OAKLAND -- The man in the middle of the storm smiled, joked and arched his eyebrows at the thorniest questions Sunday.

No, Mark Jackson wasn't about to lose his cool.

Especially not now, not after two of his assistants have lost their jobs within the last few weeks, not with the NBA universe openly curious about Jackson's job security.

That's his great strength -- the Warriors' self-assured coach never melts under the spotlight, and his players take their cues from him.

It can also be one of his trouble spots -- Jackson is such a big personality that he skips over problems he wants to ignore and explains away issues that maybe need closer inspection.

Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson gives instructions to his players against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second half of a NBA game at the
Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson gives instructions to his players against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second half of a NBA game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, March 28, 2014. Warriors won 100-93. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) (RAY CHAVEZ)

But this is who Jackson is, it has worked well for the Warriors so far, and he's not changing now.

In fact, as the questions piled up Sunday, Jackson all but yawned.

"My job will be determined on winning," Jackson said before an easy victory over Utah. "I'm fine with that ...

"The talk about what these two (ex-assistants) have done, that has nothing to do with me."

Actually, the dispatching last month of Brian Scalabrine after a philosophical dispute with Jackson followed by the mysterious firing last week of Darren Erman for a team violation has something to do with the head coach.

Jackson is responsible for everybody in that locker room, and if there are problems and failures, he is at some point accountable.


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He also has been rightfully credited for re-establishing a sense of unity and defensive purpose on this team and for getting the Warriors into the second round of the playoffs last season.

But there has been grumbling about the team's occasional lack of urgency and Jackson's offensive system, which often bogs down in isolation sets with little movement.

Some of that grumbling has come from people in the Warriors front office, by the way.

At times, Jackson has reacted to the chatter indirectly by declaring that this franchise has a history of losing, is winning now and should act like it knows the difference.

On Sunday, when I asked how he'd describe his relationship with co-owner Joe Lacob, Jackson said there are no problems between them.

"You know it's interesting, I'm reading 'the dysfunction' or whatever the term is for my relationship with this front office," Jackson said. "That's brand-new to me. And I'd be the first tell you if it wasn't."

Jackson then added that he and Lacob talked to each other for 15 minutes on the recent road trip.

Lacob told me in February that he was generally happy with Jackson's performance but that he was disappointed by some of the home losses.

I also believe that Lacob would view a first-round loss as a sign that the team isn't moving forward, which is death in the venture-capitalist universe.

"That's not my call," Jackson said when I asked him if a first-round loss this season should be considered a step backward.

Jackson then pointed to the depth of the Western Conference and said that there will be many good teams with good coaches who won't make it past the first round this year.

Meanwhile, team sources salute the locker-room attitude, but they point to some problems with Jackson's game management.

There is also some concern that Jackson and his staff haven't been able to halt Harrison Barnes' struggles this season.

But really, it will all be answered by the results in April and May, and everybody knows it.

By the way, Jackson said he feels no tension with Warriors management.

"There is no friction at all," Jackson said. "If it's friction, maybe it's friction when I leave the body and I'm departed and other stuff is being said ...

"I humbly submit to you, if you've got a problem with me as a person, then it's your problem. I'm low-maintenance ...

"I have no issues with anybody in this organization, and it's been that way from Day 1 ... And unnamed sources, I say come on out, please. Pretty please with sugar on top."

Whatever the coach's maintenance level, and Lacob's maintenance level, the honeymoon between the two is over, which is natural and the normal state of play between strong-willed coaches and stronger-willed executives.

How do coaches survive when things get a little bumpy? They win. They win big.

Even as Jackson shrugged and smiled Sunday, he didn't deny that winning is the answer and losing is the way this all ends.

Which is the truth and always is the truth.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.