SACRAMENTO — Backup center Scot Pollard reclined in a courtside chair at the Kings' practice facility as a group of reporters surrounded him, searching for nuggets of information on Day 2 of the three-day layoff between Games 2 and 3.
"Blah, blah, blah," Pollard said, smiling broadly to make it clear he was in a jovial mood Wednesday afternoon. "I just want to play basketball. I don't care what the Lakers say. I think we should play every day with no media exposure."
Soon enough, the conversation turned to stopping Laker center Shaquille O'Neal, who scored 35 points Monday in Game 2 against Pollard and Vlade Divac. Pollard grew slightly more serious about his answers.
"You have to use your fouls wisely," he said. "You have to throw different looks at him. You have to be active. You have to try to make him confused, so he's worried about the defense instead of just catching the ball and dunking on your head."
As ever, defending O'Neal was a topic of much discussion.
"I'm satisfied, but I'm not happy with the job Scot and I did," Divac said. "Shaq is going to get his points. We changed our coverage on him in the second half. We double-teamed him in the second half. People thought Scot and I did a great job on him. Sometimes you can't stop everyone."
O'Neal has made it clear he doesn't like the way Divac flops to the floor after the slightest contact. But it was clear from O'Neal's third foul in Game 2 that Divac hits the deck with good reason on occasion--this time it was an elbow to the jaw.
"He can call me whatever he wants," Divac said of O'Neal. "I don't pay attention. He can call me this and that. I'll do whatever I can to win. I'm not going to hurt him. I'm trying to play him. I understand he doesn't feel everything because he is so big. When he turns, his elbows are high. I'm trying to sacrifice my body in order to win."
After scoring 23 points on 11-for-15 shooting in the first half, O'Neal went to the bench after drawing his third foul with 4 minutes 49 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Coach Rick Adelman groaned when relayed Laker Coach Phil Jackson's complaints Tuesday about the refereeing in Game 2 at Arco Arena. Adelman dismissed Jackson's comments as mere gamesmanship in the wake of the Lakers' 96-90 loss to the Kings.
"It's posturing," Adelman said. "You vocalize things to the NBA, not to the media. There were some things we didn't like after the first game and we talked to the league. It comes down to the fact that anybody who plays against Shaq probably thinks they're at a disadvantage.
"To me, it's like, 'Get a life.' They're good enough. They're the world champions. They shouldn't be worried about the refs."
Swingman Peja Stojakovic continues to improve, albeit slowly, from the sprained right ankle that has sidelined him since May 9. He did some light jogging and reported his ankle is still "sore and painful."