Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

Joel Embiid health update on his injured foot

Joel Embiid health update

Bad Philadelphia 76ers news has emerged tonight. The team, which openly spent the past few seasons rebuilding, has a lot of hopes and dreams resting on the shoulders of Nerlens Noel (seems good but not great just yet), Joel Embiid (has not played yet and spent entire rookie season injured) and other players that don’t exist yet because they’re in the form of draft picks. And now a key member of that list is not healing as quickly as hoped.

The following is a statement from Sixers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie, regarding center Joel Embiid:

“As part of the conservative approach focused on the long-term health, recovery and care of Joel, we have been closely monitoring his progress, regularly evaluating his status and adjusting our plans accordingly.

“Recently, Joel and Sixers personnel traveled to Los Angeles for a series of routine exams with a number of physicians who have been actively involved throughout this process. During his visit with Dr. Richard Ferkel, a standard CT scan on Joel’s right foot revealed less healing than anticipated at this point.

“Our priority remains providing Joel with every opportunity to ensure he has a long and successful NBA career, and as such, these findings cause us to pause and reassess his current activities. Together with Joel and his representatives, we will continue to consult with the experienced team of doctors who have been an integral part of his evaluations, while also engaging in dialogue with a broader set of experts and specialists.

“Discussions regarding the appropriate next steps are currently ongoing and we will share an update once it becomes available.”

Dick Motta honored with Chuck Daly Award

Dick Motta honored with Chuck Daly Award

Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting on a solid coaching honor for a name long-time NBA fans will recognize:

Congratulations to the original Dallas Mavericks’ coach, Dick Motta, for winning the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015.

The honor, presented by the National Basketball Coaches Association, is given annually to honor the memory of Hall of Famer Chuck Daly, who throughout his NBA coaching career embodied the standards of high integrity, competitive excellence and tireless promotion of the league.

“Dick Motta was a true NBA coaching pioneer who brought to the game a great basketball mind, with a competitive toughness,” said Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle, who is president of the NBCA.

Even if you don’t follow the D-League particularly closely, or at all, it’s still fun to know who the head coaches are, and which players truly shine in the league — especially since those players often wind up on an NBA roster, at least on a 10-day contract, if not more. Going back to that first thing, here’s the latest D-League coaching news:

The Los Angeles D-Fenders have named Conner Henry as head coach, it was announced today by team President/CEO Joey Buss and General Manager Nick Mazzella.

Henry returns to the D-Fenders after serving as an assistant coach for the team during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, before becoming the head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants prior to the 2013-14 season. In his first year, Henry led the Mad Ants to a 34-16 regular season record, edging out the D-Fenders for the top seed in the NBA D-League Playoffs. Fort Wayne would then go 6-0 in the playoffs en route to an NBA D-League Championship. Henry was later named 2014 Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year by his D-League colleagues. Last season, the Mad Ants made a similar run, sweeping their first two playoff series before ultimately falling short in the D-League Finals to the Santa Cruz Warriors.

“We expect great things from Conner Henry,” said Buss. “We consider him to be the best coach in the league. His leadership is effective for winning and developing players, having earned a championship and development award in the last two seasons.”

“I’m looking forward to returning to Los Angeles and to the D-Fenders organization,” Henry said. “I would like to thank General Manager Nick Mazzella and the Buss family for having the faith to bring me home to pursue an NBA D-League Championship. Our coaches, players and management will have one goal in mind, and that’s for our team to compete nightly while representing the Lakers, D-Fenders and our fans.”

The D-Fenders set a single-season D-League record for wins when Henry was an assistant, tallying 38 wins in 2011-12 and making their first NBA D-League Finals appearance. After the 2012-13 season, Henry joined the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, amassing a 62-38 record in two seasons, winning the NBA D-League Championship in 2013-14 and falling just short in 2014-15. Henry served as head coach of the NBA D-League Select Team in the 2014 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, tallying a 3-3 record.

