NBA Las Vegas Summer League schedule announced

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In the same way if you are a baseball fan you owe it to yourself to one year make it out to Spring Training, if you are an NBA fan you owe it to yourself to make it out to NBA Summer League one year.

It’s NBA rookies and guys hoping to make it onto the back end of an NBA roster (or get a good contract in Europe) balling in a setting where you can get Jack Nicholson quality seats at an affordable price. This is where you can see and fall in love with the 10th player down the bench, giving you reason to say the coach needs to play them more come January. You are on top of the action, and while it’s not the level of basketball you see in the playoffs it is entertaining. You get to see guys up close and really get a feel for them.

And it’s casual and laid back.

After a year hiatus — thanks again lockout! — the NBA Summer League is back in Las Vegas this summer, starting July 13 (the day after Team USA breaks camp in Vegas to head east). It takes place at the adjacent Cox Pavilion and Thomas & Mack Center. Tickets are on sale now.

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets (you can bank on that pick) will start play Sunday night and a majority of NBA teams will be represented there. Here is the full schedule. And when Summer League gets here be sure to check back with PBT as we will be on scene and giving you all the reports and a lot of interviews from there.

Friday July 13
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Atlanta vs. Washington
3 PM – Houston vs. Toronto
5 PM – Golden State vs. LA Lakers
7 PM – Sacramento vs. Charlotte

Saturday July 14
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Memphis vs. New York
3 PM – Golden State vs. Denver
5 PM – LA Lakers vs. Sacramento
7 PM – Houston vs. Washington

Sunday July 15
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Phoenix
3 PM – Denver vs. Dallas
5 PM – San Antonio vs. Atlanta
7 PM – Washington vs. NBA D-League

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Toronto vs. Miami
5:30 PM – Cleveland vs. Charlotte
7:30 PM – New Orleans vs. Portland

Monday July 16
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Atlanta vs. Boston
3 PM – Dallas vs. Toronto
5 PM – Cleveland vs. NBA D-League
7 PM – LA Clippers vs. Minnesota

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Houston vs. Sacramento
5:30 PM – LA Lakers vs. Miami
7:30 PM – Milwaukee vs. New Orleans

Tuesday July 17
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Denver vs. New York
3 PM – Washington vs. Memphis
5 PM – Portland vs. Houston
7 PM – Chicago vs. Boston

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – San Antonio vs. LA Lakers
5:30 PM – Cleveland vs. Phoenix
7:30 PM – Minnesota vs. Charlotte

Wednesday July 18
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Milwaukee vs. Washington
3 PM – Chicago vs. Houston
5 PM – Atlanta vs. Dallas
7 PM – San Antonio vs. LA Clippers

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Sacramento vs. Toronto
5:30 PM – New Orleans vs. Phoenix
7:30 PM – Golden State vs. Miami

Thursday July 19
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Toronto
3 PM – Portland vs. Atlanta
5 PM – Cleveland vs. Minnesota
7 PM – NBA D-League vs. Milwaukee

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Boston vs. Sacramento
5:30 PM – LA Clippers vs. LA Lakers
7:30 PM – Charlotte vs. Denver

Friday July 20
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Cleveland
3 PM – Denver vs. Portland
5 PM – Miami vs. San Antonio
7 PM – NBA D-League vs. Phoenix

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Memphis vs. Charlotte
5:30 PM – Chicago vs. Golden State
7:30 PM – Dallas vs. New Orleans

Saturday July 21
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Portland vs. Miami
3 PM – Dallas vs. San Antonio
5 PM – NBA D-League vs. Minnesota
7 PM – Memphis vs. Phoenix

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Golden State vs. New Orleans
5:30 PM – Chicago vs. LA Clippers
7:30 PM – Milwaukee vs. Boston

Sunday July 22
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Chicago vs. Milwaukee
3 PM – Boston vs. LA Clippers
5 PM – Memphis vs. Minnesota

Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer agree to part ways

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This was expected.

It was pretty obvious Mike Budenholzer didn’t want to stick around and lose a lot of games with the Atlanta Hawks as they rebuild the next few years, especially after he had been stripped of his GM powers. Budenholzer went well down the road with the Phoenix Suns about their open coaching position before thinking better of it. Since then he has set up a meeting with the Knicks about their coaching vacancy, a job he reportedly wants badly.

At this point there was no need for the Hawks and Budenholzer to continue their sham marriage, so they have agreed to amicably separate, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and since confirmed by the Hawks.

