As far as specific news goes, the biggest was Andrew Bynum sitting out with a sore left knee. (It was the right knee that underwent offseason surgery.) The flare up occurred during the loss to Boston, but Phil Jackson said Bynum expects to play Tuesday against Houston. Beyond that, players made available this afternoon were on short display, but interesting comments were not. Check out the clips of Jackson, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol below about the issues causing problems for the Lakers.
"I think I better go, huh?" joked Phil of the predictably drawn out media session after Sunday's egg. "Its gonna be one of those days, huh?"
Still, the slew of inquiries were taken, with topics ranging from the dissimilarities between the 2011 Lakers and his other teams looking to three-peat and how visiting opponents are working hard to make the Lakers defend their turf, and what happened down the Laker bigs down the stretch.
Were they taken out of the game by Boston's defenders, their own doing or Kobe not giving them the ball, Phil was asked? His response didn't break down the scenario so neatly. "Our defense didn't hold and I think Kobe ended up taking it on his shoulders to beat the team," explained Phil. "We were down by six with four minutes."
Jackson was then asked if he "liked" that approach.
"There are times it works and there are times it didn't," answered Phil. "Yesterday it didn't work out, and our big guys didn't stand in and demand the ball. They weren't aggressive about it."
PJ admitted to being "alarmed" (albeit another writer's original choice of words) about the team's inconsistency offensively. The defensive lapses are also problematic, Jackson noted, but I got the sense those struck him as more honest, if still costly, mistakes, as opposed to carelessness issues sometimes plaguing the offense. Having said that, Jackson also made light of any notion of panicking right now.
There was also more talk about Kobe's responsibilities with the ball during crunch time, along with the responsibilities of everyone else to create play-making options. He also clarified Sunday's remarks about the supporting cast "not wanting the ball," which were meant to illustrate players out of rhythm due to a lack of touches vs. being frightened of the moment. Still, their off-ball activity must be maintained.
More from Phil, this time about Artest's two-way struggles against Boston and Kobe taking over late. As for the latter subject, Phil noted his desire to see others involved more down the stretch, but said this wasn't a criticism of the superstar. While he smilingly acknowledged being "careful" with his words, I don't think PJ was nearly as unhappy with Kobe taking over as why he felt prompted to do so.
As earlier when asked if he "likes" 24 taking over late in games, it isn't so much about the tactic but whether/why it's needed and how Kobe goes about doing so. Obviously, there are always ways to tweak the Mariano Rivera role Kobe loves, and he certainly forced some shots towards the end of Sunday's game. But Phil's stance of more activity needed from others was maintained. Either way, whatever conversation takes place down the road between the two as Jackson promised, I doubt it will be confrontational.
Odom talked about everyone's responsibilities while Kobe takes over, the mysterious struggles at home, and why nobody is expecting to just "turn it on":
Gasol talked about his and the fellow bigs' performances against Boston, his non-existent "crisis meter," and the overall improvements needed: