From way downtown, George Karl took his shot Thursday night and dragged Mark Jackson while he was at it.
The former Nuggets coach was apparently watching the Lakers and Trail Blazers on ESPN when Jackson, a color commentator for the game, brought up Carmelo Anthony’s improved defensive effort that had been criticized in the past. When Jeff Van Gundy countered that the past criticism was warranted, Jackson responded, “then there’s a shared responsibility for whoever allowed that defense to be played.”
That caught the attention of Karl — Anthony’s coach on the Nuggets for seven seasons — who came back with a tweet defending himself.
“I heard @MarkJackson13 is taking shots at my defensive coaching during tonight’s broadcast,” Karl tweeted. “Remind me, how many all-star teams did you coach, Mark? How many DPOYs [Defensive Players of the Year? How many Finals appearances? How many of my teams became dynasties right after I left?”
The last question was the real dagger, referring to the Warriors dynasty taking off after they fired Jackson and hired Steve Kerr in 2014.
Jackson later tweeted back at Karl, insisting he wasn’t trying to throw him under the bus.
“Wasn’t even thinking of u!” Jackson tweeted. “Btw I never lost to u in the playoffs as a Player or as a Coach! God Bless u and urs!”
Jackson’s Warriors beat Karl’s Nuggets in the 2013 playoffs.
For his own part, Karl has been one of the past critics of Anthony’s defense. He wrote about it in his 2017 book, “Furious George.”
“He really lit my fuse with his low demand of himself on defense,” Karl wrote. “He had no commitment to the hard, dirty work of stopping the other guy. My ideal — probably every coach’s ideal — is when your best player is also your leader. But since Carmelo only played hard on one side of the ball, he made it plain he couldn’t lead the Nuggets, even though he said he wanted to. Coaching him meant working around his defense and compensating for his attitude.
“I want as much effort on defense — maybe more — as on offense. That was never going to happen with Melo, whose amazing ability to score with the ball made him a star but didn’t make him a winner. Which I pointed out to him. Which he didn’t like.”
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