Lakers Quotes 12/26/99 - 12/28/99

Lakers Quotes 12/26/99 - 12/28/99

Post by Garret Okamo » Thu, 30 Dec 1999 04:00:00

---- Quotes from 12/26/99 ----

Praising Celestand's improvement, Jackson said:
"He's doing really well. John's improved, I think,
dramatically since training camp and has come
along really well." (LBPT, LADN)

Praising Horry's game vs SA, Jackson said:
"Robert had another real good game, and he had
points to go with it, too. I thought it was
important for us." (LPBT, LADN)

About how Jackson has been prodding him to shoot
more, Horry said:
"(Jackson) has been really harping on me to shoot
the ball when I'm open. They've been kind of saying
it on the sly in practice -- they've been saying,
'It's OK, shoot that shot, you're open, shoot it.'
Now that I know I've got their permission, it's a
lot easier to shoot the ball." (LBPT, LADN)
Note: The Lakers are 7-0 when Horry scored 5 points
or more.

About relying on Shaq/Kobe/Rice to score, Horry:
"We've got the best threesome out there scoring and
we've been winning, so if it ain't broke, don't fix
it." (LBPT, LADN)

About shooting when he is open, Horry said:
"If it comes to me, I'm going to take it. Other than
that, I'm not going to go out there and look for my
shot." (LBPT, LADN)
Note: "Horry has said that Jackson's prodding him to
shoot has encouraged him to look to add offense more,
although he said he prefers to defer to the big
three of Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant and Rice." (OCR)

About how all of these early wins can end up being
big when fighting for the #1 seed, Kobe said:
"As the season goes on and it comes down to the last
couple games and you're fighting for that playoff
spot, all these wins turn out to be big wins." (OCR)

Impressed by how loud the fans were vs SA, Kobe:
"You felt the energy for the most part of the game.
It was a lot different as opposed to us playing
another team." (OCR)

About how Shaq wants a title badly, Fisher said:
"Shaq wants an NBA championship ring more than he
wants his next paycheck. He'd give you all his
paychecks for one, I assure you." (LADN)

"You can be financially secure and have all these
wonderful things going on and still seek validation.
You know how male egos flare. You want people to
understand you want to be the best." (LADN)

--- Quotes from 12/27/99, before the Dallas game ---

About how the SA game gave them confidence, Phil:
"From one standpoint, we have the confidence that
we can beat this team, who was very difficult for
us last year." (AP)

Trying to get his players to focus on improving,
not their NBA-best record, Jackson said:
"I just think if you have a standard that doesn't
just winning or the best record or anything else,
you just talk about a standard of play that's the
right way to play basketball, then I think the
players get that notion that they can be better.
And then instead of taking it as harassment, they
take it as encouragement to bring the best to their
game. That's, at least, my experience. But right
now we're just trying to extend the win streak to
10, make something double digits as a win streak.
That would be great way to finish this month out."
(LBPT, LADN, OCR)

Not satisfied at all with how they are now, Phil:
"We're a long ways from playing really exceptional
basketball yet. We don't have a rhythm or a flow to
our offense that I'd like to see us have. Defensively,
there's a lot of room for improvement always, as far
as just our position and our team defense. Individ-
ually, I think we can get better too. So there's
December, which is nice to be playing well, and then
there's the aspect of how you're going to have to
play come April or May and June to win." (LBPT, LADN)

"Oh, we're a long ways from playing really exceptional
basketball yet. We don't have a rhythm or flow to our
offense that I'd like to see us have. We're still
learning to recognize what's needed in a ballgame
through the leadership of our guards. Defensively,
there's a lot of room for improvement always, as far
as just our position and our team defense. . . .
There's December, which is nice to be playing well.
Then there's the aspect of how you're going to have
to play when it comes April, May and June to win." (LAT)

About how they have to figure out how to incorporate
the freelancing by Kobe into their offense, Jackson:
"First of all we had to restrict them, pen them into
it . . . and kind of hedge their game. We hedged most
of them until Kobe came back from his broken hand
Dec. 1 and he kind of broke through the fences a
little bit. And now we're kind of getting it back
again, figuring out how to do this within the context
of the offense that incorporates his game into ours." (LAT)

"This team is getting the idea that they know they're
in the offense. The idea is getting across to them
that they're not hemmed in by the form and structure
of the offense. They know that there are some kind of
limitations within that structure, and there's some
kind of freedom. They're still finding out that
aspect of how much freedom is in the offense." (OCR)

About how they are working with Shaq on his FTs
and have set a goal of above *65%* for Shaq, Jackson:
"We just started reemphasizing a little bit about
that in the last couple games. Fifty percent's not
good enough. We want him to be at 65 and upward.
... So we talked about it again today, about not
being prepared to shoot at the beginning of the
game and getting going some time in the second half
and making consecutive free throws and that type of
thing. We have to bring that back in focus. But
we're happy it hasn't been an eyesore or a really
painful thing for us." (LBPT, LADN, LAT)

"Fifty percent is not good enough; we want him to
be at 65 and upward." (OCR)
Note: Jackson said this quote before the Dallas
game.  Shaq went 7-10 for FTs in the game right
after this quote, including a big 2-2 in the clutch.

