Lakers’ Phil Jackson and Timberwolves’ Kurt Rambis will reunite for a night

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The two were side-by-side the last four years, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and assistant Kurt Rambis both looking for ways along with the rest of the staff to beat an opponent.

The two became close friends, hanging out on the road, their families spending time together going to dinner.

Jackson and Rambis won three NBA championships together, the last in June against the Orlando Magic.

Now Rambis is the coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves and they play the Lakers for the first time this season tonight at Staples Center.


Rambis will get his championship ring during a pre-game ceremony.

Then the game will start and Jackson will do what to his old friend?

“You try to bust them really hard. Give them no quarter,” Jackson joked.

His team has won 10 consecutive games and has the best record in the NBA at 17-3.

Rambis’ team has lost eight of 10 and is 3-19. The Timberwolves lost a last-second game to the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

“His team is starting to play well and starting to be competitive and they got over the hump, so to speak,” Jackson said. “So I’m warning these [Lakers] guys not to take them lightly.”

Jackson said he and Rambis are professionals and will try to put their emotions aside for the game.

Jackson has watched Rambis install the triangle offense with the Timberwolves, saying it has worked out fine.

Jackson said he supported Rambis’ decision to go to Minnesota and had even wanted to see him hired for the Chicago Bulls job when it was open in 2008.

What advice did Jackson give Rambis?

“Well he’s learned everything. He doesn’t have to have any advice,” Jackson said. “He saw all the mistakes I made over the years, I’m sure. But you just be yourself. That’s all you have to do, is just be totally true to yourself in situations and follow your instincts.”


Don’t ask

Kobe Bryant peered down at the person asking the question, glowering as he stared witheringly when asked about the incident in his community that forced him to miss the Lakers’ shoot-around Wednesday for that night’s game against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.

Bryant pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes, a menacing look on his face as he refused to answer after practice Thursday. Bryant, who didn’t talk to reporters after Wednesday’s game, stood there for about five seconds before being asked a question he deemed worthy of answering.

Bryant had been unable to attend an early practice session Wednesday because of a home-invasion robbery in his gated community in Newport Coast that led to a SWAT standoff. Three people were arrested and two suspects were still at large.

Bryant top vote-getter

When the NBA released its first All-Star balloting update, Bryant led all players in voting.


Bryant, who was last season’s co-MVP of the All-Star game with Shaquille O’Neal, had 692,518 votes, putting him in position to be selected for the 12th time.

Andrew Bynum was second among Western Conference centers with 299,484 votes, trailing Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire by about 148,000 votes. Pau Gasol (280,758) was third among West forwards, behind Denver’s Carmelo Anthony (588,953) and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (366,300).