The postgame quotes from an NBA game run the gamut of being open and honest to evasive and nonsensical, which is why we’re here to translate what various participants really meant to say after Nick Young answered a furious Russell Westbrook rally with a 3-point dagger to beat OKC on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Below are a series of quotes from Luke Walton, Swag El (Young), Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams, Russell Westbrook and Billy Donovan, followed by what they actually meant to say (in our opinion).
Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton
(On Young’s dagger 3)
Actual Quote: “I told him, if you are going to steal a pass you better make the shot. It was a pretty incredible shot by him. Obviously, one of the reasons we like Nick on the court at the end of the game is because he is not afraid of the moment. He loves the moment. He made a big shot for us.”
Translation: If Nick didn’t hit that shot, I’d have pulled him aside for a serious conversation. … OK, scratch that. That’s not my style. I’d have been chill even if he bricked the 3. The players love me for a reason.
(On Westbrook in crunch time)
Actual Quote: “He had some really tough shots. I thought we did a really good job on rushing most of the night, just making it hard on him. I’ve said it before, you’re never going to shut down a superstar, but it’s all about how hard you make them work.”
Translation: What was I supposed to draw up to deal with that dude? He was draining fade-away and pull-up 3’s over extended hands during a barrage that dropped us down to 26th in defensive efficiency … but at least we’re up to seventh in offense!
(On facing Golden State)
Actual Quote: “I told the guys it’s us and the Spurs who have beaten them and we beat them last year, so they are probably the ones that are a little nervous right now.”
Translation: You guys understand sarcasm, right? Since we held them to 97 on Steph and Klay’s collective worst shooting night ever, they’ve averaged 120.6 ppg in eight straight blowout wins. This won’t exactly be our easiest back-to-back of the year.
(On his Spanish PG stepping up in D’Angelo Russell’s absence)
Actual Quote: “I thought José [Calderón] did a great job filling in. He hit big shots, but not only that, the way he was getting the guys involved, moving the ball, and defensively competing to beat his tail off. He was great. I was a little worried, I walked by him after the game and he already had an ice pack on so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow but he was great.”
Translation: José was WORKING out there! He legit had his leg in a compression cold pack before the media entered the locker room. It might be Marcelo Huertas time in the Bay!
Lakers G/F Nick Young
(On his game-winning shot)
Actual Quote: “The play was designed to… someone else. I think they should have given me a steal for that! We worked hard tonight; it came down to a big shot. I was in the way, stole the ball from Lou [Williams], he let me know after the game. He told me I was lucky I made it.”
Translation: There’s a reason Snoop called me Swag El while doing play-by-play for my dagger in Atlanta!!!! There’s a reason I used to keep my right arm free of tattoos because it was intended to be used strictly for buckets, baby! *Does Ice In My Veins Motion*
(On legendary Lakers shots)
Actual Quote: “It meant a lot: I remember watching the Robert Horry shot, Kobe and Derek Fisher’s 0.4 second shot. You know, mine is kind of unique, I stole it from my own teammate. It wasn’t designed for me, but that should go down in history.”
(Editor’s note: This quote needs no translation. Legendary.)
Lakers G Jordan Clarkson
(On playing in high intensity games)
Actual Quote: “Nick came through with a big shot, I think he stole somebody’s shot, I think they cheated him on the stat sheet, didn’t give him a steal. He made a big shot, it was a great feeling to win that game.”
Translation: Man, I love Uncle P. I don’t know what to tell you guys. He found a way to make hitting a game-winning 3-pointer funny and weird.
(On how the team slowed down Russell Westbrook)
Actual Quote: “Nick did a really good job with him the whole game; I think he shot 13/30 tonight. He just did a good job on both ends, made some big shots, got into it defensively. Timofey [Mozgov] challenged him at the rim, trying to make him take tough shots, it was a good team effort.”
Translation: You guys keep thinking we’re kidding, but Nick’s actually good at defense! For real! Sure, nobody could have guarded Russ once he got rolling late, but still!
Lakers G Lou Williams
(On Nick Young stealing the ball)
Actual Quote: “He can say that because he made the shot. If he missed the shot, the narrative would have been different. Everybody knows Nick. He’s half serious, always never, if that makes sense. He’s never serious, but like I said, he made a big shot, apologized, and we are going to move on.”
Translation: I think you all know what “half serious, always never” means, … Wait you don’t? OK, let me try this: Literally everything Nick ever says must be taken with a grain of salt because he’s at least 50 percent joking. Is that better? Also, if he had missed that shot, I’d have actually been mad. At least for a few minutes. Good luck trying to stay mad at Nick.
Thunder G Russell Westbrook
(On the Lakers’ performance)
Actual Quote: “They played well.”
Translation: If you guys know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of elaborating upon things my opponent did well. That’s your job.
(On Nick Young’s game-winning shot)
Actual Quote: “I haven’t seen it. When I see it, I’ll see what happened.”
Translation: I hated it.
Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan
(On Nick Young’s game winning 3-pointer)
“We got behind the play and right when the play started we had an opportunity to switch, and we didn’t switch correctly. We had two guys go to one and try to come back and then Jerami [Grant] got shot faked, the guy drove the ball and made an extra pass, so we got behind the play. Listen, Young made a tough shot it wasn’t like he took a lay-up. He made a very deep, fall away three so give him credit for putting the ball in the basket.”
Translation: I hated it.
(On not closing out the game)
“I thought our defense today was better and I know the points allowed is way too many but a lot of that is the 3-point line and they made a lot of 3's.”
Translation: Look, folks, I don’t know what you want me to do about Nick Young intercepting a pass intended for his teammate. We didn’t have that one in our scouting report, OK!