Crediting Jackson for their improvement, Shaq said:
"We've got a better focus, better coaching staff.
We just needed a staff to take us over the top.
We think Phil Jackson can take us over the top. He
leads, we follow.  I'm just glad he's here." (AP)
Note: AP quotes are being typed in by hand, please
forgive any typos.

Worried about the Mavs game after the SA win, Shaq:
"It's a long season. It was a fabulous win, (but)
we've got tough old Dallas on Monday, we have got
to focus on those guys." (AP, DMN)

About the win over SA, Rice said:
"It's not sweet yet, we just beat them today...We
were embarrassed last year.  We don't want to get
embarrassed this year.  We wanted to show them we
could compete and beat them." (AP)

About his new shaved-head look, Fox laughed:
"I'm done trying to look pretty." (OCR)

About the Lakers, David Robinson said:
"But right now, obviously, they're playing better
basketball than we are." (AP)

--- Quotes from the Lakers-Mavs game 12/27/99 ---

About how Kobe took their final shot with 8.6 seconds
left instead of running the play they wanted, Jackson:
"He thought he had an opportunity to score and that's
his decision. We did have a play for Glen (Rice).  We
had executed something similiar and that is what we
set up to do in that situation.  (Bryant) took a good
shot.  It must have been the holiday mood.  It's
better to give than receive, and we almost gave the
game away." (USA)

"Kobe went off a little bit on his own--we had some-
thing else designed, but he felt that he had a good
opportunity and that's fine, he felt comfortable
with it." (LAT)

"Kobe went off a little bit on his own there. We had
something else designed, but he felt he had a good
opportunity. That's all right if he read that play
and felt comfortable with it." (OCR)
Note: Jackson jumped out of his chair in anger (USA)
when Kobe took that shot so early instead of running
the clock down or running the play they wanted. Kobe
did not talk with reporters after the game, something
extremely unusual for him...so I figure he knows he
made a critical error.  Even though the refs called a
foul and Kobe made his two FTs, by shooting so early
Kobe gave Dallas a chance to tie or win. The fact
that he shot so early *and* ignored the play that
Jackson called compounds his error, IMHO.  Kobe still
had 25pts/9reb/4ass/3ste in the game...

About how they almost gave the game to Dallas, Phil:
"It was what we call kind of a holiday mood. It's
better to give than receive, and we almost gave the
game away." (LBPT, LADN)

"I think it was kind of a holiday mood, it's better
to give than to receive. We almost gave the game
away." (AP)

"I think it was kind of what we call a holiday mood.
Better to give than to receive and we almost gave a
game away." (LAT)

"Defensievly, we fell apart in the fourth quarter.
It started with the 4-point play to Nowitzki, and
boy, he just caught us napping a couple times out
there. And we were ripe for a loss tonight, we
escaped. I hope the guys understand that, and I
think they do." (LBPT, LADN)

"We just fell apart defensively in the fourth
quarter." (AP)

"post-holiday fog." (DB)

"Defensively, we fell apart in the fourth quarter.
Started with a four-point play to Nowitzki, and boy,
he just caught us napping a couple of times out
there. We were ripe for a loss tonight and we
escaped. And I hope the guys understand that and
I think they do." (LAT)

"We were ripe for an upset. We escaped." (OCR)

"Wow, what a game. Those guys really came out and
played like gangbusters in the fourth quarter. But
like the old maxim says, you live by the sword,
you die by the sword. They almost did it, but that
last shot didn't fall." (DB)

About how he went with his plan to play some of
his lesser-used reserves in this game, Jackson:
"I was thinking of some of the younger players
today that need to play and need to have this
opportunity regardless of the game. We've found
a rotation that seems real comfortable to us,
and we're going to have to find a way to expand
that a little bit in the crush that January will
bring again." (LADN)
Note: Jackson played Knight early in the game,
and gave Shaw more playing time.  Rice/Harper/AC
sat out the entire 2nd quarter, I believe, which
is when the reserves got the bulk of their playing
time and when the Mavs made their comeback. Before
Jackson changed his substitution pattern, the
Lakers led 31-19 after the 1st quarter.

