The only thing more entertaining than the game last night – for Laker fans, anyway – was Phil Jackson’s press conference following the loss. He went to war with the press corps (at one point telling a reporter to shut up and listen), called out Dahntay Jones for his intentional trip of Kobe Bryant, and attacked the refs for not calling an even game.
It was an epic performance by the Zen Master, and certainly a much better effort than the one his team was able to provide in Game 4.
The Press-Enterprise reports:
Jackson suggested that inconsistent officiating sapped the Lakers of their typical aggressiveness and ultimately caused the second half to get “kind of out of hand.” Three of the four technicals called in the game were on Denver, but the Nuggets shot 49 free throws – 14 more than the Lakers.
“Tonight we didn’t know what a foul was and what wasn’t a foul out there,” he said. “Start of the ball game, we got guys knocked around going to the basket and they said they were going to let these things go. By the end of the game, little fouls were being called all over the place.”
The play that drew Jackson’s ire the most was when Luke Walton caught an elbow to the neck from Nene that did not draw a whistle as he came across the lane with nine minutes remaining and the Lakers down 14. Walton was assessed a technical for arguing the non-call, then picked up four more personal fouls the rest of the quarter to foul out of the game in less than 13 minutes. “That’s not equal refereeing, and those are the things that change the course of games,” Jackson said. We don’t like that. We want the game to be fair and evenly played.”
This is how the (politicking) game within the game works, and no one knows how to play it better than Phil.
Which is why you should expect to see the Lakers parading to the free throw line time and again in Game 5, back on their home floor.