Oh Phil Jackson, sometimes you can't help yourself.
Before L.A.'s first round matchup against Oklahoma City, Jackson made a point of noting the "superstar treatment" he believed officials bestowed on Kevin Durant, despite his tender age. Jackson had three goals: First, remind his team not to get wrapped up in whistles. Second, send a message to the refs. Third, screw with Durant's head. And when Durantula was forced to answer a few days worth of "So seriously, do you receive special treatment?" questions, Jackson had his victory.
Today in El Segundo, Jackson lobbed another volley, this time directed at Steve Nash. It was a little more playful and will be powerless against Nash's strong Canadian psyche, but was pointed nonetheless. Asked if Nash is difficult to simulate in practice, Jackson smiled. "Yeah, because you can't carry the ball like he does in practice. You can't pick up that ball and run with it."
Translation: The Zen Master would like a carry call or two in this series. Will it work? Probably not, but it still makes for good video.
As is often the case, the stuff surrounding the lil' bit o' gamesmanship is actually more interesting, and far more likely to be impactful. Once again, neither Andrew Bynum nor Kobe Bryant participated in practice, both instead receiving treatment. Jackson said they'd likely get a little time on the floor this weekend ahead of Monday's Game 1, but noted neither will participate fully in practice before the series begins.
This presents no small challenge to the Lakers. The Suns, by leaps and bounds the most efficient offensive team in the league this season, put an enormous amount of pressure on the opposition's defense, and do it very quickly. It puts a premium on defensive communication and continuity, and without Kobe and Bynum on the floor during practice it's not hard to see how both could suffer.
It's nothing the Lakers can't overcome, but in what could be a tightly fought series is certainly not insignificant.