One year ago this week was the best time in Tyler Hansbrough’s life. He was sitting on top of the college basketball world, leading a North Carolina Tar Heel team that would go on to win the NCAA Championship. He was a legend, a guy who will be mentioned along with Jordan and Perkins in North Carolina basketball lore.
This year, he sits around and plays a lot of video games while doctors try to figure out what is wrong, according to the Indianapolis Star. They can’t.
His latest problem — an inner ear infection and/or possible concussion — has kept him sidelined for most of the past two-plus months. The Pacers aren’t expecting him to return this season.
“It really is miserable for me to be dealing with this injury,” Hansbrough said recently. “I’ve never had an injury like this where it’s kept me out a long time. It’s something I’m trying to get over and get healthy.”
Hansbrough’s current diagnosis remains a mystery. The team has been calling it an inner ear infection since late December. Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said two weeks ago that it possibly could be a concussion, caused when Hansbrough took a hit in a game in Boston in late December.
Hansbrough played solidly in 29 games for the Pacers, coming off the bench. He was playing 17.6 minutes per game and giving Indiana about eight points and five rebounds. He was not blowing anybody away, but he was solid, especially for a rookie.
Now he’s playing solid ball on NBA2K10 and that’s about it. He hasn’t seen the court in 2010 and will not this season.
Now he will start over — likely Summer League then basically a second rookie season. He will not be an Indiana legend, but the second time around can’t be worst than the first/
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.