The postseason in any sport teams are looking to do whatever it takes to win. A team’s defense starts to tighten up as teams play more on the aggressive side. The cliché during playoff time is win or go home. Last night the Denver Nuggets were facing elimination as they took on the Golden State Warriors.
One way the Nuggets felt that they could win was by shutting down Warriors star player Stephen Curry. To most coaches that plan is pretty straight forward. For Warriors coach Mark Jackson, he felt the Nuggets were playing a bit dirty. After the game he expressed his frustration.
Jackson said, “They were the more physical team. They were the aggressor. They hurt us in the first half by scoring the basketball, points in the paint. Made us pay for our turnovers. They tried to send hit men on Steph. But give them credit. It wasn’t cocky basketball; they outplayed us. It wasn’t magic; they outplayed us.”
He goes on to say, “There were some dirty plays early. It’s playoff basketball. That’s alright. We own it. But make no mistake about it, we went up 3-1 playing hard, physical, clean basketball, not trying to hurt anybody.”
When reporters asked if there were any specific examples Jackson said it happened in the first half of the game. “The screen on Curry by the foul line is a shot at his ankle, clearly,” he said. “That can’t be debated. I’ve got inside information that some people don’t like that brand of basketball, and they clearly didn’t co-sign it. So they wanted to let me know that they had no parts in what was taking place.”
Curry has been a thorn in the Nuggets side this whole series. Last night the Nuggets were able to shut him down as he scored only 15 points.
Nuggets guard Andre Iguodala replied to Jackson’s thoughts by saying, “I think [the Warriors] kind of brought the physicality to the series. And we stopped being the receivers and we’re starting to hit back a little bit. But as far as anybody trying to cheap shot, I don’t condone that myself. It’s not my game.”
Whether fans that watched the game say that the Nuggets were playing dirty they definitely got into the head of both Jackson and Curry. Game 6 will be played in Oakland and maybe Jackson’s post game conference was there to make the NBA and the officials aware of the potential dirty shots the Nuggets were taking on Curry.
This is the playoffs and teams step up their intensity. Jackson as a former player knows this and did admit to that style of play. He said, “Let the best team win. And let everybody with the exception of going down because of a freak injury let everybody leave out of here healthy. That’s not good basketball.”