DALLAS, May 9 – The Dallas Mavericks ended the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA reign on Sunday, sweeping the two-time defending champions out of the playoffs with a 122-86 Western Conference second-round victory.Jason Terry tied an NBA postseason record with nine three-pointers and the Mavericks equalled another playoff mark with with 20 three-pointers as they wrapped up the best-of-seven series in the minimum four games.
The Mavericks, who have endured a series of early playoff exits since falling in the NBA finals in 2006, ended the Lakers’ quest for a three-peat, and ended the Phil Jackson era in Los Angeles.
The pursuit of a three-peat prompted Jackson to put retirement on hold and return for another season, and the defeat almost certainly marked his last game at the helm of an NBA team.
"All my hopes and aspirations are that this is the final game I’ll coach," said Jackson, who guided Michael Jordan’s Bulls to six titles in the 1990s and who had taken the Lakers to a total of five championships.
It was clear early on that he wouldn’t go out a winner as the Mavericks used their long-range barrage to put this one out of reach.
They had 11 three-pointers in the first half, and Terry himself out-scored Los Angeles 20-16 in the second quarter.
In the final period the Lakers’ disappointment and frustration boiled over and Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum were ejected for cheap fouls in the space of a minute.
Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant sat out the waning stages as the Lakers turned the game over to their reserves.
Jackson was swept for the first time in 21 postseasons as a coach. The Lakers hadn’t been swept in a playoff series since 1999.
The Mavericks will play either the Memphis Grizzlies or Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals, for a chance to take on a team from the East for the NBA crown.
The upstart Grizzlies lead their series 2-1 after erasing a 16-point deficit en route to a 101-93 overtime victory on Saturday and host game four on Monday.
Despite his team’s status as the two-time defending champs, Jackson said he wasn’t surprised by the Mavericks.
"I think I told you guys all along that Dallas is a very good team," he said. "We had the same record they had in the regular season, and they played better as a team than we did."
He noted Dallas’ depth, and the Mavericks got solid contributions from their bench on Sunday including Terry’s 32 points, 22 from J.J. Barea and 21 from Peja Stojakovic.
Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki’s 17 points was his lowest output in these playoffs, but it didn’t matter.
He played into the fourth quarter, when he was blindsided by Odom in the hit that saw the Lakers player ejected.
Less than a minute later, Bynum threw a fierce elbow to Barea’s chest as the Dallas player was in the air for a layup.
Barea hit the floor hard and officials moved quickly to keep players separated, and Barea eventually rose and was able to return to the game.
"We were disappointed in the way we finished," Jackson admitted, pointing to those two incidents.
"We ran into a buzz-saw today. Sometimes you can’t get a win — you’d like to have an opportunity to challenge, but we didn’t."