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Karl Malone. Kobe Bryant. Gary Payton. Shaquille O'Neal. The 2003-04 Lakers squad had those four future/current hall of famers in its starting lineup and still finished the season ringless. Los Angeles ran into the underdog Detroit Pistons and got dominated in a 4-1 series rout.
A lot of it had to do with the Pistons' team chemistry, but Phil Jackson (who's ironically a temporary consultant for Detroit) said flopping was also a factor in their success. Jackson said in a radio interview with ESPN's Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo that "Larry Brown taught guys to go down (flop) on Shaq and that's one of the reasons they won in '04. He had the center, (Ben) Wallace as the David in that matchup and those (plays) were called as charges."
It doesn't seem within Jackson's character to be overly salty over a loss that happened almost a decade ago, so there may be some truth to the claims. But he also can't ignore the fact that Kobe shot just 38 percent in a series where Los Angeles just looked lackluster.
[via Detroit News]