Normally the Los Angeles Lakers have their annual holiday woes during the Christmas holidays, but this year it came a holiday earlier as Thanksgiving week left the Lakeshow with a 1-2 mark, with a couple episodes of Dr. Phil to entertain all those in Lakerland.
Lets begin with Tuesday morning, when Phil Jackson appeared on a Chicago radio station, ESPN 1000 Chicago, to talk about his Tuesday night matchup with the Chicago Bulls (his former team). Of course, one of the shows’ host had to sneak in a question on the Zen Master’s perspective of the “Superfriends” situation down in South Beach. Dr. Phil being Dr. Phil, gave an interesting assessment, basically stating that if Miami could not produce the results expected of them, that coach Erk Spoelstra could end up like Stan Van Gundy did during the 2005-2006 season.
Van Gundy (now the Orlando Magic head coach), claimed to have left the Miami Heat during the beginning of that season to spend more time with his family. At the time, the Heat were 11-10 when he stepped down. Hall of Famer/General Manager, and former head coach Pat Riley takes over the reigns and leads the Heat to their first ever championship. Now all sports experts and analysts believe Van Gundy was forced out, but til this day, he holds on to his original claim.
You can pretty much fast forward through the game against the Bulls, as the Lakers took care of business 98-91 behind the play of Lamar Odom with 21 points and 8 rebounds, and Shannon Brown’s play of the bench with 21 points as well. However, came Wednesday morning everybody was buzzing about everything but the victory.
Apparently, Phil Jackson rubbed some people the wrong with his assessment of the “Superfriends” saga. One being Van Gundy (obviously), and the other being former NBA point guard turned color analyst Mark Jackson. Van Gundy calls Jackson’s comment ridiculous and ignorant, while Jackson believes that Dr. Phil should have not spoke about another coach’s situation. Really! I mean really? I can understand Van Gundy’s claim, even though we still know better, but Jackson needs to take it easy, mainly because its not that serious, and more importantly because every sports journalist and NBA junkie were, and still are thinking the same thing Dr. Phil stated. He just said it first.
With two days off, the Lakers get fat for a day on Thanksgiving, and then its off to Utah to face the stubborn Jazz, who were on a 3-game winning streak. The Jazz are normally a load at home, but Lakers have owned Utah for the most part these last three seasons. During the Friday morning shoot around, Jackson tries to apologize for his comments about the Miami Heat situation. But in typical Zen Master fashion, right after his apology, he points out Van Gundy’s reason for leaving (to be with family), only to come back and coach the next year in Orlando. Hmmmm! Pointing out the flakes and flaws in Van Gundy’s reasoning provided a quick laugh for those in Lakerland, but back to business as the Lakers look win their sixth straight game Friday night in Utah.
The Lakers jump out to a 19 point lead early in the second quarter, only to allow the pesky Jazz to comeback and win the ball game 102-96. The Mamba poured in 31 points, and Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 boards, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the new version of the cardiac kids. Jackson was upset about a shot clock malfunction that happened late in the third quarter that put a halt to a Lakers’ fastbreak, and also the the decision making of small forward Ron Artest in the last minute of the ball game. The trip back to L.A. had to be an annoying one, dealing with a collapse against a team you are more superior than. No time for pity though, as the the Lakers look to end the week off on a strong note.
Before Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, Dr. Phil was at it again expressing his frustration with the time table of center Andrew Bynum’s return to the team, citing that he is playing Gasol and L.O. extended minutes due to inexperienced back up players at the big man position, especially with free agent signee Theo Ratliff out for another 3-5 weeks after surgery on his knee. I don’t know if it was the bad karma of Jackson publicly stating his frustration with Bynum, or that the Lakers didn’t appear focused enough as the Pacers won 95-92. The Mamba poured in 41 points, Gasol and L.O. put up their normal numbers, but the bench play just wasn’t their Sunday night.
Week 6 for the Lakeshow begins with back to back games, starting Tuesday with the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. They finish the week on Friday, with a home game against the Sacramento Kings, before taking three days off to get ready for one more home game and then a six game road trip. What does week 6 have in store for the defending champs? One can only imagine, but whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it will be entertaining!
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Written by Arthur Kai