Who gets the Clippers coaching gig? Who wants it?

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It has been a Clipper season like so many others. Disappointing, injury filled and ending with an apathetic team sleepwalking its way through the end of the season while the future looks murky.

We’ve seen that movie. And the sequels. Yet, Clippers fans want the trailer for next year’s movie. They want to be sold. They are an optimistic lot that wants to believe.

But we have no idea what that movie will look like. Apparently Neil Olshey will get to keep the general manager’s gig, at least for now, and through the draft. The caveat on that being predicting owner Donald Sterling’s thinking is like trying to predict earthquakes, an inexact science at best.

The bigger question is the coaching vacancy. Will it be filled before the draft or left open until later in the summer? Will it be left open so that a recruitment of LeBron James (you hear that name from some Clippers people, seriously) could include a “pick your coach” deal?

From various reports, we know that Larry Brown at one point made inquiry, because it is in his DNA to ask about any open job even if he has no intention of taking it. He’s is not leaving Charlotte with Michael Jordan as the owner. The name Byron Scott gets thrown around, but he is reportedly just not that interested.

The more likely outcome is a current assistant somewhere who wants a head gig (Fanhouse suggests Dallas assistant Dwane Casey) or someone who wants the job but has no experience, like television color commentator Mark Jackson.

There really is an opportunity for the Clippers. With cap space, another high draft pick and Blake Griffin coming next season (knocking on wood) to join a good core, the Clippers have the chance to reshape their roster and be good fast.

But it will all be moot if the Clippers — from owner Donald Sterling on down — don’t answer one question: What kind of team are they trying to build?

You think that is an obvious question, but how many teams around the NBA can you say clearly have a top to bottom organizational philosophy on building a team? Ten, tops? Maybe fewer. If you’re going to win you need to know what kind of team you are building — defense first, seven seconds or less, triangle, there are countless others — then get players to fit the system. What system best fits your star? Get a coach who can instill that system. Then go get role players who can blend with that system.

The Clippers have no organizational philosophy, no system, so the team floats with the winds of chance (as do a lot of franchises, the Clippers are just particularly inept at it). They need a direction. They need a steady hand on the rudder. That would make the movie interesting.

Although the smart money is another sequel to the usual Clippers movie.

Thunder pick up Paul George in his return to Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Paul George made a winning return to Indiana, hitting the clinching free throws with 10.7 seconds left in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 100-95 victory over the Pacers on Wednesday night.

Steven Adams had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Russell Westbrook finished with 10 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists in his ninth triple-double this season. The Thunder have won two straight on the road.

Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15. Indiana had a chance to tie the score after getting the ball back with 15.2 seconds left, but George got a steal then hit a couple free throws.

The Pacers’ winning streak ended at four.

But the highly anticipated matchup between George and Oladipo, the key components in last summer’s blockbuster trade, didn’t go as expected.

George was booed loudly during introductions and every time he touched the ball. Fans only cheered for George when he was called for a foul or made a mistake and it seemed to take a toll on the four-time All-Star. He finished 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting, had two rebounds and four turnovers.

Oladipo, the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week, didn’t have a typical night either. He was 9 of 26 with five rebounds and six assists.

The result: Both teams struggled.

Indiana led 27-22 after one but gave the lead right back by allowing Oklahoma City to start the second quarter on a 9-0 spurt.

After the Pacers answered with a 9-0 run, the Thunder closed the half on a 9-3 spurt to make it 51-46.

The trend continued in the second half.

Indiana charged back to take a 63-59 lead before the Thunder used an 11-2 run to pull out to a 73-69 lead going into the fourth.

Oklahoma City extended the lead to 92-81 with 5:16 to go but only scored six points the rest of the way. That was just enough to hold on.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Oklahoma City is 4-10 on the road. … Oklahoma City got its first series split with the Pacers since 2012-13. … Oklahoma City had 17 offensive rebounds and was 13 of 29 on 3-pointers.

Pacers: Thaddeus Young had 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals. … Made 11 3s but fell to 14-3 when making 10 or more 3-pointers in a game this season. … Center Myles Turner had three blocks, his 12th game this season with three or more. … Former Colts coach Tony Dungy attended the game. He’s in town for Thursday night’s NFL game between the Colts and Broncos.

ALL-STAR DAY

The Pacers got a win before they even took the floor.

A little less than three hours before tip, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Indiana would host the 2021 All-Star Game. It will be the first time the Pacers have hosted the marquee event since 1985.

The move comes seven months after Larry Bird hand-delivered the formal proposal at the league’s New York headquarters in an IndyCar.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Faces Philadelphia on Friday, trying to improve to 17-1 in the series since moving to Oklahoma City.

Pacers: Host Detroit on Friday, seeking a seventh straight home win in the series.

 

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.