YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson not resting on the team's laurels

Although the Lakers have won seven consecutive games, Jackson does not want them to become complacent as they prepare to take on the Clippers on Sunday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

January 15, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Coach Phil Jackson is uneasy as the Lakers prepare to play the Clippers (6-4 in their last 10 games) on Sunday and Oklahoma City (7-3) on Monday.
Coach Phil Jackson is uneasy as the Lakers prepare to play the Clippers (6-4… (Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire )

His team has won seven consecutive games, and yet Lakers Coach Phil Jackson is not at ease.

His team has allowed more than 100 points in just one game during the winning streak, and yet Jackson isn't satisfied.

That's because Jackson senses the Lakers will have their hands full with back-to-back games against the Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Sunday, the Lakers face the Clippers at Staples Center in the Clippers' designated home game in the arena the teams share, and then the Lakers take on the Thunder at home on Monday.

"I'm not comfortable with neither of the two games, [Sunday] or Monday," Jackson said after practice Saturday. "That's why we had a real practice today, because we didn't think we played well [Friday] night. We got away with a win, anyway, and there is a natural tendency to relax a little bit."

The Clippers are 6-4 in their last 10 games, and the Thunder is 7-3 in its last 10 games.

The Lakers may be on a roll, but Jackson doesn't want his team to become complacent.

"You've won a couple of games and there's not quite the same intensity going on, and you have to be very careful of that when you're a player and a coach," Jackson said. "And then we have Oklahoma. We have a series of games coming in and we know we're going to have to play well to win consistently against the teams that we're playing."

Respecting the Clippers

The Lakers defeated the Clippers on a last-second shot the last time they played.

The Clippers defeated the Miami Heat last week.

It seems to show that the Clippers perform well against the better teams in the NBA.

"Well, they're a young team," Jackson said. "That's natural. I think they have all the talent that's necessary to win. It's just the cohesion of playing together."

Artest finds offense

In Ron Artest's eyes, "nothing has changed" with his offensive game.

Then again, Artest sees things different from most.

The facts, however, suggest otherwise from Artest contending that "nothing at all" has helped him find his offense in recent games.

In his last three games, Artest has gone 15 for 25 (60%) from the field, seven for 12 (58.3%) from three-point range.

"I started out the season really good," Artest said. "I'm in more shape. I had a great training camp. I had a great early season. Then something happened and things were just not going my way. So I just had to deal with it. But for me, nothing's changed."

When asked what happed, Artest said, "I don't know."

Well, Artest did raffle off his championship ring on Christmas Day, and he did spend the first part of the season promoting mental health awareness.

"I've been in rhythm for the whole season," said Artest, who is averaging just 8.1 points per game on the season and is making just 41% of his shots, 39.8% of his three-pointers.

"I had a great summer. I actually came back a better player. I just think for some reason it just wasn't happening. But I felt good the whole year. I still feel like a top-10 player in the NBA, and my game felt great for the whole season. But I'm not going to force or prove anything to anybody."

Since Lakers backup forward Matt Barnes went down with a right knee injury four games ago, Artest seems to have stepped his game up considerably.

"I really can't pinpoint exactly what it is," Jackson said. "Maybe it's Matt being out and [Artest] thinks there's more pressure on him."

Los Angeles Times Articles