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Lakers not thinking about home-court advantage, yet

They are 6 1/2 games behind first-place San Antonio in the West, but Coach Phil Jackson says concern about playoff positioning doesn't really kick in until after the All-Star game.

January 28, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers Coach Phil Jackson understands the importance of home-court advantage but says it's not something to worry about until after the All-Star break.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson understands the importance of home-court advantage… (Kyle Terada / US Presswire )

The top of the Western Conference standings never seems to change this season, the San Antonio Spurs gaining control of first place Nov. 14 and refusing to give it back to anybody.

The Lakers, though, don't seem too concerned.

They sit 6 1/2 games behind the Spurs (39-7) and haven't given much thought to home-court advantage in the playoffs . . . yet.

"All of that kind of plays out after the All-Star break," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said Friday. "Sometime in March you start seeing that you're six weeks, a month away from the end and those 12, 14 games are going to make a big difference."

The Spurs have played three fewer road games than the Lakers, though they begin a nine-game trip Tuesday. They play the Lakers on Thursday at Staples Center.

"San Antonio's a team that we know, we play well against and we understand," Jackson said Wednesday night at a Lakers dinner event.

Jackson also briefly touched on the battle in the East.

"Boston's the best team right now," he said, mentioning the Celtics' veteran experience and deep roster. "Miami has the best individuals."

Reserve status

The All-Star reserves will be announced Thursday, and Jackson didn't hesitate when asked his thoughts on the Lakers' possibilities. Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have a chance to play in the Feb. 20 game at Staples Center.

"Lamar, I'd like to see go," Jackson said. "Pau's going to go. He has that game that everybody respects and identifies with. We want to see 'Drew have that opportunity. I don't know if 'Drew's played enough games to qualify, to make a statement."

Jackson has been getting plenty of props from other teams pushing their players for All-Star candidacy. Memphis mailed posters to promote forwards Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay, while Minnesota sent out cologne to garner support for forward Kevin Love.

"I'm getting so many things from those players' teams," Jackson said. "They're sending wine, trips to Cabo after the season's over. Actually, I'm waiting for a boat."

What about the cologne for Love?

"I haven't explored that one yet," Jackson said.

The West reserves will be determined by the 15 conference coaches, who can't vote for their own players.

The Dream?

Kobe Bryant passed Hakeem Olajuwon for eighth on the NBA's all-time scoring list Friday, but Jackson didn't think the former Houston center immensely helped Bryant when they worked together during the off-season a few years ago.

"Hakeem had this move that bordered on a walk or travel," Jackson said. "You guys always laugh at that stuff, but [Kevin] McHale had one too. It was kind of a shoulder shrug, shake-and-bake thing that he had and he'd come back the opposite direction, but he was so quick at it.

"Kobe has good post-up moves. I'm sure he learned some things about posting up, but he couldn't ape Olajuwon's move in the post."

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