Archive for June 3rd, 2014

Spurs get their Heat Finals rematch

Spurs get their Heat Finals rematch

Starting Thursday, the Spurs get a rematch in the NBA Finals against the only team to ever beat them in a championship series. San Antonio will be holding home-court advantage, so if another Game 7 awaits, the Spurs will have the decided edge this time around. If that wasn’t enough, the Spurs even got basically five full days between games to get healthy and prepare.

It is, without question, everything the Spurs could have wanted.

“We know what we’re going against,” said Spurs guard Tony Parker, who added that he has great respect for what the Heat have done in this four-year run. “It’s a great challenge.”

There are so many things that would seem like a distinct San Antonio advantage right now.

First, while everyone’s better at home, the Spurs dominate in San Antonio, winning 103 times in their last 123 games there. Over the past four seasons, the Spurs are also 25-5 when having three or more days between games.

– Associated Press

Pistons hire Jeff Bower as general manager

Detroit Pistons Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy announced today that the team has named Jeff Bower as general manager.

“I’m pleased to welcome Jeff Bower to the Detroit Pistons organization,” said Van Gundy. “Jeff brings great basketball knowledge and NBA experience to our organization and he’s enjoyed success in building teams. He’s a great evaluator of talent and Jeff will bring solid leadership to our front office.”

Bower joins the Pistons organization with 30-plus years of NBA and collegiate basketball experience. He served two terms as general manager of the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets from 2001-03 and 2005-10. He first joined the Hornets organization in 1995 as an advance scout and was promoted to director of scouting/assistant coach after two years. Bower was the team’s assistant general manager for the 2000-01 season and was named general manager on June 4, 2001. After two years as general manager, Bower was named as an assistant coach (2003-04) and director of player personnel (2004-05) before taking over as general manager again in 2005.

Bower’s tenure with the Hornets included the drafting of four future NBA All-Stars including Baron Davis (1999, third pick), Jamaal Magloire (2000, 19th pick), David West (2003, 18th pick) and Chris Paul (2005, fourth pick). He’s credited with rebuilding the Hornets franchise in wake of Hurricane Katrina which forced the Hornets to temporarily relocate to Oklahoma City from 2005-07. His 2007-08 Hornets team set a franchise record with 56 regular-season wins, won its only division title and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals where they took the San Antonio Spurs to seven games. The Hornets made four playoff appearances under his leadership.

“I’m excited to join the Pistons organization and play a role in helping this franchise build on its great basketball tradition,” said Bower. “I look forward to working with Stan, his staff and everyone in the Pistons organization to put together a team that the community can support and be proud of. I’m also excited about ownership’s commitment to winning and their demonstrated commitment to the community.”

A native of Hollidaysburg, PA, Bower spent last season as head coach at Marist College. He began his basketball career as an assistant coach at Penn State University from 1983-86. He then moved to Marist College as an assistant coach (1986-90) and then associate head coach (1990-95). He helped the Red Foxes to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1987 and won the ECAC Metro Conference regular-season championship in 1987 and 1988. During that time, he aided in the development of Rik Smits, who would go on to become the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers.

Bower holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history/education from St. Francis College, PA.

michael redd

The Washington Wizards had an excellent season, made the playoffs, and appear to be moving in the right direction. And now their head coach has been rewarded for it.

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed head coach Randy Wittman to a contract extension. According to CSN Washington, the deal is for three years, $9 million total, “but the final year isn’t fully guaranteed.”

“We are pleased with the progress the team has made on the court and with the culture we have been able to build with Randy as our head coach,” said Grunfeld. “We will look to continue that momentum with him deservedly leading this group of dedicated and hard-working players.”

Washington won its first playoff series since 2005, defeating the Chicago Bulls in five games in the first round. The team advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals where they fell in six games to the Indiana Pacers, marking the first time since the 1978-79 season that the team had won two games in the second round of the playoffs.

“This team and this organization have made significant strides over the last two-and-a-half seasons and I’m excited to be a part of the next step in that process,” said Wittman. “The players and staff all feel that this is the beginning of something special and we’re dedicated to building on our positive accomplishments while striving to improve and reach the next level of success.”

The Wizards finished 44-38 in 2013-14, representing a 15-game turnaround. The team’s 44 victories were the most since they won 45 in 2004-05, while their 22 road victories were tied for the most in the Eastern Conference and marked the highest team total since 1972-73 (23).

“Randy’s leadership and preparation allowed him to implement and build an unselfish team mentality over the last several seasons where defense comes first and every player is held accountable,” said Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis. “The result is a Washington Wizards team that proudly represents our fans and our city both on and off the court and has us looking eagerly toward what we can accomplish moving forward.”

Wittman has led the Wizards from the sidelines since taking over the team on January 24, 2012. During his two full seasons at the helm, the team has ranked in the top 10 in several defensive categories during the regular season including opponent field goal percentage (fifth in 2012-13), blocks (seventh in both seasons), opponent points per game (ninth in 2013-14 and eighth in 2012-13), opponent three-point field goal percentage (sixth in 2013-14 and 10th in 2012-13), turnovers (fourth in 2013-14) and opponent offensive rebounding (fourth in 2013-14.

In addition, the Wizards were one of seven teams (Indiana, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Memphis, L.A. Clippers and Chicago) to rank in the top 10 in defensive efficiency in each of the last two seasons (seventh in 2013-14 and fifth in 2012-13).

On offense, the Wizards have ranked in the top 10 in three-point field goal percentage (fifth in 2013-14 and 10th in 2012-13) and assists per game (eighth in 2013-14).

Wittman earned a place in the record books during the team’s postseason run, as he became just the fifth head coach in NBA history to win his first three career NBA road playoff games and joined Pat Riley as the only other coach in NBA history to go 5-1 in his first six career playoff matchups on the road.

P.J. Hairston to work out for Sixers

Here’s the Philadelphia Daily News reporting on the Sixers:

Former North Carolina shooting guard and Texas Legends (NBA D-League) player P.J. Hairston will work out for the Sixers on June 11, his agent, Juan Murrow, confirmed last night.

The franchise has seven picks in the NBA draft, scheduled for June 26 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Sixers have the third and 10th picks in the first round, and five second-round picks – Nos. 32, 39, 47, 52 and 54.

He is projected to be a late first-round pick.

Enjoy video highlights of some of the hottest plays of the 2014 NBA Conference Finals, where the Spurs wound up eliminating the Thunder, while the Heat eliminated the Pacers:

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