Lakers want to impose will on Thunder
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- As the Lakers prepared to fly to Oklahoma City on Thursday, the team talked about the energy it hoped to take with it as carry-on to combat a raucous home crowd at the Ford Center in Friday's Game 6.
"It's really about who imposes whose will upon the game," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "You really have to impose your will upon the game. That's something we did in Game 3, but we couldn't sustain it."
Los Angeles has won the first quarter in four of the five games of the series, setting the tone from the beginning. In the first quarters of L.A.'s three wins, it outscored Oklahoma City by a combined 84-51. In Game 3, the first playoff game in the history of Oklahoma, the Lakers used a 10-0 run to start the game to diffuse the home crowd.
Kobe Bryant, who did not practice on Thursday, opting to rest his sore right knee and left ankle and arthritic right index finger, said that the Lakers need to be energetic, but not emotional.
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"We don't get too high, we don't get too low," Bryant said. "It's tough to tell if it's a Finals game or the first game of the regular season. I think that's the attitude you have to have because you go through so many ups and downs throughout the course of the season that you have to keep your composure."
Still, Lamar Odom admitted that the Thunder fans will treat the potential close-out game as if it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
"Most teams, you see them fight like hell or realize they can't win," Odom said. "With this team, I expect them to fight like hell. I expect them to fight like their life is on the line."
Odom had limited participation in Thursday's practice as well, telling reporters, "I just had to rest up a little bit." Odom has been playing with a sore left shoulder since February.
Ron Artest had a protective pad on his left shoulder after practice as well, but did not acknowledge any injury.
"Why'd you tell them something's wrong with my shoulder?" Artest asked a team staffer when reporters questioned him about the pad. "There's nothing wrong with my shoulder."
Jackson brought up other tough road arenas as examples of the places that the Lakers have won series in the past with the crowd against them.
"We've closed games out in Utah [in 2008] and Denver [in 2009]," Jackson said. "They've been crazy places to play and [we've] been able to do the job there so this is something we should be able to sustain."
Added Odom: "You don't want to get too emotional, but yet, you kind of want to kind of stay intense. This is a great time for us, great position for us to be in. We really look forward to winning up there."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com Beto Duran of ESPN 710 contributed to this report.