Chris Paul had a meeting today with representatives from just about every important aspect of the Hornets’ operations, with the intent to iron out exactly why Paul wants to be traded and what he wants the Hornets to do about it. The meeting could easily be seen as a formality while Paul takes strides towards the door, but the meeting appears to be surprisingly positive for New Orleans.
Here was Chris Paul’s response to the meeting via Twitter:
“The meeting went well. It was great to get an opportunity to sit down
with Coach Williams, President Weber and our new General Manager Dell
Demps. I expressed my desire to win and I like what they said about the
direction that they want to take the team. I have been a Hornet my
entire career and I hope to represent the city of New Orleans and state
of Louisiana for many years to come.”
As Marc Stein of ESPN.com noted, it’s silly to think that Paul’s perspective has completely changed as a result of one meeting. Hornets GM Dell Demps claims that Paul didn’t demand a trade during the meeting. Maybe that’s the case. Or maybe any public trade demands would get Paul fined, even if channeled through the team first.
This could be perceived as something vaguely resembling progress for the Hornets, who aren’t going to give up the league’s top point guard without a fight. Even if today’s events are only delaying the inevitable, New Orleans has possibly bought themselves some time as they attempt to smooth things over with Paul.
Then again, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, nothing has changed. So we don’t really know anything now that we didn’t know before: Paul seems interested in a trade, the Hornets want to keep him, and the two will continue to play this game until things are decided one way or another.
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.