The NBA is set to release its official 2011-12 schedule later this evening, during a program which will be broadcast on NBA TV at 7 p. m. ET. But one team’s schedule has leaked in its entirety, and it shows that plenty of fans won’t be happy with the way things shake out.
The Phoenix Suns’ 2011-12 schedule was obtained by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, and has been posted on the paper’s website. We already knew going in that not every out-of-conference team would be seen in every NBA city, and the Suns are one team that certainly seemed to get the short end of that stick.
The NBA let us know ahead of time that as far as non-conference scheduling would go, home teams could expect to play three teams two times (one home, one away), play six teams one time at home, and play six teams one time on the road. So, there will be some teams in the West who don’t host the best teams featuring the biggest stars of the East, and vice versa. The Suns? They don’t host almost any of them.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat will not be coming to Phoenix, nor will the reigning MVP Derrick Rose be visiting with his Chicago Bulls. Dwight Howard (if indeed he remains in Orlando this season) won’t be coming to town either, and neither will the Boston Celtics.
Most importantly to Suns fans, perhaps, is the fact that Amar’e Stoudemire won’t be back for the second time as a member of the New York Knicks.
The Suns aren’t likely to be the only team affected by the schedule this way, and they won’t be the only team affected by the loss of ticket sales from the guaranteed sellouts that these star-laden teams would provide. They’re just the first example of how the shortened season is going to impact fans in most markets who will be denied the chance to see the NBA’s biggest stars play in person.
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.