Praising Nowitzki and Finley, Jackson said:
"Those guys really came on like gangbusters. I
thought they had the energy to win." (AP)

"Those guys really came on like gangbusters. I'd
like to say that only maxim that you've got is
that if you live by the sword, you die by the
sword. They took that last jump shot, it was a
risky play and they ended up losing the game.  
I thought they had the energy to win." (USA)

About coming through in the clutch with his FT
shooting (2-2 with 47.5 seconds left and the
Lakers just up 1 point), Shaq said:
"I always do that. That B.S. (fouling) will never
work against me. He's lucky I missed 12 shots,
because I was told to get 50 by the coaching
staff." (LBPT, LADN, DB)

"I always do that. That . . . will never work
against me. . . . Lucky I missed 12 shots. Because
I was told to get 50 by the coaching staff. But I
missed too many shots." (LAT)

Determined to beat the deliberate foul tactic, Shaq:
"That (expletive) will never work against me." (OCR)

Unhappy about the win, Shaq said:
"We played down to their stinking level. ... It's
not a win we should be proud of, but we won the
game." (LADN)

"We just played down to their level. We've been
having that problem for four years, as long as
I've been here." (AP)

"We played down to their stinking level. We didn't
play well and shouldn't be proud, but we won the
game. We have had that problem for four years.  We
always get up for the big teams...we have to get
up for everybody." (USA)

"We probably played down to their stinking level.
We didn't play very well. It's not a win we should
be very proud of, but we won the game. (LAT)

About Nowitzki, Shaq said:
"He can shoot. There was really no (defensive)
pressure on those guys." (AP)

About how this type of game was predictable after
winning 8 straight and beating SA, Harper said:
"After playing the San Antonio Spurs, you have to
turn and play this kind of team--you don't know
what kind of ballgame we were going to have
against this team. They had some guys who made
some good shots for them tonight. Turns out that
they hung around and hung around and had a chance
It's just a holiday spirit, the holiday season.
We made their season--almost." (LAT)

Pleased with their play in the game, Don Nelson:
"I liked our game plan and I even liked the fact
that we went for the win at the end. I liked the
looks of that shot the whole way, but it was just
a little too long." (AP)

"I liked the fact that Mike had a real good look at
a long 3. We gave him the option, if that's what he
likes then take it...if he wanted to drive it and
shoot a two, then that was all right too. We'd go
for the win or a tie, he chose to take shot.  I
liked the looks on it the whole way...it was a
little too long." (USA)

After his 10-16 FG night, 5-7 3pt shooting, Dirk:
"I was wide open in the fourth quarter on every
shot and I just made them. A lot of them were in
transition so they just didn't know how to pick
me up or when to pick me up." (USA)

"I was wide open in the fourth quarter on every shot,
and I just made them. A lot of them were in transi-
tion, so they didn't know how to pick me up or when
to pick me up, so I had a lot of open looks. I didn't
even realize I had 19 in the fourth quarter. I was
just in the game and was just trying to play hard." (FWST)

About his 3pt attempt which would have won the
game, Finley said:
"I had a good look at it. It felt good from my
hand, but unfortunately, it didn't go in. I think
Kobe was playing me pretty much on the drive, and
was going to stop me from going to the basket.
Plus, the shot I took gave us a chance to win the
game in regulation." (AP, USA)

"I had a good look at it, and it felt good coming
from my hand. I thought it was in. It just went
long." (FWST)

"I think Kobe was playing me pretty much for the
drive, being that we were down two. Then I could
go for the tie. But I had a good look at the three
and decided to shoot that one. Especially since we
had an opportunity to win it in regulation, instead
of going into overtime in a hostile place like here
at the Staples Center." (FWST)

"I had a little bit more time, but I felt it was a
good shot. I just missed it." (FWST)

About the foul he was charged on Kobe's final
shot of the game (with 8.6 seconds left), Finley:
"If I would have stopped him, then we would have
gotten the win. Unfortunately, I fouled him. I got
a little of the ball and a little of him." (USA)

Blaming his 0-4 FTs for their loss, Gary Trent:
"Mike may have missed the shot that cost us the
game. But my free throws really cost us the game." (DMN)

Not that bothered by their 19 straight losses to
the Lakers, Ced Ceballos said:
"No, because for some of those 19 in a row, I
was on the other side." (DMN)

--- Quotes from 12/28/99 ---

About how he had a talk with Kobe about his final
shot in the Dallas game, Jackson said:
"He felt like he could get to the basket, for a
possible basket or a three-point play You can't
fault (Bryant), because the reality is he has to
have the confidence to know what he can do in
those situations. But he's also got to know he's
got to use his teammates as well." (LBPT, LADN)

Feeling that their lethargic play was a natural
thing and they got a wake-up call, Kobe said:
"It was a wake-up call because we were kind of
going through the motions a little bit. It's
natural when you have a nine-game winning streak
to get complacent. A game like (Monday) scares
you a little bit, helps you get ready for
Phoenix (today.)" (LBPT, LADN)
Note: Kobe is now 2nd in All-Star voting for guards.

About how his Italian team is 2-3 since he took
over, Kobe laughed:
"We suck." (LBPT, LADN)

"It's better then before. We were 5-8. I'm shooting
for the general manager of the year award." (LBPT, LADN)