Phil Jackson suggests Kevin Garnett played too physical against Dwight Howard
The Lakers may be downplaying their rivalry with Boston and saying they'd be happy meeting any opponent in the NBA Finals, so don't expect too many zingers and insults leading up to Game 1 on Thursday.
Of course, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson fits the exception. In a question related to the teams' toughness, Jackson acknowledged the contrast between the Lakers' and Celtics' physical makeups, saying, "We don't have a smackdown mentality." He then riffed on Boston forward Kevin Garnett for what Jackson perceived as playing a little too rough against Orlando center Dwight Howard in the Celtics' six-game East finals victory over the Magic.
"He was smacking Howard's arm and finally was called for an offensive foul," Jackson said of Garnett in Game 6. "That's not our kind of team. We don't go out there to smack people around."
Jackson rarely goes through a playoff series without picking on an opposing player. He first suggested Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant receives favorable treatment from officials and then recently accused Phoenix guard Steve Nash of carrying the ball. That ball is now in Garnett's court. Regardless of how Garnett responds -- whether in anger, with an insult toward Jackson or indifference -- Jackson surely will act confused over the scuffle he created. So stay tuned.
One player apparently immune from Jackson's zingers is Boston center Kendrick Perkins. With Perkins being one technical foul away from drawing a one-game suspension, I asked whether Jackson had suggested to his team with extra emphasis the idea of frustrating Perkins and perhaps baiting him to get another technical so the Lakers don't have to worry about him for one of the games. He shot that strategy down, but lamented the league's rule that seven technical fouls in the postseason result in a suspension.
"Those things I think should be wiped out, flagrant fouls, technical fouls," Jackson said. "It just means the longer you've been in the playoffs, the more penalized you are."
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