Warriors swingman Stephen Jackson promises there won't be any drama between him and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant when the two match up tonight in Ontario.
"I guarantee you I won't feed into the nonsense," Jackson said after Monday's practice. "Because I know if it comes down to it, if we had a real fight, I know what would happen. So I'm just going to leave it alone and go out there and play basketball."
The last time Jackson and Bryant matched up, on Oct. 9 at the Forum in Los Angeles, Jackson wound up getting suspended for two games after a run-in with coach Don Nelson.
Tonight, though, Nelson won't be on the sidelines. He's with his wife, Joy, in Southern California after her 54-year-old brother, Mark Van Kampen, was injured in a motorcycle accident Sunday and had to have one of his legs amputated. The Warriors anticipate Nelson will be at practice Wednesday.
Assistant coach Keith Smart, who ran Monday's practice, is expected to assume head coaching duties tonight.
"I hope everything works out," Jackson said. "It's an unfortunate incident, and the only thing we can do is be here for him and have him in our hearts and our thoughts."
Jackson's heart and thoughts will be focused on Bryant tonight. The two were locked in a competitive joust in the first quarter Oct. 9, but Jackson was upset because he said he felt Bryant was playing dirty and the replacement referees were allowing it. Plus Bryant reportedly called
Jackson picked up five fouls and a technical before checking out at the 2:50 mark. His frustration followed him to the bench, where he lashed out at the Warriors staff for not supporting him. The primary target of Jackson's wrath was Nelson, who left Jackson in the game despite the foul trouble. Jackson also said Nelson didn't back him with the officials.
Nelson sent Jackson to the locker room to cool off. Jackson never returned to the game and was suspended the next day by the Warriors for "conduct detrimental to team."
Over the next few days after returning from suspension, Jackson expressed his beef with Nelson, his teammates and, of course, Bryant.
Jackson said he's not a fan of Bryant — who also has been publicly criticized by NBA guards Ray Allen and Raja Bell. Jackson said he feels he's as good as Bryant, and that Bryant gets preferential treatment.
"I love competing and guarding the best guy. I just don't like getting treated (as) less," Jackson said. "If I play against a guy and we play the same, a physical game, and we get treated the same and he outplays me, I'll give him his props. But if the game is one-sided and I'm not treated fair, obviously I'm going to be upset."
Jackson said he doesn't think Bryant will say anything to him tonight. Bryant hasn't publicly responded to Jackson's criticism.
Jackson said he's working on keeping his composure and not jawing with officials.
Sunday, Nelson expressed his desire for peace.
"Hopefully," he said, "it'll calm down and they'll just play and it will be behind us."
Note: Backup center Ronny Turiaf is expected to make his exhibition game debut tonight — as a starter. ... Forward Corey Maggette missed practice to get his surgically repaired right wrist checked in Los Angeles. He's been given tonight's game off.