Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson sat down with WEEI in Boston
recently to talk about how things were going in New York, how he likes being a Celtic so far, and, of course, the Dunk Contest. It wasn’t until the end of the interview that Robinson talked about the event that has given him the majority of his NBA notoriety. (For the record, Robinson says that he had a good relationship with Mike D’Antoni and has enjoyed being in Boston so far.)
When asked whether he has retired from dunk contests, Robinson said the following:
“Yeah, I’m done. I’m taking off my cleats for that. I mean my sneakers for that. It’s cool. I made history. That is something my kids can always go back and say, my dad was the first three-time dunk champion. So it is fun. I’ve been myself dunking a lot as a kid and I fulfilled my dreams and I kept my faith strong. I believed in myself and believed in God and he helped me through all my trials and tribulations.”
When asked if the dunk contest needs to be changed around after the last full-fledged disaster of a contest, Robinson said the following:
“It’s not, you’ve just got to find different guys to make it interesting. You have to get guys that want to do it. You can’t put guys in there that just do it just to do it. You know what I mean?”
As much as the fact that Robinson has won more dunk contests than Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and Vince Carter makes me cringe, Nate is exactly right here. The problem with the dunk contest was that the league didn’t make a concerted effort to find guys who really wanted to do the contest and put in the time to come up with exciting dunks. Nate Robinson winning the dunk contest for the third time made this an unavoidable reality. If that leads to better dunk contests in the future, I don’t begrudge Nate for his dunk contest championships.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.