OAKLAND, Calif. -- Just when this Clippers-Warriors series felt ready to shift back to basketball and away from team ownership, Mark Jackson played a little transition game of his own, sending a not-so-subtle message to his own bosses that any thoughts of replacing him could be premature.
It's not as sordid or as scandalous as the controversy that has engulfed Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whose recorded conversations that were leaked over the weekend had the Clippers engaging in silent protests and coach Doc Rivers rethinking the remaining two years on his contract, until commissioner Adam Silver stepped up and used every resource at his disposal to banish Sterling.
With the Warriors, it's more of a typical coach/management split, a feeling that perhaps this relationship has run its course.
Hearing it talked about so candidly after an important win is most unusual, though. It was hard to ignore afterward.
It's OK; there wasn't much to like about Game 6 anyway. Both teams shot below 40 percent and were hampered by foul trouble. Stephen Curry was the only scorer with more than 20 points, but it took him 24 shots to get his 24 points. That was much more efficient than Blake Griffin, who scored 17 on 24 shots. Griffin fouled out and so did teammate J.J. Redick, as well as Golden State's David Lee.
"It wasn't a very well-played game by either team," Rivers said.
It was a tough night for the officials, too, who wanted to let 'em play, then tightened up the calls after Glen Davis rammed into Jermaine O'Neal, who had to be helped off the floor with what the Warriors called a sprained right knee.
Golden State won 100-99, thanks in large part to Draymond Green's well-balanced stat line of 14 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and five steals, in addition to stellar defense on Griffin. The Warriors prevailed in a similar fashion to their victory in a foul-plagued Game 1, and it was an innocent question about the similarities that led Jackson to turn his postgame news conference into a campaign speech.
"I know there are people that want to speed up the process," Jackson said. "This is who we are. Part of the process is going through things, learning how to be consistent. I'm proud of my guys. It's been an incredible, incredible ride. Now against a three seed with two of the top 10 players in the world and a future Hall of Fame coach, we are going to Game 7 in spite of all the sideline music, and I like my chances because I've got a group of guys that want to do whatever it takes to win."
That sideline music is a house mix of rumblings throughout the coaching community that Jackson's job is almost up save anything less than a championship, that the two assistant coaches tossed overboard late in the season represent him bailing out water on a sinking ship. The music comes despite a 51-win season and now a 3-3 playoff series, despite a harmonious chorus of support coming from the locker room.