Facing a potential knockout punch, the fractious Lakers received a warning from coach Phil Jackson on Saturday concerning their uncertain future.
And an animated Gary Payton unleashed an emotional torrent, expressing frustration with his teammates, coaches and the media.
“Rumsfeld thinks he has it tough, I have to do this every day,” Jackson said with a smile a day before the Lakers face the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series (12:30 p.m., ABC).
The Lakers are down 2-0 and realize no NBA team has ever won a best-of-7 series after losing the first three.
With that in mind, Jackson was asked if he was feeling the pressure.
“No, I’m not, and that’s kind of surprising,” he replied. “I feel very even about it. . . . We know what we’ve done with this basketball club. Now, they’ve got to push it to the limit. I’m at peace with that.
“We have a team with a nebulous future. I went down the line with every one of them. It’s a team that has to play for the now. It has to play for tomorrow’s game.”
Singing the praises of Tony
You know about Timmy – Tim Duncan – who has led the San Antonio Spurs to two NBA championships in the last five years. But now it’s time to give some props to Tony Parker, whose stellar play has the Spurs standing 6-0 in the postseason thus far.
In the Spurs’ first two games against the Lakers, Parker scored 20 and 30 points. He is averaging 22.3 points and 8.0 assists in the playoffs. “He’s grown so much over the last two years and he just continues to grow,” Duncan told the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s great when he takes the game over for stretches at a time. He just takes the ball and decides what he wants to do with it. That’s a great person to have out there.”
Pacers’ Foster leaves game
Indiana Pacers center Jeff Foster left the second-round playoff game against Miami with a bruised right hip. He played sparingly in the second quarter and started the third before being removed for good.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.