Phil Jackson doesn’t like what he sees – LA Times
By Mike Bresnahan
Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Phoenix — Phil Jackson had an animated day, and it had nothing to do with the breathless pregame rumors that had him coaching in Chicago or New Jersey next season.
The Lakers’ coach was in the faces of his players and popping up off the bench more often than usual in an emotional game the Lakers eventually lost to the Phoenix Suns, 115-106.
His activity was a prime indicator of how much Game 4 meant to the Lakers, the Suns evening the Western Conference finals Tuesday with their runaway offense.
Jackson didn’t like the Lakers’ defense, to say the least.
“I thought we were standing around watching,” he said. “That’s what I said to them. We’re not actively defending sequences that we know we have to defend.”
Andrew Bynum incurred Jackson’s wrath during a third-quarter timeout for failing to help Pau Gasol while Suns forward Amare Stoudemire strolled down the lane for an easy basket.
Jordan Farmar was yelled at by Jackson and assistant coach Brian Shaw after taking a three-point shot that didn’t meet the approval of either coach.
In one third-quarter sequence, Jackson wasn’t saying anything, just staring angrily at Bynum while working over a piece of gum in his mouth.
It was hard to tell which deserved more sympathy, Bynum or the gum, after Bynum was too slow to get back down low to cover Stoudemire after he set a screen for Steve Nash.
“Obviously, it was an important game for us that we wanted to win,” Gasol said. “When you lose it, you don’t reach your goal, obviously it’s frustrating. We’re not happy about the way the game turned out tonight. Now we’ve got to be ready for Game 5.”
Before the game, Jackson denied a report that he would be interested in coaching the Chicago Bulls next season, saying “I have no, at all, desire to go back to Chicago and coach the Bulls.”
He also laughed at the premise of coaching the hapless New Jersey Nets.
Despite some in-game gaffes on defense, Bynum played better in Game 4, Jackson said.
He had 12 points and eight rebounds Tuesday, an improvement from his two-point, two-rebound effort in Game 3.
“I was heartened by his play tonight,” Jackson said.
Bynum made six of nine shots and played almost 25 minutes, his most playing time this series.
Bynum had some moments to remember in the fourth quarter. He blocked Goran Dragic’s three-point attempt after picking up the Suns’ reserve guard off a screen. Then he scored on a rebound after Shannon Brown missed a driving layup attempt.
The Lakers want more from him, injured knee and everything.
“He’s a big presence for us,” Gasol said. “When he’s effective, he can really make a big impact on the game. I would like to see more of him out there and be as aggressive as he is.”
May 25, 2010