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June 14, 2004

Phil Jackson


Q. When you guys were down 0-2 to the Spurs, you talked to the players in a way that seemed to inspire them, telling them that you don't know where everybody is going to be next season, do it now or never, what have you told them now down 3-1?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Just the fact that we have every intention of winning the game. We don't care what the records are about teams that are in this situation in the past. We believe that we can turn this thing around.
Q. Has it been hard for you to be a lame duck this year? I know you've been it before and it's happened before, has it made it any harder for you? And I guess I have to ask you again, have you thought at all about next year?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: No. It has not been difficult at all. I feel I have total support of the players and the organization.
The only thing I don't have any support of are the pilots that run the charter flight. They just won't hold back, won't run the schedule according to the way I want it run.
Q. Obviously x and o's but for you how important is it to get the team mentally healthy going into this game?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, I'm not so worried about that. I don't think that they are. I don't think there's any problem with that at all. I think that's not a situation. I think that they feel like they can play with the same intensity level as the Pistons can. They are trying to get defense and play hard and they feel like they are not getting an even shake on it. That part of it is, what kind of mood does that set up? It sets up probably a little bitterness, is the thing so, that part to get over but I think that's just residual from the game.
Q. Do you have to make adjustments now with Karl's limited minutes?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Yeah, we have to adjust a little bit. I think we knew what we wanted to do yesterday. We ran out of the ability to do it in the second half. We got it accomplished in the first half what we were trying to get done with the ballplayers gameplan-wise. I think that they fatigued a little bit and the fourth quarter showed.
Q. What's going to happen tomorrow night? You talk about the belief, and I'm sure they all have it, but what's going to happen tomorrow night to get this back to L.A., if that's going to happen?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: We started to turn things, I think, in a direction that I thought was positive last night, moving the ball, doing the things we wanted to do. The things that we didn't turn around were the foul shooting. I think the rebounding was better. We gave up nine offensive rebounds. We thought somewhere around five to seven would be appropriate in the ballgame. Turnovers, we got them to where we wanted them to be.
Those are the things that we wanted to do, we got accomplished in the course of the game.
I think our shooting can be better. I think our decisions and choices of shots, particularly Kobe's, could be better decisions in terms of choice of shots, and I think then we'll be a little better off.
Q. Kobe shot 32 percent the last two games, what do you think has gone wrong for him?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, you know, we're used to Kobe going to the foul line. I'll be honest with you, I wouldn't doubt if he's one of the top five foul shooters in the League and I don't keep those kind of statistics. I do know that as a team we shoot fouls at a more rapid pace than our opponents. So I think that he anticipates that he is creating a situation that he's going to get fouled in. Now he's had to deal with the fact that he's not and that's been the difference, and now he's trying to get a shot off quicker and earlier against a lanky opponent, and I think that created a mistiming, a rhythm in his shooting and he's got to get back to that.
Q. Obviously Kobe's confidence is what's taken him to this point, do you have to guard in this type of decisive game that his confidence doesn't get the better of him in getting it into Shaq when he's shooting that high of a percentage?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Let me ask you to restate that question again.
Q. He's obviously a very confident man, but his shot selection, he keeps going to it, appears because of his confidence, is his confidence tomorrow a concern of yours if Shaq is shooting at the same high percentage?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Oh, I see what you're getting at. We're aware of the fact that Shaq's not going to score 55 points and carry us through the course of a game. We're going to need other people to contribute. So we know Kobe is one of those people who are going to contribute in the game, so he's going to have to find a rhythm in the course of the game, so he's exploring for that. That part of it I think is okay. But the timing and the choices I think are what's important right now.
Q. Of the challenges you faced as a coach, where does this one rank?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: Well, right now I don't think there's been a challenge that's as imminent as this, perhaps, since the '95 season when we had to restructure, remake a Chicago Bulls team and put together a team that had to change its face a little bit to beat the opposition that we were faced in that conference. That was a personnel decision that we had to come to in that time.
As a coach, I would imagine that it's the seventh game of series that -- I've been in situations over the course of the last 15 years.
Q. You decided not to make any lineup changes last night. Will you revisit that for the game tomorrow and where will Karl be? Can you take him out of the equation now or can he still get through another one here?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I'll have to talk to Karl and tomorrow we'll decide about that. His effort, I liked his effort in the first half, I think he was a little bit tentative shooting the ball, yet he gave us exactly what we wanted in the first half. We had a lead coming out of the first quarter and we were doing things I thought relatively well.
Second half, he couldn't continue and we'll have to see whether, if he gets warmed up he can give it to us. He wants to do that because we were telling him it's good enough for us, and then not even make that attempt to bring him back in the second half and just go from there in the course of the game. But we do value those 15 of his 21 minutes that he gave us on Sunday night.
Q. At this stage of the game is it just too late to make those kind of moves --
COACH PHIL JACKSON: No, I don't think so at all. I think players are professionals, this is what they do for a living and they have to be -- they have to be prepared to do what they do and they should be prepared to do that.
Q. I'm curious, as much as you preach staying in the moment, how do you now go about preparing for this one game while trying to keep everybody's heads out of this summer, how do you do that?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I think it's the easiest thing to do because there's nothing else that sits beyond it, really than just tomorrow's game. We just have to be there for that effort that we give ourselves and give ourselves a chance to win it. Whatever creeps in, any doubts or whatever, you have to put it aside and that's how you get there. That's how you do the job.
Q. How do you present that to them?
COACH PHIL JACKSON: I'll bring that to them in the course of the day. In the morning shootaround we'll talk about it.

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