The NBA owners are winning the public relations battle.
Not because the owners are in the right, they are not. But rather we know the players and can’t relate to them and their salaries, even when they offer to take less money (which they have).
Also, David Stern is far better at the PR game than Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher for the union. Shannon Brown — most recently of the Lakers but a free agent whenever the lockout ends — talked about Stern’s tactics, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“People can tell you anything,” Brown said. “It’s like a guy who wants to get next to a chick. He’s going to tell her anything he wants just to get next to her. Just like the audience and the fans are being told anything (by the owners’ side) just to keep them from going super crazy about what’s really going on behind the scenes.”
It’s an interesting thought experiment: Could David Stern pick up a girl at a bar? Actually, I don’t want to think about that.
As we’ve said before, the players have stood their ground because they see ownership’s offer as unfair. And the players have offered to give up more than $1 billion in salary over the life of the next labor deal while the owners have not given up a thing they already had in hand.
Doesn’t matter. The players can’t win the PR battle because even if they accepted the owners’ terms they’d be in the 1 percent, not the 99 percent. They get paid well to play a game. While there are sacrifices and challenges and a limited window to make their money, the players can’t win the PR battle because of how much money we are talking about.
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.