Phil Jackson Out of Line With His Comments on Kevin Durant

Jon HerrmannCorrespondent IApril 15, 2010

DENVER - APRIL 08:  Head coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the court after the Lakers were defeated by the Denver Nuggets during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on April 8, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 98-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Phil Jackson's comments on Wednesday about Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant are puzzling to say the least.

"Yeah, by the calls he gets, he really gets to the line a lot, I'll tell ya," said Jackson.

This comes just a few games after Kevin Garnett's expletive-filled explanation of his own feelings toward the calls Durant gets, saying it was like playing "Michael (expletive) Jordan," and all this after the controversial no-call against Durant in the Thunder's overtime loss to the Jazz.

Whether or not Durant gets the calls doesn't matter a lot, it's the people that have been calling him out.

First Kevin Garnett, who plays on a team where the media have dubbed their superstar trio "The Big Three."  I'm sure in the past couple of years the Celtics have never gotten a close call in their favor.  No way does a team that put together a roster that was touted as a championship team before the season ever started in 2008 get a call going their way.  That would just be something ridiculous.

And then Phil Jackson.  Jackson has won 10 championships and is a very good coach.  He should know what it means for a star to get a call.  Especially since every championship he won involved either Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.  

So the coach who has benefited more than any other from refs favoring super stars, if they indeed do get the calls, calls out a star on the Oklahoma City Thunder.  

Jackson's comments are ridiculous.  Are you telling me that the refs would rather see Durant and the Thunder win than the Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Mavericks or any of the eight teams that are shown over and over again in nationally televised games.

Durant responded by saying that it was disrespectful and that clearly the Thunder should be shown more nationally because his accusers aren't seeing him play.

Jackson can't say that Durant gets calls without admitting that he has gone his entire career with his best player getting favorable calls, and if he does that then he is basically admitting to fans that his teams were assisted by the refs in all of his championship wins.

I don't think they were.  I think Jackson is a good coach who coaches good teams and good players.

But I also think that Durant's skill-set gets him to the line.  Durant is 6'9" with the ability to drive the ball like a forward, handle the ball like a guard and shoot the ball from outside with the best of them.  Durant gets to the line a lot, but it isn't because he is favored somehow.  

He gets to the line because he is a difficult matchup, too big for most guards and too quick for most forwards.  Durant gets to the line for the same reason any other superstar does, when someone is as hard to defend as Durant (or Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo, D-Wade, etc.) they get to the line.

Jackson just gave the best player on the team that handed the Lakers their worst loss of the season just that much more of a reason to want to beat them.  Jackson may have missed it, but the Lakers faltered big time down the stretch; the last thing that L.A. wants is to give their opponent a reason to play that much harder when the team hasn't looked 100 percent.  

Prepare for your opponent Phil, don't insult them.


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