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June 12, 2008

Phil Jackson


Q. With Tiger Woods playing right down the road, I'm just curious, do you get any sense at all that Kobe would ever like to try an individual sport where he doesn't have to worry about teammates winning and losing, about anybody else, it's all on him?
PHIL JACKSON: No. No, I don't think so. I think the only other sport that truly is dear to Kobe would be soccer, but it's not an individual sport.

Q. Beyond the exchange you had with TJ the other night, what kind of pressure do you put upon yourself, considering your teams have rarely been down in the NBA Finals?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, I guess more than anything else, you try and draw on the belief that you have an idea of what's best for your players, that they can do to function and be the best type of players they have on the floor to try and help them be there. That's the best you can do as a coach.
A lot of it is relying on your staff to help disseminate information, plan, set up things, give you ideas, a lot of those things. So it doesn't fall all on my shoulders, and that's a big part of having a good staff.

Q. I have a question about Pau Gasol. There seems to be a disconnect among a lot of my readers and fans. The word soft comes up, and I look at the percentages that the big stars, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Carlos Boozer, they shot a low percentage and had a relatively low series. I'm trying to get a feel. Offensively he seems hesitant. What do you think of the word soft and how it applies to him and what he's done defensively and how it applies offensively?
PHIL JACKSON: I think that that would be a reputation that Pau came to us with. I think that's one of the reasons perhaps we were fortunate enough to get him in the draft situation is that perhaps that had been carried with him, that perhaps he was not a center, he was more of a forward type of player. He wasn't tough enough or powerful enough to be a center. But he's constantly risen to the occasion in every series that we've gone through this year. I find it remarkable how well he's played. I mean, he's really taken the challenge and played very well.
The last game obviously was not a great game for him, but we believe that he's going to have another real good game for us. I won't touch the soft, though (smiling).

Q. What have the points of emphasis been the last couple days in terms of film session and what you've tried to do in shootarounds?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, outside of letting you in on highly secretive information (smiling), we're just trying to get the guys to play ball in kind of a natural way, and I think most coaches are going to be looking for ball movement, player movement, done with a purpose, and that's kind of one of the maxims that we run our game by is to try and get guys moving and playing ball together in a way. We had some good instances in Game 3. It wasn't consistent. I thought our third quarter wasn't consistent with that, but other than that, I thought we did a pretty good job.

Q. In falling behind in the series, has any observation been made about Pau Gasol? You just answered a question about that, and Lamar Odom, questions about things they need to do. Before the last game you talked about the importance of Odom and mentioned some incredible numbers, like he needs 18 and 7 or 9, and I don't remember what the numbers were. He didn't get them, you still got the win. Where do you see Odom? What does he have to go to get the effect that you want to have for the team?
PHIL JACKSON: Well, Lamar is our best rebounder, and one of the things they've been doing is neutralizing him on the defensive boards by just -- he's guarding Perkins, and Perkins is just plowing him under the basket. He's got to get back and get rebounds because from there springs our transition game where he's so effective. That's where his assists and his scoring comes and his rebounds because he usually generates somewhere between 8 to 10 rebounds a game, and a lot of those are power-out sequences that change the game up dramatically. A guy 6' 10", 6' 11" taking the ball down the court and opening up the floor with the speed he has makes a big difference. That's been a little bit tough for him. He can't get as many rebounds and secure the boards as quickly and move the ball up as he has as quickly in past series. That's what we like to see him do. That's not going to happen, and he's got to find a way to hold off those offensive board guys and execute what we do at the other end of the floor the way we like to see it happen. They match him up obviously with Garnett, and Garnett is playing mostly what we call a spy game defensively; he's just going wherever needed. Lamar has to either find that outside shot that's comfortable or find an operating place where he can use Garnett's inattentiveness to our advantage.

Q. Sometimes it would be going away from your offense, but does it make any sense because of the match-up with Perkins to have one of those more athletic big guys to have him attacking more offensively?
PHIL JACKSON: Yes, it does.

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