With the shocking news of Jerry Sloan's resignation from the Utah Jazz today, the NBA is losing one of it's greatest coaches ever. Sloan had been with the Jazz for an astonishing 23 seasons, and even though he was widely recognized as one of the greatest coaches in the game, Sloan somehow never won an NBA Coach of the Year honor. Resigning with Sloan today, according to reports, is longtime assistant coach Phil Johnson, which reminds me of a classic Lakers moment.â†µ
As anyone with the "Drive For Five" Lakers 1986-1987 NBA championship video can attest, the Lakers played a game in 1987 that started better than any game in NBA history. Scroll ahead to the six-minute mark:â†µ
The Lakers started their game on February 4, 1987 against the Sacramento Kings on fire, and built a large lead to start the game. How large? The Lakers were up at one point 29-0 against the hapless Kings, and would lead 40-4 after the first quarter, on their way to a 128-92 win. The head coach on the other end of this drubbing was none other than Phil Johnson.â†µ
That was the last game before the All-Star break for the Kings, who were 14-32. Johnson was fired during the All-Star break, to be replaced by Jerry Reynolds. That happened to be the last game in which Johnson was an NBA head coach (officially; we aren't talking filling in for Sloan, which doesn't count on Johnson's record), who was 236-306 in eight seasons at the helm. And what a night it was for the Lakers.â†µ
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