If Phil Jackson were drawing up his dream way to retire, Sunday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks surely wasn't it. Instead of bowing out gracefully and driving off into the sunset to relax in Montana, Jackson had a front-row seat as his Los Angeles Lakers were dismantled by the Mavericks in embarrassing fashion. Not only was the scoreline, and series-sweep, ugly, the fashion the Lakers lost inleft a lasting impression on those watching in Dallas or at home.
The Lakers weren't just beat in the series, they were taken apart by the pick-and-roll as the Mavs dismantled the Los Angeles defense with ease. The offense wasn't clicking, the defense looked lost and the Mavericks were running circles around the Lakers. When it was over, Dallas had sent Jackson packing with a 122-86 loss, ending his hopes to leave the game as a champion.
But more than the score, the actions of a few Los Angeles players left a lasting impression. In the fourth quarter as Dallas had a firm grip on the game, frustrations boiled over as the Lakers resorted to childish tactics and threw what was, essentially, a very public temper tantrum. Lamar Odom was first to explode, throwing a cheap forearm shiver at Dirk Nowitzki -- who abused the Lakers all series long -- as the two got into the halfcourt. Andrew Bynum followed Odom's lead a few minutes later, throwing a forearm shiver of his own at defenseless, and airborne, J.J. Barea. Both were ejected and the game was well out of control with more than eight minutes to go in the quarter.
Jackson will be remember for his winning ways, countless championships and zen-like presence. But it was clear the Lakers had given up on his principles as they embarrassed the coach and the franchise in Jackson's final time on the bench.
For Lakers news and analysis, visit Silver Screen And Roll and SB Nation Los Angeles.