Oklahoma City aims for improved Game 2
Gregg Popovich’s “I want some nasty!” is fast becoming the catchphrase of the NBA playoffs. It’s eminently quotable, brash and an overnight splash.
In other words, it’s everything the San Antonio Spurs are not.
They’ve also heard far worse in timeouts from the two-time NBA coach of the year, who bellowed his now-famous and fuming marching orders that jump-started a fourth-quarter rally, extended a history-matching winning streak to 19 and left the Oklahoma City Thunder stunned heading into Game 2 of the Western Conference finals tonight.
“You’ve got to watch Pop — he’s good at turning that microphone on and off,” Spurs forward Stephen Jackson said. “You don’t hear some of the stuff he says.”
All the Thunder mostly heard Monday were questions about their costly collapse down the stretch.
Oklahoma City started the fourth quarter leading — a rare feat against the Spurs in the past 47 days, which is how long it’s been since their last loss. Going up 2-0 would make the Spurs one of three teams in NBA history with winning streaks of 20 games or longer.
It would break the record for longest winning streak extended in the playoffs, a mark the Spurs now share with the 2001 Lakers.
“We really don’t care,” guard Manu Ginobili said of breaking that record.
The easy narrative was how the Spurs — awakened by Popovich growling at them to start playing “nasty” during a timeout that was caught on TV — erased a nine-point deficit. The Thunder members, however, had their own explanations.
Coach Scott Brooks said it was a mistake to keep forward Serge Ibaka, the runner-up for defensive player of the year, on the bench in the fourth quarter when the Spurs scored 39 points on 12-for-16 shooting.
“I think every decision you make, if it doesn’t work out, you say, ‘Why did you do that?’ ” he said. “And I’m with you on that. I wish I would’ve played Serge last night.”
Said veteran guard Derek Fisher, “You can’t give up a 30-point quarter in a playoff game and expect to win.”
The Charlotte Bobcats want to interview Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw for their coaching vacancy. The Bobcats also want to interview Lakers assistant Quin Snyder, the former Missouri coach who starred at Mercer Island High and Duke. … Miami All-Star forward Chris Bosh, sidelined since straining a lower abdominal muscle May 13, did what the Heat called a “very light” on-court workout Sunday. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra continued to say there’s no target date for Bosh’s return.