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 12, 2004

Phil Jackson


Q. As under-sized centers go, how would you rank and what can you say about 6-9, 245-pound Ben Wallace?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Oh, he's a great shot blocker, great timing for the ball, good rebounder, offensive, keeps the ball alive. He's been a real centerpiece for this team.
Q. How would you rank him among under-sized centers?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: So are you going back to Wes Unseld, Willis Reed, Dave Cowens?
Q. Yes.
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, he's not an offensive player like any of those guys. But defensively, I think he stands alone in a lot of areas, maybe not as good as Wes Unseld or Willis Reed, although Cowens himself was a ferocious defender. His activity is probably greater than those players and his athleticism certainly is. But, you know, he's gained confidence in his scoring this year, he's made improvements, he's getting to be a better ballplayer every year. I think that's the important part about his game.
Q. Forgive me if you've been asked this before, but when you were down in San Antonio 2-0, one of the things you did was sort of collapse the defense, if I'm not mistaken and forced them to beat you from the outside. Given the way Chauncey is playing, is there any thought of doing something akin to that in this series?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, we're going to have to -- we are a team that revolves around the comfort zone of knowing the personnel we are playing against. And we've yet to really personalize and individualize what Chauncey Billups brings to this team and his personality as a player. We know that we've got him under, layups, all of those things have happened to us and we have to understand that. We are coming to terms with that, I think, as a team, so that identity and our ability to play with greater confidence and activity is increased.
We are trying to get that through to the players, because I think that's really the ultimate important part. I think Chauncey has developed as a ballplayer, where we always thought of him as a scorer or a playmaker. He's combined those abilities, particular in these playoffs.
We really do understand that this team has not shot the ball that well against us. We're shooting better than they were even going into the fourth quarter of that ballgame, but the key about the games and their activity on the offensive boards, second-chance opportunities and free throws, and those are the areas that we can clean up and those are the areas we want to clean up as we go through this next game in a hurry.
For us to be active -- a la San Antonio type of thing -- if we had played this team four times in a season and multiple playoffs like we played San Antonio over the years, yes, I think we could do what you're suggesting. Right now, we're getting close to knowing how to do this, but I don't trust the fact that intricate type of defensive activity like that might be capable with this team yet.
Q. Several of your players have said that they think that the Pistons are hungrier for this title than you. How disturbing is that and do you think that's just some media rhetoric that they are just throwing out there?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I can't imagine that could possibly be true. I mean, we know that our players have played hard, gutted it out through the course of these playoffs. Obviously, there's some things talked about, lack of effort, those things are ridiculous, because players only play with lack of effort when they are confused or they don't know their assignments perhaps defensively or they are caught in between whether they should step out or retreat and as a consequence, they can't react to the ball the way they would like to.
What we do have is a team that's not quite as athletic as the Detroit team, but we know we can play up to that level. Once we are in clear purpose of what our goals and objectives are, we can do the job. That's -- I don't think there's any idea at all in our minds about who wants this more than anybody else.
Q. I asked some of your players yesterday, was Sunday's game a game of urgency, and one of the answers I got was, it's a game of opportunity. As a coach, do you think it's a game of urgency or opportunity?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, I'm a person that probably wouldn't respond to either one of your definitions because that's just the way I am. I'm a contrarian. (Laughter) So I'm not going to give you credit for either one of them.
Q. Appreciate it.
COACH PHIL JACKSON: But I will say this: I have told this team that we have to go back with a victory from these three games in Detroit. That's all we came here to do, is go back here with a victory and bring it back to L.A. The game on Sunday is ultimately an important game to do that because then we can get two victories while we're here.
So I haven't stated this urgency or opportunity either way. I'm just saying, go get a win and do it tonight, and that's the way I play ball. I like to play ball.
Q. Given Karl's state, do you have any consideration to flipping the lineup and starting Slava at this point in the series or any other changes you might contemplate to the lineup or rotation or is it too soon?
Q. So you are considering changes?
Q. And Karl is one of them?
Q. How likely is that?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: You know, we're going to go through a practice this afternoon. We're going to see how the players play. Karl may not be able to practice. We have to consider that. We have to consider his urgency. What I've told him is we like what he's doing with Rasheed Wallace. He's played him well enough so that he has not become a big factor in this series. It's neutralized him as far as I'm concerned and has done some good things for us regardless of his activity level. His ability to rebound and all of those things, we do need to move forward.
As he goes through this series and he improves, he has to make that call and help us out. It's a consideration, as you mentioned.
Q. Did you get as much as you possibly could the other night in terms of both minutes and production, or can you get anything more, longer minutes, more out of him? Is there anything else that he can do?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I think we can. I think we may use a bicycle in the locker room at halftime so he doesn't cool and get as stiff as he did in the second half. It was noticeable that he could not do the things and react to the things he wanted to do rebounding-wise, defensively and offensively out there on the floor.
But he ran the court relatively well in the first quarter, if you remember, he had a fast-break layup that he got knocked out on and didn't get a call on. He did some nice things passing the ball, hit a shot. He held his own out there and that's basically what we need from him.
Q. You were talking about cleaning up your game and the rebound differential, is that an X and O thing or is it a thing where you have to realize that they are crashing boards all the time and you have to do something about it?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, it's both an X's and O's thing. It's an understanding of what's required of them as players and what they have to do. It's focus, basically. It's concentration.
Q. What's the X and O part?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: The X and O part is where we get help from and how we stay in front of the man so the guys are not loose to get offensive rebounds and get clear space to go to the boards. That's the X and O part of it. Where are you getting help from on your screen roll; are you going to go through your weak man out on the path; are you going to throw your guards and wings; that's the X and O's.
Q. Is this the least complementary of the Laker teams you've had inasmuch the parts don't fit together under your vision as well as the other Lakers teams you've had have?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I decline to answer that question on the grounds I may incriminate myself.
Q. That's a great answer. Thank you. (Laughter).

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