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Jackson unhappy with time

By DARRELL FRY

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 16, 2000


INDIANAPOLIS -- First, there was the Glen Rice controversy about not getting to play in the fourth quarter. Now, there may be another one brewing involving Indiana's Mark Jackson.

The veteran point guard played only three minutes during the fourth quarter of Indiana's 120-118 overtime loss in Game 4 on Wednesday. He played the entire overtime but had no shots, no points and no assists. Afterward, Pacers coach Larry Bird indirectly criticized Jackson, calling his point guards "a little erratic" and saying that the team would be a lot better if they were "more consistent."

Jackson fumed Thursday when told of those comments just before practice.

At first he didn't want to respond. Then he said: "You can get consistency when you're playing consistent minutes."

Jackson presumably was referring to the fact that he played the entire first and third quarters, but sat out the second quarter and hardly played in the fourth.

"It's very difficult. It's tough and it's frustrating," Jackson said. "Nothing I could do about it. I'm not coaching this team."

THEY'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY: One year ago today, Phil Jackson was hired as the Lakers coach. And the Lakers can't think of any better way to commemorate the moment than winning the team's first NBA title since 1988.

"It's kind of ironic," guard Brian Shaw said. "I guess we'll go out and try to make his one-year anniversary something to really remember, getting hired by the Lakers and winning a championship on the same day."

KEEPING THE FAITH: More than any other Pacer, Jackson has been steadfast in his optimism about the team's chances. It should be no surprise then that Jackson, more than any other Pacer, remains convinced that Indiana can beat the Lakers even though no team in Finals history has recovered from a 3-1 deficit.

"It's not going to be easy," Jackson said, "but at the same time, I don't think it's going to be as hard as it's made out to be. ... If I had to pick a team to be down 3-1 with, it'd be this basketball team."

QUOTE OF THE DAY: From Indiana's Jalen Rose, asked how he slept after Wednesday's loss in which he shot 5 of 16 from the floor for 14 points.

"Awful night, awful morning. I'd be lying if I said it didn't burn because it did."

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