Phil Jackson

Should Knicks open up the bank account to get Phil Jackson?

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One year later, the New York Knicks are in exactly the same place — about to be swept out of the playoffs in the first round.

At the end of a roller coaster year in New York where there was “Linsanity”, where Mike D’Antoni was out and Mike Woodson was in, where Steve Novak and J.R. Smith have both shined and faltered, the Knicks are in the exact same spot.

Plenty of New Yorkers want Phil Jackson to be the guy who moves them off that spot, who turns them into a contender. Knicks owner James Dolan reportedly is one of those guys.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo says the Knicks need to back the brinks truck up to Phil Jackson’s Montana ranch to lure him out of retirement.

The end of this inevitable Eastern Conference playoff sweep on Sunday promises the beginning of a most inevitable pursuit: Dolan chasing his next savior, Phil Jackson. Along the way, Dolan ought to forget selling Jackson on his New York Knicks nostalgia and sentiment, on the joys of coaching Anthony. Jackson knows his own history here, and knows he never would’ve won a solitary title with the Lakers and Bulls had ‘Melo been one of his cornerstones.

Dolan doesn’t need to come with the elaborate recruiting presentation that he did for James for a simple reason: Above everything else, this is a cash deal. No salary cap, no limits…

Three years, $40 million-plus ought to do it.

Honestly, I’m not sure that will do it.

Jackson has long been open to the idea of coaching the Knicks because of his history there as a player, because he loves the city. He will be tempted. And we all would be tempted by that kind of cash.

But my gut says when it comes time to say yes or no Jackson will remember how his body felt at the end of his run with the Lakers — worn down, in need of surgeries, exhausted. At the end, to watch him in person was to see a guy who just looked done with it all. Being an NBA coach is a grind. Jackson has done that grind and I don’t think he will go back to eating airplane food, the rigors of travel, sleeping in beds that are too short, not getting enough sleep. He’s done all that. Now he splits time between Los Angeles on the beach and a ranch in Montana, seeing his grandkids, writing a book and getting to do some traveling. Does he really want to return to the grind? To coach a roster he doesn’t love and that does not really fit his system?

You can’t sell Jackson on legacy — he already has that. I don’t think sentimentality for the past will sway him. Woj is right in that cash is the one thing the Knicks have plenty of that may move the needle.

But my gut tells me even that will not be enough. My gut is wrong plenty. Just ask my wife. But I think while he’ll flirt with New York he won’t come back. No matter how much money they offer.

Heat players past, present throw support behind David Fizdale heading to Memphis

David Fizdale
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The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.

It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.

Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.

Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.

Watch Kevin Love drop 25 points on Toronto

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Before Game 5, Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue told Kevin Love just to stay aggressive. Channing Frye told him the same thing.

Love took that advice to heart. From the opening tip of Game 5, Love was attacking — backing down the overmatched Luis Scola and knocking down threes. Love had 12 points in the first quarter on his way to a game-high 25, helping spark an easy, 38-point Cavaliers win in Game 5.

Now, can Love do this on the road in Game 6?

Cavaliers’ defense foundation for blowout win

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gestures in the second half against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Cleveland blitzed Toronto from the opening tip.

Literally.

Cleveland cranked up their defensive pressure by getting back to aggressively blitzing Raptors’ guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan every time they came off a pick. Or they would chase DeRozan over the top of the pick and trail him, never letting him get comfortable to pull up from the midrange. Whatever the defensive scheme, the Cavaliers were physical with Lowry and DeRozan — the pair was 4-of-14 shooting in the first half.

From the start, the Cavaliers defense dictated the flow of the game and set the tone for a 38-point blowout win.

It is that defense they will need to close out this series on the road Friday night.

“We understood that coming back from Game 3 and Game 4 we just didn’t play our defense the right way,” LeBron James said after the game. “We didn’t play how we should have played, and they took advantage of every moment. We had to get back to our staple; we had to get back to what we wanted to do defensively in order for us to play a complete game. That’s the most satisfying thing, the way we defended, holding these guys to 39 percent shooting.”

Defense triggered the offensive runs by the Cavaliers in the first half — Cleveland had eight steals and scored 20 points off turnovers before halftime. Playing with a renewed energy, the Cavs did a fantastic job fighting over screens and disrupting plays, and they closed out on shooters at the arc. It was their best defensive game of the series. It was the polar opposite of how they played in Toronto.

“I think our intensity picked up, our aggressiveness picked up, we were very physical to start the game and it just kind of led to us getting out in transition, us getting steals and getting easy baskets,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

“They were locked in, from the start to the finish,” according to Raptors coach Dwane Casey.”The force that they play with is different here and we didn’t meet it.”

Back home and with their backs against the wall, you can expect a very different, very desperate Raptors team. Lowry and DeRozan will shoot better.

But if the Cavaliers pack their defense and take it north of the border this time, they should close out the series.

LeBron James was dunking all over the Raptors (VIDEO)

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With their defense creating turnovers to get breaks — and the Raptors’ defense just breaking down — the Cavaliers put on a dunking exhibition against Toronto Wednesday.

LeBron James led the way, with 23 points and plenty of dunks. Here is another.

To change things up, here is an and-1.