Rivers: Jackson brings 'toughness' mindset to Warriors

Rivers: Jackson brings 'toughness' mindset to Warriors
February 28, 2013, 7:00 pm
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WALTHAM — More than 20 years ago, Clippers guard Doc Rivers was part of a three-team trade that sent him to the Knicks and Mark Jackson back to the Clippers.

Friday night the two coaches will go head-to-head from the sidelines.

Rivers is a proven NBA coach who prides himself on the way his teams play defense. Jackson is in just his second year in the NBA as a coach, and if you look at his team's performances over the last two seasons, defense certainly doesn't come to mind.

That isn't to say that Jackson isn't learning as a coach, and instilling his style into his players. Take February 5, 2013 for example. The Warriors were in the process of being blown out by the Rockets in Houston. Golden State dropped 109 points . . . and still lost by 31 points.

But it was in those closing minutes that you could see Jackson's real mark. Houston was one three-pointer shy of the all-time record (24) with more than three minutes left in the game. It was clear that the Warriors couldn't defend the three, but it was also clear that there was no way they were going to let the Rockets get the record at their expense. The Warriors fouled. And fouled. And fouled. They may have gotten blown out, but they didn't give up any records.

“We’re not going to lie down,” a heated Jackson said after that game. “I was an old-school basketball player. I’m an old-school coach. If you can’t appreciate that, that’s on you. If you’re going to try to get the record, we’re going to stop you. … I would expect nothing less if I was on the other side.”

“If you’re going to try to shoot threes, we’re going to run you off the line. We’re developing something here, and we’re awfully proud of it.”

Golden State shouldn't be proud of their overall defensive performance this season - they rank 25th in the NBA in points allowed (101.6) - but their 33-25 record is something to brag about.

"I think [Jackson's] done a terrific job. Last year too," Rivers said. "Last year you could see the markings of what was going to happen this year. They didn't win a lot, they didn't make the playoffs, but you could kind of feel it coming with what he was doing. He adopted a good offensive team, he's made them better. But what I think he's adopted is he's kind of brought in to them now their mindset of toughness, their defense, and being able to score with that makes them really good."

As far as Jackson calling himself "old school", Rivers agrees with that.

"Well, he's old, so he should call him that," Rivers joked. "He's not a young player. They showed a clip of him [Wednesday]. There's no way he could wear that same uniform. That's all I'm going to say (laughs)."