Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Lakers' Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher debate parallels between championship teams

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson broke out in laughter. He was asked whether it's atypical for a team defending a championship to be going through a lull like the one the Lakers have gone through in the last month.

Though the Lakers (54-21) enter Friday's game against Utah with a 4-1/2-game lead over the Jazz (50-26) and Dallas Mavericks (50-26), things are far from perfect in Lakerdom. They don't really have a shot to surpass Cleveland (59-16) for the league's best record, they came off a 2-3 trip and enter the remaining seven games without a consistent identity.

After his laughter subsided, Jackson brought up the Lakers' 2000-2001 championship team that featured lots of Shaq-Kobe dissension. As The Times' Mark Heisler wrote, that season was "otherwise known as The Title Defense from Hell." But that team managed to close out the regular season with eight consecutive regular season wins and then go on a 15-1 tear in the postseason. "This is better than last year because everybody wrote us off," Rick Fox then told The Times' Bill Plaschke. "Of course, they had reason to write us off."

The Lakers don't have that kind of drama going on this season, but there has been visible anger as of late. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was visibly frustrated during the team's 2-3 trip, ranging from his angry scowl, punching a chair and chewing out his teammates in the locker room. There's also Sasha Vujacic's spat with assistant coach Brian Shaw, which will essentially cost him in the rotation. But as I noted after Thursday's practice, the Lakers hope cooler heads will prevail in the end. That's why Jackson, forward Pau Gasol and guard Derek Fisher struck the balance between acknowledging the team's frustration without letting it boil over. 

Jackson's reference to the 2001 championship team prompted a few questions to Fisher on whether the current team's poor performances are typical of the struggles other Lakers teams went through when defending their championships. Fisher, who's been on all four of the Lakers' championship seasons this last decade (1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002 and 2008-2009), cited numerous factors that distinguish those seasons, including the makeup of the team as well as the various off-season movements among the league. This season alone, the Dallas Mavericks acquired Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood from Washington; Cleveland acquired Shaquille O'Neal from Phoenix in the offseason and Antawn Jamison from Washington before the deadline; the Magic acquired Vince Carter from Toronto in exchange for Hedo Turkoglu ... and the list goes on. 

Given those variables, however, Fisher mentioned the one thing that never changes. "It's not easy, no matter how you slice it," Fisher said. "Which team it is, which year it was, it's just not an easy thing to do. That's why you remember those teams though, because they did figure out a way to do it. We want to still be one of those teams." We'll soon find out. 

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
Comments () | Archives (14)

The comments to this entry are closed.

MM,

Any word/chance on the Lakers picking up a veteran for the playoff push? Is that possible at this point in the season? Like say, a Bruce Bowen, someone who can guard the PG and hit the open shot and whom is retired.

Thanks

1. It is so nice to see Phil and Derek respond to the present situation with perspective and maturity as opposed to PANIC!!!!! It really is nice.

2. Mark, a very nice and thoughtful question to Derek. I was very interested by that.

3. Mark, I will answer your question to Derek for him. In essence, when confronted with improved talent--as the Lakers are--the only way to beat that is with improved synergy. Unfortunately, injuries have made that very difficult this season. We really need a road to Damascus/Game Seven versus Houtson moment here. I'm confident that it can happen, but it seems like it truly requires something outside of ourselves.

4. God's a Lakers fan, right? He might be able to help us out on this. Utzworld?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Jon K - Hey thanks for the love man. Appreciate it.

MM

BLAAAAAAAAARRRG!!!! TRADE EVERYONE!!! BLOW UP THE TEAM!!!
TRADE THE BENCH FOR TIM THOMAS, ZAZA PACHULIA, AN ABBA ZABBA, AND SOME "ABC" GUM!!! BRING VLADE BACK!!!!! BLAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRG!!!!

Thats my guess at the type of panic we have been seeing while I was away from the blog. And to all that panic and what not I say this and I say it with conviction

Meh...

