When talking about his team’s age, Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been known to say something along the lines of, “When we win, it’s because we’re experienced, and when we lose, its’ because we’re old.” Rivers’ nemesis across the country, Phil Jackson, is starting to acknowledge the latter for his own team.
NBA icon and former Lakers general manager Jerry West recently said that the Lakers’ recent struggles stem from the Lakers “getting a little long in the tooth.”
“If there’s a loose ball now, how often do they get to it? The reason you can’t play defense is because you can’t,” West said according to ESPN.com.
Jackson, one who’s never been known to keep his opinions quiet, agreed with the Laker legend.
“He’s right. We have to do a lot of things right to be able to play defense the way we want to, and most of it is about controlling the tempo of a game,” the Lakers’ coach said.
“There’s something about just speed. Outright speed. We’re not the fastest team on the boards here in the NBA, but we can do it if we control things in the right way.”
While the Lakers maintain their spot in the top among NBA teams in points allowed, the Lakers have given up 94 points or more in seven of their last 10 contests.
Despite the Lakers’ successes this season, they’re still 32-13, West said that age will eventually catch up with the Lakers.
“I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer. You can keep a car running for a long time by changing the tires, etc. But you can’t change a player’s tires,” he said.
Not surprisingly, the Lakers’ roster wasn’t buying West’s theories.
“This team, we slow things down a little bit more. We run on need. We’re not a fast-break team by any stretch of the imagination. But fast breaks don’t win championships, anyway. If they did, Phoenix would have a bunch,” said Kobe Bryant.