LeBron James, still playing with no headband

Here’s the Northeast Ohio Media Group reporting on the state of LeBron James’ headband. These days, the headband is on the bench, waiting to be utlized. But it shouldn’t hold its headband breath. Explanation:

Cavaliers small forward LeBron James has immersed himself in the spirit of togetherness.

On March 10 in Dallas, he played without wearing his patented headband. The last time he went into a game without headgear was a preseason matchup against Detroit during his rookie season.

He has been headband-less ever since.

James never provided a rationale for ditching his branded look. He has simply stated that he chose to do so out of the blue. Recently I was able to get more of an explanation out of him.

“I did it because I just wanted to look like my teammates,” James told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “Just wanted to be one. Nothing more than that.”

Warriors take Game 1 vs Grizzlies

Warriors take Game 1 vs Grizzlies

Stephen Curry had 22 points and seven assists, and the Golden State Warriors wore down the undermanned Memphis Grizzlies in a 101-86 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday.

Klay Thompson added 18 points and Draymond Green scored 16 to help the top-seeded Warriors roll to their 21st straight victory at raucous Oracle Arena. They led by nine at the half, 20 late in the third quarter and never let the Grizzlies build any momentum in the fourth.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Oakland.

Marc Gasol had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Zach Randolph finished with 20 points and nine rebounds for a Memphis team missing point guard Mike Conley. He sat on the bench in a suit, his left eye still swollen, as he continues to recover from surgery to repair broken bones in his face.

– AP

Wizards take 1-0 series lead vs Hawks

Wizards take 1-0 series lead vs Hawks

The second round of the 2015 NBA playoffs began today with a road win by the Washington Wizards in Atlanta. Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting:

The Wizards repeated the feat Sunday, rolling off the Atlanta Hawks’ explosive punches to erase a 12-point third-quarter deficit and stun the hosts, 104-98, and seize control of another series at Philips Arena. With the victory, Washington improved to 8-1 on the road in the playoffs the past two seasons under Coach Randy Wittman. The Wizards are the first team in NBA history to win four straight Game 1s on the road.

Bradley Beal headed the effort with 28 points but sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter. He returned but was held scoreless the rest of the way. John Wall played through a left wrist injury he suffered in the second period to post 18 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds. Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

DeMarre Carroll erupted for 21 points in the first half — the most a Hawks player has scored in a half this season – but was held to just three in the second half. His 24 points led five Hawks in double figures. Al Horford (17 points and 17 rebounds) and Paul Millsap (15 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists) each registered double-doubles but Atlanta was held to 35 points in the second half after recording 37 in the first quarter alone.

Cavs set to resume play after long layoff

Cavs set to resume play after long layoff

You remember the Cleveland Cavaliers, right? They swept the Boston Celtics and have been sitting and waiting to begin the second round. They’re without power forward Kevin Love for the rest of the playoffs, though. And without shooting guard J.R. Smith for a couple of games. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

By sweeping the Boston Celtics out of the first round of the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers saved themselves the stress that comes with an elongated series but gave themselves a new challenge to think about: How will they respond as a team to having eight days off in between Game 4 against Boston and Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls on Monday?

“It’s a concern,” Cavs coach David Blatt said Sunday after his team’s final practice before it opens up the second round, “and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t because that’s a long time, and our opponent obviously played games during that time.”

The Bulls, who beat the Milwaukee Bucks by 54 points in a close-out Game 6 on Thursday, should be coming into the Eastern Conference semifinals with some semblance of game rhythm. The Cavs, meanwhile, practiced five out of the seven days they’ve had to wait since finishing their first-round series.

“I hope we respond well,” Blatt continued. “Exactly what that’s going to look like initially, it’s hard for me to say.”

Chandler Parsons undergoes knee surgery

Chandler Parsons undergoes knee surgery

Chandler Parsons undergoes knee surgery

The Dallas Mavericks have announced that forward Chandler Parsons underwent arthroscopic surgery today to address a cartilage injury to his right knee. The surgery was performed by Dr. T.O. Souryal at Texas Sports Medicine. A timetable for his return to basketball activities will be determined in the future.

Parsons (6-10, 230) played in 66 games (all starts) in his first season with the Mavericks and averaged of 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 33.1 minutes per game.

Andrew Wiggins wins 2014-2015 NBA Rookie of Year

Andrew Wiggins wins 2014-2015 NBA Rookie of Year

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, who led all first-year players in scoring, is the recipient of the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the 2014-15 NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA announced today. He is the first Canadian-born winner of the award and the first player in the Timberwolves’ 26-year history to earn the honor.

