Phil Jackson frustrated by officials
LOS ANGELES -- The first-round series between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets has been remarkably complaint-free thus far, as the focus has been about Kobe Bryant's and Andrew Bynum's injury scares for Los Angeles and Chris Paul's transcendent play for New Orleans.
But, this is the NBA playoffs. Both sides are bound to lobby for favorable officiating at some point during the course of a seven-game series.
Hornets coach Monty Williams got the ball rolling after Game 3, contacting the league office to speak with vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson about violations by the Lakers he felt were going uncalled.
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In particular, Williams believed the Lakers big men were getting away with three seconds in the key on offense without clearing the lane and were initiating body contact with New Orleans defenders to occupy position down low.
Tuesday night before Game 5 was Lakers coach Phil Jackson's turn to challenge the way the series was being officiated when asked about Paul's dominance through four games.
"I think it's their picks," Jackson said. "As you may recall, [Emeka] Okafor was called for some picking fouls earlier in the series [in Games] 1 and 2, but I don't remember them getting any fouls [after that]."
Okafor was called for 10 total fouls in Games 1 and 2 and eight total fouls in Games 3 and 4.
"They're knocking our guard off of Chris Paul and we got to get that guy through, or around or by so we can get back in front of him again so our bigs don't have to take care of it themselves," Jackson said. "So that's one of the things that we either have to avoid or we have to get to a spot where he has to detour the pick."
Jackson was later questioned if his disappointment was in his players for not effectively fighting through the screens or if he thought the screens being set were illegal.
"They're allowing them to happen, so they must be legal, right?" Jackson said.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.