The Lakers are in Mark Jackson's rearview mirror

Jackson: 'Curry is a pro and a gamer; he wanted this'

The Lakers are in Mark Jackson's rearview mirror
March 26, 2013, 8:30 am
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Last night's win gave the Warriors their 11th non-losing season since winning the NBA title 38 years ago. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

We are the better basketball team. They are in the rearview mirror. I have not checked it. And I will not.
—Mark Jackson

In case you ever again wonder if Mark Jackson is the right man to be the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, allow us to share with you the phrase that pays:

“We are the better basketball team. They are in the rearview mirror. I have not checked it. And I will not.”

“We,” obviously, are the Warriors. “They,” just as clearly, are the Los Angeles Lakers. And Jackson just encapsulated everything Warrior fans have wanted to hear, and say, and see, for the past 50 years. If this isn't the cover of every bit of next year's promotional material, then team vice-president Rick Welts is just cruising on his good looks and charm.

[REWIND: Instant Replay -- Warriors 109, Lakers 103]

Jackson was able to say this after the Warriors jumped on and stayed on the Lakers, 109-103, in Oakland Monday night. The game was theirs from the earliest moments (well, after the first 4 ½ minutes, anyway), and it put the Warriors a healthy 4 ½ games ahead of the eighth-placers with 10 to play.

It also gave the Warriors their 11th non-losing season since winning the NBA title 38 years ago, which is a fact that should sadden more than please. It particularly allowed the Warriors to aggressively dream about finishing ahead of the Lakers for the seventh time in 51 years.

Let me emphasize this for you, in case the subtlety evaded you.

THE SAN FRANCISCO/GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS ARE ABOUT TO FINISH A SEASON WITH A BETTER RECORD THAN THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS FOR THE SEVENTH TIME IN A HALF-CENTURY.

This does not includes the We Believe Aberration, which tied the Lakers at 42-40, and but lost on tiebreakers and ended up playing and beating top-seeded Dallas instead of second-seed Phoenix, which beat the Lakers in five games. So maybe that should count, too.

Nahhh. It sounds better this way.

THE SAN FRANCISCO/GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS ARE ABOUT TO FINISH A SEASON WITH A BETTER RECORD THAN THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS FOR THE SEVENTH TIME IN A HALF-CENTURY.

You’ve been longing to hear that since the last time it happened, in 1994, right at the start of the heartwarming Chris Cohan Era. And you’ve been longing to believe it since 1976, when the Warriors finished 19 games ahead of the Lakers. That was one of the five times the Lakers have missed the playoffs in their entire history, in case you needed the added significance.

So Jackson said it, matter-of-factly, and with just the right amount of New York “Bite me” mixed in with the Bay Area’s more mannered “Cool.”

“We are the better basketball team. They are in the rearview mirror. I have not checked it. And I will not.”

Of course, nobody else in the NBA’s ceaselessly chattering intelligentsia believes this. They stand boldly on the notion that the Lakers will figure all this out, that Kobe Bryant will not allow such a thing to stand, that pedigree will out. And so, in one round, will the Warriors’ playoffs. To the extent that they are expending any time on the Warriors at all, other than mooning over Stephen Curry.

You see, NBA people are as hidebound and conservative as they come. They label-shop, and the Lakers are one of the few certified labels in the game, with the Celtics (who have many banners), Knicks (for reasons that evade historians), Bulls (Michael Jordan) and Spurs (David Robinson and Tim Duncan). After all, there have been only nine champions since the end of the Dark Ages (1979, when Seattle, now Oklahoma City, won), and most NBA fans don’t like history that much. It’s like Russell, Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar, Robertson and West will give them cooties.

Even the Miami Heat at their current apex must endure talk of LeBron James returning to Cleveland when his current contract expires. And they may well become only the sixth franchise in league history to win three championships.

Put THAT in your crockpot and slow-cook it awhile, you I-only-know-what-I-see-because-researching-things-on-Google-is-too-hard gasbags. The Miami Heat as way-station for Cleveland. Jeepers.

None of this, of course, has anything to do with the Warriors, who are thisclose to making the postseason and facing what looks increasingly like a date with one of three very tough outs in San Antonio, Oklahoma City or Denver. That’s not today’s talking point.

This is:

“We are the better basketball team. They are in the rearview mirror. I have not checked it. And I will not.”

With Marshall Henderson providing captioning for the hearing-and attitudinally-impaired.

 

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