Wiggins, 20, received 110 of 130 first-place votes and 604 total points from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic finished second with 335 points (14 first-place votes), and Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers was third with 141 points (three first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

Wiggins averaged 16.9 points, the second-best mark by a rookie in Minnesota history, behind Christian Laettner’s 18.2 points in 1992-93. He appeared in all 82 games and ranked fourth in the NBA with a rookie-leading 36.2 minutes, the highest average ever by a Timberwolves rookie. The 6-8 Wiggins led or tied for the Minnesota lead in scoring a team-high 25 times and reached the 20-point mark in 31 games. He finished ninth in the NBA in free throws made (354) and sixth in free throws attempted (466), good for 76.0 percent. Wiggins also averaged 4.6 rebounds and 1.05 steals, both top-10 marks among rookies.

The top pick of the 2014 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, Wiggins was named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month in October/November, December, January and February. His best statistical month came in January, when he averaged 19.8 points on 47.1 percent shooting in 17 games, including a season-high 33 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted Wiggins and traded him to Minnesota on Aug. 23, 2014. Wiggins finished the season strong, scoring at least 20 points in 10 of his last 13 games.

Thunder hire Billy Donovan as head coach

Oklahoma City Thunder hire Billy Donovan as head coach

Thunder hire Billy Donovan as head coach

The Oklahoma City Thunder named Billy Donovan the team’s new head coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Donovan becomes the third head coach in Thunder history after spending the past 19 years at the University of Florida where he led the Gators to two National Championships and four trips to the Final Four while amassing a record of 467-186 (.715).

“We are thrilled to welcome Billy and his family to the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. When we began the process of identifying the next head coach of the Thunder, we started with a vision and the identifiable qualities that we felt were necessary for our organization as well as the ever evolving role of the head coach in today’s NBA. We wanted to identify a person with the traits associated with high achieving leaders in their respective fields; a continuous learning mentality, the ability to adapt, evolve and innovate, intrinsically motivated, humility, and great tactical competence,” Presti said. “While we created a comprehensive analysis regarding the qualities we were looking for, it became quite evident that Billy was the ideal fit for the Thunder as we look to transition our team into the future. Billy has achieved an incredible level of success and experience within his 21 years as a head coach and has shown the unique ability to not only create but sustain an elite program. His emotional intelligence, commitment to the concept of team, and relentless approach to incremental improvement have allowed him to bring his players together and establish lasting relationships through competitive success. Billy’s core values and alignment with our culture and community, as well as his proven tactical abilities, make him an ideal addition to the Thunder organization.” ‎

Billy’s core values and alignment with our culture and community, as well as his proven tactical abilities, make him an ideal addition to the Thunder organization.

During his tenure at Florida, Donovan led the program to 16 straight 20-win seasons, three 30-win seasons, 17 consecutive trips to the postseason and six SEC Championships. Under Donovan, Florida has advanced to the Elite Eight in six of the past 10 seasons.

“We warmly welcome Billy and his family to Oklahoma City,” said Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder Chairman. “He is the perfect fit for our organization and for our community and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.”

After winning back-to-back national championships (2006 and 2007), Donovan led Florida to 18 straight postseason wins, the longest run for any program since John Wooden led UCLA to 28 straight postseason wins. This past season, Donovan became the second youngest coach in NCAA history (Bob Knight) to claim 500 career wins.

“I am honored and humbled to be named the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. I knew that it would take a unique opportunity to leave the University of Florida and that is clearly how I look at this situation,” said Billy Donovan, Thunder Head Coach. “The Thunder represents so many of the values that I embrace as a head coach; the commitment to the team above oneself, the dedicated pursuit of excellence, the commitment to organizational culture, the identity they have established and the fact that the Thunder and the community are so intricately woven into the fabric of one another. To have the ability to work with such a talented and high character group of players is also rare, and I am excited to forge ahead creating those relationships. It is of course bittersweet as the University of Florida will always hold a very special place in my heart and in my family’s. I’ve had the good fortune of working with the best athletic director in the country in Jeremy Foley over the last 19 years, and I’ll be forever grateful and thankful for the opportunity and his friendship. Countless players, students, and other people in the administration were responsible for our success and for the meaningful connection we had with the Gainesville community. I have a deep appreciation for what the University of Florida will always mean to me and I’ll forever be a Gator.”

Donavan has been the recipient of numerous collegiate coaching awards including ESPN.com’s National Coach of the Year (2001), the Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” Honor (2010) and SEC Coach of the Year (2011, 2013, 2014).

In addition to his responsibilities at Florida, Donovan has served as head coach of USA Basketball’s U18 and U19 National Teams in each of the last three summers. As a head coach with USAB, Donavan’s teams have captured three gold medals while going a perfect 19-0 during national team competition. Prior to leading the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Team to the gold medal last summer in Colorado Springs, CO, Donovan guided the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team to a perfect 9-0 record and the gold medal in Prague, Czech Republic and the 2012 USA U18 National Team to a 5-0 slate and gold in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil.

