After five NBA championships, including a three-peat in 10 years in Los Angeles, how would the Lakers send their farewells to the Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson in his last year?
Well it was not the tribute I think Jackson wished for. In fact, I doubt any coach would want to be a part of what happened Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.
The underdog Mavericks crushed the Western Conference-favorite Los Angeles Lakers, 122-86, culminating the series with a 4-0 sweep, which sent the Lakers packing in an unremarkable fashion.
Offensively, Dallas was on fire, shooting a barrage of three-pointers and making 20 of 32, embarrassing the Lakers. In all, the Mavericks shot 62.5 percent from three-point range and 60.3 percent of their field goals.
From the first day of the season, I had the Lakers to win it all and like most, I was completely shocked as I watched the events of this series unfold. Losing the first two games at home for the Lakers was baffling and after witnessing the team drop both games, three and four was just mesmerizing. I still have yet to conclude where the lackluster effort and sluggish play from the reigning champions came from.
Although the Lakers are finished and their quest for winning three titles in a row is over, I do not feel sorry for the team because they did not play their full potential.
As a huge fan watching the Lakers play, I could tell the team did not seem as if they wanted the championship this year because they played as if they were not hungry at all.
I ultimately feel sorry for Jackson that his incredible ring-grabbing reign had to end in destruction of a great team he built and molded into the best of the best. The Lakers played so poorly in Game 4 that Jackson actually came away from his calm, cool and collective demeanor and looked as though he started to panic. Calling timeouts frequently, yelling at players, it was an all out circus for the Lakers and they were the clowns.
Jackson, who has claimed he would retire after this season, could shock the NBA community by returning, as he has done before, bringing spark to the franchise, but I doubt he will go that route.
Obviously, the team is aging and the respect factor is not where it once was with Jackson and his players. Throughout the series, numerous verbal altercations circulated. Whether it was Andrew Bynum and his media comments of trust, Lamar Odom and his words for Jackson during the huddle or the constant quarrels between Pau Gasol and Jackson, all shows the team does not seem like the unit they were originally.
So how did the Lakers bid goodbye to Jackson?
With all Jackson has taught the Lakers, guiding them to the position and stature of today, there was no gratitude, remorse, or sorrow felt for Jackson as the Lakers sent arguably the best coach in NBA history, who holds the most rings total with 12, out in disdain.