Phil Jackson is in mid-season mind games form.
People have started asking if the 8-0 Lakers could win 72 games — they’ve looked pretty dominant and they don’t even have Andrew Bynum in the fold yet.
It’s not going to happen, we all know it and Phil Jackson has said so before. But when asked again today, he took the chance to put a little more heat on the Heat, as Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles reports.
“It’s not going to happen [for us],” Jackson said about the 70-win talk surrounding his team after the Lakers’ shootaround Thursday morning in preparation for their game against the Denver Nuggets. “The schedule’s too tough. The travel is extenuating in the Western Conference, there’s very difficult time zone changes that you go through and all the stuff that happens. And that’s disregarding the idea that you can play with all your players for the rest of the season.
“Everything has to just break perfect for that to happen, plus the team has to be very, very resilient and very, very capable of filling in for one another at multiple positions….”
“I think this Miami team could.”
“They’re talented enough to do that,” he continued. “They may not be deep enough quite yet or have all their persons in place and teamwork just down, but if they stay together, they have a good chance. They have a very talented team.”
If you think that wasn’t thrown in there to just add a little more pressure to the Heat, you haven’t been watching Jackson the last couple decades. He lives for little digs like that, little things to try and plant in the Heat’s mind. Although, in this case, we’re all kind of thinking it. Not this year, but maybe if they get better role players….
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.