Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson: Clippers fans should boycott Game 5 due to Donald Sterling allegations


Mark Jackson appeared on the Dan Patrick Show, and Patrick asked the Warriors coach whether he could coach the Clippers if Donald Sterling remained the team’s owner. Jackson:

I cannot be the head coach of the Clippers. Like I said, there’d have to be some dialogue. I believe that people can be changed and healed and saved and delivered. It’d have to be some dialogue, and it’d have to be a process with him wanting him wanting to change his thought process and his beliefs. But as it is right now, I could not coach for him.

Patrick also asked how the players should respond to the allegations:

People probably pressured and said the Clippers should boycott and all that. I didn’t agree with that at all. At the end of the day, you’ve got some young, successful guys that dreamed of playing at this level. You’ve got a coach that dreamed of coaching at this level. And they’re being paid very well to do it.

If I were a fan – I’m being paid. Now I’m paying to watch – I wouldn’t show up to the Staples Center. In an ideal world, I’d prefer the Clippers and the Warriors play in the Staples Center with no fans. That made a statement. That speaks volumes. It could be on TV, and we could treat it like it’s normal, but I think it would make a heck of a statement saying you won’t tolerate what was allegedly said.

To everyone telling the Clippers’ players, coaches and fans what to do – shut up.

It’s so easy to give those directions when you don’t have to take the downside of them.

But try being in those shoes. It’s not so easy. These are extraordinary circumstances. There’s no roadmap for how to respond here.

Jackson’s response on coaching the Clippers bothers me, because he doesn’t have to make that choice. Doc Rivers has a nice salary, front-office control and a championship-caliber team. He’s supposed to throw all that away because Sterling allegedly said something racist? That’s a judgment Rivers should make for himself, because he’s the only person in position to do so. It’s completely unfair for Jackson to apply peer pressure for a certain outcome.

But Jackson’s suggestion for fans is even worse, because it would benefit him directly by removing Golden State’s homecourt disadvantage in this series.

Do I think Jackson is being purposefully self-serving? No, though I won’t completely rule it out. But that his suggestion helps the Warriors must be taken into account.

It’s not a money thing. Those Game 5 tickets are already sold. Sterling is getting that cash.

Why didn’t Jackson advocate a fan boycott of Game 4 in Oakland? That would have sent a message, and like Game 5, not affect the gate revenue for any owner.

Jackson is pushing a principled stance of boycotting – one he’s strongly opposed to for his role in participating in the game – when he doesn’t have to eat his tickets. Playoff tickets don’t come cheap, and I’m sure many fans want to support the players and Rivers. Whether going to the game endorses Sterling is a judgment fans must make for themselves, because they’re the only ones in position to do it.

At least Jackson wasn’t scolding the Clippers’ players for not boycotting. You can find that plenty of other places, though.

Everyone – including Jackson, Chauncey Billups, Jalen Rose, George Hill and Jerryd Bayless – is entitled to their opinion. But they’re not in the shoes of the people they’re speaking for.

The Clippers’ players, coaches and fans are doing the best they can. I have no clue what they should do, and I suspect many of them don’t, either.

It’s so much easier to say what you’d do when you don’t actually have do it. I wish a few more people would acknowledge that before saying what they’d do – because they sure don’t have to follow through.

Chris Paul drops Rudy Gobert with stepback (and Gobert says why)

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When Chris Paul recognized he got matched up with Rudy Gobert in transition, he slowed it down and set it up for an isolation — then used his step back to drop him to the ground and drain the open midrange. It’s one of the better highlight plays from the Clippers this season (and they have more than a few in Lob City).

Did CP3 push off on Gobert? Of course. Welcome to the NBA, every player who drives pushes off (including Gordon Hayward). It looked like to be Gobert tried to sell the contact and didn’t get the call he wanted.

However, after the game Gobert tweeted it was something else entirely.

Either way the Jazz got the win Wednesday night, 102-91, snapping a 13-game losing streak to the Clippers. The Jazz are .500 on the season with the win (7-7), while the Clippers drop back to below .500 (7-8) with some issues to sort out still.

Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: Stories to be thankful for this season

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson
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Happy Thanksgiving. In the spirit of the day, our five takeaways have become five storylines we should be thankful for this young NBA season. We at PBT are thankful to you for being here, reading our work, and, of course, we’re thankful for stuffing (the best part of the Thanksgiving meal). 

