Facing a nine-point fourth quarter deficit in Game 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich threw a few catchphrase to his team that seem to pump up his players.
Popovich first asked his players "Are we having fun yet?" and pointed out that each round of the playoffs weren't supposed to be easy. After that, the Spurs gave the punch line "I want some dose of nasty".
Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation explained how 'Nasty' is natural in Popovich kingdom.
"I talked to them about they’ve got to get a little bit uglier, get a little more nasty, play with more fiber," Popovich said. "And take it to these guys."
On one end, the Spurs responded by scoring 29 of their 39 fourth-quarter points from the paint or foul stripe.
Dispatched to bother OKC star Kevin Durant, who had 21 points in the first three quarters, Jackson embodied Popovich’s need for nasty on the other end.
Using his guile, toughness and — yes — his nastiness, Jackson pestered the NBA’s scoring leader for the last 12 minutes, denying him the ball and pushing him off his sweet spots.
Durant had zero field goals in the final frame. He did take and make six free throws, but Jackson’s work was sufficient to upset the OKC offense.
Asked to enumerate the qualities that made Jackson an effective Durant disrupter, Popovich went for another punchline.
"Because Jack has absolutely no idea what he’s doing," Popovich said. "And so neither does the offense."
It turns out, Popovich’s call for nasty was akin to waving a bucket of chum in front of a shark.
"I like nasty; I was raised playing nasty," Jackson said. "If you don’t like to get a little blood in this game, you’re not having fun."
Using some nastiness, San Antonio unleashed a 21-5 run early in the fourth, held an 82-76 advantage midway in the final period and never looked back.
(Photo via usatoday.com)