“Our goal is to cultivate players and staff for the Lakers and the NBA, while competing for a D-League Championship,” said Mazzella. “Conner has had great success over the past two seasons as a head coach in the D-League, and we are confident that with him at the helm these objectives will be met.”

Prior to his work in the NBA D-League, Henry spent four years in the Australian National Basketball League, serving as an assistant coach for the Perth Wildcats (2006-08), before becoming the head coach in 2008-09. Henry then joined the Sydney Kings as an assistant coach for the 2010-11 season, before returning stateside with the D-Fenders.

The 51-year old Henry enjoyed a lengthy professional career, including stints in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings from 1986-1988. Henry would also prosper in the CBA, as well as in the Italian, Spanish, French and Greek professional leagues. The Claremont, CA native attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and tallied 1,236 points in his four years. Henry was then selected by the Houston Rockets with the 19th pick of the fourth round in the 1986 NBA Draft.

Nike and NBA announce 8-year partnership

Nike and NBA announce 8-year partnership

It’s official, the NBA and Nike will begin what will hopefully be a beautiful relationship starting in the 2017-18 season. The league currently has a deal with adidas — and that’s been wonderful as well. But change happens.

One of the biggest aspects of this agreement in our view is that the Nike logo will appear right on NBA uniforms, in clear view of the entire world. This wasn’t the case with adidas.

Here’s complete official info, from the NBA and Nike:

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and NIKE, Inc. (NIKE) announced today an eight-year global merchandising and marketing partnership that will make NIKE the official oncourt apparel provider beginning with the 2017-18 NBA season.

“This partnership with NIKE represents a new paradigm in the structure of our global merchandising business,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “As our exclusive oncourt apparel provider, NIKE will be instrumental in our collective efforts to grow the game globally while applying the latest in technology to the design of our uniforms and oncourt products.”

NIKE has a rich history of innovating and leading from the front, and has supported some of the greatest former and current NBA and WNBA players. The company has been a global marketing partner of the NBA since 1992 and expands its rights over eight years under the new agreement, where NIKE will become the first NBA apparel partner to have its logo appear on NBA uniforms. NIKE will also have the global rights to design and manufacture authentic and Swingman jerseys as well as oncourt warm-ups and shooting shirts.

“We’re excited to bring the full power of our global reach, innovation and creativity to partner with the NBA and grow the game in a way only NIKE can,” said NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker. “In NIKE, Jordan and Converse we have three of the most connected brands in the world, and look forward to making the global growth of the game a successful strategy for both the NBA and NIKE.”

A marketing partner of the WNBA since its inception in 1997, NIKE will now have an expanded presence at WNBA All-Star and other events throughout the season. Also, for the first time, NIKE will become a marketing partner of the NBA Development League (NBA D-League), engaging in seasonlong marketing activities with a major presence during the NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire and the NBA D-League Showcase presented by Samsung.

In addition, the partnership will activate around several NBA events such as NBA All-Star, NBA Global Games, NBA Draft presented by State Farm, Samsung NBA Summer League and NBA 3X. NIKE will remain the official partner and apparel provider of Basketball without Borders.

NIKE has served as the footwear and exclusive apparel provider of USA Basketball since 2006.

The Phoenix Suns have announced today that President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby will be transitioning to the position of Senior Advisor as of August 1, 2015. At that time Ryan McDonough will lead the Basketball Operations Department from his position as General Manager with continued support from Assistant General Managers Pat Connelly and Trevor Bukstein. All three individuals will take on increasing responsibilities within the organization and are signed to multiyear contracts.

As Senior Advisor, Babby will provide strategic counsel and input to the Basketball Operations Department as well as to the entire Suns organization. He will continue to play an active role in contract negotiations and salary cap management. Babby will continue to be based in Phoenix and as part of his new role will spend at least 50 percent of his time working on Suns matters.

“I am grateful that Robert has accommodated my wish to reduce my work load, while remaining a vital part of the Suns organization. At this stage of my career, I welcome the flexibility that comes with this new role, a flexibility that will enable me to do other things that are important to me both personally and in the community. I feel particularly confident in making this transition because of the quality of leadership in place within the organization,” said Babby.

