The Lakers turned in a strong performance against a horrible Detroit squad (Ron Artest referred to them charitably as "under average" after the game) Tuesday night at Staples, and were understandably measured in their back patting. Still, the night was a success, with strong inside play from Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom, a low turnover count, and a solid showing on the defensive end.
The Lakers unquestionably needed a good game and got one, but more chatter postgame was centered first around Kobe Bryant, who passed Dominique Wilkins for 10th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Then, it was back to Artest, Phil Jackson, and their confrontation during a recent practice. We heard from both Jackson and Artest before the game, with Jackson downplaying the significance of the event and Artest avoiding any details about what happened until he spoke first to Jackson. Artest did express some hurt the story made it to the media, repeatedly emphasizing how important it is to him his fairly new reputation as a good teammate and citizen stay intact.
After the game, I asked Jackson what it said that Artest felt it so important to go him before talking to us, and later in the clip below P.J. addresses the question of how and why events such as this- an incident they'd have preferred stay behind the El Segundo Curtain- get out.
Artest, Jackson suspects, "feels probably betrayed" by someone saying something to the media.
Click below for more videos, including Jackson, Bryant, Odom, Gasol, and Bynum.
Bryant, first on what made Tuesday a successful run and the process of improving as a team, then on passing Wilkins:
Jackson, on what worked vs. Detroit:
Looking for a test to see whether you're genuinely getting old? Andrew Bynum has your back. After answering a few questions about the game, he was asked about Bryant passing Wilkins, and what he remembers of Dominique. "I remember playing with him in a video game," he said.
From there, he talks about his health, the team's success inside, and the revamped Phoenix squad they'll see Wednesday night:
Pau Gasol, on what was different about Tuesday's game relative to their poorer showings, where they have to go from here, and facing the Suns:
Lamar Odom, on what was different tonight vs. recent games, Kobe's all time scoring, and more: