Posted by Matt Moore
Pretty bad week for the ol' Zen Master. The NBA Sunday fined Phil Jackson $35,000 for comments made Saturday regarding, yes, of course, the officials. Jackson's been complaining about the officials throughout the playoffs, mostly because the Lakers keep losing. Jackson has done this each year in the playoffs, prompting promises from the league to be aggressive with their fine structure to try and prevent intimidation of offiicals.
The Lakers dominated the Mavericks in points in the paint in Game 3, but were doubled up in free throws. That's a pretty obvious element to complain about, but it ignores how the game was called. The officials were consistent on both sides of the floor, just inconsistent on where they called fouls. Most of the play under the rim was allowed, as both Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki were shoved around like rag dolls on the boards. But a lot of perimeter penetration moves drew fouls, which the Lakers weren't doing as much of, instead passing to the post or going for pull-up jumpers.
But Jackson's issue is specifically with much-criticized Pau Gasol, and how he's being defended in the post. From the Dallas Morning News:
"You know, I've resisted this the whole playoffs, but the NBA used to call a knee to the backside, Jackson said. "That's what they call it. You couldn't lift a knee off the floor to run a guy off the post. And they're doing it every time. They're taking him out of the post so we can't get a tight post play.
"We didnt complain about it against New Orleans. But the Mavs are doing the same damn thing. And until the league goes back to the rules that they have about playing post play, Pau's got to move out and face the basket. So we're kind of resigned that they're not going to go back to what they used to have as a rule and hes going to have to go out and face the hoop."via Lakers coach Phil Jackson fined 35K for officiating commentary | Dallas Mavericks Blog | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | The Dallas Morning News.
Of course, this ignores the fact that other players in the playoffs are doing just fine in the post and that at some point, it's Gasol's responsibility to get tough and establish himself regardless. But then, that kind of approach isn't really the Zen Master's style.
It's a good thing Jackson's retiring this year, otherwise the league might have to face the fact that their fines are largely meaningless against a coach with a bankroll like Jackson's, especially compared to the payoff for getting into the heads of the officials to see things his way.
Game 4 is Sunday at 3:30 EST.