Managing Partner Robert Sarver on the transition: “Lon has served the Suns well for the last five years. I am pleased that he will remain with the Suns and continue to bring his expertise and value to the organization.”

Babby joined the Suns organization in August of 2010 after a storied 35-year career as a practicing attorney with DC-based Williams & Connolly, LLP. Named one of “Washington’s Top Lawyers” for sports and media law by Washingtonian magazine, one of the “20 Most Influential Agents” in the nation by Sports Business Journal and one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Sports by The Sporting News, the well-regarded player agent entered player representation in 1994. At that time, he had long been involved in sports representation on the team side, first with the NFL’s Washington Redskins (1977-84) and then MLB’s Baltimore Orioles (1979-94.)

Babby hired McDonough in May 2013 and the two, along with Head Coach Jeff Hornacek, orchestrated the biggest turnaround in the NBA in 2013-14 (from 25 to 48 wins). Following that season, McDonough was runner-up for the NBA Executive of the Year Award and Hornacek was runner-up for the NBA Coach of the Year Award.

NCAA basketball shot clock now 30 seconds, plus more rule changes

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Monday approved a package of proposals and areas of focus for officials in men’s basketball to improve the pace of play, better balance offense with defense and reduce the physicality in the sport.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee made similar recommendations before the 2013-14 season, and it felt the changes improved the game. But after gaining some positive traction, the balance between offense and defense again tilted toward the defense last season. Scoring in Division I men’s basketball dipped to 67.6 points a game last season, which neared historic lows for the sport.

The key areas officials will focus on in the upcoming season are:
• Perimeter defense, particularly on the dribbler and strictly enforcing directives established before the 2013-14 season.
• Physicality in post play.
• Screening, particularly moving screens and requiring the screener to be stationary.
• Block/charge plays.
• Allowing greater freedom of movement for players without the ball.

Pace of play

With an eye on reducing inaction, the panel approved several proposals to improve the pace of play. The most significant is reducing the shot clock to 30 seconds. The shot clock was last reduced for the 1993-94 season when it went from 45 seconds to 35.

Teams will also have one fewer team timeout (only three can carry over instead of four) in the second half. Officials will focus more on resuming play quickly after a timeout and will issue a delay-of-game warning when a team does not comply and a one-shot technical foul on subsequent violations.

The rest of the package designed to improve the pace of play includes:
• Adjusting the media timeout procedures to allow a timeout called within 30 seconds of a break (at the 16:30 mark) or at any time after the scheduled media timeout becomes the media timeout.
• Removing the ability for a coach to call timeout when the ball is live.
• Allowing a total of only 10 seconds to advance the ball to the front court (with a few exceptions).
• Reducing the amount of time allotted to replace a disqualified player from 20 to 15 seconds.

Restricted-area arc

The panel also approved the expansion of the restricted-area arc from 3 feet to 4 feet. This arc would be effective in 2015-16 for Division I and 2016-17 for Divisions II and III. Moving the arc a foot farther from the basket is part of a continued focus on reducing the number of collisions at the basket.

Games in the 2015 Postseason NIT were played with the 4-foot arc on an experimental basis.

When compared to the 2013 NIT, which had the same block/charge standards as the 2015 event (aside from the 4-foot arc), the number of block/charge plays decreased from 2.77 per game to 1.96 per game.

Faking fouls

During the use of a video review to see if a possible flagrant foul occurred, the panel approved a rule that would allow officials to penalize players who fake fouls. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee felt that players trying to draw fouls by deception is a growing issue.

Other NCAA basketball rule changes

Other proposals approved by the panel include:
• Allowing officials to use the monitor to review a potential shot clock violation on made field goals throughout the entire game.
• Making Class B technical fouls (hanging on the rim and delaying the resumption of play, for example) one-shot technical fouls. Previously, two shots were granted for these types of technical fouls.
• Eliminating the five-second closely guarded rule while dribbling the ball.
• Removing the prohibition on dunking in pregame warmups and at halftime.

