Kelvin Sampson to be McHale’s top assistant in Houston

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All those rumors of Bucks lead assistant Kelvin Sampson going to be the head coach in Minnesota… nah, he’d rather be an assistant somewhere else.

Sampson will be the lead assistant to Kevin McHale in Houston, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, via twitter.

That is a good hire — McHale may have been a better coach than his record showed in Minnesota, but having a very experienced, smart No. 2 next to him will improve his chances for success. Having a good person to bounce ideas off of, a person to get feedback you really trust from, helps. A lot.

The Rockets have also reached a deal with J.B. Bickerstaff, a current Timberwolves to be part of the staff, along with Chris Finch. This is a good team of assistants.

Sampson’s shot at an NBA head job will come, he was rumored to be on the list in Detroit (but not a front runner) and other spots. His name has come up in Minnesota, but Sampson may like what he sees in Houston, may not want to wait to see on that job, and may want to really pick his spot when he does move to the big chair.

The Rockets are a team in transition with the retirement of Yao Ming, a team needing to find it’s next anchor, it’s next superstar. That’s not easy. But they have a good coaching staff in place and that is a start to retooling this team into whatever the next iteration will be.

Video Breakdown: Clippers use JJ Redick in split cut to fool Jazz at 3-point line

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.

One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.

We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.

Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.

If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.

For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.

John Wall wears cape to postgame press conference (video)

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John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.

Did you see Isaiah Thomas carry in Game 5? ‘No,’ says Fred Hoiberg, who walks off (video)

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Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.

So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.

Jae Crowder leg-locks Robin Lopez (video)

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Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.

Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.

Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.

I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.