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Jeanie Buss' opinion on NBA contraction has Phil Jackson's support

Jeanie Buss' remarks in interview with the Wall Street Journal echo opinion of NBA Commissioner David Stern, says Lakers coach.

January 21, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has some stern words for power forward Pau Gasol during a timeout Friday night in Denver.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has some stern words for power forward Pau Gasol… (Rick Wilking / Reuters )

Reporting from Denver — Phil Jackson agrees with his girlfriend — who agrees with NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Jeanie Buss, the Lakers coach's girlfriend and the team's executive vice president of business operations, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that "contraction is something we have to consider" in the NBA.

Buss said she would hate to lose teams, but that "we may be in some markets we shouldn't be in."

Jackson was asked what he thought about Buss' comments.

"I think that's what the commissioner said," Jackson said. "So I think she's probably parroting what the commissioner said. I will parrot what both of them said."

Jackson recalled when the NBA had 24 teams in the league, saying it was "a great number at one time."

There are 30 teams in the NBA now, and some are struggling.

The NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets.

"I think they have some parameters that they want to meet in some of the markets, and I think they'll set up some goals that way," Jackson said. "And I think that'll be a helpful thing for the league. Taking New Orleans for example, they have to meet a certain number of ticket holders for them to [stay in New Orleans]. So there are some parameters that are important."

Bryant's memorable night

Five years ago, on Jan. 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant produced one of the NBA's historic moments.

Bryant went off for 81 points against the Toronto Raptors.

It remains his career high and the second-most points in NBA history, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100.

"I really don't think about it too much," Bryant said. "I still don't know how the hell it happened. It's just one of those things, I guess."

Bryant recalled that his grandmother attended the game.

Bryant said it was her "first and only game she's ever been to in the NBA," and she was there on the same day of his grandfather's birthday. His grandfather died in September 2001.

"So it was a lot of things at work," Bryant said.

Bryant was 28 for 46 from the field, seven for 13 on three-point shots, and 18 for 20 from the free-throw line. He played nearly 42 minutes.

He scored 55 points in the second half, helping the Lakers overcome a 63-49 halftime deficit to win, 122-104.

"I just remember we were down 16 points to a bad Raptors team," Bryant said. "We had just lost to [the Suns] the game before. It was just kind of doom and gloom, man. We needed to win, and I just got hot."


Matt Barnes, out after having surgery on his right knee, is working with a therapist in hopes that he can return soon.

"He's not into our program yet with our guys," Jackson said.

Jackson said "of course" the Lakers miss Barnes.

Barnes averaged 7.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 20.8 minutes per game.

"He had some very good games for us," Jackson said.

Theo Ratliff, still out recovering after surgery on his left knee, probably will practice with the Lakers on Sunday.

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