OAKLAND - Wow!
If you weren't at the Warriors-Raptors game Tuesday night, where were you?
Great comeback. Just great. A game you needed to see. The Warriors were down by 27 — maybe from boredom against the lowly Raptors — and came all the way back, took the lead at 101-99 with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter on a Stephen Curry 3-pointer. The Raptors tied it up, but the Warriors took the lead for good on a Klay Thompson jumper, won the game 112-103.
After the game, coach Mark Jackson came to the media room, transported with joy. Listen to the coach:
"In this league you allow a team to get it going, no matter what their record is, the talent in this league will make you pay the price. They (Toronto) got it going early. We were bad on both sides of the basketball. The crowd got quiet. We deserved for them to be quiet. But we regrouped and we began to play our brand of basketball. This being my third year here, there has not been a bigger win when you talk about a statement, when everybody could fold the tent and say, 'Let's look forward to the next one.'
"At halftime, I didn't say a word. I was about to show some film. From what I understand there was rumors that I cussed the team out. That didn't happen and it won't happen. I didn't say a word. Did not show the video. But the good teams and the great teams, they know.
"I give credit to guys like (Andrew Bogut) and Harrison (Barnes). As a former player I've watched teammates sulk, be upset because they were not in the game at that time. Those guys were up, they were active, they were supportive. It was an easy call for me tonight because the guys that were in the game (Jermaine O'Neal, Draymond Green) deserved to win it or lose it."
Someone mentioned that O'Neal gave a halftime speech.
"I'm a guy that fortunately played and I'm not insecure and I know the players have a lot invested in this team," Jackson said. "You allow them a voice and they respond. I've seen coaches yell and call timeouts. Players know what's wrong. They didn't need any speech. So Jermaine did a lot of the talking. I pretty much wrapped it up with, 'Bring it in.' The best speech I ever gave."
Let's step away from the coach and get something straight. You need to understand who the Warriors are. They are a team built for the playoffs. They are reasonably sure they'll make the playoffs, although, at this early point of the season, they are flirting with not making the playoffs.
After last season, a rewarding season, the Warriors took a gamble. They decided not to keep Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack. The Warriors let those two leave as free agents to free up salary room for swingman Andre Iguodala, the final piece. The Warriors exchanged depth for a better core of players. Why did they make that exchange? Because in the playoffs they will need a high-quality core instead of extreme depth. In the playoffs, they rarely will go past the seventh or eighth man — in the regular season, they can empty the bench.