A little more than six hours after the Spurs beat the Western Conference's top team with Manu Ginobili sidelined, newly minted TV analyst Chris Mullin awaited a flight at the Oklahoma City airport and talked about the trade that made the Spurs a legitimate title contender.

R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich had just talked the Warriors out of Stephen Jackson, a player the former Warriors general manager loved having on his team for two-plus seasons. Mullin shook his head as he talked nuances of the deal that brought Jackson to the Alamo City for Richard Jefferson, T.J. Ford and a draft pick.

"Pop's the best," he said of the Spurs' coach and president of basketball operations. "I guarantee you 'Jack' is going to help the Spurs because he loves playing for Pop. I know Jack was one of my favorite players, too."