Jackson's finale not so grand

Kobe Bryant walks off court after 36-point loss.
Kobe Bryant walks off court after 36-point loss. (Associated Press)
Posted: May 09, 2011

So long, Phil.

Hello, Western Conference finals for Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.

Jason Terry tied an NBA postseason record with nine three-pointers and the Mavericks matched a league playoff mark with 20 threes on their way to a 122-86 blowout victory over Los Angeles yesterday, giving them a sweep of their second-round series against the most successful coach in NBA history and the two-time defending champions.

Terry made five treys in the second quarter, personally outscoring Los Angeles in the period, 20-16, as Dallas went ahead by 24 at halftime. When Terry made threes on consecutive possessions early in the third quarter, he drained whatever comeback hopes the Lakers had. Their frustration spilled early in the fourth with vicious cheap shots by Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum that got them ejected 45 seconds apart. By then, the 65-year-old Jackson knew it was all over - the game, the series and his remarkable career.

"It's been a wonderful run," he said.

The Zen Master is retiring again, and he says it's for good this time. The sour taste of his first sweep in 21 postseasons, and his second-widest margin of defeat, can't override all the sweet days.

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 had to be talked into coming back this year. The lure of chasing a 12th title, bundled neatly as four threepeats, did it, but he knew it would be tough with a team worn down by 3 straight years of reaching the Finals.

Four of Jackson's five kids flew to Dallas for the game. On Saturday, Jackson called that "a drag that I don't need," but by yesterday afternoon he was probably happy to have them around. They sat near the Lakers' bench, wearing yellow hats with Roman numerals marking his 10th and 11th championships.

For Nowitzki and the Mavs, clearing this hurdle sets them up for a chance to redeem themselves for flopping during the 2006 NBA Finals and for flaming out in every postseason since. That's why when the game ended, confetti didn't fall; the organization's bigger goal is reaching the Finals and winning its first championship.

"The job is not finished," Terry said.

Dallas will host either Oklahoma City or Memphis in the conference final. The Grizzlies lead the Thunder, 2-1, going into Game 4 tonight in Memphis.

Terry made 11 of 14 shots for 32 points. J.J. Barea set a career playoff best with 22 points, and Peja Stojakovic added 21 points. All three came off the bench. Nowitzki scored 17 points, his fewest this postseason. He took the blindside blow that led to Odom's ejection.

Dallas made 20 of 32 from behind the arc, and 60 percent of its shots overall.

In another playoff game:

* At Atlanta, Josh Smith had 23 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists, and Jeff Teague came up with another big game to lead the Hawks past the Chicago Bulls, 100-88, evening the Eastern Conference semifinals at two games apiece. Game 5 is tomorrow night in Chicago.

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