Lakers downplay 7-0 start
But, after dismantling the Portland Trail Blazers 121-96 on Sunday and being able to rest the starters in the fourth quarter, the head coach of those Bulls and these Lakers, Phil Jackson, said his team does not anticipate being able to save his players from logging major minutes as the year continues.
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"No, we're not going to do anything like that," Jackson said. "The season is too long. The travel is too difficult in the West conference. We just have to try and step out and get ahead of people in our division, our conference and play as it comes a long."
Asked before the game to compare the '95-96 Bulls with the current 2010-11 Lakers, Jackson said, "Not the same defense, unfortunately. We have a lot of offensive prowess, we're very good offensively, but the defense isn't quite the same."
Lakers forward Pau Gasol said the team is not specifically aiming for the league's best record, let alone the best record of all-time, 72-10, set by the Bulls.
"We go game by game," Gasol said. "We really don't talk about going for the best record. We just try to deal with the everyday situations. So far we're doing good."
When asked what the 7-0 mark means to the team, Kobe Bryant said, "It just means we're 7-0. It's really no big deal. I don't really think it matters right now. You want to win every game obviously."
Bryant then reminded reporters that the team's goal is making a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals and capturing a three-peat championship, not racking up a certain amount of regular-season wins.
"We want to get better," Bryant said. "We're 7-0 and you're all excited but we want to play for June."
The Lakers are one of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the league along with the 6-0 New Orleans Hornets. Los Angeles is also averaging a league-leading 114 points per game and are also tops in the NBA in 3-point accuracy at 45 percent.
It is the second 7-0 start for the Lakers in the last three seasons. It's the fifth time in the last 25 seasons that they have started 7-0. Over the last 25 seasons, no other NBA franchise has started 7-0 more than twice. The Lakers are also the first defending champions to start a season 7-0 since the 2001-02 Lakers did so. That team went on to win its third straight NBA title (just as this team has an opportunity to do).
The Lakers schedule gets a little tougher in the next several weeks as four of their next six games are on the road after five of their first seven games were played at home.
Added Bryant: "This is great. Hopefully we can continue be in cruise control."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. http://twitter.com/mcten. Mike Lynch of ESPN Stats & Info contributed to this report.