Press Enterprise: It might have seemed peculiar for the Lakers’ starters to still be on the court late in the fourth quarter with a comfortable 17-point lead, but Phil Jackson had an explanation ready after Thursday night’s game.
The coach said he wanted that group to practice protecting a fourth-quarter lead after the players rushed a handful of shots early in the shot clock on several possessions.
“I asked them for five execution sequences, and they couldn’t get any of them accomplished,” Jackson said. “Regardless of the score, you have to understand how to play with a lead, use the clock, don’t take long shots, don’t foul — those kinds of things. I just wanted them to get the message.”
The tactic helped contribute to heavy minutes for Pau Gasol (41), Lamar Odom (40) and Kobe Bryant (38), even though the Lakers play the second half of a back-to-back tonight in New Jersey. Still, Odom said he understood the message Jackson was trying to send.
“He wanted us to run our offense, go through our first, second, third option, and take some time off the clock,” Odom said. “It’s important for our second season: the playoffs.”