Kevin Love has made double-doubles automatic. He’s taken the drama out of getting them.
So he added a little drama himself Wednesday by almost not playing due to a sore knee (he banged knees with an opponent last game and it swelled up), then playing with a balky brace on it.
He got his record 52nd consecutive double-double fast (in the middle of the second quarter with a free throw) as his Timberwolves were blowing out the Indiana Pacers. That moved him past Moses Malone into first on the modern list, since the NBA/ABA merger.
According to the Associated Press Love became the ninth player to ever (pre- or post-merger) to have 50 or more double-doubles in a row. The others are Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas and Bill Russell. Chamberlain holds the all-time record of 224.
That’s not to diminish Love’s accomplishments. He has been consistent and worked hard on a team that needed this kind of production. He has had chances because the Wolves are so bad — they are now 12-40 during the streak — but he took advantage of it.
“Fire Hoiberg” chants break out as Bulls eliminated from playoffs
The problems with the Chicago Bulls — the ones that led to a mediocre season and a first-round exit from the playoffs after being up 2-0 on the Celtics — are certainly not all coach Fred Hoiberg’s fault. Blame starts with the roster that GarPax put together.
However, Hoiberg didn’t have the respect of his stars, his rotation management was bizarre at points, and there just seemed to be no consistent structure. What kind of team where the Bulls trying to be? What was Hoiberg doing to get them there?
As the Bulls were being eliminated by the Celtics Friday night, “Fire Hoiberg” chants broke out at the United Center.
Bulls fans are understandably frustrated, but they are not going to get this wish. Not this summer.
Hoiberg was the handpicked replacement for Tom Thibodeau, the guy Gar Forman and John Paxson — the Bulls front office brain trust — had their eye on and plucked out of the college coaching ranks. They bet big on him, and to admit that was a mistake after two years could endanger their jobs. So Hoiberg will stay.
What the Bulls roster will look like next season is another, more vexing question. Will Dwyane Wade be back? Jimmy Butler? With the seeming lack of a plan by GarPax, it’s all just speculation where they might go.
Whatever happens, Hoiberg will be coaching Chicago next season. Sorry Bulls fans.
John Wall takes over late, clinches Wizards 115-99 win over Hawks, Washington advances
Already up 3-2, Washington on the road was in complete control against Atlanta, up 22 in the third quarter, seeming destined to cruise to a win and a meeting with the Boston Celtics in the next round. Then it started to come apart. The Hawks moved the ball and made some shots, while the Wizards got tight. The lead shrunk down to three at 93-90 Washington, and Atlanta had all the momentum.
That changed the momentum as the Wizards closed the game on a 22-9 run where Wall scored the final 13 points on his way to 42 for the night on 25 shots. The result was a 115-99 Wizards win to close the Hawks out 4-2.
Washington starts the second round Sunday against Boston.
“I was just trying to close the game out, man,” Wall said of his block on Dennis Schroder and his run at the end of the game. “We had a big lead, but we knew those guys was not going to stop fighting. We had a couple careless turnovers, I had, but we just kept fighting and we came back and got this win.”
Heck, Wall was even taunting Julio Jones sitting courtside as he rattled off those late-game points.
Bradley Beal had 31 points in this one as well. Washington had 26 fourth quarter points, Wall and Beal combined for 24 of them. The Hawks went small in the end, benching Dwight Howard in the fourth again, and that was just fine with the Wizards, who have better athletes when small.
Wall and Beal learned over the course of this series to read and adjust to what Atlanta was doing. The Hawks chased and trailed over the top of picks all night, with their bigs staying back trying to protect the rim, and Wall and Beal both just took the shots given them and knocked them down. More than just those two, the packing of the paint by the Hawks in Game 6 allowed Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter and others to step into clean midrange shots they missed earlier in the series. Washington made Atlanta pay for the Hawks’ defensive gameplan.
The feistiness of this game bubbled over in the second quarter when Bradley Beal had a breakaway layup and Kent Bazemore pushed him a little in the air. Beal got up and went right to Bazemore angry.
The referees reviewed that play and Beal and Bazemore got technical fouls with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jason Smith also getting them for jumping into the fray late.
For Atlanta, an interesting offseason begins where they will try to retain Paul Millsap, an unrestricted free agent, and if they can’t a rebuilding will start in earnest.
For the Wizards, it is on to Boston.
Bradley Beal, Kent Bazemore get technicals for scuffle in Hawks, Wizards
It’s been a chippy kind of playoff series — one where Paul Millsap gets called a crybaby — and with the Hawks on the brink of elimination emotions were especially high on Friday night.
Kent Bazemore had been frustrated with a couple of calls (and no calls) and he took that out on the play above — he got picked by Kelly Oubre, who threw the ball ahead to Bradley Beal for a layup, and Bazemore gave him a little push in the air. It wasn’t much, but when a guy is airborne and defenseless that touch throwing off balance can lead to serious injury.
Beal bounced up and got in Bazemore’s face. Then an NBA version of a scuffle started.
The referees reviewed it and Beal and Bazemore got technical fouls with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jason Smith also getting them for their role later in the “festivities.”
The league should come in with a fine for Bazemore on this — you cannot let guys push other guys who are airborne, even slightly. That was a dangerous play, and I’m surprised the officials did not call a technical.
Report: Kevin McHale also in mix for team president in Orlando
You can add Kevin McHale to the list of former NBA executives the Orlando Magic are taking a look at in their search for a new head of basketball operations, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.
The Orlando Magic have serious interest in Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Kevin McHale for their team president position, according to two people with knowledge of the situation….But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.
But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.
McHale made some franchise-defining moves as the head man in Minnesota — he drafted Kevin Garnett and he brought Flip Saunders into the organization, he brought in Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell and that got the Timberwolves to the conference finals in 2004, to use a few examples.
He had his share of mistakes, too. Like drafting Ray Allen then trading him for Stephon Marbury, or drafting Brandon Roy and trading him for Randy Foye.
The Orlando roster has talent on it — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — and a quality coach in place with Frank Vogel. That said the talent on the roster does not fit and Orlando desperately needed someone willing to shake things up, who wasn’t too invested in “their guys” to realize the roster’s serious shortcomings.
McHale could do that. It looks like we are a month or more from finding out, however, as Griffin isn’t going anywhere until after the Cavaliers season — which likely extends into June. If the Magic are serious about him, this process is going to drag out.