LOS ANGELES -- As usual, Phil Jackson's pregame was entertaining. It was also littered with references to the Bulls and his Chicago ties. Here are a few of the highlights:
On which team he would choose to be represented by in the Hall of Fame if basketball's version was set up like baseball's: "I wouldn't pick. I just wouldn't do that. ... I was in the Bulls organization for 11 years, and I think it's almost the same here. I was a couple years assistant coach there with the Bulls, so I spent the same amount of time."
On why his winning percentage was better in Chicago than it is in L.A.:"I had a continuity of [Scottie] Pippen and [Michael] Jordan over nine years. There was a year and a half where Jordan retired. Whereas, this team was almost decimated by the move of Shaq and the advent of three players [Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant] from Miami and changing of a lot of personnel. So there's a big personnel turnover when I came back from sabbatical that I took in 2005."
On his favorite moment of 1990-1991 championship team: "Probably the celebration after the championship. The last game. The franchise had been in existence for 25 years. They'd been searching for a championship, and they finally got it. It was a moment of relief for Michael Jordan and that group of guys that had been chasing it for three years."
On why he always keeps close tabs on the Bulls:"I follow the Knicks still, too. I kind of grew up playing for the Knicks for 11 years. You have an affection for the time you spent there, the fans that are there, and you hope the teams do well. There's still quite a few people in the Bulls organization that either played or were around there when I was there."
On what he concerns him most about the Bulls: "Speed. They've got a lot of athletic ability. They play aggressively. [Derrick] Rose is probably as quick as any player in the league with the ball in his hand. Maybe the quickest guy in the league with a ball in his hand. Trying to stop him has become obviously a problem for a lot of teams. You see a lot of teams relying on a zone because they can't wall him off or stop him in the lane. Their defense, obviously with this coach that's got a defensive mindset, very aggressive and active. So they've improved in a couple levels."