Donovan’s coaching experience dates back to the 1989-90 season where he served as a graduate assistant coach at Kentucky. After five years with the Wildcats, Donovan was hired as head coach at Marshall where he spent two years before leaving for Florida.

Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Donovan enjoyed a four-year playing career at Providence where he helped lead the Friars to their best season in school history and a trip to the Final Four in 1987. In addition, Donovan appeared in 44 games as a member of the New York Knicks during the 1987-88 season.

Nic Batum knows he had a bad season

And Nic Batum aims to do something about it

Nicolas Batum knows he had a lousy season for the Portland Trail Blazers, who on Wednesday were eliminated in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Nic Batum is aware that he had a disappointing season

“All I know is everybody has one bad year,” Batum said. “You have to learn from it. Why? And how can I get better?”

Batum said the first change will be how he manages his time in the offseason. He said his late decision to join the French National team last summer ended up over-extending him.

“Last year, I didn’t manage my offseason well,” Batum said. “I didn’t plan to go with the national team last summer, and when I did, I had already made plans to make appearances and camps. I didn’t rest.”

This summer, he said he will play for the French National Team, but he will rest before he reports in August.

Nick Collison undergoes knee surgery

Nick Collison undergoes knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks

Nick Collison undergoes knee surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure today on his right knee, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

The procedure was performed by the Thunder’s Head Orthopedic Physician, Carlan Yates at the McBride Orthopedic Hospital in Oklahoma City. Collison is expected to miss 4-6 weeks before returning to normal offseason activities.

This past season, Collison appeared in 66 games (two starts) and averaged 4.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 16.7 minutes per game.

Billy Donovan is getting the OKC Thunder head coaching job

The Oklahoma City Thunder have made a decision as to who should lead Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter and friends into the future. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

A coaching search that started with Thunder general manager Sam Presti saying he wouldn’t limit the scope of candidates he would consider ended Thursday with Oklahoma City getting the one man it seemed to be after from the start.

Billy Donovan will become the third coach in Thunder history after agreeing to a multi-year deal with the team just one week after Oklahoma City fired Scott Brooks.

Complete terms of the deal are unknown at this time. Yahoo Sports reports the deal is for five years.

Donovan, 49, is a two-time national championship coach at Florida, the program he’s leaving after 19 seasons.

Chandler Parsons plans to actively recruit talent for Mavs

Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting on injured small forward Chandler Parsons, who aside from focusing on regaining health plans to do his part as a talent recruiter this offseason:

Chandler Parsons plans to actively recruit talent for Mavs

Parsons is willing work for getting those good players around him. He plans to spend the summer recruiting free agents to play for the Mavericks.

“I’m officially shifting into GM mode,” he said. “I have great relationships with a lot of guys that are out there. I have a great relationship with a lot of guys that are currently on our team, so as a guy that will be here for a while and as one of the key guys going forward I will definitely be talking to management. Anything I can do to help I’ll obviously do.”

Parsons said he hasn’t talked to management about who to target yet - the season ended yesterday - but that it was a “known thing” that he’d like be in on the recruiting pitches this offseason. He’ll be taking over for Dirk Nowitzki as the lead player recruiter. For his part, Nowitzki is fine with it.

“He’s great at that,” Nowitzki said.

Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan gets contract extension

The Orlando Magic have extended the contract of General Manager Rob Hennigan, Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins announced today. Hennigan’s contract has been extended through the 2017-18 season. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

“Under the leadership of Rob (Hennigan), we feel that we are positioning ourselves to be able to contend in a long-term, sustainable fashion,” said Martins. “We are proud of the work that Rob and our basketball operations department has done to this point and we look forward to taking the next steps in the process.”

Hennigan was named general manager of the Magic on June 20, 2012. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the team’s basketball operations, including day-to-day business, roster management and development, player acquisitions, salary cap management, analytical systems, and process development throughout the department. Before joining the Magic, Hennigan spent the previous four seasons (2008-12) with Oklahoma City, including his last two seasons as the Thunder’s assistant general manager/player personnel.

“It’s an honor to be a member of this organization and a privilege to work for the DeVos Family under Dan and Alex’s leadership,” said Hennigan. “I am extremely grateful for the unwavering trust and support that our entire organization demonstrates as we continue building our team for competitive longevity and one in which all of Central Florida can be proud.”

Prior to joining the Thunder, Hennigan spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. He was named director of basketball operations in September of 2007. Hennigan began as an intern during the 2004-05 season and was later named the team’s basketball operations assistant during the summer of 2005. The Spurs won the NBA World Championship in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

Kevin Love injury leaves Cavs with frontcourt hole

Kevin Love out 4-6 months after shoulder surgery

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love underwent successful surgery this afternoon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City to repair his dislocated left shoulder. The surgery was performed by Dr. David W. Altchek.

