home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 7, 2004

Phil Jackson


Q. Why were you dissatisfied with basketball when you retired as a player? What or who motivated you to make coaching a career? And what role did Red Holzman play in motivating you or inspiring you to become a coach?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, I think as a basketball player, I think you run aground sometimes of your competing, your generation runs out of room. You get a situation where players are starting to move into retirement and the new breed coming in represents an entirely different generation. I think that happened. I moved into coaching as a player and was an assistant coach and played for two seasons, '79 and '80 were the last two years. During that period of time with the New Jersey Nets, I think we had six first-round draft picks two first-round draft picks each year in the three years that brought a whole new breed of ballplayers to our team. One of my jobs as assistant coach was to deal with the young players coming in, and some of them were terrific players, Michael O'Koren and Albert King, Calvin Natt, Cliff Robinson, Mike Giminski, to name a few of those first-round draft picks that we had. But as a special assistant in one situation, I know I had to fine one of those players for making me wait 30 minutes for just a coaching situation, that I had set up with one of those players, Cliff Robinson, who was a 19-year-old kid from Southern California. We had to hash it out a little bit as to what professional job was really all about in the game. You know, you sometimes look back when you're on the edge of your career and wonder if that younger generation, and you hear the guys that are moving on out of the game in this day and age doing the same thing with the younger generation, have they earned what they have gotten? Are they being paid for their potential or paid for their production? The same thing was going on then. So it taught me a lot. Red Holzman was a mentor who told me, if I had an opportunity to go to Puerto Rico to coach, to take that opportunity, because he had learned a lot about coaching basketball in Puerto Rico. I called him up following my decision to leave broadcasting the following year with the New Jersey Nets and to go back into coaching and asked him if he had an opportunity to find me a position in Puerto Rico to coach. He said he didn't; that the ownership had changed franchises down there, but lo and behold in two years' time, I was down in Puerto Rico coaching in the summer and coaching in the minor leagues in the CBA. I think there was a number of people that encouraged me to continue coaching, even though I had spent five years coaching in a minor league situation. Red was one of them, obviously, but even people I had worked with in the Nets organization encouraged me to continue to coach.

Q. Where do you think Gary Payton's head is at right now?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, I'm sure, knowing Gary, he's so competitive, that he's got a game he'd just would like to forget about it. Everything he did it seemed like it was a foul or he had turnovers that looked like he was getting fouls and he didn't get the breaks and the calls, and situations like that will happen to a player some nights. You know, he wants an opportunity to get back at it and have another game to challenge. So, we expect a real competitive Gary. He's one of our greatest competitors that we've seen in this game at that position.

Q. Any sense that the injuries of Derek and Karl played any role? Obviously they both struggled a bit of late, have you seen anything going on physically with them?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: It would be silly of me to deny that they are both hurting a little bit, and what they are trying to do, they are not at peak position with those injuries to them. But they both want to play on through it, and we are just going to have to make a determination as to what level they can do that at. If their injuries hamper their capabilities, we are going to have to have other people out there on the floor. That's unfortunate for us but that's the way it is.

Q. Are you anywhere near having to do that?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: We have not anticipated having to do that, but in seeing what happened in the game and the productivity they had, we're going to have to measure that during the course of the next game.

Q. One of the more puzzling things in sports for people who don't play, is understanding why a team or an individual can come out in a big game and appear flat, why does that happen on occasion?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: I think that this is a team that I've -- a lot people have -- a lot of people have wondered what team is going to show up, they say, which Laker team will show up this particular night? This is a team that really, the familiarity of a basketball club breeds a certain sense of domination to them and they play very well, they had to get that opportunity to feel a basketball club out. I was not surprised by last night's basketball game. I wasn't happy with it and we'd like to have a better effort, but this is a team that I think grows in their abilities as a series goes on and as they understand the territory. They were never comfortable in the offensive end. I don't think they made good cuts. I don't think they played their offense the way that the execution demands it. The defensive end, I didn't think they were aggressive, and that's where they have stepped into a vacuum that they have played in at times during the season that I think left people to make comments about which team would show up. We had a great performance last night by Shaquille O'Neal that went for naught.

