Archive for April 12th, 2018

DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis as a frontcourt duo. Big names to have alongside each other. Then Cousins got hurt. His season was over. Yet the Pelicans stayed strong and made the playoffs. And have looked just fine. Here’s The Advocate reporting:

As DeMarcus Cousins reached at his torn Achilles, roiling in pain, many in the basketball world erased the New Orleans Pelicans from playoff contention.

Nearly three months later, those same Pelicans unleashed their refurbished brand to seal up the third-best record in franchise history. They won five consecutive games to finish the regular season, including a road victory over the reigning champion Golden State Warriors before blowing out the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs to achieve the team’s best Western Conference finish since 2008-09.

Revamped. Revitalized. Renewed.

Those three words sum up the whirlwind renovation New Orleans underwent, piecing together a 21-13 record in the wake of Cousins’ devastating injury. An increased reliance on pace and defensive versatility allowed the Pelicans to earn a tie for the West’s fourth-best record, the No. 6 seed and a first-round matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Full article

Jazz enjoying great recent success

The Jazz have been a hot team for a big chunk of the season, and today a bunch of league awards confirmed recognition of that fact. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

The NBA announced Thursday that Quin Snyder and Donovan Mitchell have been named the Western Conference Coach and Rookie of the Month for games played in March and April.

The honors came one day after the Jazz finished the regular season 48-34 to earn the fifth seed in the Western Conference versus the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. Action is set to begin Sunday, April 15 at 4:30 p.m. MT.

Utah went 17-4 under Snyder’s guidance in March and April — tying the Houston Rockets for the Western Conference’s best mark.

The Jazz also led the league in net rating (13.2), defensive rating (95.9), opponents’ scoring (95.4) and opponents’ field goal percentage (42.5) throughout that stretch.

Full article

Knicks President Steve Mills and General Manager Scott Perry announced today that Jeff Hornacek has been relieved of his head coaching duties.

Mills and Perry stated: “Jeff is a true professional who has worked tirelessly for this organization the last two seasons. We sincerely appreciate his efforts and considerable contributions to the team and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

In addition, Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis has been relieved of his coaching duties.

Mills and Perry continued: “Kurt has been a big part of the Knicks over these last four seasons, as both an associate head coach and interim head coach. We thank him for his dedication to New York and wish him the best moving forward.”

Per the New York Post, “Hornacek had one season left on his contract and the writing was on the wall — with the president stone silent virtually the entire season regarding his head coach. Mills and Perry now will embark on finding the Knicks their 11th coach since Jeff Van Gundy resigned in 2001. Mills is expected to meet the media Thursday afternoon to discuss the firing. Sources indicate the Knicks are expected to interview, among others, Mark Jackson, David Fizdale, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Kidd and David Blatt. Doc Rivers will be a candidate if he doesn’t return to the Clippers.”

Hornacek joined the Knicks as the 28th head coach in franchise history on June 2, 2016 and posted an overall 60-104 (.366) record over two seasons.

Per the New York Daily News, “Before Wednesday’s game, Hornacek made a pitch to return for the final year of his three-year contract, expressing belief that the foundation he helped build will soon “blossom.” Knicks brass evidently did not agree, as Hornacek, who was hired by Mills and Phil Jackson in the summer of 2016, helmed the team to his second straight disappointing season.”

Orlando Magic fire coach Frank Vogel

Orlando Magic fire coach Frank Vogel

Frank Vogel has been dismissed as head coach of the Orlando Magic, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today.

“We would like to thank Frank for his contributions to the Orlando Magic,” said Weltman. “We appreciate the sacrifices he made as head coach and certainly wish him and his family well going forward.”

Vogel was named the Magic’s 13th head coach on May 20, 2016. During his two seasons in Orlando, the Magic compiled a record of 54-110 (.329 win pct.). The Magic finished the 2017-18 season with a 25-57 record.

Prior to joining the Orlando Magic, Vogel served as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 2011-16 and has a career NBA regular season record of 304-291 (.511 win pct.).

Per the Orlando Sentinel, “Buoyed by far above-average shooting, the Magic opened their 2017-18 season with an 8-4 record. But the team struggled once its schedule toughened and it faced a staggering array of injuries to key players. From Nov. 11 through Jan. 12, Orlando posted a 4-27 record, and its playoff hopes evaporated.”

More from the Sentinel: “Vogel and his supporters can make a case that the roster he inherited upon his arrival in 2016 wasn’t good enough to contend for a playoff spot. Also, few substantial changes were made following the 2016-17 season. Making matters worse, during the 2017-18 season, Magic players combined to miss a total of 227 games due to injuries or illnesses.”

Wizards sign Ty lawson

Wizards sign Ty lawson

The Washington Wizards have signed free agent guard Ty Lawson.

“Ty’s experience and ability will give us extra depth in the backcourt during the playoffs,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “He’s a veteran player who can score and distribute while bringing additional postseason experience.”

Lawson has averaged 12.7 points (.460 FG%, .359 3FGt%, .770 FT%), 6.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 29.2 minutes per game in 551 contests (345 starts) over his eight NBA seasons with the Denver Nuggets (2009-15) Houston Rockets (2016), Indiana Pacers (2016) and Sacramento Kings (2016-17). During his time with the Nuggets, Lawson appeared in 416 contests (307 starts) over six seasons, averaging 14.2 points, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He also averaged 19.0 points and 6.0 assists during the 2012 NBA Playoffs and 21.3 points and 8.0 assists in the 2013 NBA Playoffs (and helped the team reach the playoffs in his first five seasons).

His best overall season with the Nuggets came in 2013-14 when he averaged 17.6 points, 8.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 62 games. Lawson averaged a career-high 9.6 assists per game in 75 games for the Nuggets during the 2014-15 season. He was originally selected with the 18th overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft before being traded to the Nuggets on draft night.

A native of nearby Clinton, MD, Lawson most recently played this year with the Shandong Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), where he averaged 25.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 46 games. He scored 55 points for the Lions on February 12.

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