Experimental rule

The panel also approved an experimental rule to allow players six personal fouls, instead of five, in the 2016 postseason tournaments other than the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

– Via the NCAA

The Detroit Pistons announced today that Arnie Kander has informed the organization of his intent to resign as physical therapist effective June 30. Kander has served as a member of the Pistons’ training staff since 1992 when he was named the club’s first strength and conditioning coach.

“Arnie is an innovator who helped define the art of physical training for athletes in our league,” said Tom Gores, Principal Owner of Palace Sports & Entertainment, the Detroit Pistons and Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity. “He’s been a great Piston for more than two decades, and on a personal level he’s been a friend who helped our transition into ownership. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

“Arnie Kander has been a valued member of the Detroit Pistons for many years – contributing to the development of numerous players while also overseeing injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation,” said Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Stan Van Gundy. “We appreciate the commitment he has made to the organization over 23 years and his efforts throughout the last year during our transition. We certainly wish Arnie the best in his future endeavors.”

A 1987 graduate in physical therapy from Wayne State University, Kander began his career as the sports coordinator at Crittenton Fitness Institute. He then moved on to Rochester Knee and Sports Therapy where he worked as a staff therapist. Kander began his association with the Pistons while working at Rochester Knee and Sports.

“The Detroit Pistons have been a huge part of my extended family and I’ll forever cherish the relationships and friendships that have been built both inside and outside the organization over the years,” said Kander. “I’m also grateful to both Mr. Davidson and Mr. Gores for the opportunity and support they provided during my 23 years with the team. It’s been an incredible run filled with many great memories along the way. I look forward to spending time with my family and the next chapter life brings.”

Kander’s interest in strength and conditioning began during his career as a professional dancer with the Virginia Ballet Company from 1983-86. While working with the Pistons, Kander designed recovery and workout programs for all players and worked with many of the area’s finest amateur athletes.

The Detroit Pistons’ training staff is headed by Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Jon Ishop with assistance from strength and conditioning coach Anthony Harvey and assistant strength and conditioning coach Jordan Sabourin.

It’s always a huge deal when a team changes their uniform design. It’s a huge part of a team’s identity. It affects fan mood, and in the case of more fair-weather fans can affect loyalty to a certain degree. And then of course there’s that whole marketing and sales thing. Every fan wants their squad’s uniform to look cool. Sponsors who support the team or arena in some way presumably feel the same way.

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced details for the public reveal of the team’s new uniforms on Thursday, June 18 at a special event held at the Sixers’ home arena (3601 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19148) beginning at 7:00pm, with free admission for all fans. The uniform will make its in-game debut at the beginning of the 2015-16 season.

“In creating a new uniform, we wanted a clean, modern style that would also honor our past,” said Sixers Chief Executive Officer Scott O’Neil. “These designs integrate key elements of uniforms worn by legends Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving and Billy Cunningham, and bring them together in one seamless presentation. The uniform reflects another key element of our updated brand identity reflecting a spirit of strength and patriotism which we cannot wait to share with our fans.”

The event’s guest list includes Sixers legends Billy Cunningham, Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone, Bobby Jones and Allen Iverson and special guest Barbara Chamberlain-Lewis, sister of the late Wilt Chamberlain, in addition to current Sixers players and staff.

**QUOTES FROM SIXERS LEGENDS ON THE SIXERS’ NEW UNIFORMS**

Julius “Dr. J” Erving: “When I joined the Sixers in 1976, we were the marquee team in the league, the one fans around the league wanted to see in person. It’s great seeing this new generation of Sixers come together, and I hope they will be as inspired and proud to wear this new uniform – which shares elements from my first year as well as the ’83 championship team – as I was during my time in the wonderful city of Philadelphia.”

Billy Cunningham: “These will be special uniforms that honor three specific time periods in Sixers history. As someone who helped design the 76-77 uniforms, I am excited that there will be hallmark elements from that era incorporated in the 2015 uniforms. Fans will love how they pay homage to the past while celebrating a new era of Sixers basketball.”

