MARK JACKSON came to the Golden State Warriors talking big and brash. He promised playoff appearances and championships trophies, and he delivered plenty of wins along the way.
Away from the court, though, Jackson never backed down from doing things how he wanted. His inability to mesh with management increasingly overshadowed all the wins - and ultimately cost him his job.
The Warriors fired Jackson yesterday after three seasons, ending the franchise's most successful coaching tenure in the past two decades.
General manager Bob Myers thanked Jackson, saying he helped make the Warriors a more attractive franchise. But Myers said the decision to dismiss Jackson was "unanimous" among the team's executives, in part because the Warriors want a coach who can "develop a synergy" with everybody in basketball operations.
"You're never sure of anything. But I do know that we have a lot of conviction in the decisions we make," Myers said. "We wouldn't have made this decision if we didn't believe it didn't help the organization move forward."
Jackson's time with the Warriors will be remembered for the way he helped turn a perennially losing franchise into a consistent winner and the bold and bombastic way in which he did it.
He guaranteed Golden State would make the playoffs in his first season, then finished 23-36 after the NBA labor lockout. The Warriors went 47-35 last season and had a memorable run to the second round of the playoffs, and they were 51-31 this season before losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
The Warriors had not made the playoffs in consecutive years since 1991-92. They had made the postseason once in 17 years before Jackson arrived.
Myers said the Warriors know a new coach comes with the risk of disrupting team chemistry, especially considering nearly every player publicly called for Jackson to return. Myers spoke to several players after he and Lacob informed Jackson of their decision in a meeting yesterday morning.
"They've seen some good things that have happened in the last 3 years - Mark Jackson being one of them,'' Myers said.
Jackson took to Twitter to thank the organization, players and fans.
* Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant was named the NBA Most Valuable Player, grabbing 119 first-place votes. Miami's LeBron James, who had won the last two MVP awards and four of the previous five, finished second with six first-place votes.
Durant won his fourth scoring crown in 5 years this season by averaging 32 points per game.
* Los Angeles Clippers president Andy Roeser is taking an indefinite leave of absence while the NBA restructures the franchise in the wake of owner Donald Sterling's lifetime ban.
* Raptors coach Dwane Casey has agreed to a 3-year contract extension.
In playoff games
* At Miami, LeBron James scored 22 points, Ray Allen added 19 and the Heat stayed perfect in the postseason by beating the Brooklyn Nets, 107-86, in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
* At San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 33 points to lead the Spurs over Portland, 116-92, in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.