June 5, 2004
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Practice Day
Q. How was Malone able to practice today?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Good. (Laughter).
Q. Full speed the entire practice?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Yes.
Q. Did you have to hold anybody out today?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I took Shaquille off the court a couple of times.
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Oh, some minor things.
Q. Anything that's going to be a concern going into tomorrow?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I don't know about that.
Q. Are Fisher, Fox and Karl all able to do what they would normally be doing tomorrow? Any limitations on the three of them?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I didn't see any limitations at all. I thought everybody played aggressively, athletically. It was a good practice.
Q. From what you've seen on tape from Detroit, what would you say is your biggest concern about the Pistons?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, I think their defense generates some points. We'll probably have to be the most concerned about how we get into our offense, how we get the ball in the best position on the court to execute what we want to do, how we manage the clock, 24-second clock. There's going to be a lot of 24-second violations with teams that go up against it.
Q. The other day during the teleconferences, Larry Brown said that he was not going to employ hack-a-Shaq. Were you surprised that he may have tipped his hand, whether truthfully or not, so early, and what are your concerns or lack of concern regarding that?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Neither. I have no opinion on that at all. I anticipate that's what Larry would do. He was in a series with us a couple of years ago back in Philadelphia, and he did not try and foul for profit in a situation that would get the ball back for the team.
Q. Are you still concerned about transition defense? I know the Pistons are not the quickest team in the world but is that an area they can exploit against you or does Kareem Rush help you guys in those areas?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I anticipate that that's something we'll always have to face as a team that has a player the size of Shaquille in the post, deep, buried. And a lot of times, maybe taking a shot under duress that he's always going to be used as a weapon to try and see if he can't get it back on time and see what teams can do before he gets back on the defensive retreat.
Q. Kobe Bryant's court proceedings, you called it a situation this year. Can you talk about how he has turned that distraction into a motivation, especially in the playoffs?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: You know, I think it says something about a person when they respond to adversity. I think Kobe has responded extremely well to the adversity around that situation. You know, we all sympathize with both sides of that. As a parent, you know, I certainly do with both families in the situation, but for Kobe's standpoint, he has a job and a profession and something that he has to attend to and we really rely on him and the responsible role that he has to perform. He's done a wonderful job holding up under that pressure.
Q. Has it surprised you he has done it as well as he has?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Nobody anticipated he couldn't.
Q. Has Ben Wallace showed you anything in the playoffs or regular season that would change the way you have defended him in the past?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Yes, I try to impress upon the ballplayers this week that the first two series that he played in versus New Jersey, obviously, and the first series against Milwaukee, he actually was a featured player in some sense and shot the ball well, consistently. You know, we have to respect him for what he's gained as an offensive player.
Q. You have players who are here for the fourth time, you have players who are here for the first time, some who have been here but failed; is there any particular message now that you're on the verge of this or heading into this that you're trying to send to them in the next day?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: No. I have consistently come up with a theme. We've talked about it, as our last chance, so to speak, to perform as a group. For a lot of these players, you know, there's not a whole lot of security that's beyond this year. We have talked about it in those terms. But we haven't, you know, specifically focused on that as an emotional appeal.
Q. You've harped on it several weeks ago when you needed to as a desperation rally cry; is there any reason to bring it back at any point in the series, or is that now the known backdrop?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I think it's present with us all the time.
Q. Does it do your heart good when Larry Brown says, he's not going to indulge in hack-a-Shaq?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: You missed that question already but I'll defer to that; that I anticipated he would do that. He had been in the playoffs before and not tried to use that to gain an advantage, because I think just because of the distraction and because of the fact it's not a very sporting act, I think in the end result in some ways. You know, it's kind of befitting with his stature towards the game.
Q. Would you mind commenting on what Karl Malone has meant -- what has Karl Malone meant to this team in terms of his leadership, his locker room demeanor.
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, demonstrative, emotional, stand-up guy, straightforward. You know, he plays the game at full throttle almost the moment he steps on court until the time you take him off. That part of it, I think, is a driving force for our team. You know, we've played behind Kobe's intensity over the years, but Karl brings a different kind of direction and intensity to our game. His ability to motivate our team has been noticeable for me, as a coach and I appreciate it.
Q. Could you talk about the challenge of guarding Hamilton and whether he reminds you of any players from another era, the way he works so hard.
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Yes, he's done a fine job for them in the playoffs. We made a big transition over the last two year, coming from Washington to Detroit and becoming a featured player. He's a terrific off-the-ball player, reminiscent of players of past, but of course very similar to a player that Larry Brown had in Indiana, Reggie Miller, fit very well into the system that Larry likes to use as a coach. He likes players that play without the ball; that are willing to move to get the ball. Hamilton is a tireless worker and is capable of being a one-man wrecking crew out there, because he gets picks and in return, he wears down the ballplayers that have to guard it. We'll have to watch Kobe's stamina during the course of the game, defending against him. We'll have to put him under some pressure ourselves as a defensive player.
Q. How would you compare Rasheed to the role he had in Portland?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I think it's not unsimilar to the role he had. I think Rasheed was not only a post-up player, part of the team, obviously he brushed cheeks with Larry Brown in Philadelphia and incorporated a lot of the system Larry uses -- in Portland, but also uses him in screen control situations where he can fan out and be a spot-up shooter from three-point range. He is perhaps not as attuned or predictable to move out to that three point line, but he's still a very dangerous out there and we'll have to be conscious of where he's at on the court.
Q. You said earlier that you talk about this as being the last chance to perform as a group, can you just be a bit more specific about that?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: We don't anticipate, I don't think anybody in the NBA in this day and age does anticipate that you're going to have a 12-man squad come back and play. I think the last time that happened was in '97 -- '96-'97, the Chicago Bulls kept the 12 men on the roster and allowed their first round Draft pick to go ahead and come to the L.A. lakers in a trade and compensation situation. That's the extreme. Today we are now exchanging six, seven, five, six players every year it seems like, and the mode of operation that goes on. Our team is no different this year. We anticipate the players are here for an opportunity, and we're trying to make the best of that as a team.
End of FastScripts...