Jackson on Spurs: 'We have tremendous respect for them'
OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry has been hearing about the Warriors’ struggles in San Antonio since he came into the league in 2009. Each time Golden State is set to make the trip to play the Spurs, the team’s losing streak there is an inevitable talking point.
Heading into the Western Conference semifinals, which begin Monday, the Warriors have dropped the last 29 games in San Antonio -- a streak that includes the entirety of Tim Duncan’s 16-year career.
“What better time to change that?” Curry said. “It’ll be even much more special to get it done in a playoff series and get home court back on our side.”
The storylines were much of the same as Golden State prepped for its first-round series against Denver, which finished an NBA-best 38-3 at home during the regular season.
How can the Warriors win there? Nobody can win there.
But they did anyway.
Like he has all season, Warriors coach Mark Jackson refused to acknowledge Golden State’s track record as relevant.
“I said it before, it’s not our history,” Jackson said. “We haven’t gotten it done for two years, but we are a team that’s more than capable of going into somebody else’s building and beating them. We feel confident and comfortable about that.”
The last time Golden State won at San Antonio, Jackson was still in the league and rookie Harrison Barnes was four-years-old, which is precisely why Jackson says the streak will play no role in what happens over the next week-plus. It was too long ago for it to matter.
“That’s not an easy task; but we’re excited about going to San Antonio and facing them,” Jackson said. “We don’t pay any attention to what history says. Because that body of work is not our body of work.”
Golden State split the season series with San Antonio, 2-2, but the second Warriors win came with San Antonio resting its core players. The Warriors snapped their 16-game losing streak to the Spurs when they unveiled their short-sleeved yellow jerseys in a 107-101 win on Feb. 22. In that game, Jarrett Jack became the first bench player to score 30 points and dish out 10 assists since Magic Johnson in 1996.
Lee a question mark
David Lee’s surprise appearance in Game 6 against Denver just 12 days after tearing his hip flexor was strictly for an emotional lift. How he factors in the series against the Spurs remains to be seed.
“I thought we got what we needed out of him last night,” Jackson said. “I was not going to put him in position where he could get hurt; was not going to put a demand on his body. I thought it was perfect–a perfect time to get him in, utilize him and then get him out.”
Jackson said he was unsure in what capacity Lee could be used against San Antonio.
Karl “sorry” for Jackson’s fine
Nuggets coach George Karl and Jackson shook hands before Game 6 on Thursday and Karl had a message for his counterpart.
“He said, ‘Sorry about the fine.’ Before the game, that was pretty much the extent of our conversation,” Jackson said. “I feel the same way about George Karl today that I did going into the series. I’ve known him for a while as a player, as a guy covering the game, as a guy that was his TV partner my first year with ESPN, going every weekend to Bristol. Got a lot of respect for him.”