There are certain things that just never surprise me. The sun rising in the morning, overachieving baseball players getting caught for steroids, Dwight Howard throwing elbows, Vince Carter shooting blanks in crunch-time, my friend Brian’s breath smelling like a fresh patch of dog poo, and Phil Jackson talking crap during the playoffs. (Boston Globe)
“We don’t have a smackdown mentality,’’ he said. “You might have seen that with [Kevin] Garnett on [Orlando’s Dwight] Howard in Game 6 in Boston, where he was smacking Howard’s arm and was finally called for an offensive foul. That’s not our kind of team. We don’t go out there to smack people around.
“I call it more resiliency. We’re a more resilient ball club. We try to stay strong and play hard. But we’re going to have to withstand some of that. We’re going to have to play through it. We have some guys who are capable of playing to that style in [Derek] Fisher and Ron [Artest] and obviously Kobe [Bryant]. But our big guys are going to have to stand up because that’s basically what got the Celtics through Orlando.’’
Lamar Odom took a more diplomatic approach.
“[All the series] have been physically demanding, even this last one, all the running we had to do,’’ said Odom. “This one will be physical, if they let us play a little bit.’’
The Lakers will be tested in this Finals series like they haven’t been all postseason. After playing WNBA teams for the first three rounds of the playoffs (Oklahoma City, Utah and Phoenix), the Lakers will finally play a team that’s going to punch them in the mouth rather than back down like a pack of little schoolgirls. Going from Channing Frye and Robin Lopez to Kendrick Perkins is quite a difference in physicality, I assure you.
So how will the Lakers respond? It remains to be seen. Fair or not, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum have always been seen as big, talented cupcakes. The Lakers now have tough guards, is their frontcourt tough enough to handle the C’s tough quartet? The Celtics will throw their weight around and do whatever they can to stop LA from scoring, whether the rules permit it or not. Will the Lakers, too?