People that start off a sentence with a line like "I'm not racist, but …" are usually about to say something racist. People that start off a sentence with a line like, "Listen, I love Glen to death, but …" are usually about to say something terrible about Glen. And coaches that start off a sentence with, "We're a no-excuse basketball team …" are usually about to make an excuse about their basketball team. Like, for instance, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who took issues with the refereeing down the stretch of his team's 119-116 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
Here's Jackson, from the San Francisco Chronicle:
"We're a no-excuse basketball team," Jackson said. "Like we say, 'One play doesn't lose it.' But on that play at the end, David Lee gets hammered by James Harden, clearly. We don't get that call. David Lee picks up his fifth foul when he doesn't even put contact on Russell Westbrook, who blatantly fouls Monta Ellis.
"These are calls that you cannot get back, but they hurt us. I don't accept 'My bad' from my players all night long, and it's getting old accepting 'My bad' (from the officials) on missed calls."
Now, as Chronicle beat man Rusty Simmons points out, the Warriors didn't exactly do themselves any favors by doubling up the Thunder in turnovers in the fourth quarter, missing more than 60 percent of their shots along the way. But he also mentions that the Warriors are last in the NBA in foul differential, getting called for six more fouls per game than their opponents on average. This can't all be blamed on the team's pace, either, which is just the ninth-fastest this season after years of racing up the possessions.
This never works, though. Maybe in a seven-game series or following a nationally televised contest in May (NBA TV in February doesn't count), but refs are so interchangeable and overworked in the regular season that kvetching about calls gone wrong isn't going to do much but earn you a small fine and a column reacting to the charges.
Of course, things would look a heck of a lot better if Jackson actually started off his rant without making an excuse about not making excuses before he made an excuse.
Just say it. "I'm making an excuse. The reason we lost was because the refs jobbed us. You know where to find me to fine me, Stu Jackson."
Golden State is now stuck at 8-14, still needing to win about two-thirds of its games from here on out to fulfill Jackson's playoff prediction.