Jerry West to Lakers: Beware the Celtics

That being said, the success of the Lakers against the Celtics still depends on that big elephant looming in the room—Bynum’s health, come June. Actually, add to that Bryant’s knees and fingers, Odom’s left shoulder, Gasol’s hamstrings and most recently, Matt Barnes’ knee.

Defense and age limitations aside, health could be the ultimate factor in deciding the Lakers 17th championship, Phil Jackson’s 12th as a coach, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher’s sixth and the team’s third straight title.

But what does Phil Jackson think of West’s assessment of the Lakers defense?

“He’s right,” the Lakers’ coach said. “We have to do a lot of things right to be able to play defense the way we want to. And most of it is about controlling the tempo of the game.”

We already know how Jackson feels about the Celtics’ chances at reaching the finals. Much to the delight of Rivers, he’s got them beating out the Heat in the Eastern Conference.

No disrespect to Mr. West, but who could blame him for not wanting to go up against the Celtics every other night. After all, none of the Laker squads he played on could beat the C’s. Recall, this is the same guy who claimed LeBron James had superseded Kobe in the best player debate and well, we all know how things played out last summer.

Make no mistake about it, West is a smart guy. It’s best to just take his opinions like you would a shot of tequila—with a few grains of salt. (Lime optional)

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