The Lakers take off for ‘The Big Easy’ where it won’t be very easy on Thursday night

Getting ready to sting the Hornets one last time!

I’m in El Segundo at Lakers’ practice just over 24 hours away from their big game 6 in New Orleans where they’ll try to send the Hornets into golfing season with a 3-2 series lead. Kobe Bryant left the premises early this morning understandably a little sore after last night’s heroics dealing with the effects of a sprained left ankle. But as you’ll hear in our chat with coach Phil Jackson, he expects Kobe will be ready to roll again when the whistle blows by the bayou. The only player made available to us media types was Pao Gasol who’s always forthright with his comments and he seemed pumped and ready to take on this challenge as he continues to improve from an upper respiratory problem that he’s not used as an excuse for some of his lesser performances during this series. And today is a perfect example as to why I try to get as many preview thoughts as possible after a game never knowing who we might get to speak to after a practice the next day (today being just one guy).

The Lakers fly out at 2pm a confident group but I made sure to ask the old “killer instinct” question and got responses from both Phil and Pao as to if they have it or not? So sit back and figure out with the rest of us if they’ll continue to do what’s made them successful (give it to the damn Bigs and let them get some easy buckets) or go into their prolonged funks and wait to sweat it out in an elimination game 7 at Staples (which would be on Saturday), although I’d prefer the day off…thanks very much! đŸ™‚

Phil Jackson with Ted Sobel:

Pao Gasol with Ted Sobel:

One side note that has nothing to do with the Lakers…since the hockey is season is over for both of our local So-Cal teams, my mind immediately shifted to old friends Danny Bylsma and Tony Granato (head coach and assistant respectively with the Pittsburgh Penguins) who have their own big game 7 tonight on home ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still stuck without their 2 big injured stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pens have gutted it out hoping to stall off the rehab Gods in time to maybe get Sid back for the next series…and then again, maybe not? Either way I texted both former Kings today with well wishes and Tony sent back a thank you note less than 2 hours before their opening faceoff. Two of the best guys you’d ever want to meet deserve a better fate than they’ve received this spring, but it only takes one win tonight to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive…good luck boys!

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About tedsobel

Award winning sportscaster/journalist covering major events around the world since 1974. Please check out my audio vault and follow me on twitter (@tedsobelsports).
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