Q. Shaq did not get a whole lot of shots after halftime, was that everybody else's negligence in throwing the ball inside or was he active enough in going for the ball or were you satisfied with how it was going?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: As you go back through the tape and you see things like they tipped two balls away from him and went out of bounds from him in situations where he had the opportunity to catch a ball, he came across the lane and got an offensive foul coming to the basketball. Those are the things that took him out of the ballgame or took his effectiveness out of the ballgame in the first half, where our advantage was, we got the ball in at that time. Or when they circled him when the pass was made and it wasn't tipped away and he got the dunk because they took the risk of trying to circle him. The second half we just did not have that sharpness on our passes and he was not as quick perhaps as he was the first half. I thought the fourth quarter, I was calling some other things that involved getting Kobe operating in a position where he could operate, but the third quarter, there was a chance to get the ball into him and we didn't.

Q. How was Detroit able to control the pace of the game and what do you do to change that for Game 2?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, they walked the ball up the court. If they don't have a fast break, they keep the ball in the hands of their point guard for a lot of the play, which they will use 20 seconds of the clock and numbers the shots they put in on the 24-second buzzer last night so they extracted a lot of time out of that. And then they pick up their full-court so when you have a ballclub that's picking up full court, regardless of whether it was Williamson up there playing a guard, he was still picking up full court. Off a pace that's kind of set in the ballgame and we will develop a different pace I think tomorrow.

Q. Have you spoken to Gary Payton since last night's ballgame, because he -- while Karl has spoken about his frustrations about last night's game, last night and today, Gary has not spoken. Have you talked to him about how frustrated he was after last night's performances?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: No. We had a team meeting as we normally would have, and I addressed some of the situations out on the floor, but I didn't allow -- or I didn't open it up for discussion and Gary didn't volunteer anything.

Q. Why do you think you had Shaquille going, you were not able to build on that? Usually that's what you're seeking and you could put other teams away but you could not establish a good lead with Shaquille scoring inside.

COACH PHIL JACKSON: We had too many turnovers. In a slow-paced game like that, where you have -- it looked like an 80 possession game, 20 possessions a quarter. Most of the time in the NBA you have 27 possessions in the first quarter, maybe you get down to 20 in the second and 4th. So you have somewhere close to 94, 95 possessions. That was an 80 possession game. So you take away 16 turnovers; we considered it 18 turnovers because of the jumped balls that were lost. You know, ten forced shots, suddenly there's not a whole lot of opportunity to get the breaks, the turnover situations that accumulate, fast break or turnover points. It just got, it was a very sodden game out there. It was slow and it was a pace of game that benefitted the Pistons.

Q. What problems does Chauncey Billups pose offensively and what do you have to do to limit him?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: He's strong, and his size, I think, against Gary, he knocked him back a couple of times and just because he's a strong-shouldered kid and Gary fought through a couple of picks that I thought he was in front of him and he was still able to step back and hit shots. He got to the basket a few times making nice moves around Shaquille. So he did a lot both on the outside with Chauncey and in the inside penetrating. I think the thing that is impressive is that Chauncey has a scorer's mentality, but yet during the course of the game he kept that playmaking or point guard mentality in his head and paced the game, and if things did not work out for other guys that were coming off screens, he took it on himself to find the advantage out there. You know, having watched him over the course of the last series against Indiana, he had real good first game against Indiana, too, and we anticipated that that was kind of one of his statements that he made out there and we'll have to do a better job on.

Q. How radical do you think their decision to single cover Shaq for a lot of the game was and how different was it from what you saw in the previous three series?

COACH PHIL JACKSON: We've had that before. We've had that happen before in these series, so that wasn't that difficult to play against. But, you know, we think that their decision to play Kobe with a lot of different people, obviously helping out a lot with Tayshaun running and trying to cover Kobe in a one-on-one situation when Kobe came in groups to move on to help in double-team if necessary, and to put pressure on Shaq for coming from behind or rotating if someone fronted him. Their decision was to give the scorers what they are going to get, and that's Shaquille and Kobe, and limit the other players and hold them down. That worked for them last night, which was simply that those two players, Shaquille and Kobe, respectively, could not score enough points to bother them if they could stop the other players, and they were capable of doing that. So they won that game simply on that decision. I think it was a valuable one for them.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297