Tweetable items from Phil Jackson's pre-game press conference previewing Lakers-Hornets game
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is 15 points shy of surpassing Oscar Robertson for ninth place on the NBA's all time scoring list. With Bryant currently with 26,695 points, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson believes Bryant has extra motivation to surpass Michael Jordan, who's third on the list with 32,292 points. "I would imagine that's one that's sitting out there," Jackson said. He also predicted Bryant will surpass Shaquille O'Neal, who's currently fifth on the list with 28,504 points.
Bryant told the New York Post's Peter Vecsey that "I have very little cartilage under my right knee cap, it’s almost bone on bone.” But Jackson said Bryant "manages it very well." Jackson said it's been an issue since last season and "we monitored it during the playoffs."
Jackson said Bryant's arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this summer helped as has limited practice, including walk-through defensive drills. Bryant often sits out from conditioning drills, while working on shooting drills. "He's stronger and can adjust to a lot he has to deal with," Jackson said of Bryant. Jackson said John Paxson and Bill Cartwright were limited with the Bulls as did Ron Harper with the Bulls and Lakers. Jackson said Michael Jordan always practiced.
Jackson said he has addressed the team about Bryant not practicing. He said he and Bryant talked three years ago about limiting his practice time. "Practices are going to have to be monitored and you and I are going to have reach an agreement on this," Jackson recalled telling Bryant. "I'm going to give you the liberty to choose how you want to practice so we can do this the right away. It's been going on for a while." Jackson said Bryant and Derek Fisher won't practice after back-to-backs or after a significant chunk of games, but will if the team has days off.
Lakers forward Lamar Odom expressed uncertainty on how he'll play through his sore left shoulder, but he will play. Said Odom: "Hopefully I can help a little bit."
He said he mostly went to sleep last night sleeping up.
--Odom on how he played through a sprained left shoulder lasts season from mid-February through the playoffs: "My toughness. Just being tough. Being a gladiator."
Lakers backup center Theo Ratliff said he hasn't been given a timetable on when he will return. He said he's ridden the bike and has occasionally run up and down the court.
E-mail the Lakers blog at email@example.com