Mark Jackson Says He'd Pick LA Clippers Against His Team, Then Beats Them

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 19, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19: Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors speaks to the media before Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers at STAPLES Center on April 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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It's a good thing Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson isn't a betting man.

If he was, he'd find himself in the red thanks to his team's 109-105 win in Game 1 of Golden State's opening-round series with the Los Angeles Clippers.

It's not that Jackson lacks faith in his group, he's a realist. If the former broadcaster was still calling games on the sideline instead of coaching them, he said he would've been among the many analysts who picked the third-seeded Clippers to take this series, via Monte Poole of Comcast SportsNet:

Had he known how the game would play out, he may have been even more inclined to side with Hollywood's finest.

All-Star starter Stephen Curry struggled throughout his 44-plus minutes of floor time. He finished his night with 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting, matching his seven assists with seven turnovers.

Already down rim protector Andrew Bogut (out indefinitely with a fractured rib), Golden State also got just 20 minutes out of perimeter stopper Andre Iguodala. The former All-Star posted just eight points and three assists before fouling out at the 3:04 mark of the fourth quarter.

Yet, the Warriors scraped their way to the narrow victory behind a solid performance from David Lee (20 points, 13 rebounds), a 48-42 edge on the glass and a 32-26 advantage in bench scoring.

Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin fouling out after only 19 minutes of action was a tremendous lift as well.

Luckily, Jackson isn't forced to eat his words. He's savoring the sweet taste of success, instead.

Since he is the Warriors coach and no longer a talking head, he said Golden State was his pick all along, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

In typical Warriors-Clippers fashion—it's the NBA's best rivalry even if no one wants to call it that—Jackson also took the opportunity to do some stirring of the pot.

He said he isn't worried about needing to control his guys in what has been a contentious series over the last two seasons because he has "sane players" on his roster, via Medina:

Given all the bad blood that's been shed between these teams, there's no use for a bandage at this point. Jackson's not-so-subtle jab is par for the course in this slugfest of Western Conference heavyweights.

That's what makes this rivalry as special as it is: Anything can—and does—happen when these Pacific Division foes lock horns.

Up to and including a coach being pleasantly surprised with a win, apparently.