Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets, Game 7

Deron Williams: “I would never force Coach Sloan out”

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You’ve seen the reports — the relationship between Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan led to the post-game meeting with the team owner and GM Wednesday night, a meeting that by Thursday morning had Sloan stepping down after 23 seasons as the Jazz coach.

Williams said it was not like that in an interview with 1320 KFAN radio in Salt Lake City. He said he never went to management and said that one of them had to go, he or Sloan.

“I would never force Coach Sloan out of Utah. He’s meant more to this town, this organization than I have by far. Not my place. If that was the case I would just say I wanted out.”

I believe him on this, that he never went to the organization directly. That, of course, is something else entirely from the leaders of the organization seeing the clashes Williams and Sloan did have and that leading to fear about losing Williams to free agency in the summer of 2012. That can lead to the organization putting pressure on Sloan independent of Williams asking, leading to Sloan deciding he didn’t want to fight another battle and walking away.

Williams acknowledged the two had their fights. He added people not in the locker room or around the team have overhyped the disagreement between he and Sloan from Wednesday. Both men wanted to win, both were stubborn and that led to some clashes.

“We just had a disagreement. We’ve had worse, I’ve seen him have worse with other players.  Jerry is very fiery, I guess that is the word, and I am, too. So we just clash on things.”

He said their relationship has always been that way.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve had a rocky relationship, but we’ve had our disagreements over the years. Probably no more than any other coach or player have arguments. We’re both competitive we’re both very stubborn and I think that’s where we clash.”

He added that this season has been like pretty much every other in terms of their disagreements.

He added that his relationship is good with incoming coach Ty Corbin and that the players like him.

We’ll see what all this means  on the court starting Friday night against Phoenix.

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.