Friday, May 21, 2010
Lakers focused on Suns, not Celts
By Dave McMenamin ESPNLosAngeles.com
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It didn't take long for Los Angeles Lakers fans to start anticipating a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals.
A "We want Boston! We want Boston!" chant echoed throughout Staples Center late in the Lakers 128-107 Game 1 win over Phoenix, a day after the Celtics beat the Orlando Magic to go up 1-0 in the East finals.
"I have zero reaction to that," Kobe Bryant said Monday when asked about the chant.
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The chants got even louder Wednesday when L.A. was on its way to a 2-0 series lead, following in the footsteps of the Celtics who were already up 2-0 after completely stealing away Orlando's home-court advantage.
"I didn't understand it [at the time], I'm sorry, I'm not that good [at paying attention to cheers during the game] to understand it," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said on Friday after Lakers practice. "But after the game I was disappointed when I heard it was [going on]."
Jackson refused to speculate about how Phoenix's up-and-down style might not be the best preparation for Boston's grind-it-out game should the Lakers meet the Celtics in the Finals.
"We can't worry about anything besides this one right now," Jackson said. "We're just playing to see what happens here. Who knows whether we can survive this series or not?"
Bryant said that the team was "focusing on the moment" while Jackson quipped that the fans were just "hopeful" for more home games.
The Lakers have won three out of four regular season meetings against the Celtics since losing Game 6 of the Finals by 39 points in 2008, but historically have not fared well when matched up with the C's for the championship. The Celtics and Lakers have played each other in the Finals 11 times and Los Angeles has won just twice, in 1987 and 1985.
Six of the nine Finals losses for the Lakers came during an eight-year span from 1962-69 and out of those six, Boston beat L.A. in a Game 7 three times to win the series.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.