EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Before Sunday's game, New Jersey Net Coach Byron Scott issued a common refrain from opposing coaches who want to get under the skin of the Lakers.
"You could put [Shaquille O'Neal] on the Memphis Grizzlies, they'd probably be in the Finals," he said.
Thus, discounting the contributions of everyone from Laker Coach Phil Jackson to Kobe Bryant.
When told about the quote, Jackson was quick to respond.
"That's a mistaken type of generality," Jackson said. "I think it takes a lot of playing together, it takes a lot of teamwork, it takes a lot of cooperation.
"It takes time to put teams together that can manufacture something like that. So I think it's a big step to say something like that."
After the Lakers' 106-103 victory, in which Bryant outscored O'Neal, 36-35, Scott was asked a similar question.
"You said if Shaq played in Memphis, they could play in the Finals. Where does that leave Kobe?"
Scott hedged a bit on his original remark, saying of O'Neal, "I'm just trying to say how dominant this guy is. That's the bottom line."
Going into the spring of 1990, Pat Riley had won 98 playoff games as a coach, and Jackson had won none.
On Sunday night, the Laker victory against the Nets gave Jackson his 155th postseason victory, equaling Riley's NBA record.
"I watched him for quite a while from a distance in the CBA and, really, it was a remarkable career he's had as a coach," Jackson said.
"It's quite an honor to even approach his ... win record."
Kurt Rambis severely lacerated his lower leg in an accident at Continental Airlines Arena in April, and he recalled the incident Sunday as the team bus pulled into the parking lot.
"Didn't you see the sign outside?" Rambis said, laughing.
" 'Soon to be Rambis Arena.' That's what my lawyer said."
The Grizzlies are among the teams expected to be interested this summer in Laker forward Devean George, who will be an unrestricted free agent.
It's no surprise, really.
Jerry West, the Grizzlies' new president, drafted George out of Division III Augsburg College with the 23rd pick in 1999, and West still likes George's potential.