Should these teams meet in the Western Conference Finals, the scores might be different each time, but you should expect the same grinding, muddy action as tonight. Like Kobe Bryant noted, the Lakers and Spurs simply know each other too well to create a thing of beauty.
Make sure to check out videos below the jump of Phil Jackson, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum.
Phil Jackson shared thoughts on Ron Artest's and Kobe Bryant's and Pau Gasol's performances (all complimentary), the final play, and the difference between this loss and the loss to Boston. I also found interesting his response when I asked if this defeat, which contained positives, can be built upon:
"You know, we go to a whole different set up of teams. Chris Paul playing and demanding and commanding the situation makes it altogether different. We match up. We know this team well. We've been in the Finals against them (three) years ago in the West. So there's a lot of familiarity with what they do and how they play.
"Now we have to make a mind change. We have to change up and make the adjustment. New Orleans even has players out there that we're not familiar with and this is what I think the team suffers from. We look down the list of the games that we've lost against under .500 teams, maybe seven games over the course of the season, seven or eight games. It's about new personnel, the young players, veteran players that we have not adjusting, paying attention and understanding the concepts and the context of what they're playing against."
To his credit, Lamar Odom took responsibility for not putting a body on Antonio McDyess, which allowed the 77 year old big man to convert a game-winning put back. "I gotta make that play," confirmed LO. He also saw the painful sequence as a reminder of how everyone is capable of making things happen, even those lower in the pecking order:
"It's a team effort. It goes to show you that the game is a team game. If you put yourself in position to make the play, you make it. Tonight, Antonio made it."
Similar to my opinion, Pau was unhappy with the final outcome, but felt there were positives to be taken from the way the team approached the game:
"I think that we should focus on how hard we played. We gotta build the confidence up a little bit, because we had a lot of open looks. We didn't convert. We didn't make them pay. And obviously at the end against a really good team like San Antonio, you're gonna pay the price. But still, we had a chance to win it, but it didn't fall our way."
Pau was honored and grateful for being named an All-Star, but wasn't able to really enjoy it because of the loss. He also expressed hope Lamar would be named the injury replacement player.
Andrew Bynum disagreed when a reporter described McDyess' tip-in as "fluky." Said Drew, "We gave them three opportunities prior to that. We really needed to get that ball." This ruined what he felt was an otherwise pretty "decent" showing up until the last minute or so.
Unfortunately, a lot can happen in a minute.