Continuing treatment and rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic Courts and Cleveland Clinic Sports Health will be conducted by the Cavaliers’ medical staff and Head Team Physician Dr. Richard D. Parker.

Love’s projected recovery time is four to six months.

Mavs players decline to share playoff money with Rondo

If Rajon Rondo wasn’t going to share his heart or talent with the Dallas Mavericks, the Mavs players apparently didn’t want to share their playoff bonus with him. Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting:

During their exit interview with the media Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks players made all of the politically correct comments when asked about wayward point guard Rajon Rondo.

But when it came time for the 14 players to vote on whether or not to give Rondo a share of the pool of money they earned for qualifying for the playoffs, the Mavs players voted not to give him a share, according to multiple sources.

For participating in the first round of the playoffs, the Mavs earned a total of $208,940. Shared equally among the other 14 players, that’s an estimated $14,924 per player.

Doc Rivers fined for public criticism of officiating

Doc Rivers fined for public criticism of officiating

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of officiating, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

Rivers made his comments following the Clippers’ 111-107 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, April 28, at Staples Center.

Bucks trying to make sure that actual Bucks fans attend their next home game

Here’s the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting on the Bucks, whose Chicago-based first round playoff opponent is practically another local team:

Bucks trying to make sure that actual Bucks fans attend the next Bucks home game

The first two home playoff games for the Bucks were sellouts last week, with the crowds nearly evenly divided between Milwaukee and Chicago fans.

But Game 6 on Thursday might be a bit different.

Plenty of Bulls fans will be in the stands as always, but the Bucks have tried to make sure more of their fans are holding tickets. The team is having a pre-sale of tickets until noon Wednesday, limited to fans with Wisconsin zip codes.

“There certainly will be Bulls fans here, and that’s fine,” said Bucks vice president of marketing Dustin Godsey. “Our goal is to give local fans the opportunity to get tickets.”

Jimmy Butler admitted after the Chicago Bulls’ 94-88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Monday night that he believes he has been focused too much on offense and not enough on defense.

The Bulls still lead the series 3-2, but after dropping two straight games, the group’s confidence has taken a hit. Butler acknowledged that as a leader of this team, he has tried to speak to teammates in order to get the group back on the same page.

“I have,” Butler said. “I’ll stay on us about it. I’m supposed to be the prime-time defensive guy, and I haven’t been guarding a soul. I’ve been worried about offense too much, and I need to change that quickly or it’s going to be my fault.”

ESPN Chicago

Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony is technically a New York native, but he spent much of his childhood in Baltimore.

He’s watched the city fall apart in recent days with riots and looting, so he decided to speak out in an Instagram message to Baltimore that’s been liked over 57,000 times and has 1,500 comments as of Tuesday morning.

“We need to protect our city, not destroy it,” he wrote in the message below. “What happens when we get the answers that we want, and the media attention is not there anymore? We go back to being the same ol Baltimore City again.”

NJ Advance Media

There are different levels of knee surgery. Some are relatively minor, while others can really mess an athlete up for a season or two, or much longer. Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting:

Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons said he’s delaying surgical work on his right knee until after the Mavericks are finished with their playoff run and that he and doctors won’t know exactly what’s wrong with the knee until he has the procedure.

Parsons has been getting multiple medical opinions on his injured knee, which kept him out of the final six games of the regular season and ended his playoff run after one game.

He also has been with the Mavericks for all of their playoff games, and that won’t change.

“There’s a lot of opinions and a lot of different things out there, but really the doctors won’t know anything until they open me up,” Parsons said at the Mavericks’ shootaround Tuesday morning. “So I’m not going to say something is going to happen or not happen and then be wrong. I really won’t know until they open me up.

Tyson Chandler denies throwing a punch at Dwight Howard

Here’s the Houston Chronicle clearing up something you may have heard about but probably didn’t because it didn’t actually happen. Not the Chronicle’s fault. They’re simply clarifying what’s up. Here is the report:

Tyson Chandler denies throwing a punch at Dwight Howard

Dallas center Tyson Chandler said he had no idea there were rumors that he might face suspension for an altercation between he and Rockets center Dwight Howard in Game 4 on Sunday.

On Monday, a video of a play where Chandler and Howard were tangled up and both called for technical fouls floated around social media. In some angles, it looked like Chandler might have thrown a punch, which according to NBA rules would have left him with a one-game suspension.

Chandler said he hadn’t heard any of that speculation until shoot around before Game 5 on Tuesday.

“That is the first time I heard that,” Chandler said. “I didn’t throw any punches. I wouldn’t throw a punch at Dwight.”

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