Coby Karl might still be running
The Lakers, fresh from last night's road win in Seattle, took it easy today in El Segundo, getting a later start than normal and keeping the workout relatively light. "We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of games. We need to still keep our rhythm, but not suspend ourselves with too much activity," Phil Jackson said. After all, things are going pretty well. Eight straight victories, with an opportunity to run it to nine tomorrow against a slumping Portland team on Tuesday. Big picture, things look good as well. "Our schedule is favorable, because we've played the majority of our games on the road. So we have a relatively good home schedule," Jackson noted. Still, "we have a lot of work to do." True enough. Now that Lakers fans have regained the taste for winning, expectations have gone up. People ain't screwin' around no more.
Kobe didn't speak to the media, and Jackson played coy on the issue of possible fines connected to last night's ejection and his postgame comments, in which PJ implied ref Brian Forte, son of veteran whistlebearer Joe Forte, might be a) the beneficiary of a little nepotism, and b) something of a red-ass. "Let's say that because the explicitness of your reporting," PJ grinned, "I'll just let it lay where it is right now." I was left with the distinct impression that Jackson doesn't care an iota if he happens to get dinged by the league. It's not the first time, it won't be the last... and besides, he's rich.
Derek Fisher said he was happy to see 24 continue to show that sort of intensity in a blowout, and noted that Kobe was probably aware of the situation. Had the game been closer, Bryant probably would have kept his emotions in check. "I don't think he intended to get tossed, though," Fish said. "I don't think his intention was to prove a point. He was just playing with that same fire and emotion that he always plays with. Different officials have different tipping points. The gentleman last night had I think a quicker tipping point than most."
I asked Fish if he's ever been tossed for mouthing off at a ref. He laughed. No (with a caveat, found in the audio), "but we still have a lot of games left to play, so I don't want to say too much."
- Vlad Rad is going to get more evaluation on his bum right calf,
but said he was feeling better today than he did Sunday. That's good.
- I saw Chris Mihm, who was doing rehab work and said things are
coming along well. He's more comfortable now with the screw removed
from his foot, and is getting some pretty fancy treatment to induce
healing. The sort of thing that isn't likely covered by your HMO.
Incidentally, he said the screw they pulled out was about the length of
his pinky, which is saying something since as a seven footer, the man
has substantial pinkies. We're going to try and get a picture of it
for the site. (The screw, I mean. Not his pinkies.)
- After practice, when everyone was done with extra shooting, Coby
Karl started to do some supplementary fitness work. He was running
baseline to baseline, seemingly forever. I'd stop to talk to one
player, look back, and he'd be running. A few minutes later? Still
running. And running. And running. Such is life when you're not
getting a lot of PT. Players have to stay in shape somehow.
- Moment of the Day: Ronny Turiaf and Luke Walton attempting to
bounce pass a ball into the lower shelf of a ball rack from maybe 20
feet. For those of you who need a visual, there might be about two
inches in each direction to play with. It's a narrow, narrow fit, like
trying to bullseye wamp rats back home/shoot proton torpedoes into the
Death Star. Normally, guys make one attempt, then leave the ball
for a rookie to pick up. Those two kept at it, and kept at it, and kept at
it. Finally, I heard Ronny yell, "Ten dollars!" and he passed by, arms
raised in triumph, on his way to the locker room, apologizing with a
smile for his outburst.
- Phil Jackson: Download phil_jackson_2.25.mp3
- Lamar Odom: Download lamar_odom_2.25.mp3
- Derek Fisher: Download derek_fisher_2.25.mp3