10

Game 74 rewind: Warriors’ Jermaine O’Neal baffled by negativity, recommends cherishing ‘special teams’ like this one

DALLAS — The Warriors escaped Dallas with a 122-120 overtime win, and with the victory came co-owner Joe Lacob shaking Jermaine O’Neal’s hand after the game.

The 35-year-old O’Neal had played 33 minutes, scored 20 points and came through with the last-minute block that enabled Stephen Curry to go down on the other end and win the game on a buzzer beater. Some love from ownership was in order.

“He’s very emotional about his team, and rightfully so,” O’Neal said of Lacob, who he said was one of the NBA’s best owners. “He spent a lot of money on it, so we love to see our owner excited and high-fiving and energetic about it.”

What O’Neal is sick of seeing is negativity surrounding the Warriors and coach Mark Jackson that the veteran big man finds unfair. O’Neal has pointed out that some in the media and along some Warriors fans have gone too far with it. He mentioned those concerns last week while strongly defending Jackson.

And Tuesday, O’Neal brought up the issues himself when Warriors TV host Laurence Scott asked about Jackson saying the team was “tied together.”

“We’re tied together, especially when so many people around us are trying to tear us apart,” O’Neal said. “I’ve never seen even in your own town so much adversity and so much negativity around a team that’s really striving to do special things. It baffles you a little bit, but it says a lot about our head coach and our staff and our organization.

“Everybody’s trying to sell a paper. Everybody’s trying to get ratings for their talk shows or TV shows or whatever it may be, but the fact of the matter is that the city of Oakland and the city of San Francisco’s been through a lot of tough times in the basketball world. I would highly recommend that we cherish special teams.

“The negativity that’s out there in our home city, I’m just asking for people to hold their evaluation until the end of the year when the season’s over with. We’re going down the stretch run when we need all our fans.”

Diamond Leung