Spoelstra, Heat frustrated by hard fouls to Wade, LeBron

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Tyler Hansbrough followed through with a hard foul on Dwyane Wade in Game 5 that got ball but on the follow through got Wade’s face and drew blood. Hansbrough will be playing in Game 6.

Udonis Haslem followed through on a hard foul on Hansbrough in that game — two hands that got ball but was clearly intended as a physical message — and Haslem is suspended for Game 6.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra complained Thursday like Heat fans did on call in shows and twitter all day the day before — it’s an unfair double standard. That Dwyane Wade and Lebron James put up with too many hard hits that go unpunished. From ESPN.

“The league does not have a problem with hard fouls on our two main guys,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Thursday before taking on the Pacers in Game 6.

“In nine games now there’s been over a dozen hard fouls to the face, some of the tomahawk variety, some have drawn blood. They don’t have a problem with it so we don’t have a problem with it. We’ll focus on what we can control.”

The Pacers play a physical style, and it clearly has worked fairly well on the Heat. That nine game reference by Spoelstra refers back to the Pacers regular season games against the Heat as well.

To me the league got it right. Well, mostly right, Dexter Pittman should have gotten more games for his flagrant elbow but nobody is really arguing that suspension (not even Spoelstra, who said Pittman went rogue).

Hansbrough made a playoff foul. Hard but he played the ball. Haslem’s foul was clearly retaliatory — he has never gone for a two-handed block before in his life. I could go either way on suspending Haslem, but I have no problem with it.

And if you’re the Heat looking to retaliate for physical play, you may want to pick your spots better because not having Haslem for Game 6 really hurts.

But if the Heat need to go with the “us against the world” thing to motivate themselves, go for it. Every team does it.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.