Cleveland continues to interview every head coaching prospect under the sun, and they’ve added L.A. assistant Brian Shaw to their itinerary. From Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:
Shaw, a Lakers assistant coach the last five seasons, has been officially approached for an interview by Cleveland, The Times has learned, making this week even busier for the NBA champions. Cleveland needs to hire a head coach. “They did call a couple of days ago and we did grant permission,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “Now it’s up to Brian and Cleveland. All of our coaches’ contracts run out at the end of the month anyway, so it is accurate.”
Shaw, 43, spoke with Cavaliers representatives earlier this week and probably will fly to Cleveland next week for a face-to-face interview with the team’s owner and front-office staff. It has been reported that LeBron James has a strong interest in the triangle offense, something in which Shaw is well-versed because of his four years as a Lakers player who won three championships from 2000 to 2002. James is expected to become a free agent July 1, and there is no guarantee he’ll return to the Cavaliers next season, even if Shaw lands the job.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Cavs wanting to interview Shaw; it’s hard to say with any certainty whether an assistant will pan out as a successful head coach, but Brian seems like he’d be a reasonably effective one.
What is a bit odd, though, is the Cavs’ fascination with the triangle offense. I realize that there is some allure to the system that made champions out of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, but LeBron James isn’t really an ideal fit for the system. If the triangle is a contingency plan, that’s one thing, but as a selling point? Without Phil running the show? It’s a tough offense for any coach and any roster to run, much less one in serious flux with a potential first-timer holding the clipboard.
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.