It is quite comical hearing Don Nelson take the high road. It sounds like genuine humility, but you just know he’s pulling some kind of Jedi mind trick on the Mavericks. You just know it’s some master scheme he’s concocted to make him look like a hero, win or lose.
Saturday after practice, he was talking about how the Warriors ARE just happy to be in the playoffs, which is exactly the opposite of the we-aren’t-satisfied-with-just-being-here cliche.
“What’s wrong with just being happy to be here? We’re very happy to be here. We haven’t been here for 13 years – think about that!”
Then, he minimized his participation in the coaching duel with Avery Johnson. Though everybody in Dallas knows he’s in Avery’s head, Nellie came with the “What? I ain’t doing nothing.” defense.
“You know I’m only playing eight guys and they’ve played real well together. We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We can’t do anything about it anyway. That’s what we are, that’s what we’ve got. We’re bringing that to the party.”
In pre-game interviews before Game 1, he added that “(Avery) knows what I’m going to do, I don’t know what he’s going to do.”
Isn’t that just genius? If Johnson out maneuvers him, the excuse is already planted. If he doesn’t, Avery looks inferior because he’s got the textbook and still flunked the test.
After Game 1, when the Warriors upset the Mavericks, Nelson totally dodged credit for it, saying the Warriors were simply lucky. And he dismissed any idea that his defensive scheme had something to do with Dirk’s struggles in Game 1. Someone asked flat out if it was the Warriors style of defense that gives Nowitzki’s problems. His answer:
“Not really. I just think he had a bad night. Just missed some shots.”
Then Tuesday he dropped this unsolicited modesty bomb:
“I will add that it will be a bounce back game for the Mavericks. And we’ve got a better chance to get hit with lightning than to win the game tomorrow.”
(Side note: Nellie might be actually be right, with the way the lightning was hitting around here last night. I saw some bolts I’ve never seen in Cali. I’ve never seen lightning strike and the night sky light up with blue light.)
When have you ever heard a coach say his team has no chance of winning? You just know that’s some kind of ploy. Knowing Nellie, the NBA’s version of Criss Angel, it sounds more like trickery than sincerity. At least that’s how Dirk takes it:
“I listened to one of his interviews yesterday and he’s still full of it …”