Saturday, May 15th, 2010 at 9:35 pm  |  47 responses

Steve Nash & Phil Jackson Already Battling

by Ben Osborne

The Western Conference Finals don’t kick off until Monday night (why does that series featuring two teams that haven’t played in a week start after the EC series featuring a Celtic team that just finished playing? I have no idea.), but two of the lead characters in what promises to be a drama-filled series are already tweaking one another.

It started Friday, when Jackson told the media it was hard to practice as if you’re facing Nash because “you can’t carry the ball like he does.”

As Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports, Nash had a good comeback today:

You might say that Phil Jackson is in Steve Nash’s head now, or you might say that Nash’s cleverness comes across in words as well as on the court.

In any case, Nash had a fun retort to Jackson’s comment Friday about Nash illegally carrying the ball. Said Nash on Saturday: “The best coach in the league, Gregg Popovich, didn’t have a problem with it last week.”

Jackson’s Lakers are in the Western Conference finals and Popovich’s Spurs aren’t. When told of Nash’s comment, Jackson said: “I didn’t complain about it. Did you hear me complain about it?”

Jackson also laughed as he reminded that Popovich called Nash “the head of the snake” and had strategized about how “you had to eliminate the head of the snake.” But Jackson added: “Pop’s a great coach, no doubt.”

By the often-boring standards of post-practice quotes in the NBA, this little back-and-forth is pretty amusing, but we’ll be more excited when there is some new action on the court.

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  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    Let the games begin.

  • Diesel

    Nash isn’t some newbie player or a ref trying to keep his job. I don’t think jackson is going to get in his head.

  • Diesel

    Nash isn’t some newbie player or a ref trying to keep his job. I don’t think jackson is going to get in his head.

  • http://twitter.com/PDXGayBBall dma

    yes, and kobe never carries.

  • joe A

    Ahh, the irony. The man who coached Jordan, Shaq, and Kobe complaining yet again of the preferential treatment of the other team’s superstar.

  • mike

    It’s getting old Phil…

  • Robb

    the Suns have no chance

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  • Ruben

    NASH 1 PHIL 0
    and an the end it will be Suns 4 Fakers 0

  • Ruben

    NASH 1 PHIL 0
    and an the end it will be Suns 4 Fakers 0

  • Joey E.

    more like Phil 10 Nash 0

  • http://albayanos.com LeoneL

    Nash wins.

  • Rj

    Joey E. wins.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    there was some great footage of the Phoenix youngin’s practicing shooting with an eye patch on, and they were chucking airballs and exclaiming “how the hell did Nash do that?”

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    if L.A. wins this series people will think this kind of move makes him a genius, actually he is a genius. but this kind “getting to others minds” things makes him actually lesser than Mike Brown.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    So is Nash saying that Gentry ISN’T the best coach in the league? No way

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Greg Popovich IS the best coach in the league. Just sayin’..

  • Elias

    Joey E just owned Ruben. About to go 11-0.

  • Justin

    I think way too much is being read into it. Phil knows he’s not getting into Nash’s head. And Nash being Nash came back with a funny line of his own. No big deal here. By the way, even if Phil was trying to play mind games, it doesn’t make him any lesser of a coach or person. It’s worked a bunch of times before and it will work again (not in this case of course). Phil is a genius at getting inside the heads of other players, coaches, and refs

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Nash is clever, after that barely veiled compliment (great comeback, Steve-O) Pop has no choice but to call off his KGB wetworks squad that was tasked with bringing him Nash’s head on a stick. (yours too, Goran!)

  • http://www.nbaballhog.wordpress.com God in Basketball Shoes

    Phil Jackson’s comments get taken too seriously. Everyone is saying Phil was trying to get in Nash’s head while Nash was just being funny and kidding around. How do you know Phil wasn’t doing the same thing, just in a dryer tone? Phil is actually a pretty funny guy in his own way. Keep it coming Phil

  • Roc

    Phil will be having the last laugh this series. 4-1…

  • http://stokely-carmichael.com Stokely

    They got size, but we got a TEAM! Go SUNS!!!

