For the first time since training camp began Jan. 18, the Lakers on Tuesday did not play a game or practice or travel or have to rest from travel.
On Tuesday, after 71 days of uninterrupted, draining NBA activity--the Lakers played more games faster than anybody in the league--they rested at home, with their next scheduled game not until Friday in Phoenix.
“It means the world to me,” 37-year-old Derek Harper said with a sigh after Monday night’s victory over Vancouver. “A day off? I’ll take it.
“I love the guys, but I’m getting sick of them, you know? So a day off is going to be great.”
The Lakers return to practice today.
What will Coach Kurt Rambis do with the day off?
“I don’t know, play with my kid, splash in the water,” Rambis said.
Said Shaquille O’Neal: “I ain’t doing nothing.”
The Lakers say they will use upcoming practice time to get Glen Rice more comfortably incorporated into the offense--and the offense better designed to free him up for shots with multiple screens.
“We’re trying to do more things to get Glen shots--he likes to get his shots off of movement; he doesn’t want to just stand there, spot up and shoot it,” Rambis said.
“And he’s right. He does shoot better when he’s moving, when he’s coming off of picks, catching and shooting. I don’t call many plays for Shaq or Kobe [Bryant] any more, because I know they’ll still find their shots no matter what we’re running.”
Said Harper: “The focus of our offense had been dump it in to Shaq and go from there, and now Shaq’s definitely sacrificing his offense for the good of the team so we do other things.
“We all know we need to get Glen going--he’s a huge part of what we want to do and where we want to go.”
The NBA fined four players--but not Dennis Rodman, blamed as the instigator by New York--for the hostilities that spiced up the Lakers’ victory over the Knicks last Sunday.
Knick forward Kurt Thomas, who threw Rodman to the floor in the third quarter, was fined $5,000. Laker Rick Fox was fined $2,000 for pushing a Knick player in the ensuing scrum.
Meanwhile, O’Neal was fined $3,500 for shoving Knick center Chris Dudley in the fourth quarter, and Dudley was assessed a $2,500 penalty for heaving the basketball at O’Neal in anger.
Earlier this season, O’Neal was fined $10,000 for criticizing the officials after the Lakers lost in Seattle.
Forward Robert Horry left Monday’s game because of a strained left hip, and his condition is listed as day to day.