It was in the first round of the NBA playoffs last May when Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson talked a bit about “dirty play” on the part of the Denver Nuggets.
After Game 5 of the series, a 107-100 Nuggets victory at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Jackson said:
“They tried to send hit men on [Stephen Curry], but I give them credit. … There were some dirty plays early. It’s playoff basketball; it’s all right. Make no mistake about it: We went up 3-1 playing hard, physical and clean basketball, not trying to hurt anyone.
“I have inside information that some people don’t like that brand of basketball and they clearly didn’t co-sign it, so they wanted to let me know that they had no part in what was taking place.”
Now former Nuggets coach George Karl, who was fired after third-seeded Denver was bounced by the Warriors, claims Andre Iguodala was the “mole,” according to a blog post from former Denver sportswriter and current radio host Dave Krieger.
The salient points from that conversation:
Q: Do you think Andre Iguodala was Mark Jackson’s “mole”?
A: No question.
Q: Does that bug you?
A: I just think that’s media hype. I mean, that series was not a physical series. Everybody wants to be more aggressive with the guy kicking your ass, so … .”
Q: The media didn’t say it. Jackson said it.
A: I thought Mark had a lot of tricks in that series that were bush- … I don’t know. I don’t know what they were. Almost high-schoolish. They were beneath the NBA level. And they might have worked. They might have motivated his young team in a good way. You know, he’d announce a starting lineup and start another guy. C’mon, man. You think we’re not ready for that?
The wrinkle, of course, is that Iguodala wound up with the Warriors this season as part of a sign-and-trade free agent deal with the Nuggets and the Utah Jazz.
Intriguing, to be sure.
It could make that Dec. 23 return trip to the Pepsi Center—Golden State’s first visit there since Game 5 last spring—intriguing as well.
Of course, not as intriguing it would be if, you know, George Karl was still employed in Denver.