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AboutChronicling any and everything before, during, and after the NBA season. Basically.
Blogs of Note
Phil Jackson to his team at the final minutes of Game 7 2000 Western Conference Finals, Portland vs. L.A. As told by Shaq on Open Court.
To celebrate the birth of these two great enigmas, here is Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers in its entirety (Blazers fans, we feel you):
The outcome of this series would later define the subsequent years of both Phil Jackson and Rasheed Wallace’s NBA careers. Phil would go on to win another three-peat this time with the Lakers. While Sheed has a three-peat of his own only for drug charges and other forms of misconduct during the great Portland “Jail Blazers” years. Wallace would however find a new home in Detroit and would get his revenge four years later by defeating Phil’s Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.
I was recently given a pamphlet on the grieving process and the five phases of grief. Perhaps some Lakers fans this morning are still in the midst of the first phase, denial or perhaps the second phase, anger. There’s nothing wrong with experience this emotions and one should feel no rush to get through these emotions. Yes, it’s just a game, but teams like the Lakers become an integral parts of peoples’ lives. While the media may portray a majority of the Lakers’ fan base as emotional less rich people of the lower bowl, Lakers fan of the upper bowl and the rest of Southern California are a proud and passionate bunch. So, it’s okay to grieve and be frustrated with the team’s performance this last season, but remember, during the Phil Jackson era, the Lakers won five titles an appeared in seven NBA finals over the course of his time with the team.
Now, it may be frustrating that the fans of every other team in the Association and the media are cracking jokes or over analyzing the team’s disappointing performance in the playoffs, but as Lakers fans, you have to take this and should be able to allow the schadenfreude roll off your back. The Lakers losing is akin to when the Yankees lose in baseball or the Dallas Cowboys or F.C. Barcelona. When there’s a history of winning and their arrogance that comes from winning multiple titles or act like your team can just trade for the next great player to right the ship, people are going to be excited about your team’s failures.
Regarding the media, what else are they going to talk about? The NFL lock out? Baseball? The remaining teams in the playoffs? Of course, they’re going to discuss the Lakers because the team went down like the Hindenburg with ridiculous and unbelievably stupid flagrant fouls. The two time defending champs went out like a couple of chumps.
Now, where do the Lakers go from here? One can follow the semi irrational sports talk radio caller logic of Magic Johnson and blow up the entire team and trade for the likes of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul to inject the team with some youth and speed. Or you could examine the actual problems that plagued the Lakers through out the entire season: a point guard and bench depth. For a few weeks in November, the Lakers apparently had enough depth on the bench to take the team to the finals, but injuries, hype, and money saving trades depleted whatever depth was there. Instead of slightly youthful bigs like DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell sitting on the bench, they were replaced by old and older, Theo Ratliff and Joe Smith. Gasol may not have been as gassed as he seemed if there was a younger back up on the pine.
Then there’s the point guard situation. Derek Fisher and Steve Blake will never be capalbe to keep up with the new wave of point guard. Obviously, this should be of the highest priority after finding a new head coach. There’s still a great core with Bynum, Gasol, Odom, and Bryant and may be stronger with the addition of a younger and quicker point guard.
Let’s leave the coach speculation for the summer because what else are we going to talk about during the lock out?
The Lakers’ no show against the Dallas Mavericks will not tarnish Phil Jackson’s legacy at all because at the end of the day, Jackson won six titles with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Lakers. Not trying to beat a dead horse, but Phil Jackson was a pretty great coach. Jackson brought the Lakers’ back to their eighties glory days and the franchise within one title of their arch nemesis, the Boston Celtics. While it seems highly unlikely, but it seems like Phil Jackson should have a statue outside of Staples Plaza or at least a plaque outside the arena officially nicknaming the Staples Center as the Zen Dome or the Downtown Hoop Dojo. Russ Bengston tweeted last night that the Lakers should hang Jackson’s giant seat cushion from the rafters and honestly, they should or do something to pay tribute to Jackson. The man had to endure the massive clashing egos of Shaq and Kobe for a few years. He’s earned his stripes. He deserves to have a giant seat cushion hanging from the rafters.
Despite what some may say, this was Phil Jackson’s last year as a coach. The man is sixty five years old and deserves the time off. He can go body boarding with Luc Longley in Australia, actually go to the medical marijuana dispensary and pick up his own meds or go to the theater or watch “Dexter” on Sunday night with his sweetheart. Phil Jackson has earned his moment of zen and allow him to enjoy that before we start to talk about “Phil Jackson coaching the Knicks in 2012!” or how Pat Riley is going to hire him to save the Miami Heat. Allow the zen warrior his moment in the sun.
Besides, as long as he’s with Jeanie Buss, he’ll be a consultant the same way Hilary Clinton was a consultant and confidante to Bill Clinton during his presidency.
So, Lakers fans, pause for a moment, remember during the Phil Jackson, your team appeared in seven finals and won five titles. Most teams don’t even get a sniff of that. So, thank you, Phil Jackson. Basketball isn’t going to be the same without you.