Share this article

print logo

Spurs hoping to stay nasty

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 NBA Coach of the Year, who bellowed his now-famous and fuming marching orders that jumpstarted a fourth-quarter rally, extended a history-matching winning streak to 19 and left the Oklahoma City Thunder stunned heading into Game Two of the Western Conference finals tonight (9 p.m., TNT).

"You've got to watch Pop -- he's good at turning that microphone on and off," Spurs forward Stephen Jackson said Monday. "You don't hear some of the stuff he says."

All the Thunder mostly heard Monday were questions about their costly collapse.

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 put the Spurs among just three others teams in NBA history with winning streaks of 20 games or longer.

It would also 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. "We are close -- seven games -- from accomplishing something way better than a streak. (The streak) is happening, it's fine. But we always think about next time and how tough it's going to be."

It's the first time the Thunder have trailed in a playoff series since being down, 1-0, in the West finals last season. They answered with a Game Two win in Dallas then had their season quickly spiral to an end with three straight losses.

The easy narrative after Sunday's loss was how the Spurs -- awakened by Popovich growling at them to start playing "nasty" during a timeout that was caught on camera -- erased a nine-point deficit through sheer intensity and experience. The Thunder, however, rattled off their own explanations Monday at what went wrong.

Among them was head coach Scott Brooks admitting to making a mistake by keeping forward Serge Ibaka, the runner-up in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year balloting, on the bench in the fourth quarter. That's when the Spurs scored 39 points and shot 12 of 16.

There are no comments - be the first to comment