Archive for June 5th, 2009

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have hired Marc Iavaroni and Alex English as assistant coaches. The pair has a combined 42 years of experience coaching and playing in the NBA. They will support Jay Triano, who signed a three-year contract as head coach May 11. Per team policy, financial terms were not announced.

“I am very excited to continue working with Alex and to add Marc to the staff,” said Triano. “They share our philosophy on the direction of the team, yet possess different skill sets that will be valuable to me.”

Iavaroni brings 11 seasons of NBA coaching knowledge to Toronto. He served the past two seasons as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies and prior to that was an assistant in Phoenix, Miami and Cleveland. He spent five seasons (2002-07) with the Suns, during which time they made four trips to the NBA Playoffs, including two appearances in the Western Conference Finals. In Miami (1999-2002), Iavaroni worked under Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. He was also the director of player development for the Heat. With the Cavaliers, he served under longtime NBA coach Mike Fratello.

Iavaroni played seven seasons in the NBA with Philadelphia, San Antonio and Utah. He was a starter as a rookie on the 76ers’ 1983 World Championship team, voted one of the 10 best teams of all-time by the media as part of the league’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1996. Iavaroni’s teams qualified for the playoffs every season of his playing career.

Triano has worked in the past with Iavaroni at the annual Eurocamp in Italy.

English returns for his sixth campaign with the Raptors and his eighth on an NBA coaching staff. He joined the Raptors after spending the 2003-04 season as an assistant coach with Philadelphia. He served as director of player personnel and assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks during the 2002-03 campaign. English began his post-playing coaching career in 2001-02 as the head coach of the National Basketball Development League’s North Charleston (S.C.) Lowgaters. In his lone season at the helm, he guided his team to a 36-20 record and a berth in the finals of the first NBDL Championship.

English was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997 and finished his 16-year playing career with 25,613 points, which ranks 12th all-time in league history. He was an eight-time NBA All-Star and was selected to the all-league second team three times (1982, 1983 and 1986). A second-round selection by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1976 (23rd overall), English played two seasons in Milwaukee, two with the Indiana Pacers, and 11 with the Denver Nuggets before finishing his career in 1990-91 with the Dallas Mavericks.

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant, playing like a man possessed, scored 40 points and the Los Angeles Lakers, who have waited nearly one year for a chance to erase bitter memories of a Boston beatdown and a championship they felt belonged to them, pounded the Orlando Magic 100-75 in Game 1 on Thursday night… Not even the return of All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson from a four-month layoff following shoulder surgery could help the Eastern Conference champions. Orlando center Dwight Howard was engulfed by two and three Lakers every time he touched the ball and scored 12 points—10 on free throws—on just 1-of-6 shooting… The Magic went just 8-of-23 on 3s and shot only 30 percent overall… Bryant, who added eight rebounds and eight assists, knows the Magic are still dangerous.

The AP reports: Bryant usually waits until the final quarter to close out his opponents but he buried the Magic with an 18-point third quarter in front of a sellout crowd of 18,997 at Staples Center on Thursday. “I was taking what they gave me. They want to back off and give me a shot, I am happy to take it,” Bryant said. “We wanted to keep our energy up and make sure we stayed the aggressor.” Pau Gasol had 16 points and Lamar Odom 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who trying to make amends for losing in last year’s final to the Boston Celtics. Bryant, who wants to prove he can win an NBA ring without former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal, showed once again that he can raise his level of play and intensity with each new playoff series.

The AP reports: The Lakers shot 46 percent from the field and 15-of-18 from the free-throw line as they smothered Orlando’s three-point shooters. The Lakers took the lead for good 34-33 on a Bryant jump shot with 7:05 left in the first half.

The AP reports: Stan Van Gundy surely wanted to put his hands over his eyes in the fourth quarter Thursday night as the Los Angeles Lakers mopped up what was left of his Orlando Magic. He had seen more than enough of Kobe Bryant, more than enough of a surprisingly tough Laker defense that kept Superman from getting airborne. “There was nothing I liked,” Van Gundy said. “What was there to like?” David Stern might have said the same thing. The NBA commissioner did his best just before the game to hype the finals as a fitting climax to one of the league’s best seasons ever, though he was probably secretly waving the pom-poms for the Kobe-LeBron matchup that never came.

The AP reports: All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson returned to the Orlando Magic for Game 1 of the NBA finals, playing the entire second quarter before struggling in the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. Nelson finished with six points on 3-of-9 shooting in 23 minutes of the Magic’s 100-75 loss. “I thought he played well in the second quarter. I was happy. I thought he was getting in the paint on his pick-and-rolls,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I thought he was making really good plays.”

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