Phil Jackson setting-up Los Angeles-Dallas playoff battle with Mark Cuban critique
Let the mind games begin. The Western Conference standings shows first seeded Los Angeles and eighth seeded Dallas are on a collision course for an opening round match-up. So Phil Jackson, before a nationally televised game, fired the first shot. This is no surprise. In fact, it’s standard operating procedure for the Zen-Master …
Breaking NBA news mixed with analysis …
Their News: “The arrival of Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks on Sunday evoked the question of whether Jackson could envision working for such a hands-on owner who’s unafraid to publicly critique his players and coaches. "I don’t think I could work under those conditions. I just don’t," Jackson said. Then turning to the assembled reporters, he added, "You guys are bad enough." Jackson said he imagines it’s a tough transition for players as well. "I think it’s something they have to definitely get used to," Jackson said.” (Riverside Press Enterprise)
Our Very Quick Analysis: Let the mind games begin.
The Western Conference standings shows first seeded Los Angeles and eighth seeded Dallas are on a collision course for an opening round match-up. So Phil Jackson, before a nationally televised game, fired the first shot, criticizing Dallas owner Mark Cuban.
This is no surprise. In fact, it’s standard operating procedure for the Zen-Master.
Years ago, when the Lakers and Kings were rivals, Jackson dropped the infamous cowbell comment when describing Sacramento’s fans. More recently, the Hall of Fame sideline boss was locked in a war of words with two former Phoenix Suns, coach Mike D’Antoni and lockdown defender Raja Bell.
(Remember, Raja versus Kobe, Suns versus Lakers? Obviously, Jackson had much to say on this.)
Now it’s Cuban’s ownership style. The renegade owner has kept a lower profile of late, but won’t resist taking on a target like P-Jax, especially if L.A. and Dallas meet in the second season.
There are reasons for Jackson’s comments. Playoff teams are so close coaches must seek out any edge, even if it’s a small, mental advantage. And Jackson is probably trying to take some spotlight off his players, who face tremendous pressure to win an NBA Title.
Of course, he could just be speaking his opinion. Nine championships deep, it’s best not to question Jackson’s mind games.