Budenholzer said this to Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here,” Budenholzer told ESPN on Wednesday night. “From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I’ll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks.”

For Budenholzer, the long-time Spurs assistant and a strong Xs and Os coach, look for him to both push for the Knicks job and be in the running if/when the Milwaukee Bucks job opens up whenever their season ends. In both cases he’s a fit — those are teams that need a culture and system reset, and Budenholzer proved he can bring that to Atlanta (that was a good team before they let Al Horford and Paul Millsap walk for nothing).

With Atlanta, they likely will turn to a top assistant coach who will get a chance to develop young players on that team (and not cost Atlanta as much as an established coach). Stephen Silas of the Hornets is a rumored name, but there are others.

LeBron James overrules controversial finish with game-winning 3-pointer (video)

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LeBron James‘ turnover with the game tied late looked like a bad call. LeBron’s block of Victor Oladipo on the ensuing possession looked like a goaltend.

Did the Cavaliers get robbed of a crucial possession? Did the Pacers get robbed of two go-ahead points?

LeBron nullified those questions with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Cleveland a 98-95 win and a 3-2 series lead. The game-winner capped a great game by LeBron (44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists) and moves the Cavs to the verge of advancing.

When a team with home-court advantage can close out a best-of-seven series with a road Game 6, it has 52% of the time. It has won the series 92% of the time.

The odds are even better with LeBron. LeBron has won 11 straight closeout games, nine of them on the road. He’ll have another opportunity Friday with Game 6 in Indiana.

Raptors’ ‘culture reset’ shines in Game 5 win over Wizards

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The Raptors promoted ball movement. They emphasized 3-point shooting. They empowered their reserves.

This was why.

Backups Delon Wright and C.J. Miles and starting center Jonas Valanciunas – who was benched in previous postseasons due to his old-fashioned style, but expanded his game beyond the arc this year – scored Toronto’s final 18 points in a 108-98 Game 5 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Stars DeMar DeRozan (0-for-4 from the field) and Kyle Lowry (0-for-1 from the field, 0-for-2 on free throws) struggled down the stretch, as the Raptors burst open what had been a one-point lead.

Though DeRozan (32 points) and Lowry (17 points and 10 assists) were good overall, they succumbed late in previous playoff games. Toronto didn’t want that duo stuck with the burden of creating so much in a stagnate offense.

Hence, Masai Ujiri’s famous “culture reset.”

The results have been mixed so far against a tougher-than-average-eight-seed Washington. But at least the Raptors – up 3-2 entering Friday’s Game 6 in Washington – are on the verge of advancing.

When a team with home-court advantage can close out a best-of-seven series with a road Game 6, it has 52% of the time. It has won the series 92% of the time.

Raptors honor victims of van attack before Game 5 (photos)

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TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors honored the victims the deadly van attack Monday with a moment of silence Wednesday night before Game 5 of their playoff series against the Washington Wizards.

Players from both teams held up banners with the hashtag #TORONTOSTRONG as they stood on the court during the tribute and the national anthems that followed:

The Raptors, the Wizards and the NBA will make a donation to a fund for victims and those affected by the incident.

Raptors President Masai Ujiri spoke about the attack after the Raptors practiced Tuesday.

“What we do doesn’t really matter sometimes,” Ujiri said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be on that sidewalk.”

Guard Kyle Lowry said he was impressed by the actions of Const. Ken Lam, who earned international acclaim for peacefully arresting of suspect Alek Minassian.

“In America he would definitely have been shot up,” Lowry said. “He did an amazing job of making a judgment call. I think more people could learn from that.”

Coach Dwane Casey was struck by how close the carnage occurred to his own Toronto neighborhood,

“It’s not too far from up the street from where I live,” Casey said.

Casey and his coaches were in the midst of a meeting Monday afternoon when assistant Rex Kalamian’s phone buzzed with someone informing him of the tragedy. The coaches stopped their meeting and turned on a television to find out what had happened.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Casey said. “Just this weekend I was talking to people saying how safe Toronto is, how it’s a melting pot and you don’t have the same crime. Hopefully though, sport can offer a relief, some reprieve.”

Like Casey, Ujiri said he is proud of Toronto’s reputation as a safe, welcoming place.

“Everywhere I go, I brag about this city,” Ujiri said. “It’s the safest place in the world. It’s the best city in the world and it’s going to continue to be the best place and the best city in the world.”

Toronto police said the 10 people killed and 14 injured in the attack were “predominantly” women, but have declined so far to discuss a motive. The 25-year-old Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.