Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant show off in Philippines exhibition

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Saturday, NBA basketball was back. Okay, not really. But NBA players (or former, I guess, considering they’re locked out) played in the Philippines on Saturday in an exhibition against the PBA All-Stars. It was a huge event, with a raucous Filipino crowd chanting and cheering everything. Honestly, it was louder than about 95% of all arenas in the NBA. Let’s just say Kobe doesn’t get that kind of reception from his crowd, in-between taco chants. From the Philippino Star:

In return, Kobe Bryant and company, playing under the banner of SMART All-Star team, put on a show to remember, drubbing the PBA stars, 131-105, in the kickoff game of the Ultimate All-Star Weekend at the full-packed Araneta Coliseum tonight.

The game’s result was a foregone conclusion but the crowd waited with bated breath just every move the NBA stars made.

They were more exciting and more adorable up close and personal.

Also awed and thrilled were the PBA stars.

via NBA stars treat fans to memorable show – Home » Other Sections » Breaking News.

JaVale McGee led the way (who saw that coming?) with 25 points, including about seventeen missed layups and one coast-to-coast jam, while Kevin Durant has 22 and Derrick Williams 19. Derrick Rose had only nine points, but then, he didn’t have to score after this jam.

And not to be outdone, KD and James Harden got in the act:

A great time was had by all and another exhibition is set for tomorrow. It should serve as a reminder that these are the best players in the world, and they are irreplaceable. Their talents only last the length of their careers and we should appreciate them while we can.

Ahem… owners… ahem.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.