Jackson: 'If we don't fight against big time talent, we don't stand a chance'
Programming note: Coverage of Game 5 between the Warriors and Clippers begins tonight at 7 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (Channel locations)
LOS ANGELES – Every time Warriors coach Mark Jackson is confronted with a question regarding possible dysfunction within his coaching staff and team, he denies it with a shrug.
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, when asked about the same subject, typically responds with sarcastic zingers indicating incredulity.
There it was again on Tuesday, as the Warriors prepared for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series with the Clippers, the topic of dysfunction within the ranks.
[RELATED: Ex-Warriors coach Erman joins Celtics]
"There was no dysfunction,'' Jackson said prior to the team's morning shootaround. "I had a great staff. It's been a great year. And we are 2-2, with an opportunity to win Game 5 against this Clippers team.''
Yet the speculation continues to linger, despite the Warriors being on a run of three consecutive seasons during which they have shown improvement and back-to-back playoff seasons for the first time in 22 years.
The topic was refreshed when former Warriors assistant Darren Erman, fired 23 days ago for what was deemed serious violation of company policy, was re-hired Tuesday by the Celtics. Within minutes, an ESPN report cited unauthorized recordings of conversations among coaches and players as the reason for his dismissal from the Warriors.
"I'm not going to comment on that,'' Jackson said. "Obviously, Erm no longer works for us. And we've made a statement as an organization. And we move forward. This is old news.''
Futhermore, ESPN also reported that the late-March dismissal of another assistant coach, Brian Scalabrine, was demoted as a result of a pattern of disrespecting Jackson and other coaches. One source reportedly said Scalabrine went five weeks without talking with Jackson, and would sit apart from the remaining coaches on team flights.
If true, this would amount to insubordination at the very least. And if this was indicative of Jackson's relationships – or lack of relationships – with his staff, it speaks to a volatility that fosters dysfunction.
"You can make a mistake,'' Jackson said. "That doesn't mean it's my dysfunction.''
Meanwhile, the Warriors-Clippers series renews amid the Donald Sterling controversy so deftly handled on Tuesday by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
"It's been a great year for us on the court and we are together as a staff and as a team,'' Jackson said. "Nothing has changed.''