PHOENIX -- In the coaches' pre-game news conferences Sunday night -- also known as night at the improv -- Phil Jackson and Alvin Gentry revealed little in the way of strategic clues for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. That's OK. Jokes are better anyway.
For our opening act, we had Jackson, who was asked about center Andrew Bynum's comments Saturday in which he spoke about looking forward to playing the Celtics.
"It was a moment, what we call a brain fart in our business," Jackson said, suggesting that the swelling in Bynum's knee had spread to his brain. "He wasn't thinking very clearly right there."
As for his contract status, Jackson was asked if he'd noticed a column by Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times suggesting that the Lakers should pay Jackson whatever it takes to keep him next season. He also was asked to respond to a tweet from his girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, who wrote about Jackson making her lasagna and called hiim "a keeper" -- which some construed as a bit of subtle lobbying for her father, Dr. Jerry Buss, to pay her man.
"She should," Jackson said. "But it's her dad who I really have to please."
Next up, Gentry, who said his team was in good spirits facing a must-win game on its home court after falling behind 2-0 in L.A.
"I do think they've played about as well as they can play," Gentry said. "I sure as hell hope so, anyway."
No team has come back from a 3-0 deficit since the NBA's best-of-7 playoff format.
"If something happens and we don't win the game," Gentry said, "we know we're in deep, deep trouble."
The Lakers lost Games 3 and 4 at Oklahoma City in the first round, and also struggled to close out the Rockets in the conference semifinals last season. The tendency to ease off the pedal when the going is good is something that Jackson is aware of, but hasn't seemed overly concerned about since the Lakers took a 2-0 lead Wednesday night.
"We've grown significantly as a basketball club," said Jackson, insisting that Bynum was the only one looking ahead to the Celtics. "... We're not thinking that. If you do, you're going to wind up right back here playing them [in Game 6]. There's no doubt this team is a great team on their home court."