Nothing passes the time during the lockout like Dwight Howard speculation. Well, maybe speculation about players going to Europe next season, but Howard is a close second. Even if he keeps saying he wants to stay and the Magic plan on keeping him.
Which brings us to the Boston Celtics.
As things stand now they are nowhere near in the hunt, especially if the Magic decide they have no choice but to trade him (the Celtics do not have guys on the roster tempting to a team that wants to rebuild).
But what if the lockout wipes out the entire next NBA season? Then Howard could just walk away as a free agent. Over at CSN New England A. Sherrod Blakely started doing some speculating.
Once a free agent, it would then be up to Howard to pick the team that he feels will 1) give him the max-salary contract that he deserves and 2) can give him the best chance at winning a championship.
With Kevin Garnett likely retiring after the ’11-12 season, the void in the C’s frontcourt for a veteran defensive presence is obvious. And when you look around the NBA, there’s no player that dominates the interior better than Howard. No one….
And then there’s point guard Rajon Rondo, who spent most of this past season as the top assist man in the NBA.
If you advised Celtics fans to put down the pipe and walk away after reading this, you’d be pretty spot on. This is the long shot of all long shots.
But from Los Angeles to Portland to New York to New Orleans, variations of this same game are being played. And if there weren’t a lockout, it would be going on anyway. And he’s probably going to end up in Orlando when it’s all said and done anyway.
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.