/2-minute session with reporters.
Andrew Bynum seldom has a filter when he talks to reporters, saying just what he feels. He was as direct as he’s ever been in his career after the Lakers’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 tonight at Staples Center put them in a 2-0 series hole. He said the Lakers have trust issues. He also said: “I don’t even know the root of it at this point. Obviously, we have trust issues and unless we come out and discuss them nothing is going to change.”
When asked about Bynum’s comments, Kobe Bryant said: “I think the trust he’s referring to is being able to help each other on the defensive end of the floor. You saw a lot of layups. He gets frustrated when he supports a guard coming off the screen-and-rool and nobody supports when a big (guy) is rolling to the basket.”
The Lakers were beaten down in the second half of Game 2 tonight against the Dallas Mavericks, scoring only 32 points and falling into a 2-0 hole in the best-of-7 series. Games 3 and 4 are Friday and Sunday in Dallas and the Lakers have a lot of work to do if they hope to get back into the series and save their chances at a three-peat. They might have to play without Ron Artest, who could be suspended for whacking Jose Barea in the head in the final minute. Andrew Bynum said the Lakers have “trust issues.” They sure seemed at the breaking point after Dallas pounded them into submission.
The Lakers were halfway to a series problem tonight in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. They did a good many things right in the first half, but they couldn’t stop Dirk Nowitzki and they couldn’t build any momentum. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum each scored 14 points. Nowitzki had 15. Ron Artest began to guard Nowitzki late in the half and muscled him more than Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom.