Jeff Van Gundy

Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy disagree on Steph Curry's rebounding skill


Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy disagree on Steph Curry's rebounding skill

Mark Jackson coached Stephen Curry for three seasons, so he knows the Warriors superstar pretty well. That made Jackson's comments regarding Curry's rebounding ability during the early moments of Game 3 interesting.

When Curry grabbed a rebound 75 seconds into Saturday night's Western Conference finals contest, ESPN broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy said Curry was a "great rebounder." Jackson disagreed.

Here's the conversation that involved ESPN's play-by-play announcer Mike Breen:

Van Gundy: "He's a great rebounder."

Jackson: "There you go again. He's a very good rebounder."

Van Gundy: "He's great."

Jackson: "No, no. Seriously. Jason Kidd is a great rebounding guard. Russell Westbrook is a great rebounding guard. Steph Curry is a very good rebounding guard."

Breen: "He is second on the team in rebounding during the playoffs."

Jackson: "Can we wait until he says I'm right?"

Van Gundy: "I stand corrected."

Let's look at the numbers.

Curry's best rebounding season came in 2015-16, when he averaged 5.4 boards per game. This past season, he pulled down 5.3 and was fourth among all point guards. For his career, Curry's averaging 4.5 per game.

Westbrook is the class of all rebounding guards in today's game. In each of the last three seasons, the Thunder star has averaged double-digit rebounds. This season, he led all point guards with 11.1 rebounds per game, and that was good for 10th among all players in the NBA. For his career, Westbrook is averaging 7.0 rebounds per game.

[RELATED: How college coach gave Curry confidence]

Kidd, a Hall of Famer who played 19 seasons in the NBA, averaged 6.3 rebounds per game. His high-water mark was during the 2006-07 season, when he averaged 8.2 rebounds per game.

It pains us to agree with Jackson, but we'd probably lean toward classifying Curry as a very good but not great rebounder.

NBA analyst believes Warriors feel they're getting picked on by officials

NBA analyst believes Warriors feel they're getting picked on by officials

The Warriors have had a bumpy last few games with the officials.

During last Friday's controversial loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Warriors were robbed of a late four-point play opportunity when referee Marat Kogut claimed Kevin Durant was not in the shooting motion when he was fouled on made a 3-point attempt. After Steph Curry splashed a triple to tie the game moments later, many of the Warriors, including Durant and Curry, could be seen taunting Kogut on their way back to the huddle.

On the ensuing Wolves possession, official Leon Wood called Durant for a foul on an alley-oop attempt that was well above the head of Karl-Anthony Towns. The foul, which occurred with 0.5 seconds left, sent Towns to the line to win the game, which he did.

After the game, Curry, Durant and head coach Steve Kerr openly criticized the officials for both calls.

While the NBA's last two-minute report sided with the officiating, former NBA head coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy believes the Warriors have a reason to be upset with the poor whistle in Minnesota. But, even going beyond that, Van Gundy believes the foul call on Durant at the end of the game was a way for Wood to "get back" at the Warriors for taunting Kogut.

"First, I totally agree with the Warriors," Van Gundy told 95.7 The Game's "Joe, Lo and Dibs" on Wednesday. " And I totally disregard the NBA and their two-minute report. It should have been a four-point play opportunity on Durant's jump shot. The call on Durant on the last foul against Towns was an awful call.

“Great officials make great decisions at the moment of truth — just like great players make great decisions at the moment of truth. Both of those calls, I couldn’t agree more with the Warriors," Van Gundy continued. "Now that being said, I thought, I have never in my life, I’ve seen players MF officials. I’ve seen them scream and yell. I’ve never seen a group of players taunt officials in the heat of the battle. I’ve just never seen it. I’ve never seen them point at them, gesture to them and all the stuff that happened after Curry’s shot. And I was disappointed in the NBA’s officials, that crew for not T’ing them up.

“I think what Leon Wood did with the Durant call at the end to get Towns the free throw was to get back at them for the taunting of Marat Kogut. And so, I would rather them have T’d him up and said, ‘Hey, the way you guys acted was inappropriate. It’s a technical foul.’”

Van Gundy has been critical of NBA officiating over the years, so it's not a surprise that he landed on the Warriors' side in this debate. The calls were brutal, and we haven't even mentioned the "hot stove" contact no-call. As for Van Gundy's theory about a retribution foul being called, it's certainly not something that can be ruled out. The Warriors have been pushing the line lately, and it's only a matter of time before an official tries to send a message. Whether or not that's what Wood was doing, only he knows.

Durant ran into another problem with the refs Tuesday night, when he was given two quick technicals and ejected in the third quarter of the Warriors' win over the Denver Nuggets. Durant, Curry and Draymond Green also were fined for their remarks following the loss to the T'Wolves.

[RELATED: KD's ejection a reminder of line Warriors are toeing]

Van Gundy believes the Warriors feel the officials have it out for them.

“I do think the Warriors right now feel as they’re being picked upon,” Van Gundy said. “And I think the NBA officials think that they’re being attacked — not just by the Warriors — but throughout the league.”

The Warriors' ongoing feud with the officiating continues to escalate, but with five games remaining in the regular season, the Dubs must regain their poise and not let their emotions get the better of them if they get a bad whistle come playoff time. 

Trade LeBron James? ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy believes Lakers should explore it


Trade LeBron James? ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy believes Lakers should explore it

So, 15.5 games separate the Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers, but it feels like double that after what happened Saturday.

Not only did the Lakers lose to the Boston Celtics, their dreaded rivals, at home, but Los Angeles reportedly decided to shut down former No. 2 draft pick Lonzo Ball for the rest of the season. Coach Luke Walton also announced before the game that the Lakers would shut down another former No. 2 pick: Brandon Ingram. 

Ball and Ingram, of course, had their names floated in Anthony Davis trade rumors ahead of the deadline, only to stay in purple and gold after no deal was completed. If you ask ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy, no Laker should be safe from trade speculation.

Not even LeBron James.

"I think they need to explore trading LeBron for as much as they can," Van Gundy said on ABC's Lakers-Celtics broadcast. " ... You've gotta get on the right timeline. If I could trade him [to] the Clippers, into cap space, which would give me a better chance to get [Kevin] Durant or [Kawhi] Leonard, would I not do that?"

[RELATED: KD reminds Dubs of his defensive impact]

Not even three months ago, the Lakers looked like they were on the rise. They badly beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena on Christmas Day, and were fourth in the Western Conference. 

Since then, Los Angeles is just 10-22, and has struggled trying to rediscover that early season success while Ball and James missed significant time. As a result, James' first season in Hollywood almost certainly will end without a trip to the playoffs, and the Lakers' postseason drought would hit six seasons. 

It looked at one point like the Warriors again would have to overcome a LeBron-led squad in pursuit of a title, but Golden State only will play Los Angeles once more on April 4. What difference a few months make.