Jackson, on tonight's game. The most notable thing? He doesn't anticipate restricting Kobe Bryant's minutes Sunday night, another very good sign for those following the in's and out's of Bryant's knee... which is basically everyone connected in even the slightest way to the Lakers:
Now and then, Kobe will drop a salty word into a postgame meet-and-greet with the media. I'm not going to say he does it to screw with us a little, especially those with cameras trying to cut video... but I'm not not going to say it, either. (Frankly, I don't blame him. If I was obligated to answer questions eleventy-billion times a year, I'd probably toss a few bombs, just to tweak the questioners.)
Anyhoo, it explains the lack of moving pictures for 24. I don't know how to add the bleepy sound.
Like Jackson, Kobe doesn't expect he'll be restricted Sunday against Utah, in terms of minutes. He's expecting to play about as much as he did Saturday night. As for the rest of his game, Kobe dismissed questions about his improved shooting. "I feel silly even talking about shooting percentage in the damn preseason," he said. "I felt a lot better, though."
More from Kobe...
Q: What are you looking at in your game right now, if it's not shooting and points?
A: "Strength. Just strength, and getting game legs. It's different than doing all the running and conditioning and stuff like that. It's like getting your sea legs all over again."
On tonight's ball movement and flow. Is it a sign things are coming together as a group?: "We're good at that. It's still so early. We've been together for a long, long time. That stuff's always going to be there, in terms of understanding where guys are. Ron making passes, and Lamar, and Pau's a good passer. We know where everybody's going to be, so it's pretty easy to do for us."
I then asked how important is it to look like yourselves, so to speak, before the opener? "Not at all," he said. "We looked like s--- going into the postseason last year, and won. I mean, it's..."
In seeing I understood the context of all this, I think Kobe and I actually shared a moment. Back to the video...
I mentioned the struggles of Derrick Caracter in tonight's Three up, three down. Ebanks didn't quite make it into the "up" column, but certainly could have. He finished with 14 points on five-of-eight shooting, and grabbed four offensive rebounds, seven overall. I realize the Trevor Ariza comparisons aren't exactly novel at this point, but damn if Ebanks didn't look a lot L.A.'s last #3. He moved well without the ball, cutting through the lane to make himself available with the pass, crashing off the weakside glass for easy putbacks, and generating enough activity to get to the line five times. Ebanks buried a few jumpers, as well. That his shot has been fairly consistent is perhaps the most surprising thing about Ebanks' performance through Summer League and the preseason. Coming out of West Virginia, his shooting was one of the knocks on his game.
He's certainly done enough to impress Kobe Bryant. "Devin's doing a great job," Bryant said after the game. "Doing a great job. He's playing within himself, he's making all the right plays, he's getting all the hustle points, and he's making timely jumpers. Defensively, he's active. Very impressed with him."
Impressing the coaching staff is a little tougher. Speaking before the game, even as he said some nice things about Ebanks and Caracter, Jackson reiterated their place in the NBA pecking order with his favorite expression. "Lower than whale [poo-poo]." Here, Ebanks discusses how he tries to make his mark with the powers that be:
More from Artest, this time talking about the quality ball movement the Lakers put forth in tonight's game, and Kobe's game. Artest says what most of us believe as well: "Kobe is Kobe. He'll be ready.":