Raptors revel in Fred VanVleet’s backcourt shot, Game 3 win over Nets

Raptors guards Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry

In 2013, the Mark Jackson-coached Warriors upset the George Karl-coached Nuggets in the first round. After the season, Andre Iguodala left Denver for Golden State in free agency. Karl accused Iguodala of being Jackson’s mole during the playoff series.

Karl and Jackson clearly haven’t moved past their feud.

Commentating during the Lakers’ Game 2 win over the Trail Blazers last night, Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy discussed Carmelo Anthony‘s defense.

Jorge Alonso of BroBible:

Jackson:

People who killed Carmelo Anthony in the past for his defense and whatever, they were wrong. This guy is picking up LeBron James full-court. He’s overmatched.

Van Gundy:

I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree that they were wrong. This is a change. This is different. This is putting more into the defense. Maybe before, he didn’t play as hard defensively.

Jackson:

Then, there’s a shared responsibility for whoever allowed that defense to be played. Because for some reason, he has bought in with this culture. And he’s committed to it.

Karl – who coached Anthony on the Nuggets – took exception.

Karl:

Jackson:

I didn’t think Jackson was taking a shot at Karl. I took it as criticism of Anthony’s more recent coaches, Mike D’Antoni (with Rockets and Knicks) and Billy Donovan (with Thunder).

Anthony’s defensive effort has improved with Portland. He’s not a great defender by any means. But the 36-year-old has exceed expectations – particularly in this series when matched up with LeBron.

Nobody deserves more blame for Anthony’s prior defensive shortcomings – and credit for Anthony’s improved defensive commitment – than Anthony himself.

Maybe Anthony’s prior coaches could’ve inspired this level of defensive intensity from Anthony sooner. Karl recognized the problem, but he couldn’t reach Anthony enough to fix it.

Yet, it falls primarily on the player. After falling out of the league, Anthony has clearly altered his approach. Again, he deserves credit for that.

That said, whatever other issues Jackson had as a coach, he built a stout defense around players not typically focused on that end of the floor. Karl’s dynasty comment stings. But Jackson outshined Karl in that facet of coaching.

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