A 20-second sound bite of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich addressing his team during a fourth-quarter timeout went viral on YouTube after Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday night.
“Are we having fun yet?” Popovich begins. “I need a little bit more dose of nasty. I'm seeing a little bit of unconfidence, a little hesitation. It's not supposed to be easy. Every round gets tougher. Penetrate hard. Good passes. Shoot with confidence. I want some nasty.”
The Spurs overcame a nine-point deficit in the final period to post a 101-98 victory at the AT&T Center.
The catch phrase immediately caught on locally.
Starting at 6 a.m. Monday, a local souvenir shop received a stream of requests for “I WANT SOME NASTY” T-shirts, although production could not begin until Tuesday morning because the printer was closed on Memorial Day.
A local Mexican restaurant now has a “Nasty” meal special.
DON'T KNOW JACK
Mercurial forward Stephen Jackson, a member of the 2003 world championship Spurs, defended three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant the entire fourth period of Game 1 and held him without a fourth-quarter field goal in the playoffs for only the third time in his career (0 for 2 from the field; 6 for 6 from the free-throw line).
Jackson spent 18 minutes of Game 1 on the floor with Durant, who went 1 for 4.
Popovich had a ready answer for Jackson's success: “Because Jack has no idea what he's doing, so neither does the offense.”
The Milwaukee Bucks traded Jackson to Golden State on March 13. Two days later, the Spurs traded Richard Jefferson and a draft pick for Jackson.
“My first thought was, ‘Why in the world am I doing this?'” Popovich said. “My second thought was, ‘Well, maybe he might play well for us in the playoffs.' Thirdly, you like having him around. He has a great sense of humor and our guys love him.”
BIG 3 SHOWDOWN
San Antonio's Hall of Fame Big 3 of Tim Duncan (6 for 15) Tony Parker (6 for 15) and Manu Ginobili (9 for 14) combined for 60 points, 24 rebounds, 11 assists, nine turnovers and shot a combined 21 for 44 (. 477) from the floor Sunday. They played a season-high 24 minutes together.
OKC's Big 3 of Durant (8 for 19), Russell Westbrook (7 for 21) and James Harden (7 for 17) combined for 63 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 turnovers and a combined 22 for 57 (. 386).
How did Popovich think his team did against the Thunder's Big 3?
“Could have been better,” Popovich said. “They're going to score, no matter what the defense is. You just try to do the best job you can, but there's no stopping those guys. You just try to make them work hard and limit them in certain situations.”
In matchup between two of the league's premier point guards, Parker said he was pleased with how well things went against Westbrook in the opener.
“Yeah, but he's going to come back very strong (Tuesday),” Parker said. “He missed some shots that he usually makes. I think maybe he was a little bit rusty from not playing for a week, and I expect him to bounce back and have a big game (Tuesday).”
In Game 1, Ginobili crashed into the front row of seats and was helped to his feet by a variety of dignitaries — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Spurs chairman Peter Holt and his wife, Julianna.
“I knew somebody helped me out, but I didn't know it was the governor,” Ginobili said.
The Spurs' 39-point, fourth-quarter explosion began with a spurt from an unlikely source off the bench.
Reserve center Tiago Splitter scored back-to-back layups, drew an offensive charge, grabbed a rebound and shot four free throws, all in a span of 2:06, as San Antonio was off on a 20-5 spurt at the outset of the period.
“Splitter's two layups were huge, and his minutes were good,” Brooks said. “I thought he was a big part of their win.”
Though the last five points came on three intentional fouls, Brooks was still thoroughly disgusted with his team defense.
After attempting just seven free throws through the first three quarters, the Spurs went to the free-throw line 18 times in the fourth quarter alone.
“Nobody expects to score 39 points in a quarter,” Popovich said.
The Thunder's best quarter no doubt was the third quarter, when it outscored the Spurs 24-16 and held them to 25.0 percent (6 for 24) from the floor and 18.2 percent (2 for 11) from 3-point range, and OKC did so primarily with its starting lineup.
Playing 7:59 in the third quarter, Serge Ibaka had four rebounds and three points, which included an authoritative dunk over Duncan off a sweet Durant assist on the first possession of the second half.
“In the third quarter, we were playing real aggressive and getting some easy points in the paint,” said Ibaka, who left at the 4:01 mark of the third period and never returned.
ALL FOR ONE
Brooks and his players have often explained that when it comes to playing defense, if one guy breaks down in his assignment, the entire defense breaks down.
Asked if such was the case in the fourth quarter of Game 1, Brooks said: “It was multiple guys. Not enough pressure on the ball. Not enough help off the ball. That and a combination of Ginobili is not a good recipe for success.”
Jackson on surviving Game 1 with a fourth-quarter comeback: “We were probably more nervous than they were (Sunday night) because we know these young guys can play.”