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On Feb. 22, 2004, Jacque Vaughn and Mark Jackson played against each other for the last time. Vaughn played as a backup point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, Jackson as a backup point guard for the Houston Rockets. Vaughn’s Hawks lost to Jackson’s Rockets 123-121 in triple-overtime.
On the surface, so much has changed for both men over the last 10 years. Tonight, Vaughn and Jackson will oppose each other for the fourth time as head coaches when Vaughn’s Orlando Magic face Jackson’s Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
But both men would tell you that, although their responsibilities have expanded since their playing days, their approaches to thinking about the game remain fundamentally similar because of the position they used to play. As point guards, they constantly made decisions on the fly and had to view the game like a coach.
“The ones that really played the position, whether they want to coach or not, they have coached,” Jackson said. “The real point guards in this league, to me, are like quarterbacks in the NFL. They’re picking and choosing what to do, who to go to, who to stay away from, what reads (are there), how to react by being an extension of the coach on the floor.”
“I’ve benefited from playing the position my entire life and, therefore, I’ve been a coach, in my opinion, my entire life.”
Vaughn said being a point guard gave him “an overall feel for the game, an ability to really understand different individuals.”
“It’s to the point,” Vaughn said, “where you have to be able to talk to a big guy differently than you talk to a wing player, differently than you communicate with your coach. Being able to be in the locker room and have that feel and that sense of change when change does happen — a lot of times point guards have the feel for that.”
INJURIES — Kevin Garnett missed a ninth straight game because of back spasms Monday when the Brooklyn Nets hosted the Phoenix Suns.
Garnett hasn’t played since the Nets’ 112-89 victory at Denver on Feb. 27. Brooklyn has gone 6-2 in the veteran’s absence.
Rookie Mason Plumlee has been starting at center while Garnett has been sidelined. … Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard was out against the Utah Jazz with a mild left ankle strain.
This was the first game Howard has missed. He was the only Rockets player to start all 66 games this season.
Howard, in his first season in Houston, is averaging 18.6 points and his 12.4 rebounds are fourth in the NBA.
Omer Asik started in his place as the Rockets tried to end a three-game skid.
MAGIC SIGNING — The Orlando Magic have signed center Dewayne Dedmon for the remainder of the regular season.
Dedmon, who signed the first of two 10-day contracts on Feb. 25, has appeared in three games with Orlando averaging 2.3 points and 1.0 rebound per game.
Undrafted in 2013, the 7-footer played 18 games this season with the Warriors and 76ers. He also appeared in 15 games with the NBA Development League’s Santa Cruz Warriors.
A second 10-contract for swingman Adonis Thomas has expired.