Check out the swagger on Jeremy Lin. With the game tied 87-87 the Knicks missed a shot but got the offensive board and reset for a final shot. What does Lin do? Back the ball out to halfcourt, call for the rest of the Knicks to flatten out along the baseline so he can isolate against Jose Calderon, then drains the game winning pull-up three.
Toronto owned this game for the first three quarters. They outworked and out classed the Knicks, particularly in the backcourt where Calderon put up 12 points in the first quarter on his way to 25 for the game. Toronto was very physical with Lin and forced him into tough shots. Amare Stoudemire was back and finished with 21 (on 22 shots) but you know there is rust when Aaron Gray is blocking his shots. New York struggled to reintegrate him into the offense. The Raptors led by as many as 17.
Then came the fourth quarter. The Knicks upped their defensive pressure and the Raptors turned the ball over nine times in 12 minutes, shot 33 percent and scored just 12 points. Lin scored 12 points in the quarter.
And when the game was on the line, he was magic.
Linsanity knows no bounds, no boarders. Canada has been indoctrinated.
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
Hawks get another playoff shot at King James and Cavaliers
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
ESPN sources say the Warriors, meanwhile, plan to go outside the organization at season's end for a replacement to add to the current staff.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
Luke Walton's contract to coach the Lakers will be for five years and about $25 million.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.