What the Raptors and Cavaliers were left with in the ruins

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This is going to come as little consolation, but here’s what the Cavaliers and Raptors got out of the sign-and-trade deals that ripped away their franchise players and formed one of the most powerful triumvirates in the league. Via ESPN:

The Raptors got the 2011 first round pick they traded to Miami, as well as the Heat’s own inevitably-20-plus draft pick. So basically, two first rounders and a trade exception for the top power forward free agent on the market. That said, it’s exactly what Toronto needed. They needed cap space, flexibility, and draft picks. It’s the modern rebuilding three-course meal.

The Raps now have to find a way to move one of their remaining huge contracts, preferably Bargnani or Hedo Turkoglu, not an easy task. They have to go through the same rebuilding pains as Memphis and Sacramento. But if they play their cards right, in two years they might be able to be back in contention.

Or, they can tank and possibly get Harrison Barnes next year and this whole thing starts over again.

The Cavaliers get the Heat’s first-round picks in 2013 and 2015, and the option to swap in 2012. If you’re wondering about the odd years, there’s a rule that says teams can’t trade their first round picks in consecutive years.

(As a side note, the fact that teams have to have rules to prevent them from doing potentially crushingly stupid deals does not speak to the owners’ perspective that the problem with the system is the system and not their own idiocy.)

The Cavs are in a similar situation, but if they really want to get back into the hunt, they have movable players with talent. They should hold a firesale, move ’em all. Move Jamison, Mo Williams, Deltonte West. Keep J.J. Hickson and Daniel Gibson, start over. They won’t. But that’s what they should do. Don’t make Cleveland sit through multiple years of suffering with the pain of not seeing James alongside his former teammates. Get it over with, get a high draft pick, and start over. This can be done.

But man, is it going to hurt.

Watch all 25 threes from Cleveland in Game 2 win

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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.

Cavaliers threes shotchart

Report: Rockets to interview Mike D’Antoni, Frank Vogel for coaching vacancy

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers gestures during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on February 28, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 126-122.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Cavs set single-game three-point record in blowout win over Hawks

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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.

Nope.

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 whips one-handed pass, leads to open Kevin Love three (VIDEO)

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 2: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers fights for a loose ball against Al Horford #15 and Kyle Korver #26 of the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Hawks 104-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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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.