Day: May 19, 2010

NBA Playoffs, Lakers Suns Game 2, halftime: Lakers 65, Suns 56

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Gasol_dunk2.jpgIn Game 2 the Suns offense looks to the eye a little more fluid — the pick and roll is working better (but not great), they got some pretty baskets in transition, they are hitting 50 percent of their threes. They scored a respectable 56 first half points.

But they still cannot stop the Lakers offense — that was the story of the first half just as it was the story of Game 1. At the half of Game 2, the Lakers are ahead 65-56 and have been in control of this the entire way.

In a lot of ways this felt like a repeat of Game 1: The semi-quiet crowd, the Lakers getting a lead then holding it in the 8 to 12 range for much of the half, the Suns never really able to cut seriously into it. They tried a number of things — including a zone defense for a while — but the Lakers continue to just carve them up. The score is even close to the halftime score of Game 1 (that was 62-55 Lakers).

The Suns were 6 of 12 from three for the half, but the Lakers are 7 of 11. Suns are not even winning the battles they expected to. In the paint, the Lakers still getting what they want — 18 points on 9 of 13 shooting in the first quarter alone.

Ron Artest leads the Lakers in scoring — 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Suns Coach Alvin Gentry said before the game they could live with a huge Kobe Bryant night, they had to keep the supporting cast quiet. They are not. Amar’e Stoudemire leads the Suns with 11, the only Sun in double digits.

If the Suns do not figure out how to defend the Lakers fast, they will go home in a massive 2-0 hole.

NBA Playoffs, Lakers Suns Game 2: Live blog

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Phil Jackson admits he will take a pay cut if he returns


Phil Jackson may or may not come back as the Lakers coach — but if he does it will not be at the $12 million salary he made this season.

“Yes, it has been indicated there will be a pay cut,” Jackson said before Game 2 of the Lakers/Suns Western Conference Finals.

Thumbnail image for pjackson.jpgESPN’s Michael Wilbon went on his PTI buddy Tony Kornheiser’s radio show today and said that he was told the cut will be all the way down to $5 million next season. Jackson dodged all talk of specific numbers.

“It’s still a ridiculous salary whatever it is,” Jackson said almost under his breath.

Jackson has hinted before that he expected a pay cut to be needed, but questioned whether he would take it, at one point asking a reporter, “would you?” But it is less about money — he has more than enough — and ultimately about whether or not he is enjoying himself. Whether he can physically put up with the rigors of a long season of travel again, and whether he wants to.

Jackson indicates he has not decided if he will return next year, saying Monday he is not leaning either way at this time. As was discussed earlier today, he is comfortable in Los Angeles and he is almost certain to stay here or retire. Most people close to Jackson think he will return.

But predicting Jackson is a foolish enterprise. All we know for sure is he will not be making $12 million next year.