In a recent interview with Dan Patrick of Sports Illustrated, Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, was asked about the Spurs heading into the playoffs.
DP: It seems like [San Antonio coach Gregg] Popovich is at his best this time of the year, when we’re getting near the postseason. Is that the team you see in your rearview mirror and worry about?
PJ: Without a doubt.
First. I am caught off guard by this “respectful” comment from Phillip. Especially since Phil does not have such a glowing track record when it comes to shutting his mouth on his views on the Spurs. Spurs fans still hate the whole “asterisk” comment back in 1999.
Second. Is this more “mind games” with the Spurs? Spurs went 2-2 against the Lakers this season. In one game the Spurs lost a game despite Andrew Bynum not playing and a hurt Kobe Bryant. Blew a lead in the March 25th matchup in San Antonio where the Spurs couldn’t buy a basket in the second half.
However, in the most recent win over the Lakers, the Spurs beat the Lakers 100-81. In that game the Spurs lost George Hill to an ankle injury in the second quarter and were still not playing without Tony Parker and still got the win.
In the end, should the Spurs face the Lakers in the first round, I am more than sure Phil is comfortable playing the Spurs in the first round. With Bynum in the lineup, and not to mention Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, the Lakers are too big in the front court for the Spurs. This could be the undoing for the Spurs in the end.