Toronto Raptors v Orlando Magic, Game Five

Add Sam Mitchell to Timberwolves coaching search list

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Minnesota has time to take in finding a new coach, what with the lockout and all, so they are using it to interview virtually everyone.

Enter Sam Mitchell, the former Toronto Raptors head coach, who will be the latest to interview for the Timberwolves job, according to Jerry Zgoda at the Star Tribune. It’s not a shock, we reported last week that Wolves GM David Kahn said he wanted to talk to a couple more people.

Mitchell played in Minnesota for a couple stints and in Toronto was the NBA Coach of the Year one season (which means he was cursed and would be fired within a couple years, and he was).

So to update the list of those interviewed: Mike Woodson, Don Nelson, Terry Porter, Bernie Bickerstaff, Larry Brown, and Rick Adelman (although he was just a phone call and seems uninterested in the job). Mitchell is expected to be the last of the first round interviews.

The Wolves have some interesting pieces — Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Michael Beasley — but getting them to fit together in the up-tempo offense Kahn demands, and more importantly getting them to play defense, will be the challenge.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?