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Phil Jackson interview after Finals game 2




| June 8, 2008

Phil Jackson Finals interviewThe Boston Celtics lead the Los Angeles Lakers 2-0 in the best-of-seven 2008 NBA Finals. Here's what Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after Game 2 in Boston. There are some great Phil Jackson quotes in here about the refs and calls that were made in favor of Leon Powe over most Lakers.

Question: What are you most struck by, your rally at the end or your difficulty scoring points on them the first three quarters?

Phil Jackson: (Laughing) I'm more struck at the fact that Leon Powe gets more foul shots than our whole team does in 14 minutes of play. That's ridiculous. You can't play from a deficit like that that we had in that half, 19 to 2 in the first half in situations like that. I've never seen a game like that in all these years I've coached in The Finals. Unbelievable.

Question: What do you tell your team now about being down 0 2 in The Finals? How do you get them to stay confident?

Phil Jackson: Just one of those playoff things. Home court advantage, they held serve, and we go home and do what we have to do on our home court. That's what it's about.

Question: There was a point early in the fourth quarter where Leon Powe kind of just went right down Main Street and dunked. At that point I was wondering, is there a point at which the Lakers are going to become more physical and take control of the game in that regard, because it seemed as if there was a lot of opening up and all momentum and physicality seemed to be going their way?

Phil Jackson: Yes. That play was a situation where Vladdy did a trap in the backcourt and opened it up, and Gasol was afraid to leave Garnett for an easy basket. But it was a poor play, an awful play. I kept telling the team, we played as poorly as we could possibly play for two and a half quarters in the middle of the third quarter. We just can't play any worse than this. But that was an example of even a situation where we were even more at ease at dis ease, I guess, in our defensive end. But from that point on, I thought that we rallied in the game.

Question: Do you have a theory on why the foul shot disparity was so pronounced in this game?

Phil Jackson: You know, I think that reporter hit it right in the head, the aggressiveness swayed the effective calls. They were aggressive. They went to the basket. We didn't take charges in situations that we had charges to take, and the first half the contacts subsequently ended up being a foul shot. I thought that that was what we tried to focus on when we came in at halftime is we have to stop the penetration and get that accomplished, but they got off to another big jump in the third quarter and put us back on our heels again.

Question: Which Celtics team are you expecting to show up at Staples Center, the one that struggled on the road for most of the playoffs or the one with momentum on its side, the one that played better on the road?

Phil Jackson: I'm not worried about which Celtics team shows up. I'm worried about what Lakers team shows up. That's the one that moves the ball and we do things well on the offensive end, and you saw that as the game progressed that we started finding our rhythm on the offense.

Question: Any feelings on which Lamar Odom shows up?

Phil Jackson: Well, Lamar got confused out there tonight, and that was difficult for him. Situations that got him into foul trouble and little offensive sequences that rather than just taking a shot or making the right play, looked like he was a confused player out there at times. We'll try and get that straightened out.

Question: Coach Rivers said that his team got too cute towards the end and that may have contributed to the comeback you guys made. In your eyes what got you guys back in the game?

Phil Jackson: Basketball is about momentum. It's just about who carries the momentum out there. We took the first quarter and played well in the first quarter. We had a 15 7 lead when Garnett got his technical foul. A lot of bitching went on from that point on. The game kind of turned, and I told the players we let the game turn at that particular point when they made a big fuss about Garnett getting a technical foul. They finished the 2:59 or the last segment of the first quarter with a little bit of a run, and it carried over into the second quarter, and that was a big run they had on us. That's what we have to learn as a young team, that we have to stop those runs.

Question: Until the fourth quarter when he was able to get loose, they did another good job on Kobe. It seemed in the first half almost everything he took was going away from the basket. What can you guys do to get him space? Is it just a question of patience?

Phil Jackson: You know, there's some things that we did I wasn't pleased with in the first half. We got anxious, we got out of our offense. I put Trevor Ariza out there in the first quarter when Vladdy got two fouls in the first, whatever, four minutes of the game, just to give a different look out there, and I thought our offense got stagnant and we had some things going for us. But that kind of snowballed as we went into the half. We tried to post Kobe too much, the situation got us out of the rhythm of our offense. We got back into it the second half and found the rhythm we want. We'll be fine.

Question: The momentum you guys gained towards the end, can you guys carry that over to Game 3?

Phil Jackson: No, no. It's 2,500 miles away. It's too far to carry it.

Question: How do you guys hopefully gain what you have? What can you learn from the ending of the game?

Phil Jackson: We just learned about momentum. We started turning the corner a little bit in the fourth quarter, but they'd come back, hit a three, something would happen, and I just kept saying we'll find a moment in this game to come back and play it. We just want this game to last long enough to carry it out. But it didn't. So we'll learn some lessons from that and we'll learn some lessons from what we have to do offensively to control the game and control the pace of the game.

Question: Just getting back to the foul disparity there, just to clarify there, were you upset that your team didn't create foul attempts or upset with the officiating?

Phil Jackson: No, I think my players got fouled. I have no question about the fact that my players got fouled but didn't get to the line. Specifically I can enumerate a few things, but I'm not going to get into that. I don't want to get into dispute with those situations. It's the illusion that's created. The referees referee an illusion. Our guys look like maybe the ball was partially stripped when they were getting raked or whatever was happening, but it was in the crowd, so the referees let that type of thing go. So we have to create the spacing that gives the right impression, and that will have to get accomplished.

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