Yyep thats it...carry on good Blog Citizens.

Nathaniel,

If Bruce Bowen can guard a point guard and hit the open shot, he would still be playing.

The Infamous El Guapo,

"Thats my guess at the type of panic we have been seeing while I was away from the blog. And to all that panic and what not I say this and I say it with conviction"

You gut is on target. It's not far from the truth, particularly after a loss.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Mamba where are you bro, we need you to start up some bandwagons!

LAKERS ALL THE WAY BABY!!!
2010 NBA CHAMPIONS!!!

memories. more words. welcome to the 60ies existentialist coffee house conversations. action?not needed. we can debate and after that regurgitate the same mantra.

in the last 2 years when Horry played for SA it was sad and pathetic to see him miss shot after shot. FORTUNATELY, he was playing only a few minutes. and yes, the best play he did was the fracas in Phoenix. not basketball related. and he was suspended

Fish did that in Houston. see Scola. he was suspended and not burned at least for one game by Brooks.

some players age well or know when to retire while their front head is up. some just get deeper and deeper in the mud till they disappear.

just words. good for the autobiography. maybe not a great Last Chapter.

HOBBITMAGE… LMAO. You are the Fox News of the Lakers Blog. Just because you put a question mark after your slurs or spout your own version of an apology you think is owed to you, doesn’t make it so. It’s just another weak attempt at dissimulate and misinform. By the way, having the last word does not mean you won.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MICHAEL H… “I completely agree with you on Andrew. The value of Andrew on the floor may or may not be found in the box score. As a couple of old B-ballers I think we understand match ups a little better then some of the other guys. Andrew changes match ups. He has to be guarded by the opposing center. Pau has his troubles against centers. He dominates most power forwards. And the opposing center must stay at home with Andrew, limiting his help abilities. So at the very least, Pau is allowed to play the kind of game he plays best.”
-
Thanks and aloha, Michael. It would be fascinating to see the Lakers after practice have a players only private scrimmage where the team’s co-captains (Kobe and Fish) would flip a coin and then pick the players to be on their side. Want to bet that Drew would be Kobe’s first pick and Pau would be Derek’s first pick?
~
While Drew had big foul problems in the game against the Magic, he actually played great defense against Howard, even blocking his shot. I just hope that Drew can contribute more these playoffs because we are going to need him more than we did last year. I believe he and Ron are the key to a tougher rougher Lakers squad.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

Seriously, did most of our positive posters decide to just avoid the blog entirely today? We need your positive energy fellas.

LAKERS ALL THE WAY BABY!!!!
2010 NBA CHAMPIONS!!!!

Someone made use of my ideas that this season was similar to the seasons discussed in Phil's...

THE LAST SEASON.

Trade Kobe Byrant!!!!

Get CP 3!!!

Lakers win!

Fish should of responded in the interview that it is different this year. Because before I was just mediocre. But now I'm pathetic, and could possibly be the reason that the Lakers don't repeat. Even if by some chance that one of his rainbows doesn't clank off the rim and some how does go through the net. He is definitely the weak link going into the playoffs and will be exploited big time !!!

LakerTom,

you wrote: You are the Fox News of the Lakers Blog. Just because you put a question mark after your slurs or spout your own version of an apology you think is owed to you, doesn’t make it so. It’s just another weak attempt at dissimulate and misinform. By the way, having the last word does not mean you won.

my response: What slurs? How have I attempted to dissismulate or misinform?
I won't tell you that I haven't mistaken speakers in various stories. I have.
I'll also tell you that when I talk about Pau being soft and PJ says Pau is playing
soft ... I seem to be seeing what the coach is seeing. Do you have a logical
argument for why this isn't so or is this filler until Bynum does something
good?

I also don't think I need to apologize for anything nor was that my intent.
It is my intent to own up to things that I say which are wrong. I just wanted
to know if you had the same ethical integrity. Thanks for answering that
question.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...