Posted Jan 22 2009 2:23AM
LOS ANGELES -- The Lakers raised their record to a Western Conference-best 33-8 record at the halfway point of the season Wednesday night, earning Phil Jackson a coaching spot in the NBA All-Star game Feb. 15 in Phoenix.
It's the fourth time Jackson has been an All-Star coach and first since 2000 -- his first year with the Lakers. His previous two assignments were in 1992 and 1996 with the Chicago Bulls, when he coached the East in the midseason game.
The Lakers' 108-97 victory over the Clippers means they've clinched at least a tie for the best record in the Western Conference through Feb. 1. The San Antonio Spurs are five games back at 28-13. Jackson earns the spot to coach the West All-Stars since San Antonio's Gregg Popovich has coached an All-Star team more recently, in 2005.
Head coaches for the East and West All-Star teams are based on the best winning percentage in each conference. Last year's coaches, Boston's Doc Rivers and New Orleans' Byron Scott, are not eligible.
The 63-year-old Jackson is in his ninth year as coach of the Lakers. He coached the Bulls for nine seasons, leading them to six championships. He has three with the Lakers, giving him nine overall and a tie with former Boston coach Red Auerbach for the record. Jackson had a record 193 postseason wins.
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