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Lakers Coach Phil Jackson suggests Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant benefits from officiating calls


It had been a matchup Lakers Coach Phil Jackson had thought would be a strong possibility for quite some time. But even though the Lakers-Oklahoma City first-round playoff matchup is officially set in stone, Jackson debated back and forth on whether the Lakers (56-24) would benefit from the Thunder's (49-32) playoff inexperience.

And for a series Jackson said will be predicated on "an adjustment to the unknown," he just threw the first fastball. All season, the Zen master has been largely complimentary of Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, who currently leads the league in scoring at 30.1 points per game. But when I asked whether Durant could eventually become the torchbearer of the NBA, Jackson's praise came in a different context.

"Yeah, by the calls he gets, he really gets to the line a lot, I'll tell ya." Jackson said Tuesday after the team's shoot-around before Tuesday night's game against Sacramento.

Jackson isn't the only one thinking that way. Boston's Kevin Garnett recently compared Durant to former Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan, not because of his skills set but because of his trips to the foul line. And for those who like their insults to come with a little bit of color -- well, Garnett certainly didn't disappoint. Though Durant wasn't on the offensive end, he was recently involved with a play in which Denver forward Carmelo Anthony hit the right side of his head on Durant's hip, resulting in Melo laying on the floor motionless without the officials noticing.    

Durant ranks first in the NBA in free-throw attempts (825) and per game (10.3), while Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is ranked 10th in free-throw attempts (541) and ninth per contest (7.4). In fairness to Durant, however, there is at least one call the officials missed in his favor. The NBA recently acknowledged that referees missed a foul on Utah forward C.J. Miles, which would've given Durant three free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining in the Jazz’s 140-139 overtime win over the Thunder.

After the laughter subdued, Jackson continued. "There's a couple plays in the last game where I was pretty curious how he got there," he said. "He really has a reputation as one of the hot points in the league."

"So, you think it looks like Durant has learned the tricks of the trade," I asked Jackson.

"Yeah, you go there," he said, "create contact and you hope you get to the line."

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, shown driving the ball on Dallas forward Caron Butler, scored 23 as the Thunder clinched a playoff spot with a 121-116 victory Saturday night in Dallas. Credit: Mike Fuentes / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (18)

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Playoff inexperience will deeply hurt the Thunder in the first round.

Good for us.

However, they will obviously try to wear us out by running us to death. Best not to fall into the trap.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Working the refs already. Quintessential Phil.


Hopefully, we can isolate Durant and let the rest of the team try and beat us.

jon k- why do you use 'bi-polar' as an insult? If Delonte West has done something demonstrably illegal and immoral, why can't you criticize his behavior and not his clinical diagnosis?

Jamie Sweet,

"Working the refs already. Quintessential Phil"

Agreed, but the question is, "Do you think it will help or hurt?"

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


"Van Gundy recently suggested as an ESPN analyst to Lakers guard Kobe Bryant that "he had the worst left-handed hook shot I had ever seen" during a pre-game shootaround three weeks ago before the Lakers' eventual 92-83 win to the San Antonio Spurs. Bryant responded during the Lakers' 91-88 loss Sunday to the Portland Trail Blazers with a beautiful left hook, and he didn't forget who to immediately look to as soon as he made the basket.

Said Van Gundy: "I will never doubt his left hand again.""

I wonder if Kobe is attempting to take left-handed shots because his right hand is in so much pain he's looking for other options.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Can someone get Dr. Buss to pay off Benette Salvatore before the playoffs start? Otherwise, we may as well pencil any game this guy refs as a lost.

Jon K - Yeah I think that's a fair assessment of what Kobe is doing


Ok, it might just be filler or perhaps I crave positive or negative commentary to fuel my creativity. I have three players left to do and the clock is ticking down on the season.

These are mostly unedited from the time of listed submission, they are more of a archive sorta thing, but if nobody (FCM) minds, (I don’t care if anybody else minds) I will repost a couple a day until the playoffs.


(Lamar Odom Contract Omniwatch) (term probably copyright Andrew or Brian Kamenetzky)

To the tune of ‘Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

Now I’ve heard there was a set amount
Would he make more than Marcus Blount?
And do you really think it was cool, ya?
How many years, was it four or five?
When would the damn word arrive?
When would all Lakerdom yell Booyah?!


Our faith was strong, but y’all needed proof
Not one fan could remain aloof.
would our title hopes all go “poof?, ya?
He took the bench, he dressed with flair
He shaved a star into his hair.
And when he passed the ball, he overthrew ya

[Repeat Chorus]

When Drew fell wounded to the floor
Our hopes they fled out the door
But Lamar didn’t give up, something oo ya
The rebound grabbed, the trey was made
Our title hoops, they did not fade.
Magic’s broken fans they all yelled ‘POO!”, ya

[Repeat Chorus]

When our victory parade was done
The final word? Hey, we won
At the time, that’s what I thought
Was celebration all for naught?
Those dynasty predictions will fool ya
Is he in our hand the bird?
Or will Ron Ron Artest thrill ya?

