03-13-2008, 03:02 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Land of 16 NBA Championships
Article: OC Register - Defense will be test for Lakers on the road
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EL SEGUNDO — "Bring on Chris Paul" wouldn't exactly be the rallying cry for the Lakers as they embark on what could be a revealing four-game trip.
After they allowed Toronto reserve T.J. Ford to shred them for 28 points on Tuesday, point guard play has come under scrutiny with upcoming games against Paul of New Orleans, Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks and Deron Williams of Utah.
"You forgot (Rafer) Alston (of Houston)," Coach Phil Jackson playfully reminded a reporter.
The Lakers have downplayed a defense that has had issues preventing penetration. That will be put to test over the next four games, beginning with Paul and the Hornets on Friday.
Jackson said the issue had more to do with the number of pick-and-rolls his team sees, not so much the personnel running them.
"Trying to strengthen our younger players who don't have the physicality to get through screens," said Jackson, "we have to work with them on that."
Jackson said his club concedes a lot of shots, as was the case against Toronto, and the Lakers will sometimes pay the price if the player gets hot.
"So you have to live with some of those things sometimes and live with the best thing possible, and that's to stop the penetration," he said.
Jackson concurred with the conventional strategy that Paul is least dangerous when he does most of the scoring because it takes away from the Hornets' "team atmosphere."
That was the case Jan.9 when Paul had 32 points in a 29-point Lakers victory.
The Lakers are a different team now with Pau Gasol, and their confidence seems to be enough to carry them into this trip without any hiccups about their defense.
"We're a confident bunch and we're starting to understand that it doesn't matter where we play, as long as we do what we need to do, we can win," Kobe Bryant said. "As long as we have that kind of understanding, you have all the confidence in the world no matter where you play."
Said Lamar Odom, "It's going to be tough. I think we're well prepared."
Source: Defense will be test for Lakers on the road