The quotes are incredible, but you really have to hear Mike D”Antoni”s voice to truly appreciate how incredibly incensed he was after the Lakers
He crushed them, and rightly so.
Take a listen:
The money quote — aside from when D”Antoni was asked why the ball stuck in the fourth quarter and responded with a smile and “I don”t know. That”s a good question. You know, I wish I knew. What, you want to throw me a piece of dynamite?”* — was this, when I asked if he had a frame of reference for this situation as a coach. Where, with so much at stake, mental and physical effort remained a problem so late in the season:
“Well, no. Most of the time, it”s just bad teams and they can”t do it. This is a good team that just for whatever can”t collectively, mentally, get stimulated to do it every time. And I told them in (the locker room), we put our hands in (the huddle), and you”ve guys have probably seen it, we say “Championship!” and go out there. And that”s laughable. Championship? You gotta be kidding me,” he said.
“Until they understand the importance of every possession offensively and defensively, and every time, they gotta come out with some kind of determination to be a good basketball team, then we”re just fooling ourselves. And right now, that”s what we”re doing. We”re making sham-mockery of it, or whatever that is.”
But really, you have to hear him say it to fully appreciate his level of anger. That was one ticked off West Virginian, and as our friend Nic Jongeling noted, D”Antoni was really close to making himself into a Coors Light commercial.
But really, who could disagree with what he said?
*For those not able to read in between the lines, yes, he was talking about Kobe without having to actually use his name. And rightly so. Kobe was ball-dominant in very destructive ways down the stretch, though bad as it was Bryant”s lack of attention defensively probably hurt them more. Throughout the night, whether on Trevor Ariza or Garrett Temple, Bryant was slow to close out (if he did at all), and hurt their defensive structure with bad gambles. Not a strong night for the Mamba, despite posting 21/11.