No rant-and-rave review here
Phil Jackson spoke, and it lasted longer than 33 seconds.
The day after the Lakers coach abruptly ended his postgame news conference, he provided reasons for why he appeared so irritated in the wake of the Lakers’ 88-85 victory Sunday over the Clippers.
“I was just disgruntled,” Jackson said Monday. “There’s nothing to say about a game like that. To rant or rave, I just didn’t want to get involved with that.”
The Lakers lost a 19-point fourth-quarter lead and had to hold their breath until a three-point attempt by Baron Davis hit the back of the rim as time expired.
They won, however, and turned their attention toward the future at Monday’s practice, specifically the race for home-court advantage and the impending return of center Andrew Bynum.
Bynum again took part in a five-on-five scrimmage at the team’s training facility and said he planned to come back Sunday against Memphis or next Tuesday against Utah.
“I’m feeling good, feeling great,” Bynum said. “No pain, no swelling. The only thing I’m limited by is just I’ve been out of the game for a little while so I’m going to have to get my timing back. Couple of things, I’m reacting a little bit late, but other than that, I’m ready to go.”
Kobe Bryant said he was not worried that there might be an adjustment period when Bynum returns.
“He looked strong, he looks active, he looks good,” Bryant said. “He’ll blend right in, similar to when we added Pau [Gasol] to the mix [last season]. He just fits so well with what we do. I don’t think it’ll be a problem at all.”
Race for best record
The Lakers (61-16) and Cavaliers (62-15) each have three home games and two road games left, though the Cavaliers have a slightly more difficult road.
Cleveland’s opponents (Washington, Philadelphia twice, Boston and Indiana) are a combined 189-195.
The Lakers’ opponents (Sacramento, Denver, Portland, Memphis and Utah) are a combined 185-198.
It would obviously help to finish ahead of Cleveland, veteran guard Derek Fisher said.
“They’re the most dominant home team in all of basketball, so if you can take away one or two less games from them, you’d have an argument that things would be in your favor,” he said.
The Cavaliers are 37-1 at Quicken Loans Arena, their only loss coming to the Lakers in February.
Fisher compared the next eight days to last season, when the Lakers glided past New Orleans in the regular-season finale to grab the Western Conference’s best record.
“If we take care of our business similar to last year . . . I think it’ll kind of take care of itself,” Fisher said.
The Lakers hold the tiebreaker with Cleveland because they swept the two-game season series.
Kings of the Lakers?
The Sacramento Kings are 44 1/2 games behind the Lakers in the West standings, but should they be feared?
After all, they beat the Lakers at Arco Arena in December, 113-101.
“That definitely was a long time ago,” Fisher said. “The Kings’ team has changed a lot in terms of their personnel, so we’ll have to make those adjustments.”
The Kings traded Brad Miller and John Salmons to Chicago in February for Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden, who was subsequently waived and signed with San Antonio.
The Lakers had won four consecutive games at Arco Arena before losing there in December.