Just got back from Denver, so I missed the Warriors' media availability -- it sounds like Mark Jackson and Stephen Curry basically repeated their feelings from last night's edgy post-game...
I'll chime in with a few more general thoughts:
But otherwise, this is standard playoff rhetorical positioning and very much straight out of Jackson's motivational/strategic playbook.
Jackson is an admitted and unabashed button-pusher -- he's always looking for just the right message to either cajole or nudge someone in the direction he wants them to and he's brash enough to believe he won't look dumb when the purpose is exposed.
It's his strength and that's his way of pushing and prodding his players through the course of games, seasons or playoff series.
Jackson did it most famously when he was Reggie Miller's teammate and kept pushing him and pushing him to see that the Knicks were disrespecting him and pushing him to hate the Knicks and got Miller prepared to destroy the Knicks, which Miller often did, especially in the postseason.
The parallel: Pushing Curry, in a slightly different way, to get angry with the way Denver's knocking him around.
And while I don't think any of the specific plays in Game 5 were terribly dirty, Jackson seems to have certainly gotten Curry's fire burning, maybe for the rest of the postseason. (And it's not like Curry needed much more.)
I talked to Curry for about five minutes last night, and watched him sit at his locker for 10 minutes after that -- ankles in ice, still wearing his jersey even while his teammates showered and dressed around him ... and I heard that Nuggets players were telling him he was soft all game.
And my first thought: Now this series is personal for Curry.
Second thought: This is exactly what Jackson wants for Game 6, and beyond. Curry already has been incredible in these playoffs, and Jackson wants Curry to know that 1) his coach has his back and 2) he's a playoff target, he has to learn how to deal with it, and he's a target because he's great.
All good things for a budding superstar to know and feel.
Curry probably will have extra room to move tomorrow, and with him, that's always a good thing.
But that could bite the Warriors, too, since they're going after the bigger players (Faried, etc.), so their shots, as in Game 5, will probably be more obviously flagrant and will without question be whistled quickly tomorrow.
I would say it's 50-50 that Andrew Bogut survives Game 6 un-ejected, and oh well, that's what a playoff series is supposed to be like this deep into it.
What you don't want is mayhem out there and that's now on the refs and the league. I'm sure David Stern's office has already weighed in and will be sending a top crew for Game 6. I would think we'll see Danny Crawford or Joey Crawford or both in the crew tomorrow.
After he spoke at the podium last night, Jarrett Jack came in to speak but then was pulled back into the hallway... for a quick conversation with Jackson, right before Jack's press conference.
I'm guessing Jackson didn't want Jack to say anything more, because Jackson wanted to be the voice of it. Curry of course had the right to say whatever he wanted about the Nuggets' hits, but Jackson was letting the rest of the team know that he was handling the rhetorical skirmishing.
The players don't have to use up energy on this, at least publicly. Their coach is doing that work. Maybe he was over the top (well, he definitely was over the top, actually), but that gives his players the cover to go out and unleash whatever they're going to unleash on the basketball court, not anywhere else.