Ball Don't Lie - NBA



It seems that even Phil Jackson, the master of referee manipulation, is sick of complaining about the refs.

Questioning a reporter's description of the officiating woes in this series as "a pretty hot topic," Jackson launched into a bit of a riff that more or less flies against the very sort of between-game bargaining he's become famous for.

"I don't think it's any hotter than any other Finals that I've been part of," Jackson, who has been in 15 of these closing rounds as a player and coach. "It's always contentious. There's been a little more focus, perhaps, this time. Perhaps some of it has been undercurrent in the past, but [the refereeing is] always a contention."

Jackson told ESPN's John Ireland that he would prefer it if his team played "above the refereeing. If you get caught up in the refereeing, then you're doing a disservice to the game and to our game particularly."

The Laker coach continued. "If it's going to be tight, then you've got to play according to how it's going to be refereed. If it's going to be played loose, then you have to adjust to having a tougher type of game."

Beyond that surprising turn, Jackson spent most of the pregame presser discussing Andrew Bynum's(notes) deteriorating right knee, which he gutted through in Game 3 (and for the bulk of these playoffs, really), but will need to have extensive work done on once the season ends.

Bynum will give Game 4 "a shot," Jackson said, and the Lakers will "try to get him six, seven minutes at the beginning of the game. He likes to get out there and participate and get the feel of the game, and we'll see how he goes from there."

It wasn't a knock, but Jackson pointed out that because of Bynum's long history with knee issues (despite his youth), that "he's a bit little bit more comfortable playing in this discomfort" than, say, a veteran with the same malady would be.

"He feels a sharp pain when he makes a certain movement. He understands what it is, so it's not something he gets concerned about doing again. He understands how it comes and how it goes away, so he's been able to deal with it."

When asked if Bynum had "shown some toughness in the Finals," Jackson quickly agreed. "No doubt about that," he confirmed.

Injuries and fatigue were also part of Doc Rivers' presser, as his team prepared to play its 103rd game of the season and its fourth in seven days.

The Boston coach pointed out that he can ride his rotation a little harder in Game 4 "because there's days off. But after this game, you really can't afford to do that anymore, even though there will be only three games or two or whatever. You have to be careful because if you use all your guys and then there's a day off and a game, then you don't have anything for the next game."

Rivers then added, "at least for our team."

While pointing out that Rasheed Wallace(notes) is "feeling a lot better today," while dealing with a strained back, Rivers mentioned that "it's not as much his back anymore, it's his conditioning."

Wallace, who came into the season out of shape and has been battling fatigue and back issues all season as a result, is "fine," according to Rivers. But "the two or three weeks of literally just playing in games, they catch up to you conditioning-wise. Over the last four or five days he's been running every day, just trying to get his wind back to sustain it more."

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