Jackson has 40-20 vision
Coach expects great teams to have at least that record, but he remains cautious while awaiting Bynum's return.
By Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 22, 2008
Mention the phrase "40 before 20" to Phil Jackson, and you can almost sense his mind flashing back to greatness.
The Lakers' coach believes that elite teams win 40 games before they lose 20, a mark achieved by the Lakers in all three of their championships earlier this decade and by the Chicago Bulls in all six of their championships with Jackson as coach in the 1990s.
The Lakers are currently 37-17, and eight of their next nine games are against teams that wouldn't make the playoffs today -- the Clippers (twice), Seattle, Miami, Portland (twice) and Sacramento (twice).
It appears the Lakers will get 40 before 20, but Jackson flip-flops between complimenting the team and posting notes of caution until center Andrew Bynum returns.
"We'll see how that all fits together," he said recently. "Obviously, we still have a large order yet to come along with Andrew getting back and playing this year. . . . That will be a major adjustment for our team. For right now, it fits really well."
True to his one-day-at-a-time mind-set, Jackson didn't wander into the future when asked if Bynum's return would be seamless.
"We really don't know that," he said. "But I think we'll be fine. I think we'll be able to do a lot of different types of things."
Jackson gave the Lakers the day off Thursday, after their win at Phoenix on Wednesday.
Bynum jogged in a swimming pool Thursday, another step in his rehabilitation from a knee injury that has sidelined him for 18 games. "We'll have to give it some time to see how the knee reacts to the activity," Lakers spokesman John Black said.
Bynum could be back as early as mid-March, although Lakers officials are expecting a return date later that month.
He suffered a deep bone bruise in his left knee and a subluxation of his left kneecap -- a brief dislocation that popped back into place -- in a Jan. 13 game against Memphis.