The Lakers led by 15 midway through the third quarter, but found themselves down six in the fourth, leading Jackson to observe that they had "perhaps a better killer instinct earlier in the year" and had "played around with teams at times."
A day later, his players brushed aside the notion that they sometimes lack a killer instinct, or even a finishing touch. "Teams are going to go on runs and sometimes you give up a lead," forward Lamar Odom said. "We expect it."
Then, after a pause, he added, "We kill them at the end of the game."
Kobe Bryant also wasn't overly concerned about Jackson's remark. "I think he's using that to motivate us," he said. "When we have an opponent down, we've been able to keep them down."
Good opponents, yes, for the most part. Bad opponents? Not always.