No bowing out of finale
The Cleveland Cavaliers have all but locked up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but the Lakers won’t be coasting through what’s left of the regular season.
If the Cavaliers win tonight at Indiana, they clinch the NBA’s best record, which would leave the Lakers with a seemingly useless home game Tuesday against Utah.
Or maybe it’s not so useless.
As the Western Conference standings sit right now, the Lakers would play Utah in the first round.
Furthermore, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said he would not rest Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol or Derek Fisher in the regular-season finale against any team.
“I don’t think of sitting players,” Jackson said Sunday. “I don’t think that’s the right thing to do when people buy season tickets and special-game tickets and things like that, and the league has asked us not to do that.
“I have players that are going to play their 82nd game this week, hopefully, and that’s a big milestone in this game, to have played them all.”
Bryant, Fisher and Trevor Ariza will have played all 82 regular-season games if they play Tuesday.
Shannon Brown was again the first Lakers guard off the bench Sunday, continuing to take more minutes than Jordan Farmar at the backup spot behind Fisher.
“We’re really watching how he’s moving, reacting, initiating the offense,” Jackson said. “Jordan’s much more comfortable and familiar with things that we do out there on the floor, and we obviously want him to play at a high level, but with bigger guards, muscular guards that are pushing the ball, there’s a real need or potential for Shannon to help us out there in the playoffs as he progresses.”
Brown had three points and two assists in 17 minutes against Memphis. Farmar had two points and no assists in 13 minutes.
Brown had the more spectacular play of the two, converting a three-point play with a dunk and made free throw after Luke Walton fed him a behind-the-back pass on a fastbreak in the second quarter.
More Trail Blazers
Portland is under investigation by the NBA for its activities before last Friday’s game against the Lakers, and Jackson seemingly approved.
“You want the referees able to do a job in an atmosphere that’s still fan-favorite but yet not derogatory or not incited,” Jackson said.
Jackson was irritated that the Trail Blazers showed a video of Ariza’s flagrant foul from a Lakers-Trail Blazers game last month a few minutes before the teams tipped off again.
The league will decide today whether the Trail Blazers will be fined. Teams are not supposed to show replays involving flagrant fouls, altercations or hard physical contact from previous games.