Spurs half-court offense is fun

Zach Lowe of the Sports Illustrated blog reports:

No team is more fun to watch in the halfcourt, with all the side-to-side movement, backdoor cuts and swinging of the ball. Watch for this one, a personal favorite: Tony Parker and DeJuan Blair will run a pick-and-roll at the top of the three-point arc while Richard Jefferson relaxes on the left wing above the three-point line and Manu Ginobili sprints his way to the left corner, near Jefferson. If Parker penetrates, Jefferson’s guy may sag down toward the foul line to help.

As that happens, Jefferson will drift slightly to the left. Even worse for that poor defender: Tim Duncan will creep up toward the foul line area, position himself between Jefferson and Jefferson’s defender and set a back-screen. When RJ’s defender turns to scurry back out to Jefferson, he’ll run right into Duncan’s chest.

Parker will then kick the ball out to Jefferson, who can either shoot an open triple or — if Ginobili’s man rotates out to him — shoot a pass to Ginobili in the left corner. Gorgeous hoops.

Divorce of Tony Parker, Eva Longoria is finalized

Tim Griffin of Spurs Nation reports:

Spurs guard Tony Parker’s divorce with actress Eva Longoria has been finalized.

The web site TMZ.com and my colleague Jeanne Jakle are reporting that Longoria’s lawyer filed paperwork Friday in Texas to dismiss the divorce petition she filed in L.A. County Superior Court.

Instead, it appears that both sides have agreed that Texas is the best place for  the divorce because that’s where Parker and Longoria signed their prenuptual agreement.

TMZ.com reports that there was ultimately no conflict in the divorce between the two sides.

Kevin Durant gets mad at Chris Bosh

Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City, the Thunder hosted the Miami Heat and came away with a 108-103 loss. After the game, Kevin Durant (7-of-20, 33 points, 10 rebounds and four steals) talked about why he got mad at Heat forward Chris Bosh (8-of-13, 20 points, seven rebounds).

The Chicago Tribune wire services report:

Kevin Durant gets mad at Chris Bosh

Durant says he was upset because Bosh got involved in his conversation with a teammate. Bosh says Durant was telling James Harden that next time, he should dunk on Bosh. Bosh had fouled Harden on the previous play to prevent a fast-break layup.

“I think he was telling Harden to dunk on me, or dunk the next one,” Bosh said before giving a cleaned-up version of the exchange. “I expressed that, ‘No, he’s not going to dunk that.’ And he expressed, ‘Yes, he is.’ It just kind of went back and forth.”

Both Durant and Bosh were called for technical fouls. It was Bosh’s second of the season and the first that will count against Durant, who also had one rescinded earlier this season.

“I’m no punk. I wasn’t even talking to him, first off. He decided to butt in and I’m not going to just let that slide, especially in our house,” Durant said. “Like I said, he’s not one of those guys that I look at and say, ‘Oh, he has a rap for talking back to guys or always getting into it.’

Durant, who while extremely competitive rarely tends to get heated, also said the following about Bosh: “There’s a lot of fake tough guys in this league and he’s one of them.”

Pacers are firing coach Jim O`Brien

The Indiana Pacers have reportedly decided that their time with head coach Jim O’Brien is due to come to an end.

According to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers on Sunday fired O’Brien and will name Frank Vogel interim coach.

Wells also reported that although Vogel will run the show for the time being, Pacers president Larry Bird will have some say as to which players get time on the court.

The 17-27 Pacers are currently 10th in the Eastern conference and have won just three of their last 10 games.

NBA fines Doc Rivers

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has been fined $15,000 for failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 4:33 remaining in the second period of the Celtics’ 88-71 loss to the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Arena in Phoenix on January 28.

Mavericks release Sasha Pavlovic

Dwaine Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (via blog):

Shortly after Saturday’s 102-91 win over the Atlanta Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks released small forward Sasha Pavlovic.

After the game against the Hawks, Pavlovic’s second 10-day contract with the Mavs expired. Thus, under NBA rules, the Mavs either had to sign him to a contract for the rest of the season, or waive him.

The Mavs chose the latter.

“The decision comes down from the top, and it basically involves (player/money) flexibility going forward,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’m sure he’s disappointed.

“But I”m also sure he’ll hook on with someone else.”

Raja Bell in shooting slump

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reports:

Raja Bell in shooting slump

Bell’s 7.9 points per game average is the lowest since he scored 3.1 ppg during the 2002-03 campaign in Dallas.

More concerning, though, is how Bell hasn’t scored more than five points in seven games, and that he has only hit four of his last 26 field-goal attempts.

Bell can pinpoint the problem — or the “hitch” — in the release of his shot.

“There’s a rhythm thing that’s going on with me and so the drills like that help me to remember to keep it up,” Bell said. “When I miss, I usually miss flat.”

The back-to-basics drills remind him to follow through high and to leave his hand up.