Lost in all of Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson's rather clumsy theatrics after the game was how obviously he was trying to protect his player who lost his cool. Listen, Mark Jackson is no Phil Jackson, and his point was made even clearer by Jackson claiming he had a mole in the Nuggets organization. I love Cold War books myself, but Game 5 versus the Denver Nuggets, I'm afraid, is no Gorky Park.
Stephen Curry didn't seem to handle the Nuggets physicality very well. In fact, right from the start of the game you could tell Curry was off his groove. Missing bunnies and difficult shots. Just ... off. While he did end up hitting some shots, he wasn't the unconscious, hit every shot, Curry we had seen in the previous three games. After the game he confronted a fan, which isn't really part of what happened during the game. I'm sure the fan was being a "fan" and therefore a tool.
Remember when scrubs the likes of Al Thornton were able to get under Carmelo Anthony's skin when they guarded him close? Remember how much Carmelo would take that personally and want to do things he shouldn't? Curry seemed a bit different in that the physical play made him ... well, for lack of a better word, bitchy. Almost like he expected to be allowed to do whatever he wants, when he wants. Apparently this was the first time EVER anyone had the audacity to be physical with him. His post game comments about the Nuggets physical play didn't help his cause either.
More than anything else, this reinforces something that my buddy Old Hipster Glasses himself, Ross Martin, said on the CSG podcast last week. The Nuggets NEED to be physical. This is playoff basketball. Part of me is thrilled they started manning up and playing physical in Game 5, another part is frustrated that it took them this long to get to that point. Maybe this is coinciding with Kenneth Faried's health (who, just won the NBA Citizenship Award ... despite being accused by the Warriors for being "dirty"). The Nuggets needed that energy, and he is providing the "bounce" the Nuggets have been needing for, quite frankly, five games.
Back to Mark Jackson for a second, while he was clumsily trying to channel Phil Jackson in his post game analysis, he made several dumb statements. Whether it be imply he has a mole in the Nuggets organization or saying the Nuggets put a "hit" out on Stephen Curry (pardon my while I grab my sides laughing). However, one particular statement struck me as odd. From Dave Kriegers column today:
Self-righteousness has always been a Jackson trait , but this was a dizzying passive-aggressive two-step in which every allegation of malfeasance was accompanied by an assurance that it was fine; to be expected, in fact, in playoff basketball. Thus you had his assessment of Kenneth Faried's performance:
"He set some great screens, and some great illegal ones, too. He did his job. Hey, I played with guys like that. You're paid to do that. Dale Davis, Anthony Davis, Charles Oakley. You're paid to do it. So give 'em credit. But, as an opposing coach, I see it, and I'm trying to protect my guys."