No team has looked worse in the last two weeks — including a 42-point loss to the Knicks on national television Wednesday — and fallen apart more from the start of the season than the Portland Trail Blazers.
Thursday afternoon coach Nate McMillan paid the price — Portland has fired McMillan according to multiple media reports, with the story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
McMillan was considered on the hot seat. This is a team that was looking surprisingly good early in the season running the ball, but as the season went on they returned more to McMillan’s grind-it-out style. And they struggled. In the last two days Portland had been blown out by Indiana and the Knicks and had been in a free-fall that had taken them out of the playoffs in the West.
Still, this firing was handled in a very Portland, very owner Paul Allen way, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com. All day throughout the run-up to the trade deadline the front office staff was on the phone with Allen and team president Larry Miller, but the coaching situation was never mentioned. Some of the staff learned of the firing through the media.
Portland spent the trade deadline day getting rid of salary and setting themselves up for a rebuild on the fly around LaMarcus Aldridge. Clearly ownership wanted someone else to coach that team.
Assistant Kaleb Canales will take over in the interim.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.