Phil is in Durant’s kitchen

Last week, Phil Jackson said that Kevin Durant gets too many calls and the third-year superstar took umbrage. Now it’s a thing and Durant is showing irritation when he gets asked about it repeatedly.

The easy-going Oklahoma City Thunder star became riled up when responding to yet another question about his reaction to Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who last week criticized officials for how the call the game for Durant.

And so when Durant was asked once again whether he overreacted to Jackson, Durant, well, overreacted.

“Do you think I overreacted?” Durant asked the reporter, who responded by saying he didn’t know.

“Are you one of them?” Durant continued. “Nah, I didn’t overreact. Why, because I’m a third-year player I can’t say nothing back to Phil Jackson? I’m standing up for myself and what I believe in. I really don’t say nothing to too many people in this league who say stuff about me and our team and how I play and how we play. But I felt I had to say something back.

“I’m always quiet. I’m always nice and (respectful) to other people, not just on the basketball floor but off the basketball floor, like you guys. But I felt at that time I had to take up for myself. It is what it is. It’s over with. It had nothing to do with this series.”

Phil Jackson has taken residence in Durant’s kitchen and it doesn’t look like he’s leaving anytime soon. Had Durant simply said something like “Phil’s a great coach and he’s entitled to his opinion” and left it at that, the story would have died quickly. Instead, he got defensive and it became a bigger story that is going to follow him around for the rest of the series, maybe longer.

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Durant played right into Phil’s hand

What in the hell am I talking about, you ask? If you haven’t heard, Phil Jackson told the press that Kevin Durant gets too many calls, and the 21-year-old responded by saying that he felt disrespected.

Rumors & Rants says that Durant fell into the Zen Master’s trap.

Look man, I know you’re a great player, hell the whole world knows you’re a great player and Phil Jackson is definitely aware of the kind of player you are. You think he just tossed that line out there to be disrespectful? Dude, the guy is the Zen master. He’s won 10 championships. He didn’t do that by just randomly disrespecting opponents. He’s planting a line in the media to get you to respond and you allowed yourself to be played. You jumped right in to his game.

What you should have done was respond with something like this: “Well that’s his opinion. He’s a great coach, he’s earned the right to express his opinion.” Bingo, end of discussion. Instead of a throw-away story that would have died after a day or two, now this is going to balloon up and become THE story of the Thunder’s first round matchup with the defending champions.

Now it’s on your shoulders to prove him wrong. Now everyone will be focused on how you play and how you respond if the officials don’t give you the kind of calls you’ve become accustomed to. And now the officials are going to be in the spotlight and will be criticized one way or the other for how they call the games.

Instead of just disappearing this has become a full-fledged incident. Jackson knew exactly what he was doing and you became his latest patsy.

No arguments here. We’ll see if Durant plays better, worse or the same now that he and Jackson are at odds.

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Phil Jackson says Durant gets too many calls

Phil Jackson’s mind games have begun, and Kevin Durant is none too happy about it.

Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson told reporters Wednesday that Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant gets preferential treatment from referees.

“Yeah, by the calls he gets, he really gets to the line a lot, I’ll tell ya,” Jackson said, according to The Oklahoman’s Web site.

Of course, those of us that have watched Jackson over the years realizes that this is his not-so-subtle attempt at getting into the heads of the officials.

Still, Durant didn’t take the slight kindly.

“I don’t disrespect nobody in this league,” Durant said, according to the report. “I respect every coach, every player, everybody. I never say anything bad about anybody else or question why they do this or do that. So for them to say that about me, I don’t even want to use no foul language.”

“If the refs pay attention to that and change how they call things because of that, that’s terrible,” Durant said, according to the newspaper. “That’s terrible to the game of basketball and to us. If that happens, then [coach] Scotty [Brooks] could talk, too. Or any other coach could talk, too, just so the refs could switch everything up. But I doubt they do that.”

Durant shot 10.2 free throws per game this season, compared to Kobe Bryant’s 7.4, but in Kobe’s heyday — when he would relentlessly attack the rim — he shot 10.1, 10.2 and 10.0 from 2004 to 2007. I wonder if Jackson thought that the Laker superstar got too many calls during that stretch.

Good scorers who are aggressive get to the line. Durant and LeBron James led the league with 10.2 attempts per game, and Dwight Howard was third with 10.0.

Durant is a really tough cover — that’s why he gets to the line.

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Could Kobe end up with the Bulls?

In a chat yesterday, Chris Sheridan says he could…

If Kobe Bryant continues to say no to the extension the Lakers are offering him, and if Phil Jackson starts to talk as though he’s leaving, Chicago comes onto the rdar [sic] in a big, big way. Remember, when Kobe was trying to force a trade two and a half years ago, the Bulls were the team working most diligently to get him — right up until two days before the season-opener.

Kobe is probably just saying no to keep his options open, because I think he wants to retire a Laker. There are a couple of problems with a Kobe-to-Chicago move: 1) Both Bryant and Derrick Rose are ball-dominating guards (though, like Dwyane Wade, Kobe is smart enough to find a way to make this work), and 2) if Jackson retires, would Kobe want to play for Vinny Del Negro?

Phil Jackson gives Kobe the gift of reading

Per the Los Angeles Times, every season, Phil Jackson gives his teams books to read during extended road trips…

Kobe Bryant, who rolls his eyes whenever Jackson gives him a book, probably won’t be perusing what Jackson handed him: “Montana 1948,” a Larry Watson novel about a middle-class Montana family torn apart by a scandal in the late 1940s.

“He never reads my books so I got him a book about Montana,” Jackson said Thursday. “I’m not looking forward to having a review from him. It was about a part of the country I grew up in, so it was something special for me to give it to him.”

I don’t know why, but this story really cracks me up. As much as I dislike the Lakers as a franchise, I do like Jackson’s style. I find it hilarious that he would give Kobe a book that he knows he won’t read, and that somehow the exchange is “special” for him.

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