OAKLAND — Sometimes it seems like Utah coach Quin Snyder has worked with every basketball coach in the world at some point in his career.
Still another coach Snyder worked with was Golden State’s Mike Brown, who has temporarily taken over head coaching duties while head coach Steve Kerr sits out because of complications from a previous back surgery.
Snyder was an assistant to Brown for one season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-12, and both he and Brown gushed about each other with their comments about before the first playoff game Tuesday night.
“It was a privilege working with him,” Snyder said. “The opportunity he gave me was terrific. It was a lockout year and we spent a lot of time talking basketball. One of the things for me I took was the detail involved in the communication system defensively, to the ability to analytically break down the small parts of the game in order to communicate clearly and effectively to the players. That’s been important to us in building a defense.”
Then Snyder added, “In addition to that, he’s one of the best human beings I’ve been around and it was a pleasure and privilege to work for him. That year for me was full of growth and was a very rewarding year.”
Brown was also very complimentary of Snyder.
“He’s a great communicator,” he said. “That was something that working with him — even when he was an assistant coach — you could pick up on very easily. Just being around him. His demeanor is great. Guys are drawn to him. He knows his stuff. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Quin.”
LIKE A JOURNALIST: When Brown was asked about how head coach Kerr has given him “ownership” of the team while Kerr sits out with his health issues, Brown compared it to a journalist working with an editor.
He said a reporter wouldn’t like it if his boss was changing his story around (although that is what is what editors do) and micromanaging the reporter. He said Kerr is pretty much giving him free rein to coach as he wants, while Kerr is out.
“For Steve, it’d be like him saying, ‘write a story on the Warriors and just make it good,’” Brown said.
SNYDER ON KERR: Snyder also had nice things to say about Kerr, another coach he knows well.
“I consider us friends. We’ve played against each other. I’ve followed his career,” Snyder said. “He’s been very, very gracious with me and our team, and you appreciate that. So even on a more personal level you feel for what he’s going through and hope that he’s back quickly — if not for the beginning of the series, you want him to be healthy. You realize basketball is important, but your health is everything.”
SERIES HISTORY: This marks the fourth playoff series between the Jazz and Warriors.
They first met in 1987 when the fifth-seeded Warriors won three straight games, including a 118-113 fifth game in Salt Lake City behind Joe Barry Carroll.
Then in 1989, the seventh-seeded Warriors knocked off the second-seeded Jazz in three straight games behind Chris Mullin, who averaged 32.7 ppg, winning two in Salt Lake before clinching in Oakland when the first round was a just a three-game series.
The other meeting came in 2007 when the Jazz defeated the Warriors in five games after the Warriors had upset No. 1 seed Dallas is six games. The Jazz were led by Carlos Boozer, who led the team in scoring in four games, along with Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko.
JAZZ NOTES: Joe Johnson got the start for Game 1 at big forward in place of Boris Diaw, who had started in the first seven playoff games. Derrick Favors was questionable right up until tipoff and Snyder said his status depended on how loose he was after warmups. Favors entered the game with 4:01 left in the first quarter for Rudy Gobert. Shelvin Mack was the first point guard off the bench for the Jazz, coming in with 2:55 left in the first quarter. Dante Exum played later in the second quarter for a few minutes. The temperature in Oakland Tuesday was a balmy 80 degrees.