The Dallas Mavericks swept the Los Angeles Lakers in four games to end Kobe Bryant’s pursuit of a third straight National Basketball Association championship and probably finish Phil Jackson’s coaching career.
Jason Terry scored 32 points and matched an NBA playoff record with nine 3-pointers yesterday as the Mavericks beat the Lakers 122-86 in Game 4 of their second-round series. Dallas made 20 3-pointers to tie a postseason record.
“We ran into a buzz saw,” said the 65-year-old Jackson, a Hall of Famer who said he’s likely coached his last NBA game after winning 11 championships.
The Atlanta Hawks tied their best-of-seven series against the Chicago Bulls at two games apiece with a 100-88 victory last night over the Eastern Conference’s top seed. The Hawks outscored the Bulls 16-4 over the final 4:03 to snap an 84-84 tie at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Chicago hosts Game 5 tomorrow.
The Mavericks will face either the Memphis Grizzlies or Oklahoma City Thunder for a spot in the NBA Finals after winning their Western Conference series 4-0. The Lakers became the sixth defending champion to get swept the next postseason and the first since the 2007 Miami Heat.
“It’s great to get through this series,” Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 17 points, said in a televised interview. “This team is as deep and as good as any team I’ve been on here, so we’ll try to go for it.”
In tonight’s games, Memphis hosts Oklahoma City with a 2-1 advantage in their Western Conference series. The Miami Heat, also leading 2-1, visit the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference series.
At American Airlines Center in Dallas, the third-seeded Mavericks outscored the second-seeded Lakers 36-16 during the second quarter to take a 63-39 halftime lead.
“It was like the roof fell in on us,” Jackson said.
Terry tied the NBA postseason record of nine 3-pointers with 2:58 left in the third quarter and missed only one of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc. Teammate Peja Stojakovic hit all six of his 3-point shots and finished with 21 points, while Jose Juan Barea had 22.
With the Lakers trailing by 26 points, Lamar Odom was thrown out of the game with 9:06 remaining after a flagrant foul at midcourt on Nowitzki. Less than a minute later, Andrew Bynum elbowed Barea in the chest as the Dallas guard drove for a layup. Barea was knocked to the court and Bynum was immediately ejected, pulling off his jersey as he walked from the court and being jeered by the Dallas crowd.
“To make the game ugly like that where players can get hurt, it’s something you don’t want to see, ever,” said Bryant, who led the Lakers with 17 points.
It was the first time a Jackson-coached team was swept in 21 postseasons.
“You’d like to have an opportunity to challenge, but we didn’t,” said Jackson, who was fined $35,000 by the NBA yesterday for being publicly critical of referees after the Lakers’ Game 3 loss. After last night’s game, Jackson said he still plans to retire.
“All my hopes and aspirations are that this is the final game that I’ll coach,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful run.”
In Atlanta, the Hawks scored 10 straight points during the closing minutes to pull away from Derrick Rose and the Bulls. Josh Smith had 23 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists for the fifth-seeded Hawks, who had lost their previous nine second-round playoff games at home.
“We can compete with this team,” Smith said during a televised interview. “No matter what anybody says about this ballclub, I believe in it.”
Joe Johnson scored 24 points for Atlanta, while Al Horford added 20. Rose led the Bulls with 34 points, though he was limited to a 12 of 32 shooting performance.