Feeling more confident in his best players' understanding of the game, Cooper did a lot less of his usual sideline pacing this season. (Perhaps not coincidentally, his technical-foul total dropped from six last year to one.) What will he be like next year, after an off-season of training with Teasley, who plans to join Cooper's workouts after completing her degree in African-American studies at Chapel Hill this fall? "It's going to be wonderful to get a chance to work on Lady Magic's game," said Cooper on Saturday. "She stood up today and told people about next year: The ball is mine; I want it in crunch time."
He smiled, his faith in next year's team already deepened. "Winning one title is one thing, repeating another. Winning a third in a row is a whole different challenge," said Cooper, who never had that pleasure as a Laker. "That one we'll have to learn together."