On the day he was hired in early June, Warriors coach MarkJackson promised the team would make the playoffs.After Wednesdays loss to Portland, it became official theWarriors wouldnt.On Thursday, Jackson addressed making that promise and aboutthe fact he wont be able to deliver on it. Heres what he said:Question: Do you regret the playoff promise, maybesetting bar too high?Mark Jackson: No. Not at all. Ill take the heat,the criticism that comes with it. But I came in here with a mindset of changingthe culture and were changing the culture. Theres going to be some toughspots and obviously it hasnt been the season weve wanted it to be but wereexcited about what the future holds. If I had to do it all over again Id comein talking the same mess.Question: Was the prediction about attitude or thestatement itself?Mark Jackson: I think it was a combination ofboth. I wouldnt have said it if I didnt believe it. But it also raised thebar across the board as far as our expectations. Itd be easy to come in andsay its going to be a long process and we need time to get it right.Thats not what I signed up for. But Im really excitedabout what lies ahead. But no regrets. Absolutely no regrets about adeclaration.Question: What do you think would have been thedifference had you made that playoff promise in New York City rather than theBay Area?Mark Jackson: I think it would have beendifferent had I made that promise in New York City and they were coming off ofsuccess. I think, in fairness, one time in 17 years in the playoffs (with GoldenState) in New York City, it probably would have been a pass. Id have gottenhammered. But it would have been a pass, understanding I came in talking big,bad and bold. (Jets coach) Rex Ryan promised a championship. Still no jewelryand hes survived.What does it really mean to take heat, though? Yourenot really taking heatMark Jackson: Im saying if that was the case Imfine with it. I wasnt saying I was taking heat for saying that (prediction). Ifthats the case, Im fine with it, Ill own it, Ill embrace it. But Ive saidwhat I believed and I think what were looking at is a process to get where wewant to get to. Im really pleased with whats in the locker room and what liesahead for us.Question: Do you think this team will make theplayoffs next season?Mark Jackson: Growing and maturing. No comment.
OAKLAND -- Now that the Warriors have gone through a full-squad scrimmage for the first time in three weeks, there is only one issue to be resolved before they get back to the business of the playoffs.
Whom to play? And when?
As of Friday afternoon, the Warriors had no idea of either.
They will face the winner of the Clippers-Jazz first-round series, in which Utah took a 3-2 lead into Game 6 Friday night in Salt Lake City.
“Why are we talking about Utah like the Clippers are done?” Draymond Green wondered after fielding several Jazz-related questions after scrimmaging.
Well, because the Jazz won Games 4 and 5 and is favored to win Game 6 at home. If they win, they’ll come into Oracle Arena Sunday afternoon to meet the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
If the Clippers win Game 6 to even the series, those teams will meet for Game 7 Sunday in Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to face the Warriors in Game 1 of the conference semifinals next Tuesday night in Oakland.
In any case, the Warriors appear about as healthy has they have been at any time since February.
Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out with a finger/hand injury since Game 1 (April 16) of the first-round series against Portland, participated in the scrimmage, as did veteran forward Matt Barnes, who last played on April 8, when he sustained a bone bruise atop his right foot.
“They practiced today and they even went through the scrimmage,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “But we’ll wait for our training staff to clear them, after they see how they feel today and (Saturday).”
In short, if swelling is minimal, both will be available for Game 1, regardless of when.
So, too, will Kevin Durant. After a strained left calf kept him out of Games 2 and 3 against the Trail Blazers, he started and played 20 minutes in decisive Game 4 without any ill effects.
Nothing changed during the scrimmage Friday.
“It felt great out there,” he said. “Nothing bothered me. It was definitely good. I’m just trying to hopefully put that injury stuff behind.”
Durant conceded that he continues to receive treatment and ice, but mostly to minimize potential swelling.
OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant wishes more NBA officials had a better grasp of the language of the game.
They don’t seem to understand that “trash talk” almost always is little more than an act in which healthy emotions are released. It’s as much of the game on the court as pointing out a bad haircut or a fashion error in the locker room.
“I was raised that if you weren’t talking on the court, then something (bad) is going on,” Durant said after Warriors practice on Friday.
Durant caught a glimpse of the chatter earlier this week between former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook and Houston guard Patrick Beverley in decisive Game 5 of the Thunder-Rockets series and was disappointed when the officials slapped each with a technical foul.
“I was like, ‘Man, just play on. It’s a part of the game,’” Durant said.
Though Durant himself is not a premier trash-talker, he plays alongside one in fellow forward Draymond Green.
“That’s why we started playing, to talk a little s--- here and there,” said Durant, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area. “Draymond is really good at it. There are a lot of guys in the league that are good. More guys are quiet now than before.
“But s--- talking is a part of the game. I love it. It’s fun when you’re on the same team as a guy that does it. And then, when you’re playing against it, it’s even better because it brings the best out of you.”
For Durant, there always will be a place for trash talk on the court. Not only did he experience it while growing up but he also was indoctrinated in the practice from the moment he arrived in the NBA in 2007.
He recalls, with fondness, being targeted as a rookie by Kevin Garnett and a few other Celtics.
“When I came into the league, that’s when the Celtics had just got together,” Durant said. “Paul Pierce and KG and those guys talked bad to me as a rookie. I was 19. And they talked so bad to me. And I was talking right back. It was just a fun exchange. That’s what basketball is about.”
Now if only he could get officials to realize this.