|ESPN.com: NBA Playoffs 2010||[Print without images]|
Artest felt Nash's comments would be discussed among the Lakers before Saturday's Game 6 in Phoenix: "We'll talk about it. I'm sure we'll talk about it. ... I'm sure Kobe heard that and I'm sure he'll do his part tomorrow. As a team, we'll do our part."I'll just go out there and play defense. He's a great passer. He's a great player. I'm a great defender. I'm gonna do what I do."
Artest went on to explain that Nash's comments were part of a postseason trend of opposing teams not giving the Lakers their due.
"It's just no respect. That's how it's been for a long time so far this playoffs. No respect. Guys have no respect. Coaches have no respect for the Lakers at all. They don't respect at all."Jackson was lighthearted for most of practice Friday. And, really, who wouldn't be after his team's remarkable 103-101 win over Phoenix in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals? Jackson also got serious, however, when speaking about the urgency of closing out the Suns in Game 6 on Saturday at the US Airways Center. "We don't plan on going to Phoenix and losing three times on their home court," Jackson said. "We're not making this trip over there just to fill a date. We're going over there to win a game. We're highly motivated for this game, but we understand that if it has to go seven, we're damn well ready to come back home and defend our home court again. This is a series that has taken a lot of different faces to it in the course of these five games and we don't expect Game 6 to be any different." Artest said opponents in general are taking him particularly lightly in these playoffs.
"They don't respect me. They want me to play out of character and start jacking all these crazy shots and not look to pass to Pau. They're trying to not respect me to try and win the game. Coach Alvin Gentry, he don't respect me. A lot of guys don't respect me. I think there will come a point and time where I earn some respect. But I'll wait, you know. I'm not rushing."
Jackson later said he understood why opposing teams leave Artest, who was fined by the team for arriving late to practice, open for long-range shots.
"We usually tell Ron and Lamar there's a reason why you're open," quipped Jackson. "I don't know if that makes enough sense, saying it that way.
"We told Ron in our game plan last year against Houston, we anticipated this kind of behavior and we're ready and willing to allow you to hit a 3 in those situations. We believe you can hit them, but you have to have good judgment."
How well has Artest done in not taking the bait? "Not very well," said Jackson. "There's still room for improvement."
ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin and Andy Kamenetzky contributed to this report.