Price of Malone, Payton was right

Updated: June 14, 2004, 6:18 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Phil Jackson wore a black suit with a black shirt and pulled the look together with a black striped tie. He must have known.

It was a funereal ensemble, and it proved perfect for the occasion.

That's right. The season that will be remembered as Jackson's greatest challenge in coaching has irretrievably perished. There isn't a flight from Colorado or an 0.4 moment or a Zenmeister speech about futures on the line that can save the fractured Los Angeles Lakers now. ...

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