Doc Rivers concerned about Mark Jackson’s firing, vulnerability of NBA coaches

When coach Doc Rivers met with reporters about 1:15 Pacific time on Tuesday in Oklahoma City, he had yet to hear that Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson had been fired.

The Warriors took the Clippers to seven games in their recently concluded first-round Western Conference playoff series. It marked the first time the Warriors had made the post-season in consecutive seasons since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 campaigns. Rivers was stunned.

“That means things are crazy,” Rivers said. “George Karl was the Coach of the Year last year and got fired. Mark Jackson gets a team to multiple playoffs for the first time in a thousand years, and gets fired. It’s our job. We have a tough job and I think everyone knows it now more than ever.”

Rivers was asked if something has changed over the years regarding coaches and their vulnerability.

“Yeah, clearly, but I don’t know what IT is,” he said. “But something has absolutely changed. And I don’t know what it is, but clearly the patience has changed. But I don’t know why that would be impatience because they’ve done pretty well for the last couple of years. So, I don’t know, but there definitely is a change in thinking about us, and it’s hurting us.”

Mark Jackson: Don’t compare Stephen Curry to Michael Jordan, because he’s no Jordan

Golden State’s Stephen Curry took only 10 shots in a Game 5 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Tuesday. He scored a rather insignificant 17 points. Two days earlier, in Game 4 at Oracle Arena this past Sunday, Curry took 20 shots and had 33 points in the Warriors’ victory.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson was asked ahead of Game 6 on Thursday at Oracle Arena if he would like to see Curry take a few more shots early so as to kind of jump-start his team.

“I want him to be aggressive, but I want him to be smart,” Jackson said of his best player. “Do what the defense dictates, and he’s done a great job of doing just that. I think it’s important for us to get stops, and it makes it easier for him to get it going in transition.
But they do a good job in half court sets trapping him and forcing him to get rid of the basketball. But I fully expect him to be more aggressive.”

Another reporter (not this one) then had this question for Jackson: “Do you think if they’re trapping him and double-teaming him, you like him to pass it off? It seems to me sometimes that in a playoff game superstars emerge and assert themselves. I don’t think Michael Jordan said, ‘I’ll just pass the ball.’ They sort of take over. Isn’t this the time for Stephen Curry to take over.”

Jackson, respectfully, came right back.

“I appreciate that question, but this just in – Steph Curry is not Michael Jordan. He’s not my Michael Jordan. He’s not anybody’s Michael Jordan. I love him to death and he’s a heck of a basketball player. At the end of the day, Michael Jordan is 6-7, freak athlete, tremendous strength, cat-like quickness, the ability to maneuver, get to his spots and, in spite of great defense, shoot over them.

“Steph Curry is being trapped by a 7-foot freak athlete in (DeAndre) Jordan, or a 6-10 freak athlete in Blake (Griffin) along with a big-time defender at the point guard position in (Chris) Paul and whoever. There are times he (Curry) is going to be aggressive. Then there are times he’s going to look to make plays. I would argue the case that being too aggressive can force turnovers also. So he’s got to use wisdom, and I have confidence that he’ll do just that.”

Curry had eight turnovers Tuesday.


Mark Jackson applauds the play of Blake Griffin in 98-96 victory over Warriors

Blake Griffin scored a game-high 32 points in the Clippers’ 98-96 victory over the host Golden State Warriors on Thursday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Griffin made 15 of 25 from the field.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson was impressed.

“He’s playing at a high level right now,” Jackson said. “He’s making plays and making shots and we are forcing him to be a jump-shooter and he’s making jump shots. He’s having an outstanding series capping off an outstanding year. We gave him different looks and he’s making tough shots.”

Game 4 is Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena.

Griffin, by the way, played 43 minutes and 44 seconds.