Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NBA [Print without images]

Thursday, October 27, 2011
Phil Jackson says Lakers weren't clutch

ESPNLosAngeles.com

It has been more than four months since the Los Angeles Lakers were unceremoniously swept out of the NBA playoffs. So much has changed in Los Angeles and the NBA.

Phil Jackson retired and the Lakers hired Mike Brown as their new head coach. The NBA players have been locked out by the owners for 119 days. What's a coach with 11 championships think about?

At least some of the time, he thinks about how the Lakers' season ended.

"There is nothing that could have gone worse for a basketball team than the way we finished our season last year," Jackson said when he joined "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "Struggling with New Orleans ... and going into the next round [against Dallas] we needed everyone to start playing well and we just couldn't find that little magical thing that you always hope you have as a coach, the chemistry that makes a team work well."

Dallas swept the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, and Jackson saw some of it coming.

"To lose an 18-point lead in the first game [against the Mavericks], not being able to outscore your opponent on your home court in the fourth quarter," he said, "to give them life in the very first game of the Dallas series was foreboding what was going to happen to us.

"We didn't have the ability to play in the clutch like we had in the previous years."

As far as life after coaching, Jackson summed it up this way: "It's great to be retired, especially if you've got nothing to do if you're a basketball coach, anyway."