Unstoppable. That was the word Phil Jackson used to describe Kobe Bryant. When Bryant took his turn at the podium yesterday, he was asked if he would describe himself as "unstoppable."
"Yup," said Bryant, pausing for laughs. "I'm just joking. It's kind of weird, to be honest with you. It's awkward. It's uncomfortable. To me, it's always been about what the defense does. The defense can take a player out of the game any time they want to. All they have to do is focus on one guy."
That said, Bryant would rather being playing in the Finals than already on vacation.
"I'd much rather have the pressure of this moment, as opposed to having the pressure of what swim trunks I'm going to wear in Bora Bora, the
Instead of choosing trunks, he was fixing some things with his shooting for tonight's Game 2.
"I have to tweak a couple things here and there and see if I can't put the ball in the hole a little bit better," said Bryant. "It's me. Just a couple mechanical things with my shot and my release."
Jackson is confident the adjustments Bryant makes will work.
"Well, he's been an unstoppable force in this game," said Jackson. "He usually doesn't have two games in a row that are bad. He comes back and plays better. So we anticipate that's going to be a pattern."
Odom gets extra rest
Lamar Odom wasn't active at Lakers practice, using the day to rest his body.
"Teacher's pet today, so I got to just watch just a little bit," said Odom. "I've got a couple parts of my body that just need to heal up a little bit. That's it."
Pressed to specify what hurt, Odom wasn't about to give the Celtics any advantage. "I can't tell you, man. They might attack it . . . I'm cool. It'll be all right."
Odom will need to be at full strength since he expects a physical Game 2 from the Celtics.
"That has to be our mind-set, especially on the road," said Odom.
"Basketball on the road is a little different, especially at playoff time. It's real physical, and I expect the game to be in the low 90s, mid-80s."
Green with envy?
When asked for his review of the city of Boston, Jackson played comedian. "It's very green," he said, eliciting laughter. "Boston Common, the Public Gardens, very green.". . . About why historic rivalries like Celtics-Lakers don't have the same hatred as in the past, Jackson said: "A lot of that is due to coaching. Both Doc [ Rivers] and I are members of Positive Coaching Alliance, PCA, which is a national organization to honor the game and bring honor to the game by dispelling that kind of thing. Respecting your opponent is one of the first virtues, that's one of the first aspects of being a positive coach." After turning serious and mentioning free agency and the influx of foreign players as a hatred-diluting factor, Jackson went back to the lighter side and added: "Jack Nicholson hasn't weighed in on this series, and we have to wait for him to spice up the crowd." . . . Bryant on Celtics assistant and defensive coach Tom Thibodeau: "He has an unfair advantage. He started drilling me on NBA basketball when I was 14. He kind of has inside information on what I like to do because he taught me most of the stuff. I've faced his defenses here for some time and they're tough. He's awesome." . . . When it comes to the ability to demonstrate more physical toughness than finesse, Bryant is under no illusions about the strengths and weakness of teammate Pau Gasol. Bryant joked, "If you run into [Kendrick] Perkins and Pau in an alley, you're probably going to go in Pau's direction."