Archive for April 23rd, 2013

Pablo Prigioni is back in the New York Knicks’ starting lineup for Game 2 of their playoff series against Boston after missing the opener with a sprained right ankle.

Prigioni was hurt last Wednesday in the regular-season finale, but coach Mike Woodson says Tuesday the 35-year-old NBA rookie has practiced the last few days and seems to be moving well.

– Reported by the Associated Press

mike brown

Mike Brown and the Cavaliers have reached a handshake agreement on a new deal, a league source told the Akron Beacon Journal on Tuesday. An official announcement should be made Wednesday.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Brown is the Cavs’ most successful coach in team history and his .653 winning percentage ranks sixth all-time (minimum 450 games) among coaches. His hiring marks a fascinating return to the organization that fired him just three years ago in a futile attempt to keep LeBron James in Cleveland.

Brown is 314-167 in parts of seven seasons and his team has reached the playoffs and won in the first round in each of his six full seasons. Brown was fired five games into this season by the Los Angeles Lakers, but returns to a Cavs team that has spent the last three years rebuilding under Byron Scott, who was fired last week after compiling a 64-166 record in three years.

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

nate robinson

Chicago Bulls guard Nate Robinson doesn’t hide his dislike for the Brooklyn Nets’ C.J. Watson. In fact, Robinson views it as a positive.

“We’re just competitors,” Robinson said Monday after helping the Bulls even their Eastern Conference quarterfinals at a game apiece. “I don’t like him, he don’t like me. That’s how it’s going to be. There’s animosity between the two of us, and for us, that’s good.”

The cause of the animosity isn’t certain. Robinson essentially filled Watson’s role on the Bulls, who waived Watson last offseason and then signed Robinson to a non-guaranteed contract.

– Reported by ESPN Chicago

Josh Smith

Josh Smith, the Hawks’ leading scorer, will play in Game 2 against the Pacers Wednesday after suffering a sprained right ankle in the playoff series opener.

Smith was a full participant in Tuesday’s workout. He missed the on-court portion of Monday’s workout after suffering the injury in the third quarter of the Game 1 loss.

“I should be all right,” Smith said. “It’s still a little sore but it’s playoff time and I have to suck it up.”

– Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The first game was a blowout and the second was a buzzer-beater, but both were wins for the Clippers and that means they hold a 2-0 advantage over the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs.

It’s a good omen for the Clippers, who have been up, 2-0, in a playoff series only one other time in franchise history. That time, in 2006, they went on to defeat the Denver nuggets, four games to one. It also holds an historical advantage as only 15 times in NBA playoff history has a team lost a series after winning the first two. 

Those things mean little to the Clippers, however. Nobody in their locker room was satisfied after Chris Paul’s buzzer-beating bank shot gave the Clippers a 93-91 victory in Game 2 at Staples Center. 

“All we did was protect our home court,” Vinny Del Negro said. “You have to win four games. We did what we were supposed to do. We know we’re going to have to play better in Memphis.” 

It would be difficult to play better than Paul did down the stretch. He scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half and was the only Clippers’ player to score in the final 3:46 of the game. But the Clippers held a 12-point lead with just under 10 minutes to play and let the Grizzlies get back in to tie the game. They were able to get away with that at home, but trying that on the road would be playing with fire. 

– Reported by Peter Yoon of ESPN Los Angeles

Charlotte Bobcats fire coach Mike Dunlap

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has relieved Mike Dunlap of his duties as head coach. The search for his successor will begin immediately.

“Rich Cho and I conducted our season-ending review and met with Coach Dunlap to reflect on this season.  As an organization, it was decided that we needed to make a change with the head coach position,” Higgins said. “We want to thank Mike for his contribution and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Dunlap was hired as the fifth head coach in franchise history on June 20, 2012 and posted an overall record of 21-61.

According to the Charlotte Observer, “Dunlap’s strength was player development and his greatest success was probably the improvement of point guard Kemba Walker. But he appeared to have friction at times with some of the veterans, including a verbal altercation with guard Ben Gordon during a shootaround. Players were asked in their exit interviews last week for a review of Dunlap’s coaching style. It’s unclear how much that factored in the decision to let him go. In a post-season interview with the Observer Friday, Dunlap said he had evolved as a coach this season. He noted that he had backed off on managing every aspect of games from the sideline and had shortened practices.”

Wizards inspired by Randy Wittman crying

On Nov. 26, the Wizards lost a home game to San Antonio, 118-92. It was the 12th straight loss to start the season, and the postgame locker room for the Wizards was an emotional scene. On Thursday, a tale told by Martell Webster revealed for the first time just how emotional it was.

“After we lost that 12th game and he came into the locker room – I don’t even know if he wants me to share this, but I don’t care – and he was crying, man, after that game,” Webster said. “And he told us that he cared about us. And for me, that was a point in the season where I was just like, I’m in. I’m totally in. I bought into the system. And when I did that, that’s when my season began to turn to a positive light, and I started to succeed after that point.

“That meant a lot because it showed that he really cared. He didn’t care about his job. He didn’t. He just cared about the guys that he was coaching. And that was amazing. That was touching for me. But that’s when I realized that I really wanted to buy into this system.”

A.J. Price said he also committed to the system after that night.

“I definitely remember that,” he said. “That showed me how passionate he was as a coach.

– Reported by Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post DC Sports Bog

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