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News » LAKERS FYI 2009-05-30

LAKERS FYI 2009-05-30

LAKERS FYI 2009-05-30
The Lakers had played 13 games in 26 days, a pace that undeniably caught up to them at certain points of the Western Conference finals.

Now, though, they'll get some time off.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson told them to stay home a day after they finished off the Denver Nuggets, clinching the franchise's 30th trip to the NBA Finals.

Happy 30th, indeed.

The Lakers won't play again until Thursday, against Orlando or Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. If the Magic wins tonight, the series opens at Staples Center.

"It'll be good for us," forward Trevor Ariza said of the upcoming down time. "But I don't think I want to rest until it's over. I'm not going to sleep until we get that ring."

Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant again went over the 41-minute mark Friday in Game 6, par for the course in this series.

"Right now, we're where we want to be," Gasol said. "All I'm thinking is, 'What can I do to get my body better, get my body ready for the next battle?' I'm really looking forward to it."

Has Ariza arrived?

Ariza had the two biggest defensive plays of the series -- late-game steals in Games 1 and 3 -- and also had 17 points in Game 6, including 10 in the first quarter to help give the Lakers a 25-20 edge.

The only thing that stopped Ariza was, well, Ariza. He picked up his fourth foul with 9:54 left in the third quarter and went to the bench. He played only 22 minutes but made seven of nine shots, many of them on wide-open looks.

"They're not really playing me still," he said. "If I get it going early, I'm going to keep it going."

It has been a long ride for Ariza, who left UCLA after his freshman season when there was some thought that he should have stayed in school.

He was a bit player with New York and Orlando before the November 2007 trade that brought him to Los Angeles, where his career eventually turned upward.

"He's had a lot of obstacles in his Basketball life and he's worked hard," said his agent, David Lee. "It's nice to see the underdog win. There's been a lot of naysayers in his life."


Being nice

A few days after amassing $50,000 in fines, Jackson was actually kind to the referees before Game 6.

"Basketball is a very difficult game to officiate," he said. "In fact, there are times when we say it's almost an impossible feat to do. There's something going on between players all the time whether it's offense or defense."

He also had a suggestion, though. He wants the number of referees reduced.

"The placement of a two-referee system perhaps is better than the placement of three referees because of the angles the two referees have on the court," Jackson said. "That's one of my contentions."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 30, 2009


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