[Repeat Chorus]

You place your faith in Dr Buss
Then what is it with all the fuss?
You say with Drew is it the same
But Lamar’s agent is to blame
You’re mad the man hasn’t stopped to woo ya


Well it’s laid to rest, there isn’t much
Left to debate at least as such
A and BK are tryin to Sun Yue ya
But at long last, phred was right
And we can go to bed tonight
And Lakerdom can breath a Hallelujah.

Posted by: phred | July 30, 2009 at 10:37 PM

“Drew Bynum”

To the tune of the song ‘Heroin’ by the Velvet Underground

Feel free to sing along.

He’s a center for the Lakers
He’s a man that LakerTom likes a lot, man
Cause he’s seven foot one of potential, man
When he plays a full season of ball
And Tom’ll tell ya, he’s the man
When he’s throwing down the rock
When he just wears a shower sock
But LakerTom’ll tell ya he knows
But LakerTom’ll tell ya he knows

He’s got a mean vertical, yo
He can convert an alley oop, like so
Cause when the talk begins to flow
When we say let’s trade him, heck
When Blitz likes Odom’s depth
We all take cheap shots, guys.
And y’all Laker girls with all your Sasha love
Y’all can’t touch his love
But LakerTom’ll tell ya he knows
But LakerTom’ll tell ya he knows

He knows that Kobe’s played a thousand games or so
He knows that Pau should be a power forward
When he plays at Big Dipper’s clip
Bowing to the advice of Cap
But sitting in that bunny’s lap
Why can’t all you haters see?
In this big title city
Of all the players of this town
We need a franchise to build around
But LakerTom’ll tell ya he knows
But LakerTom’ll tell ya he knows

Drew Bynum, be the man I love
Drew Bynum, be the center who can shove
Become the main guy of this team
Be the center that we need
And as Chick looks down from above
When Kobe is our best point guard
And when you buy booze they don’t card
Playing in this here title town
And the Kamenetzkys posting random threads
And everybody pushin the buttons in y’alls heads
And we need something to talk about that aint phred

Become the main guy of this team
Be the banger that we need
Ah, when Drew Bynum is in the paint
And ball is in the net
Then thank Jim that we drafted him tenth
And thank Mitch that we traded Kwame
And thank Stern Mike T isn’t here anymore
Cause LakerTom’ll tell ya he knows
Cause LakerTom’ll tell ya he knows

Posted by: phred | August 19, 2009 at 07:55 PM


I think JonK was explaining why West showed up packin' enough heat to start a small uprising and not criticizing the cause. He was also trying to point out that it is possible that the pressure of the playoffs could conceivably trigger another event and affect West's play. Especially when teams really start to get physical with him. As much as I dislike the Cavs, I do hope that the team stays up on the guy's control meds.

I'm willing to bet that there was no criticism intended. Of course, I could be wrong....Jon?


Laker's not only have to be on alert for Durant but also the rest of the young Thunder. They can and will run circles around the Lakers. Who is the lead of the Lakers defense ?? Why Fisher of course. Let's hope we do not have to play the Thunder, Portland, Denver, or Spurs in first round. Season is over folks. Maybe next year.

PHRED… LMAO. I just played the YouTube link and had my own personal Karaoke session at my desk. Of course, my boss wondered why I was playing a song called Heroin. LOL. One of your best parodies, phred. The change of pace that Lou uses fits the drug and the theme of your parody perfectly. Well done. Thanks.

That's really rich; Phil commenting on favorable calls for KD. He has benefited from them his whole coaching career.
Everyone knows that the NBA is a "superstar" protected league. That being said, the Lakers' playoff experience will be too much for OKC.


You couldn't be more right! Phil has ALREADY begun to work the refs. I'll be happy to answer Jon K.'s question about whether it will help or hurt.

I will say that it is both good news and bad news for the Laker fans.

It's bad news because Phil has made it a habit of taking a cheap shot at influencing the refs in the playoffs ONLY when he is truly concerned about the series. If he had no concerns, he would say nothing.

I can recall a few examples but one is when they played the GS Warriors with a young Chris Webber and Lattrell Sprewell. Phil made a snarky comment, right before the final game in LA, about how the refs were allowing CWeb to play a zone.

In the 5th and final game of the short series, the refs called 5 technical fouls in the first half for zone defenses!

So, what's the good news? As I've just suggested, this tactic usually works.

Look for Kevin Durant to get muscled by Ron Artest and yet, somehow, shoot fewer than his league-leading average of free throws against the Lakers.

We shall fight evil and do good!
LMFAO at this!!

"Wizards, warlocks and gobblins!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Posted by: Eric Wright | April 13, 2010 at 03:11 PM"

phred/Jolly Rancher,

"why do you use 'bi-polar' as an insult? If Delonte West has done something demonstrably illegal and immoral, why can't you criticize his behavior and not his clinical diagnosis?"

It's not an insult. It's a statement of fact, such as in Adam Morrison's diabetes means he heals slower and Delonte West's psychiatric disorder means that he has be careful of how he handles stress compared to someone who does not have the same condition.

The playoffs are stressful. Who knows how West will respond? I don't.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Yeah, that's what I said...


Phil is scared, and he should be. If they can manage a win in Lakerland, the Thunder will roll! Better hope Kobe finds his misplaced A-game.



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