1) Record-setting Golden State revolutionizing the game. The Warriors’ revolution will be televised. And copied by half the league or more. Golden State put together the personnel to take full advantage of the current rules (zone defenses, no hand checking on the perimeter), to take what Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash started to do in Phoenix and win with it. Golden State is at the forefront of the small ball revolution sweeping the league because they can make it work — but nobody can quite copy it because nobody has Stephen Curry or Draymond Green. Those guys are the lynchpins. Curry is the perfect modern point guard, one who can shoot the three comfortably out to nearly 30 feet, but can also recognize the defense and set guys up. Green is his dangerous pick-and-roll partner who makes going small work because their defense doesn’t suffer when they do.

Golden State is kind of like Brazil in international soccer — they’re everybody’s second favorite team to watch because they play such a beautiful and entertaining game. And in the case of Golden State they are winning doing it — they are a record-setting 16-0 to start the season after they won the NBA title. They are the bar to clear in the NBA right now.

2) Kristaps Porzingis, Karl-Anthony Towns lead an impressive rookie class. Even Porzingis’ biggest supporters on draft night thought it would be a year or two before he could contribute at the NBA level. Nope, he’s good right now with the potential for greatness. Karl-Anthony Towns had great offensive moves and vision but back at the draft was seen as a defensive project (especially off the ball). Nope, he is an effective rim protector and pick-and-roll defender now who looks like a franchise cornerstone big man (to go with franchise cornerstone wing Andrew Wiggins) in Minnesota. Justise Winslow is already a good NBA defender who can get some points for Miami on offense. Jahlil Okafor is as advertised, a scoring machine when he gets the ball in the post. Emmanuel Mudiay is improving and showing strong NBA potential up in Denver. Stanley Johnson and Frank Kaminsky are already contributing in Detroit and Charlotte, respectively. And the list goes on.

This is a great rookie class that is going to be fun to watch for a long time.

3) Highlights like these. The NBA’s highlight factory is back in full session with plays like these from Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin — and these were just Wednesday night’s plays. It’s like this every night.

4) Paul George is back. This is maybe my favorite story of the young season — I was not sure we’d ever see peak Paul George again after his horrific leg injury playing for Team USA. He is all the way back and more. George has scored at least 25 points in nine straight games, he has developed a much more reliable jump shot, and he can still play lock-down defense. He is back to being an elite player, and with him the Pacers are back to being a good and potentially danger ous playoff team (9-5 so far, with a top five defense). 

5) Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan are defying Father Time. Nowitzki’s jumper seemed to be deserting him in recent seasons, and then this season he has gone and gotten it back — he’s shooting 51 percent from three this season. Teams have to game plan for him again like it’s 2011. Duncan and Manu Ginobili are playing their best ball in years for what felt like it could be the final run for this era of the Spurs — San Antonio has been the second best team in the NBA so far. Duncan is playing great defense and understands what he can still do efficiently on offense. Duncan and Nowitzki could well be All-Stars in the West — and they will have earned it, they deserve it for their play.

LeBron James calls Cavs players’ only meeting after loss to Raptors

LeBron James

Yes, the Cavaliers are 11-4 on the season and on top of the East. Yes, they are outscoring teams by 6.7 points per 100 possessions, which is fourth best in the NBA. They have the third best offense in the league. All that without their starting backcourt (Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert). There are reasons to be optimistic.

But the Cavaliers have a middle-of-the-pack defense and their efforts have been up and down. Wednesday night was one of those down nights, they lost on the road to Toronto, dropping the Cavs to 3-4 outside Quicken Loans Arena. All those losses are to teams in the East.

It was enough for LeBron James and James Jones to call a players-only meeting, reports Dave McMenamin at ESPN.

Following a 103-99 road loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers held a players-only meeting during which LeBron James and James Jones got on the team for its inconsistent play through the Cavs’ 11-4 start to the season, multiple sources told….

“It’s all mindset,” James said after the game, still visibly frustrated. “It comes from within. I’ve always had it; my upbringing had me like that. It’s either you got it or you don’t.”

When asked whether fatigue was a factor, James said, “No. It’s not an excuse.” When another reporter asked whether injuries were to blame, James repeated, “It’s not an excuse.”

Injuries and fatigue did play a role, this was a team without four regular rotation players and that puts more of a burden on everyone else. Players can’t look at it that way, but injuries are a reality and they are impacting the Cavaliers right now.

But I get it. LeBron is trying to set a tone, one he learned in Miami and is now trying to instill in the Cavaliers. It’s about effort, it’s about attention to detail, it’s about building good habits over the course of a season so they can pay off in the playoffs. The Cavs are winning, they look clearly like the best team in the East once healthy, and yet LeBron rightfully isn’t convinced they could beat Golden State or San Antonio right now. The good news is they don’t have to beat them right now, but they need to beat them eventually. The building blocks for that are laid during the season. He wants that building to start going up.

But getting guys healthy would solve a lot of those problems.