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There's still nothing to see here

October 13, 2009 |  5:40 pm
Unless, of course, you happened to be a Lakers season ticket holder, since an estimated 200-250 Staples faithful were able to kick it in a specially added set of bleachers and enjoy today's practice. Quite the treat, enthusiastically received by those folks shelling out bookoo bucks.  While Phil Jackson specifically Shannon Brown, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Adam Morrison as the standout performers- roster hopeful Thomas Kelati also enjoyed a few nice moments during the late section the media was allowed to watch- the ex-Bobcats teamed up to deliver the consensus Big Kahuna highlight.  Ammo emerged from a scrum with a steal, then hit a streaking Brown with a home run toss. SB put the ball on the floor for a dribble or two, then threw down a semi-windmill dunk off an explosively quick hop. Predictably, a plethora of "ooh's" and "ahh's" commenced.

Mr. YouTube has quite the knack for crowd pleasing, which ironically reflects PJ's displeasure for these open practices. Not that he disapproved of Shannon's jam, but these league-requested peeks behind the curtain, because of the entertainment value sought, tend to result in practices centering less around drills and fundamentals and more around putting on a show. That understandable desire to give STH's their "money's worth," so to speak, changes the roster's collective energy in a way that doesn't float Jackson's boat. I asked PJ if he saw any positive aspects whatsoever to the shift in vibe.

"Absolutely not."

Seriously, Phil, we're never going to communicate if you keep beating around the bush.

But beyond the gift to the fans, for practical purposes (i.e., mine), similar to BK's report from El Segundo just 24 hours removed, not much doing, whether in the way of players chatting after practice or scoops with a capital "S."

Even the closest thing to real "news," respective hamstring and back injuries to Pau Gasol and Luke Walton, barely seemed to register on the FEAR-O-Meter. In the video below, PJ expresses little concern about either player's condition and while talking briefly with us media types, Gasol was in good spirits and smiling. Pau told me that were the season in full swing, he could probably play through the discomfort, and when another writer joked that the injury prompted Phil to take El Spaniard out of the starting lineup for next year's theoretical exhibition game in Barcelona, dude just grinned. "More rest for me. Always gotta look at the positives."

Really, the biggest damage from these injuries may have come when the egg landed on Jackson's face, as he'd just praised Walton for thus far defying his history and staying healthy throughout training camp. The Zen Master, however, insists he's not to blame for any "jinx," since the ailment actually happened during yesterday's practice and was already in play by the time he mentioned what had been up to that point good health on Luke's part. Therefore, the timing was merely "fortuitous," not a jinx.

Assuming I understand the rules correctly, PJ also doesn't owe anybody a Coke.

Phil also talked about the 1996 Bulls team, they of the 72 wins, in reference to recent showings of confidence from Celts Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace. Phil raises an interesting point about how much pure geography can help a team's quest to win.

AK

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