Kenneth Faried was pretty mad after his Denver Nuggets lost Game 4 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series to the Golden State Warriors. How mad? This mad:
Yep, that's a hole in the wall just inside the door of the visitors' locker room at Oracle Arena in Oakland, which the power forward admitted came from one of his size 16s after Sunday's 115-101 loss.
“I hate losing with a passion. I hate losing more than I like winning,” Faried said, according to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, who snapped the shot above. And now that the visitors' locker room wall knows that, it's sure to avoid messing with the Manimal in the future.
Just one problem: Hasn't Faried been working with a sprained left ankle that cost him the last two games of the Nuggets' regular season and the first game of the playoffs, and has clearly hampered him at times over the last four games? More from Hochman:
Asked if he used his injured left foot or his right foot to kick the hole, Faried said, “I don’t know, I just kicked it, I was mad.” (Faried is right-handed, so one would assume he’s also right-footed.)
Oh. OK, then.
Faried's been mad for most of this series — at his health, at his opponents and at the circumstances in which his team finds itself, according to Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post:
"It's extremely frustrating," Faried said Sunday. "Especially when it's taking away my most powerful weapon — my legs. I've just got to fight through it and hopefully I'll be all right." [...]
"I don't think for the rest of this year I'm going to be my like old self," he said. "Still hurting, but I'm fighting through it. My team needs me and needs me to step up big. I'm trying to slowly but surely do what I need to do to help us win." [...]
"I'm getting hit by three to four people, getting grabbed by the collar, getting my jersey almost torn off my body each and every possession," he said. "I've just got to keep going."
Clearly, that collected frustration boiled over on a night that saw the 6-foot-8 sophomore tally eight points and 12 rebounds, but struggle to overcome both the physicality of resurgent Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12 points on 6 for 9 shooting, five rebounds, two blocks and two huge dunks that helped galvanize the Oracle faithful) and the tenacity of reserve forwards Carl Landry and Draymond Green (30 combined points on 11 for 19 shooting).
It's not hard to understand why Faried and his fellow Nuggets would be frustrated after watching Stephen Curry continue his torrid shooting, tossing up a brilliant 22-point third quarter that completely changed the game.
"The effort of coming back and trying to keep playing, it was there," Faried said after the game, according to Antonio Gonzalez of The Associated Press. "But when they come down and just hit 3s when you've just crossed half-court, you can't scheme around that. You can't stop that. We just have to find a way to not let them do that.
Understandable or not, one suspects Denver coach George Karl might not be quite so thrilled at his power forward's preferred method of expressing his anger. With the Nuggets now needing to win the last three games of this series to avoid the upset and advance to a second-round matchup with the sure-to-be-well-rested San Antonio Spurs, the Nuggets will need to summon all the poise they can muster before Tuesday night's Game 5 if they hope to become the ninth NBA team ever to overcome a 3-1 postseason deficit — and, at least according to his Twitter account, Faried seems to get that.
Another tough L SMFH need to regroup at home & do what got is here do or die time!!
— Kenneth Faried (@KennethFaried35) April 29, 2013
As for the hole itself, a big question remains: Will the Oracle Arena maintenance crew patch up the drywall to make the visiting locker room neat and tidy for its next inhabitant — either the Nuggets for an if-necessary Game 6 return on Thursday or the Spurs for Game 3 of the second round? Or will they allow Faried's footprint to remain untouched, as they did with the gash left by the trash can that Dirk Nowitzki heaved against the wall after the eighth-seeded Warriors upset his top-ranked Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 postseason? (A "We Believe" T-shirt from the '07 playoff run now hangs over that hole, with Dirk's autograph, inscribed last year, underneath it.) I'm not a betting man, but I'm guessing nobody will be rushing to make any repairs.
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