View Full Version : Phil Jackson vs Kobe Bryant

05-29-2002, 03:44 PM
On crucial play, Lakers had wrong man on Bibby


By Ric Bucher

ESPN The Magazine

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Paging Phil Jackson. Phil Jackson, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Jackson, Phil Jackson, your order is ready for pick-up. Mr. Jackson, this is your Game 5 wake-up call. Someone, quick, put an APB out for one Mr. Philip D. Jackson.

Phil? Are you there?

If someone out there sees Mr. Jackson, ask him if he's OK. Then check his I.D. to make sure it's really the Lakers coach. Then ask him why, on a play that very well could determine the Lakers' chance of three-peating, he did not put his best defender, Kobe Bryant, on the Kings' most clutch player, Mike Bibby.

Jackson, or a very close resemblance, said he stuck with Derek Fisher on Bibby because Kobe didn't want the job.

"He said, 'I don't feel quite comfortable picking him up at this time and not being used to his moves,' " Jackson said. "I think it was the decision he wanted to make and I concurred."

It doesn't sound like Kobe, does it? Kobe didn't think so, either.

"You know I wouldn't use those exact words," Kobe said. "That's ridiculous."

Whatever the truth is, the result could be monumental. Bibby inbounded the ball to Chris Webber from the right-corner baseline, ran Fisher into CWebb and then buried a wide-open 22-foot jumper from the right wing that puts the Kings one win away from advancing to their first-ever NBA finals.

The Kings, who now lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 and have the Lakers on the brink of elimination for the first time in two years, executed the play to perfection. Vlade Divac picked Webber's man, Robert Horry, thereby preventing the Lakers from trapping the ball out of Bibby's hands or Fisher getting help. Webber crushed Fisher with his pick, knocking him to the floor. And then Bibby squared and fired without hesitation.

Bobby Jackson completed the deal by almost literally getting inside Kobe's jersey as he attempted a 19-foot jumper from the right wing, a shot that hit the far rim and bounced away as time expired.

Kobe contended Jackson understandably kept Fisher on Bibby because Fisher had played him "pretty well." The numbers suggest otherwise, with Bibby shooting a crisp 50 percent (8 of 16) before making the game-winning shot.

Bobby Jackson was among those mystified when Kobe came over to guard him on Sacramento's final possession.

"I was very shocked when he came over to me," Jackson said. "I knew I wasn't going to be taking any last-minute shot. I was surprised."

Kobe, after muzzling Bibby in the second half of Game 4, was rarely matched up with him in Game 5, but that strategy seemed understandable since the Lakers either led or were within striking distance the entire game. No need to wear Kobe out if that duty wasn't necessary. Phil suggested Kobe's foul trouble, combined with a very tightly officiated game, also persuaded him not to put him on Bibby, Kobe picking up his fourth foul with 8 1⁄2 minutes left in the third quarter.

Jackson, though, said fatigue was still a factor for Kobe, particularly having to play the final 3 minutes, 22 seconds without Shaq, who fouled out tripping Bibby on a drive to the basket. Doug Christie picked up his sixth eight seconds later, leaving the last-possession duties to the Kings' Jackson.

Phil also claimed that Kobe was fouled on the last shot, but replays showed nothing severe enough to warrant putting someone on the line to decide the game.

"That was a terrific finish again for us," said the Zenmaster. Indeed, it was, thanks in large part to the Zenmaster. Or some semblance thereof.

05-29-2002, 03:57 PM
well, phil jackson shouldn't exactly be confused with one of the better coach..simply a fortunate guy that has had tremendous talent fall into his lap

05-29-2002, 08:31 PM
Jackson is past his time.

ESPN Radio reported today that Jackson said that Kobe "begged out of covering Bibby". What the hell is he thinking spouting off crap like this in a crucial time in a huge series? Alzheimers is setting in.

05-30-2002, 11:17 AM
I think Phil should trade Kobe's sorry ass.

<To the Mavericks!>

05-30-2002, 08:38 PM
I just can't believe Jackson said that. What an idiot.