Cavs win Game 2 in OT, tie Finals

Cavs win Game 2 in OT, tie series

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on 2015 NBA Finals Game 2, which the Cavs won in overtime to tie the series 1-1:

Klay Thompson did everything he could to go bucket for bucket with LeBron James, but the King proved he wasn’t quite ready to yield his crown Sunday night in Oakland.

With a surrounding cast absent All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, James did a little bit of everything: recording a triple-double and willing Cleveland to a series-tying, 95-93 overtime victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.

“Geez, you’d be hard-pressed to find a guy anywhere, anytime … (who) can give you the kind of all-around performance and all-around leadership that LeBron does for his group,” Cleveland head coach David Blatt said.

Thompson finished with a team-high 34 points, but he was outdueled by James, who had 39 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists and a free throw that gave the Cavaliers a 95-93 lead with 4.4 seconds on the clock to clinch a historic game. It was the first time in NBA history that the first two games of the Finals went into overtime.

New Milwaukee Bucks uniforms revealed

The Milwaukee Bucks unveiled their new home and road uniforms this afternoon at the team’s inaugural Summer Block Party event on the grounds of Schlitz Park. The jersey unveiling continues an updated visual identity for the franchise that began in April when the team presented a new color palette and three unique Bucks basketball logos.

Members of the current Bucks roster and franchise greats were on hand as fans joined together to enjoy local musical acts, food, drink and Bucks chatter at the tipoff to the summer festival season, but the attention turned to the future during a special ceremony in which the new uniforms were revealed. Bucks All-Stars Bobby Dandridge and Vin Baker joined Head Coach Jason Kidd and current players Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, Damien Inglis and Jabari Parker to span the timeline from the team’s championship history to its future.

According to the Bucks: White remains the base color on the new home uniforms with lettering and numbers presented in Good Land Green outlined in Cream City Cream. Good Land Green is the base color of the new road uniforms with lettering and numbers presented in white outlined in Cream City Cream. Great Lakes Blue is featured as an accent color on both uniforms.

“Our new uniforms will serve as a showcase of our franchise’s proud heritage and bright future on the NBA’s global stage,” Bucks Vice President of Strategy and Operations Alex Lasry said. “The new look is a perfect representation of the city and state we call home – honoring our blue-collar community values in a modern design that speaks to the exciting future for the team and region.”

Kyrie Irving injury update: out 3-4 months with fractured left kneecap

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The Cleveland Cavaliers injury hits keep coming, and the latest is a huge blow that should spell the end to their championship hopes this season as they face the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals. The Warriors lead the series 1-0.

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving left last night’s NBA Finals game one in the overtime period with a left knee injury. He received an MRI today at Stanford Sports Medicine Clinic, which revealed a fractured left kneecap.

He will have surgery to repair the knee in the coming days at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland by Cavaliers head team physician Dr. Richard Parker.

His recovery time is projected to be three to four months and his status will be updated as appropriate.

This leaves LeBron James in the Finals without Irving or injured forward Kevin Love.

Coming soon, the “NBA Experience” at Disney World in Florida

The Walt Disney Company and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that they have begun developing “The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort” at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

This expansive, one-of-a-kind destination will feature hands-on activities that put families and guests of all ages right in the middle of NBA game action. Guests will enjoy immersive NBA video productions and numerous interactive experiences, as well as a restaurant and a retail store.

“We’re thrilled to work with the NBA to take our guests inside the world of professional basketball with an extraordinary entertainment experience,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We’ve had a long and successful partnership with the NBA through ESPN, and we will continue to build on that foundation as we bring the Disney and NBA brands together for the first time in this exciting and innovative way.”

“We look forward to uniting the passionate, global fan bases of the NBA and our longtime partner, Disney,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Working with the world’s top creator and operator of themed entertainment attractions, we can’t wait to bring the magic of Disney and the excitement of the NBA to guests from around the world.”

