Gregg Popovich on Why Stephen Jackson Guarding Kevin Durant Works
Gregg Popovich's "I want some nasty" speech has been making the rounds. Since he was recorded passionately firing up his team on Sunday night, San Antonio Spurs fans and NBA fans alike have adopted the motto for this Spurs team as they aim to continue to roll through the playoffs.
Currently 9-0 in the postseason, they will take on Oklahoma City in Game 2 this evening. While rookie Kawhi Leonard is expected to start defending three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant, expect to see Stephen Jackson guard Durant when he comes into the game.
This is what the Spurs did in the fourth quarter of their come-from-behind Game 1 victory when they quickly erased a nine-point deficit. While Durant attacked the hoop and got to the line six times in the quarter, he didn't score a single fourth-quarter field goal.
Why was Jackson so effective against Durant? Popovich delivered a classic response when asked that question by the San Antonio Express-News. Check his response, as well as Jackson's response to Pop's plea for more nasty from his team:
“Because Jack has absolutely no idea what he’s doing,” Popovich said. “And so neither does the offense.”
It turns out, Popovich’s call for nasty was akin to waving a bucket of chum in front of a shark.
“I like nasty; I was raised playing nasty,” Jackson said. “If you don’t like to get a little blood in this game, you’re not having fun.”
Popovich kept the laughs coming when talking about Jackson, kidding that when they made the move to bring him back to San Antonio at the trade deadline after an underwhelming few months in Milwaukee, “My first thought was, ‘Why in the world am I doing this?’”
What makes this funny is that the majority of NBA followers were thinking exactly that. Popovich and the Spurs knew exactly what they were doing, though.
That fourth-quarter showing from Jackson served as another reminder to us all that when it comes to evaluating talent and engineering talent, San Antonio is still tops. Even when it's nasty.
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