Saturday , Nov , 03 , 2007 Oly Sandor

The Origins Of The Phil Jackson-Mike D’Antoni, L.A. Lakers-Phoenix Suns Beef

I’ll leave the intros to Michael Buffer. And Jackson-D’Antoni isn’t Ali-Frasier, Leonard-Hagler, or even Isiah Thomas-George Karl. But the Lakers-Suns rivalry includes coaches and the venom between these two sideline bosses has been bubbling for years …

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports on some fireworks at Staples Center:

Phil Jackson and Suns coach Mike D’Antoni butted heads late in Friday’s victory was when Jackson called a timeout with 4:45 left and LA leading 111-78. D’Antoni gestured toward the Lakers bench, apparently unhappy that Jackson called a timeout right after he did. "I was pretty upset," D’Antoni said afterward. "I thought he disrespected our players, but he likes to play the mind game, and that’s fine. He might want to try and do it in playoff time when we bust them every time. We get them three more times. That’s fine."

Jackson, who sat in his seat, looked over at D’Antoni and waved his hand at him dismissively, later said the coach "wasn’t thinking straight." "He’d understand that if he thought about it for a second," Jackson said, and added, "I think he thought I was trying to showboat or grandstand. I don’t know what he thought. But when you have a mandatory timeout coming in a minute or something like that, just get them out of the way so you don’t have to endure those four-minute timeouts on ESPN."

My Quick Take: In this corner, donning purple-and-gold shorts with a perma-smirk, a Hall of Fame coach, a nine-time NBA title winner, the one-and-only, Phil ‘Zen-Master’ Jackson.

In the other corner, sporting purple-and-orange shorts, a legendary international player and coach, Mike D’Antoni.

I’ll leave the intros to Michael Buffer. And Jackson-D’Antoni isn’t Ali-Frasier, Leonard-Hagler, or even Isiah Thomas-George Karl. But the Lakers-Suns rivalry includes coaches and the venom between these sideline bosses is nothing new.

The Jackson-D’Antoni beef started in April 2006, when L.A. and Phoenix met in the first round of the playoffs. Both coaching staffs had unflattering comments about the other team. This isn’t unusual. However, it was unusual for their private thoughts to become public in a best-selling book.

"While watching their last broadcast and postgame shows it was amazing to me how absolutely they dismissed us. They talked about getting home court  advantage in their next round already like it was a done deal. For whatever reason their team and staff do not respect us at all."  (Todd Quinter, the Suns’ lead scout writes a memo on the Lakers before the 2005-06 playoffs. This quote appeared in Jack McCallum’s book 0:7 Seconds to Shoot)

Other slights, real and perceived, were also described in McCallum’s book . Of course, the Suns added fuel to the fire, by knocking the Lakers out of the 2006 and 2007 playoffs. Yesterday’s tiff between Jackson and D’Antoni is the latest flare-up between old enemies.

Jackson and D’Antoni will see each other next on Christmas Day, when L.A. and Phoenix play as part of ABC’s holiday match-ups. Just don’t expect any peace and goodwill between these two.

Should Phil Jackson have called that timeout? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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