No rest for the weary
If any of the Lakers came to practice Thursday expecting it to be easy or for Coach Phil Jackson to have a soft work schedule after taking Wednesday off to rest and nurse injuries, they quickly found out otherwise.
If any of the Lakers figured just because they have a 2-0 lead over the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinal series and Friday is another day to prepare before Game 3 in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jackson put an end to that.
Jackson put the Lakers to work, on the court and during a film session.
“We definitely got some work done today so any, I guess, complacency where guys thinking that they were going to come to practice today and just kind of go through the motions, Phil and our coaches were sure to shut that out of us pretty quickly,” Derek Fisher said. “We got some things accomplished today for sure.”
Jackson even had center Andrew Bynum, who has been playing with a torn cartilage in his right knee, run in some of the conditioning drills.
Kobe Bryant (sore right knee) and Lamar Odom (sprained right knee, sore left shoulder) also got some work in at practice.
“I always worry about a day off,” Jackson said. “The day off is sometimes a disconnect and we just can’t be disconnected during the playoffs.”
Tough road ahead
The Lakers know they have a tough task ahead trying to beat the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena in the next two games.
Even though the Lakers won the first two games of this series and beat the Jazz by 15 points in Utah without injured starters Bryant (sprained left ankle) and Bynum (bruised right hip) during the regular season, L.A. knows it will play in one of the toughest environments in the NBA.
“It’s so difficult that as a coach you just don’t know how to grab the attention of the team and set them on edge so that they are ready to come out and compete in a vastly hostile place that you have to win a ballgame there under duress regardless,” Jackson said. “
Utah was 32-9 at home during the regular season, tied for the third-best home record in the NBA.
“The fact of the matter is that the Jazz have had good teams,” said Fisher, who played one season with Utah. “So, that’s why they have been so good at home over the years and that’s why this team is really good at home, because they are a good team.”
The depleted Jazz has some help on the way when Andrei Kirilenko, out for 23 of 25 games since March 14 because of a strained left calf muscle, announced that he would play in Game 3.
Kirlenko, at 6 feet 9, is one of the NBA’s most versatile players who has the ability to give the Jazz another defender to send at Bryant and Odom.
“He’s going to help their offense and defense tremendously,” Bryant said.
Bryant was named to the All-NBA first team for the fifth consecutive year and eighth time of his career. He joined LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade.
Pau Gasol made the All-NBA third team.
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