When Stephen Jackson was a Net, early in his career, I liked the fact that he was not afraid to take big shots (I liked less that, at that point in his career, he was mostly unable to make them), and had no idea that, inside of him, some sort of flagrant-garnering, ref-baiting, crazy-eyed werewolf, simply waiting for a bigger contract and some bigger minutes to emerge, howl, and act weird.
And while Jackson was lights out throughout Golden State’s upset over Dallas, and has had his moments in this series as well, it seems like the werewolf is out tonight. Vexed all evening by Matt Harpring on the defensive end, he committed a flagrant foul at the end of the third quarter, then subsequently picked up a technical by yapping at the referees. Another, more dubious, technical followed moments later against Matt Barnes. Utah missed all four of the free throws resulting from those calls, keeping the Warriors in the game, and Jackson celebrated, according to TNT’s Pam Oliver, by egging on the Utah crowd while Don Nelson told his team to calm down. I’d say that was the reason why the Utah fans were chanting “Warriors Suck” when TNT returned from a recent commercial break, but they were doing that in the series against Houston, too. I’ll admit to liking the Jazz, but their fans will never win me over. There are at least two good reasons why (here’s a third) I’ll probably never be down with Utah, but if this series stays this exciting, I could deal with seeing these fans again. The two teams are deadlocked at 83 as of 1:07 am EDT/5:58 remaining in the fourth. I’ll be back in a few minutes, after the game.
UPDATE: So, Golden State basically stopped playing about 90 seconds after the first post went up and didn’t score over the last 3:39. Out-of-control play — and not in that cute, effective way they were out-of-control against Dallas — and a bunch of missed shots guaranteed a loss, and basically everyone on Utah looked like heroes by the end of the game. Andrei “We Are Underused” Kirilenko put up 21 points, 15 huge rebounds (seemingly all of them in the fourth quarter), and 3 steals (including a game-sealing grab off an inbounds pass with a little over a minute left), and he was matched by Carlos Boozer (21 points, 14 rebounds) and second huge showing from the inexplicably unstoppable Derek Fisher, whose 20 points and defense on Baron Davis turned the tide. 100-87 is the final, and I’d recommend not looking at the shooting lines on the Golden State side, unless you like small numbers followed by dashes and much larger numbers. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to watch a bunch of Mormons take a confetti bath while “Simply The Best” pumps over the stadium PA and wonder, nauseously, why I kind of like this team. Maybe it’s their effortlessly classy owner?
The final word on the Warriors, courtesy of Charles Barkley, while replays of the third quarter technical foul parade plays in the background: “The Warriors are a good little, scrappy little team but…when they get upset, you know it.”