Carl Landry undergoes wrist surgery

Carl Landry undergoes wrist surgery, out 4-5 months

Carl Landry undergoes wrist surgery

Sacramento Kings forward Carl Landry underwent successful surgery this morning to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist, the team announced today. The procedure was performed by Dr. Michelle Carlson at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Landry experienced wrist soreness during the 2014-15 season, missing five games as a result (Jan. 16 – Jan. 23). An initial evaluation at that time by Dr. Carlson indicated surgery was not necessary. When pain in the wrist persisted during the offseason, Landry underwent an MRI early this week which revealed that a procedure was required to repair the injury.

He will begin rehabilitation immediately and is expected to be out approximately four to five months.

Klay Thompson health update: Good to go for NBA Finals Game 1

Klay Thompson health update: OK for NBA Finals Game 1

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who was diagnosed with a concussion after suffering an injury during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on May 27, has completed the NBA’s concussion protocol and has been cleared to play for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

This was expected, as there was no reason to think the effects of the concussion would linger beyond this year’s lengthy period between the end of the Conference Finals and the start of the NBA Finals.

Thompson’s scoring and outside shooting is a key part of the Warriors offense.

According to CSN Bay Area, “Thompson said after working out each of the past two days, he has lost nothing in terms of conditioning or rhythm. “We’ve had so much time to get it back, I don’t think it really messed with me,” he said, referring to the seven-day layoff between the conference finals.”

Cartier Martin elects to stay with Pistons

Here’s the Detroit News reporting on a member of the Pistons bench who has a limited role on the team. Cartier Martin last season averaged 1.6 points in 8.6 minute per game, and shot just 28% from the field:

Cartier Martin elects to stay with Pistons

Pistons forward Cartier Martin swallowed his pride and took the money.

He complained about his playing time with the Pistons last season but that did not stop him from exercising a player option which will pay him the veteran’s minimum of $1.27 million next season.

Martin, 30, signed a two-year deal with the Pistons last August. He made $1,145,000 last season and was used sparingly.

He appeared in just 23 games, his fewest since the 2011-2012 season with the Washington Wizards. Martin averaged a career low 1.6 points per game.

Bulls fire coach Tom Thibodeau

Chicago Bulls fire successful coach Tom Thibodeau

Bulls fire coach Tom Thibodeau

Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman announced today that Tom Thibodeau will not be retained as the team’s head coach.

Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said, “The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. These accomplishments have been possible because of an organizational culture where input from all parts of the organization has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals. While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required. Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans. I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.”

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Tom Thibodeau is a great coach. He is a better coach than John Paxson is a vice president of basketball operations and Gar Forman is a general manager. That’s not taking anything away from the two front-office people. It’s a recognition that the Bulls are letting go of one of the best pure basketball minds in the NBA. The shame of Thursday’s firing is that it didn’t have to happen, not if clear-thinking, adult-acting adults had been involved. But a clash of personalities and visions made what happened inevitable. Thibodeau does not play well with others. He knows what he knows, and he’ll go to his grave defending it. And what he knows is hard work, followed up by more hard work, followed by an aperitif of hard work. So when Paxson and Forman told him again and again to take his foot off the gas pedal with the players by cutting down on minutes and thus on wear and tear, it was like talking to basketball stanchion.”

Following 21 years in the NBA as an assistant coach (he was an advance scout in 1991-92), Chicago named Thibodeau the team’s head coach on June 23, 2010. During his five seasons at the helm of the Bulls, Thibodeau’s teams compiled an overall record of 255-139 (.647). The Bulls advanced to the playoffs five times during Thibodeau’s tenure, where he posted a postseason record of 23-28 (.451).

“When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “But as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed.”

Rockets win Game 4 vs Warriors

Rockets win Game 4 vs Warriors

When Golden State’s Stephen Curry crashed into Trevor Ariza’s shoulder, was upended and sent flying toward the court on Monday night against Houston, it felt like forever before he landed.

