Basketball Blues

Lakers Swept Out of Playoffs

Bet Lakers Coach Phil Jackson never thought it would end like this: The 11-time NBA championship-winning Hall of Fame coach witnessed his Los Angeles Lakers, led by star Kobe Bryant, get eliminated from the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks after losing Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday in blowout fashion, 122-86. The Mavericks, with their star forward Dirk Nowitzki and enthusiastic owner Mark Cuban, swept the two-time defending champion Lakers with relative ease, sending the aging squad into the offseason with a series of tough decisions—namely, finding Jackson’s coaching successor and deciding what to do with their injury-prone 23-year-old star, Andrew Bynum.