We think this sounds a little cheesy, but Phil Jackson is certainly more qualified in the realm of coaching tactics than we are. Via the LA Times: “[Jackson] undertook his annual team exorcism last week, lighting a bundle of sage and taking it through the downstairs area of the Lakers’ training facility — the trainer’s room, the locker room, then onto the court and into the weight room. It’s his way of getting rid of bad spirits, of cleansing whatever ails the team during the regular season. He started it a bit earlier than usual, putting flame to incense after the Lakers sustained their first five-game losing streak since 2007. They won their final two regular-season games. ‘The intensity is way higher from the players and coaches,’ forward Luke Walton said. ‘You can tell it’s starting to turn a little bit.’ The group meditation sessions haven’t started in the playoffs yet, but they’re on the way too, important chapters in Jackson’s metaphorical book on postseason success. He also instructed video coordinators Chris Bodaken and Patrick O’Keefe to insert clips of the movie ‘True Grit’ into game video throughout the first round. Jackson told players to take particular note of the movie title, for obvious reasons. None of this is new to Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw, who first started experiencing it all as a player under Jackson in the early 2000s. ‘I remember that Phil’s voice and his demeanor would change when we got to this point of the year,’ he said. ‘You just knew there was no messing around in practice and it was serious. I used to keep everything loose and joke and laugh in the regular season. I like to have fun, but even for me it was like, ‘OK, leave that part of it alone.’ Even to this day, I don’t crack a smile or anything else because it’s serious time.'”
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