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    Im biased towards Nash cause of his game/seems like such a cool and funny dude and THAT WAS a great comeback, but Phil is a clever mofo, thats fosho, and hes just bored with so many off days, not like the Durant thing, he knows hes not getting in Stevie´s head, an old vet..4-2 fakers prolly…COMPELING FINALS C´S/LA. SPECTACULAR BASKETBALL ORL/PHX…like last year, my Blazers were ousted early so MMAAGGIICC ALL DA WAY

  • BostonBaller

    P Jax was just doing his thing and keeping it light and Nashty was just being himself and being witty. No harm no foul. As far as his comments making him less than Brown…ouch, come on J, I know you still may be a bit miffed at being out of it. I think it’s a conspiracy that we play so soon after closing out the series and the west has to wairt too long after they both closed theirs out a month ago. lol. jk

  • baller

    why does phil jackson try to get into the heads of the star player that he is versing in the upcoming series? (kevin durant, now steve nash)

  • josh

    Baller, isnt that fairly obvious? To win maybe? GO SUNS

  • Rich

    theyre obviously jokin around,if he wanted to play mind games hed do it to the younger amare who will be playin against gasol and whatever is left of bynum’s knee. this will be a good series if robin lopez can come back and play more than 5 minutes at a time,
    BTW, does ne1 think they will have kobe or artest on nash for a long period of time?

  • The Philosopher

    Nash is the best shooting point guard in NBA history next to Mark Price.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Funny stuff. And pop is a better coach than phil. There is nothing zen about phil and his actions. Constantly complaining about refs and star treatment for the other team, gtfoh. He is antizen. Anyways, this will be a fun series

  • J-Bird

    Pop is a better coach than Phil. People heap praise on Phil, but he’s still insecure.

  • The Philosopher

    Phil is the greatest coach in NBA history.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Phil is a great coach , but he is also most overrated coach in nba history

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I don’t think Phil could have won 4 championships with Tim Duncan.. Just saying.

  • TheFro

    Right, Kobe and MJ never carried the ball.

    Nash wins.

  • TheFro

    @baller: I don’t think he’s trying to get in Nash’s head as much as he’s trying to play the refs.

  • kobeismypuppy

    do i leave my already pregnant girlfiend or just stay with her ugly ass?

  • Logues

    im not saying phil is overrated at all, but he coached two of the best duos in nba history. the greatest player ever and argubly the most dominant center ever, and another top 10 player of all time. he has coached 3 top 10 players of all time in my opinion, and another top 50 player. i’d say he isnt the only coach that couldve won that many rings with those players

  • vtrobot

    i don’t get why phil ALWAYS has to play the classless high school B*TCH role. f*ck you, phil. f*ck you, LA. this is why we all love to watch you lose. i enjoy watching phil, lamar, kobe, and fish lose more than i enjoy watching my team win. you’re all one big collective b*tch. f*ck rings. how about class? i really hope the classiest ball carrier in the league runs you whining f*cking b*tch *ss pr*cks out of the playoffs. if not, the C’s will f*cking hammer you.

  • Logues

    ^i also love seeing them lose and i agree with the very last part bout the c’s

  • ripslam

    Artest won’t be on Nash. Nash isn’t enough of a superstar to warrant Ron Artest. Kobe maybe, but I don’t think Artest will check him.

  • J-Bird

    Does that mean that Grant Hill and Channing Frye are superstars?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Grant Hill in his prime would step all over the Laker’s defense.

  • http://slamonline.com J Dizzle

    vtrobot, you would really rather watch a team lose than see your team win? Not very fan-like. I bet teams love having die hard fans like you. Most fans have teams they like to see lose, but to want that more than a win for your team is lame in every respect. F*ck rings? Says the fake fan whose team probably has no rings. Makes sense now. Go watch some soccer.

  • Clipperfan

    Nash won this! lol

  • vtrobot

    @ j dizzle: i’m a fan of the game first and foremost and that’s why phil’s behavior bothers me. yes, sometimes the actions of some people on the lakers make it very enjoyable to watch them lose. as enjoyable as watching my team win? maybe not quite. maybe i was exaggerating a little for effect. still, it’s very fun to watch somebody pompous and ungracious fail. i imagine that a lot of people probably share a similar feeling towards KG. give me jerry sloan. give me pop. phil = SVG with a better stylist and some more rings and it’s too bad that it’s that way.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Grant Hill in his prime = tied for best SF in the league at that time with Scottie Pippen.