SAN ANTONIO -- Why does Mark Jackson trust Jarrett Jack so much, so often, and so fervently?
Simple answer: Because Jack trusts himself as much as any player on earth, through triumph, struggles, forced shots, lost leads and unforgettable, unforgivable defeats.
And Jackson, of all people, believes in the value of soaring point guard self-confidence.
So while Stephen Curry is the Warriors' life and breath and Andrew Bogut is their muscle, Jack is the player who matches the way Jackson views and attacks the NBA world.
Basically: Unless you have the guts to take the clutch shot, you will never make it.
That faith has often lifted the Warriors, because they need a swaggering playmaker to
And it can hurt them, too, as seen in the mind-boggling conclusion to Game 1's double-overtime loss to San Antonio on Monday when Jack was given the ball and couldn't stop fueling San Antonio's huge fourth-quarter comeback.
"Hindsight is always 20-20 -- I had some great looks, I thought, that I normally make that didn't go down for me," Jack said after Tuesday's practice. "Had some plays that now, looking back at it, I probably could've gone to or situations we could've put ourselves into."
The essential truth of the Jackson-Jack relationship is that they live-and-die with each other, and if that exasperates Warriors fans, that's the way it goes.
Everybody wants Curry to shoot almost every time, but that's not entirely possible. And when nobody else can get a shot, Jackson knows Jack can and will.
"He's a gamer, and he competed," Jackson said of Jack's 10-point, two-assist, 5-for-15, three-turnover performance in Game 1. "I thought he handled it well. Like everybody else, made some mistakes. But he's a gamer, and he's hard on himself ...
"Jarrett is going to have the basketball and is going to have to be a playmaker for us, and we're totally fine with that."
Curry is a combo guard who can't run the point every possession and gets double-teamed in the fourth quarter. Klay Thompson is a pure shooter.
So the Warriors need Jack to attack the defense in pressure situations. It's just that in Game 6 against Denver and Game 1 on Monday, he didn't do it very well.
But Jackson's point: If Curry is overplayed, who else has the talent and fortitude to try?
"He doesn't have to tap me on the shoulder," Jack said of his coach's support. "I know what he expects of me. I know what my teammates expect of me. I'm just going out there with no worries and no second thoughts."
Of course, Jackson is often second-guessed in areas that don't involve Jack. There's his belief in small lineups and various other strategic wobblings, and now, blowing a 16-point lead with 4:31 left in regulation.
Jackson is a flash point; there's also no way the Warriors are in this position without him, and that's no minor thing in the locker room.
"The main reason why we're here is Coach," Bogut said. "It's not just the players. ... So for people to be making those judgments is just absolutely stupid.
"There's a lot of bandwagon fans and media that will just jump on certain things or what's popular to write about."
They're jumping on Jackson now -- and that, in part, is a coach's plot in the playoffs.
Win, and every move is genius. Lose, and you're a late-game clown. Somebody has to take the responsibility, right?
"I don't care about that," Jackson said, referring to the criticism. "People are entitled to their opinion. I'm not buying into it.
"Coach (Gregg) Popovich is an all-time coach. Even when he was down 16, to me I wasn't questioning anything he did. I gave credit to what we did."
It's the job and the responsibility -- somebody has to have the ball, and Jack and Jackson aren't running away from any of it.
They're in this together, they think alike, and if they miss, they will miss while believing in themselves and each other every millisecond of the way.