While NBA playoff action happens on the court, the drama often spills into crazy press conferences after the game.
Teams that qualified for the postseason have been working tirelessly since the onset of training camp to be prepared for this stretch of games. As the Russell Westbrook injury painfully pointed out, even the best of seasons can go up in smoke in an instant.
Words create most of the post-press conference headlines, but dressing up in a striking manner has grown in relevance in recent years.
When the NBA lost Westbrook for the postseason, it also lost its most unique dresser. During the 2012 playoffs, it was common to see Westbrook trot up to the stage wearing an ensemble of clothing that made little to no sense being worn together.
Each player treats press conferences differently. For example, Kobe Bryant tends to joke around with reporters and appeared to have fun while being interrogated in his 17th season.
Tim Duncan is an entirely different story, as the 16-year vet prefers to quickly navigate his way off the stage and back into the locker room.
After watching Chris Paul's presser, two things are clear.
First, he's going to have a LOT of time to think about what he wants to do moving forward. In that six-minute clip, Paul manages to say that he's going to have a lot of time to think about what he's going to do moving forward three times.
That statement certainly makes the Los Angeles Clippers' front office sweat, as losing Paul in free agency would take the team out of title contention.
Second, Paul kept lamenting the fact that the Clippers didn't come to the fight until Game 6. Ultimately, the head coach should be blamed for not enticing the right response out of his players, which means he is pointing a finger at Vinny Del Negro.
It's hard to argue the fact that the Clips were more physical in Game 6. The problem is, they needed that type of effort throughout the entire series but couldn't find it until it was too late.
Del Negro should have altered the strategy sooner, and Paul made sure that everyone involved knows how he feels, even if you have to read between the lines to figure it out.
While this presser wasn't crazy in a loopy sense, Paul did lay the foundation for a crazy move that would change the landscape of the league.
If the league's best point guard decides to spurn the Clippers for another team this summer, Paul's demeanor in this press conference could be viewed as a precursor to that decision.
Gregg Popovich may not be the most jovial coach in the league, but even he can have a good time after pulling off a miraculous win.
After being dominated for the majority of Game 1, the San Antonio Spurs finished regulation on an 18-2 run to force overtime.
Manu Ginobili had an opportunity to win the game at the conclusion of the first overtime but saw his shot clank off the rim. That wouldn't be the case in the second extra period, as the Golden State Warriors left Ginobili wide open and this time the Argentine star made them pay.
Watching this game as a spectator was an emotional roller coaster, so it's hard to imagine how those directly involved in the contest felt afterwards.
Popovich was clearly in a comical mood, as he had no problems joking with the reporters who asked him questions.
Popovich doesn't really know what that means.
How did Pop feel about Kawhi Leonard stopping Stephen Curry?
What do you mean stopped Curry? The sharpshooting point guard scored 44 points while dishing 11 assists and almost single-handedly knocked the Spurs off.
The best part of the presser was in response to a question about Ginobili's final two three-point attempts of the evening. In a response that generated some laughs from the media, Pop said "I went from trading him on the spot to wanting to cook him breakfast tomorrow."
And to make sure that everyone believed that statement, Popovich followed that comment by telling everyone that was the truth.
It's hard to find Pop's equal in terms of coaching prowess, but his peers are usually much more entertaining than him in pressers.
That wasn't the case after Game 1, even if it did take a historical comeback to get the legendary coach in a humorous mood.
By contrast, it was easy to tell that Mark Jackson had something to say during the press conference after his Golden State Warriors dropped Game 5 on the road to the Denver Nuggets.
After about 30 seconds of talking about how the Nuggets were the more physical team, Jackson dropped a bomb by stating that Denver sent hit men after Stephen Curry. While that's certainly an exaggeration, there's no denying that the Nuggets were playing Curry physically.
Of course, defenses have to play Curry physically in order to keep him out of rhythm.
Jackson himself even said that he would guard Curry physically if the two had been contemporaries. According to Antonio Gonzalez of BigStory.AP.Org, Jackson said the following about how he would defend his star point guard:
I was even caught on tape and asked, 'What would I do if I was playing against (Curry) and he heated up?' I'd be physical with him. That's understandable. It's not hypocritical. There's no part of me that said I'd be dirty with him. You take an attempt to kick him with your foot, with his foot, that's not a basketball play. That's a cheap shot.
Nuggets' head coach George Karl didn't agree with Jackson's accusations, as he said the following according to Benjamin Hochman of DenverPost.com:
We don't like each other, we shouldn't like each other, there's pain and anguish to every win and loss. Competitive spirit. I'm just trying to figure out what movie he's watching, because it's not the one I'm watching."
By defending Curry verbally, Jackson is doing his job as Warriors' head coach. That being said, Jackson certainly comes across as a bit of a hypocrite in this situation—even if he claims not to be.
From a neutral perspective, it's hard to say that the Nuggets took cheap shots at Curry. The play was certainly rough at times, but the physical style was far from over the top.
Jackson was fined $25,000 for his comments, as the NBA cited that he was trying to influence the officials.
Game 4 between the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets may be the game of the postseason thus far, as the Bulls pulled off a come from behind win to beat the Nets 142-134 in three overtimes.
The victory would not have been possible had Nate Robinson not caught fire in the fourth quarter.
The diminutive point guard scored 23 points in the frame, which was just one point shy of Michael Jordan's franchise record for points in the fourth quarter.
On the night, Robinson finished with 34 points on 60.9 percent shooting while only turning the ball over just twice. For a period of time in the fourth quarter, it seemed like Robinson couldn't miss, as he was clearly shooting with a lot of confidence and precision.
In this presser, Robinson explained his thought process as a shooter and it makes complete sense given the context of his career.
Simply put, Nate thinks he's always hot. How many times has Robinson tried to battle through a cold streak to no avail?
Yes, the answer is far too many, but that's the type of mentality that makes him so dangerous.
Robinson playing for a drill sergeant like Tom Thibodeau is ironic, as the Bulls' head coach is all about structure and planning while Robinson is more of a gunslinger.
After Game 4, Nate said the following, which was telling of his relationship with Thibodeau:
"Every shot I shoot he's mad, regardless. But at the same time, it's basketball. He does a great job at putting us in position to be successful. And it's kind of cool because coach asks us what we want to run when we're hot. I just told him don't call a play for me just let the ball find me."
Imagine being in that huddle, with the explosive Robinson telling the meticulous Thibs to just wing it on a vital possession. Safe to say, Nate is lucky it worked out, or he would have had to deal with the fury of Thibodeau in the locker room.
In the press conference, Robinson broke out an NBA Jams reference. How can you top a player coming off an unbelievable performance comparing himself to an old school video game?
The answer is simple, you can't.
What is Dwyane Wade wearing?
Seriously, his stylist should be looking for a new job this morning after allowing Wade to attend his presser in such ridiculous clothing.
When watching the press conference, it's virtually impossible to concentrate on the words coming out of Wade's mouth due to his shirt.
Colorful clothing can be great, but Wade's shirt has no pattern or consistency. Rather, it looks like the portions of different shirts sewed together into one truly hideous creation.
Sure, the Miami Heat did tie the series with a dominating Game 2 victory, but it's hard to consider Wade a winner in that shirt.
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