Monday, May 09, 2011

it's over for Phil Jackson

The fun is over for Phil Jackson and his five kids.

They've spent the last 20-plus years treating the NBA playoffs like a private party, according to their dad. So with Jackson retiring after this postseason, and with his Los Angeles Lakers on the brink of elimination, four of them flew to Dallas for Game 4 of a second-round series against the Mavericks.

Decked out in yellow hats with Roman numerals marking Jackson's 10th and 11th championships, hoping he could somehow pull out No. 12, they instead witnessed perhaps the worst game of his playoff career - an ugly blowout loss to the Mavericks, completing Dallas' sweep.

Jason Terry tied a playoff record with nine 3-pointers and the Mavs advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 122-86 victory Sunday that ended the Lakers' run toward a third straight NBA champions.

A Hall of Famer since 2007, he leaves with a record 11 titles, and only 10 series losses. Take away Red Auerbach, who won nine championships, and Jackson won more titles than any two coaches combined. He won six championships with Michael Jordan, three with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, and the last two with Bryant leading the way.

The 65-year-old Zen Master had to be talked into coming back this year. He was lured by the chase for a 12th title, bundled neatly as four three-peats, but he knew it would be tough with a team worn down by three straight years of playing into mid-June.

"(That) puts a lot of strain on the basketball club from all angles: personalities, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and getting charged up for game after game and assault after assault when you go in and play a team," Jackson said. "It was a challenge bigger than we could beat this year."

Jackson has retired before, only to come back. This time, he said he means it.

"In all my hopes and aspirations, this is the final game that I'll coach," he said. "It's been a wonderful run."

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