Mark Jackson frustrated with Warriors’ effort

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Golden State had some dramatic and exciting comebacks at home recently, but those have masked some bigger issues.

‘The Warriors are 4-6 in their last 10, basically playing teams even, not hitting threes at the pace they used to but mostly not playing defense as well as they did at the start of the season (they are giving up almost 9 more points per 100 possessions the last 10 games compared to their first 10 this season).

Coach Mark Jackson thinks it’s about effort and said so following Sunday’s loss to a hard-working Suns team, as reported by CSNBayArea.com.

“We are not playing 48 minutes with a sense of urgency,” Jackson said. “That’s the disappointing part. Right now, I would say it’s not a slow start. We’re not playing with a sense of urgency.

“We came in talking about being the hardest-working team because (Phoenix) plays extremely hard and they’re talented. And we did not do that. I’m disappointed and we’ve got to find answers, individually and collectively.

“I’m finding that the guys in suits and ties want it more than the guys in the uniforms.”

First, this team misses Andre Iguodala a lot. They miss the versatile game he brought — he could give them perimeter defense, threes, shot creation, whatever they needed. His return in the next couple weeks could change things.

Jackson also needs to look in the mirror here, however.

The guys in the suits are not sticking with the players that give them the effort they want — Draymond Green, Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore played well off the bench Sunday, they played good defense. But rather than stick with what works Jackson sticks with his rotation, putting David Lee back in to watch Channing Frye shoot threes while not closing out. Well, the rotation except for Andrew Bogut, a good defensive big who was benched most of the second half of the fourth quarter.

Golden State is going to turn this around, they are a good team. But it’s all about the defensive end of the court — the players need to play more focused on that end, Jackson needs to trust the guys that are.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.