Posted by Sekou Smith
LOS ANGELES — It’s not often you see a coach capable of motivating two teams, his and the opposing squad, simultaneously.
But coaches/master motivators like Phil Jackson don’t come along but once a lifetime.
The Lakers’ boss gave an honest answer to a question asking him to define his team’s toughness and wound up setting off alarms in his own locker room as well as in Boston’s.
“We don’t have a smackdown mentality,” Jackson said, before launching into an example of a team (the Celtics) that does, and specifically Celtics star Kevin Garnett, who did his best Karate Kid impersonation on Dwight Howard‘s forearms early in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Garnett wouldn’t bite, citing it as just another round of Jackson’s “mind games,” presumably the same ones he played on Kevin Durant in the first round and on Steve Nash in the Western Conference finals.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was grateful to Jackson for helping stoke his team’s already over the top competitive fires, as if the always intense Garnett needing anything else to get him going.
“I think he picks the best player on the other team or who he thinks is key,” Rivers said. “So I think Kevin should put that one right up there with his MVP trophy and everything else. I think Kevin should be excited about that.”
I’m not sure how excited the Lakers should be about their coach questioning their toughness, something tells me Kobe Bryant could care less.
But they should be used to Jackson’s motivational tactics by now.
He has, after all, been at this for a long time.
And there’s usually a method to his motivational madness (hope you are listening Pau Gasol).