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SERIES REPORT / LAKER NOTES

Jackson Says He Has Been to Tougher Places

May 04, 2000|TIM KAWAKAMI

Coach Phil Jackson said he has been in tougher environments than Arco Arena in Sacramento, though he admitted he did not enjoy his time there while the Lakers lost Games 3 and 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Kings.

"I coached basketball in Puerto Rico, where when you won on a visiting floor, your tires were slashed and you might be chased out of town with rocks breaking the windows of your car," Jackson said Wednesday. "I mean, it's a different environment, entirely.

"We're talking about semi-civilized in Sacramento. Those people are just maybe redneck in some form or fashion.

"But they're certainly not Puerto Rican, whom I love dearly, but they can become very rabid; in fact, I've seen guns and knives kind of fall out of places they shouldn't fall out of in the fracases that follow."

Guard Ron Harper said he's hoping the Laker fans at Staples Center for Friday's Game 5 come as close as they can to duplicating the din of Arco Arena.

"I don't think our fans are going to be on their cell phones this Friday night," Harper said. "I think our fans know that we will need them Friday night.

"We're going to need them to leave their cell phones at home and come to cheer at a basketball game."

Jackson, though, said he would refrain from egging on the normally subdued Laker crowd.

"All I want is our players to play--let the fans cheer [because of] our players' play," Jackson said. "We don't have to use hype.

"You know, that's for Sacramento to do."

*

Jackson said one thing the Lakers must do is get starting power forward A.C. Green more involved in the action early in Game 5.

Green played 26 minutes in Game 4 but had only one rebound and no points, missing all three of his shots.

"I'm not so worried about Ronnie [Harper] not getting involved," Jackson said. "If he's not scoring, he's still involved some way or the other.

"But sometimes when A.C.'s not involved in the game offensively, it kind of takes the onus off his defense, and his rebounding and makes it difficult for him.

"I want to see him score and shoot for us a little bit. He's got to be a threat."

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