A day after Golden State nearly blew an 18-point four-quarter lead in Game 6 of its first-round series against Denver before hanging on to win by four, Warriors coach Mark Jackson was able to laugh it off.
"I’ll tell you, it was bad basketball and I think it was just a young team that panicked, you know?" Jackson said. "I wish I had in my coach’s manual a way to explain it, but I don’t think anybody’s ever gone through that."
The Warriors were able to get a few key stops to preserve the win and advance to the Western Conference semifinals. No harm, no foul.
"I’m not going to panic, we’ll go over it, we’ll make sure that we’re prepared, which we were," Jackson said. "They’re just a young team that saw the finish line and got out of character. But I’m awfully proud of them and I don’t think we’ll ever see that again … in the history of the game."
It took four days.
Golden State had Monday's series opener against San Antonio won. Up by 104-88 with four minutes, 31 seconds left, the Warriors could have taken 24-second violations the rest of the game and the Spurs would have needed to average a point every 8.5 seconds to force overtime.
Jackson said he would not allow the finish to Game 6 define his team, but after serving up a a worse version on a bigger stage, it's hard to ignore the pattern that's emerging.
After Game 1, Jackson acknowledged they should have won given the lead they had, but his stance on the issue of comebacks changed dramatically.
"We’re not the first team to lose a game like this; we will not be the last team," he said. "That doesn’t mean we’re going to accept it. We will get better."
If they want to advance there is no alternative. Winning four games against the No. 2-seeded Spurs figured to be a near insurmountable task. Winning five -- which is essentially what they'll have to do -- would really take something special.
Bazemore nearly the hero
As Stephen Curry scored 22 points in the third quarter, Kent Bazemore was trending nationally on Twitter. That's correct, Kent Bazemore.
His celebratory antics at the end of the bench -- which have amused Warriors fans all season -- thrived on the bigger stage, under the brighter lights. Curry's points served as assists to Bazemore's well-received celebrations.
That dynamic changed in double overtime when Curry found a streaking Bazemore -- in the game because Klay Thompson fouled out -- to give the Warriors a 127-126 lead with 3.9 seconds left.
"Steph being the guy he was all night (with 44 points), he had three guys on him," Bazemore said. "I had the easy job, just lay it up."
For a brief moment, the most unlikely of heroes was close to free drinks for life in the Bay Area.
"But with a coach like Gregg Popovich on the other side, 3.9 seconds is a long time," Bazemore said. "In our huddle we were just saying 'get one more stop,' but we came up a little short."
Duncan leaves with flu
Tim Duncan was not on the court as the Spurs mounted their fourth-quarter comeback due to the flu.
"It became pretty apparent there that he wasn't going to tell me the truth anymore, so I had to pull the plug myself," Popovich said.
He returned at the end of the first overtime, but didn't play much of a factor.