NBA Life with Matt Bonner: Exhausted Spurs see winning streak end
Shots weren't falling for Matt Bonner at Madison Square Garden, and the New York Knicks snapped the Spurs' seven-game winning streak with a 100-83 triumph on Thursday night. Bonner, a Concord native, was 0-for-6 from the floor in a wild night at the Big Apple. Spurs forward Stephen Jackson fell into a courtside waitress and sprained his ankle, and the Red Rocket toppled onto three fans sitting next to the court.
Sunday News: What happened against the Knicks?
Matt Bonner: We just didn't have the juice. We played our fourth game in five nights after getting in late off the road, I think it showed. We didn't play with the energy we normally do. You have to hand it to the Knicks. They played great and made every shot in the second half and put us away.
SN: Are the Knicks for real?
MB: They have a lot of length. They can switch on pick and rolls and do a really good job guarding the paint. They don't give you anything inside. At least that's what they did to us. They can hit shots. J.R. Smith was a huge X Factor coming off the bench. They have a lot of good pieces, and they are well coached.
SN: Did you land on any celebrities while crashing into the front row?
MB: Considering they were kicking our butts, I didn't stop to see who I landed on.
SN: There is a story about Jackson and coach Gregg Popovich having a rap showdown in the locker room earlier this season. Can you provide some insight on these two unknown rappers? There have been only bits of information reported on this.
MB: I can give you some insider information. The originator of this whole story was (my sister) Becky Bonner, who emailed me a Popovich video that was put together by an Israeli rap group. It was well done, really funny. I recommend you check it out on YouTube. I went to the assistant coaches because I had this juicy video that was really funny with coach Pop. We were going to surprise everyone and put it into the scouting tape for the next game, so when he hit play, it would play that video.
I think we lost the game on the day I gave them the video, so it probably wasn't a good idea (for the scouting tape). We'd just lost. You have to pick your battles when it comes to that type of stuff. We sat on it for a couple weeks. I think Pop ended up seeing it, and they decided to put together that whole scenario with Stephen Jackson in order to make it funny.
It was all an act. Pop showed some clips of Jackson getting beat and not boxing out. (Jackson) reacted and said, "I don't even need basketball. I'm a rap star." The video guy put on one (Jackson's) video. After about 30 seconds, Pop stopped it and said, "You think you're so bad? I have my own rap video, too." Then he played the Popovich video and everyone was dying.
SN: What is Pop's sense of humor like?
MB: He has an incredibly dry, New England-sarcastic sense of humor. A lot of teams he'll keep you off-balance because you don't know if he is serious or joking. It's a lot of being around him.
SN: You must be pretty happy with the Patriots right now.
MB: Yeah, they lucked out with Houston losing three out of their last four. They got an extra week of rest and preparation. You have to be excited and confident going into the playoffs. Bill Belichick is a big-picture kind of guy. He's been working toward this moment the whole season. They have a really good chance to go all the way again.
SN: How important was it for Rob Gronkowski to get some playing time before coming back for the playoffs?
MB: It was great for him to get that game under his belt. It's huge to come back and play a live game before the playoffs. Having to come back from injuries myself, at the professional level, it's important to get out there and get your rhythm and confidence back and work on timing. As for his speed and explosiveness, he's got enough time to keep working on that with the bye week.
Matt Bonner discusses The NBA Life each week with radio broadcaster Chris Ryan and New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Kevin Gray, and the interview appears weekly in the N.H. Sunday News.