”That was the worst (fall ever) because you’re in the air for a long time,” Curry said. ”And not knowing how you’re going to hit the floor, knowing that it’s going to happen, it’s inevitable, but you’re up there just trying to brace yourself.”

The MVP was able to return to Game 4 of the Western Conference finals after the spill but the Warriors couldn’t overcome a big deficit, as James Harden scored 45 points in the Rockets’ 128-115 victory.

– Associated Press

While the Rockets prevented a sweep, no team in NBA history has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

“We’re a really good team when we are moving the ball and working together,” Harden said. “We’ve got to do a better job of being consistent.”

Harden made 13-of-22 shots from the floor, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range, and added nine rebounds and five assists.

– AFP

Harden also pulled down nine rebounds, while center Dwight Howard notched 14 points and 12 boards as the Rockets ensured they would live to fight another day, pulling back to 3-1 down in the best-of-seven series.

Curry finished with 23 points, while guard Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 24.

Golden State, who will have their next chance to close out the series back in Oakland on Wednesday, have not been to the NBA finals since 1975.

– Reuters

Incident with Matthew Dellavedova leads to Al Horford ejection

Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting on a key sequence from Sunday’s Hawks-Cavs Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 in Cleveland, which the Cavaliers won in overtime to take a 3-9 series lead:

Incident with Matthew Dellavedova leads to Al Horford ejection

Matthew Dellavedova’s growing reputation as a dirty player — deserved or not — preceded him Sunday night.

And it seemed to play a part in another playoff entanglement, following his leg lock on the Chicago Bulls’ Taj Gibson in the conference semifinals and his collision with the Atlanta Hawks’ Kyle Korver on Friday that left Korver with a postseason-ending ankle sprain.

This time in a scramble for a rebound with 34.3 seconds left in the first half at Quicken Loans Arena, Cavs’ backup point guard Dellavedova tripped over the Hawks’ DeMarre Carroll and fell in a heap with Atlanta’s Al Horford. When he felt Dellavedova on his knees, Horford elbowed Dellavedova in the neck and shoulder area.

After a lengthy review, Horford received a flagrant-2 and an ejection and Dellavedova was called for a technical foul for what crew chief Ken Mauer called “a live ball physical taunt.”

The moment nearly stole the spotlight from a play-to-exhaustion triple-double from LeBron James as the Cavs edged the Hawks 114-111 in overtime in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavs will attempt to sweep the visiting Hawks in Game 4 Tuesday night and earn a trip to the NBA Finals.

Terrence Ross undergoes ankle surgery

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday forward-guard Terrence Ross underwent surgery yesterday in Van Nuys, California to remove bone spurs and loose bodies from his left ankle. The procedure was performed by Dr. Richard Ferkel at the Southern California Orthopaedic Institute.

Ross will conduct his rehabilitation in Toronto. No timetable has been set for a return to basketball activities.

Ross averaged 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 25.3 minutes in a career-best 82 games this past season. He owns career averages of 9.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 23.3 minutes in 236 games. He has shot .373 (371-994) from three-point range.

Cavs take 2-0 series lead vs Hawks

Cavs take 2-0 series lead vs Hawks

The Cleveland Cavaliers are rocking, and leave Atlanta with two wins, heading to Cleveland for Game 3. No Kyrie Irving in Game 2, no Kevin Love for the rest of the playoffs, yet no problem so far for LeBron James and company. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

The Cavaliers are down to one superstar and plenty of helping hands.

The Hawks might be down to their last rites.

LeBron James had 30 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists and the Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks 94-82 Friday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. And they did it without Kyrie Irving.

Irving was held out of Friday’s game because of tendinitis in his left knee, yet his absence was barely noticeable.

Matthew Dellavedova had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in place of Irving, Iman Shumpert scored 16 points and the Cavs held the high-powered Hawks to 42 percent shooting while dismantling the best team in the East on their own floor.

Tristan Thompson grabbed 16 rebounds and Timofey Mozgov had 10 points and seven rebounds.

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