Here is the latest episode of our late night show, chock full of analysis, reader questions and wardrobe grades. Make sure to check out the player videos below the jump, too.
According to Phil Jackson, the Timberwolves "played harder" than the Lakers. They also "out-hustled" the defending champs, if you'd prefer another way of describing superior effort by the visitors. In addition, he mentioned how L.A. did a bad job capitalizing on Minnesota's turnovers while throwing some startlingly ill-conceived passes of their own. Finally, there was a hint of annoyance at how poorly the team responded to Monday's canceled practice.
That aside, The Zen Master was quite pleased by the evening.
Whether the result of attempting to put his stamp on a game after a 12-point Sunday or trying to school defenders wet behind the ears, Phil felt Kobe Bryant was continually forcing shots. He described the superstar as "aggressive," which I got the distinct impression wasn't meant as a compliment.
Asked about Phil's "forced shots" comments, Kobe thought PJ was missing the bigger issue. "He needs to be lobbying for some calls," grinned Bryant. "That's what he needs to do. That was ridiculous. I think that's illegal in some states."
As you might guess from our Lakers Live! commentary, I think Kobe's being a smidge too easy on himself. Still, a funny line is a funny line.
As Lamar Odom explained, teams seeking perfection look for elements to improve upon after a great win, much less a mediocre one. Along those lines, Wednesday's film session should result in a suggestion box stuffed to the gills.
It hasn't taken Matt Barnes much time under Phil to express a mindset similar to his new coach's. PJ views regular season games, even ultimately trivial ones, as a building point to something bigger than whatever individual result. Barnes seems to agree, which means tonight may have presented a W, but also a very specific failure:
"Our goal is to get batter every night and I don't feel like we got better tonight. Luckily, we got a win, but we didn't play our game and we let this team stay in the game."
Shannon Brown explained how the Lakers were perfectly aware of their faulty execution, but even while cognizant of the issue, fixing matters while in the heat of battle can be easier said than done:
"We're conscious of it, but sometimes it's just a flow of what's going on. You can't really get that continuity. Everybody has to be on the same page. Sometimes it's just like that. I'm glad we got a win out of it. Learn from it and get over it."
Despite still being in a triangular learning stage, Barnes recognized how poorly the offense was being run, and it felt weird to him.
Pau Gasol reminded everyone a win is a win, and didn't seem particularly worried about the quality lacking in victory. Then again, he didn't seem particularly satisfied by its absence, which should be a source of comfort to fans, teammates and coaches alike.