Scottie Pippen says Barack Obama has a “smooth” game

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David Stern had no fear criticizing Barack Obama’s game, saying he couldn’t go anywhere but left. (Go ahead, make the easy political joke there if you must. But we expect better.)

But Scottie Pippen —who played ball with the president on election day Tuesday — was far more complimentary when speaking with the Bulls official Web site.

“He’s not an overly aggressive player, but he takes what the defense gives him,” said Pippen. “He’s got a smooth game. He probably used to be a little more aggressive, but obviously he doesn’t want to get hurt.”

That certainly wasn’t going to happen if the defense had anything to do about it.

“I thought the lanes opened up when Michael Jordan used to drive,” laughed Pippen. “I used to be like, wow. But when I saw the President drive, I thought they were bringing the whole motorcade through the lane it was so wide.”

If you were the player that gave Obama a black eye or a limp the night he had to go out and give his acceptance speech, let’s just say you better like being audited by the IRS.

Pippen also said Obama was low key and approachable (notice the same thing was always said of the last two presidents before him, George Bush and Bill Clinton).

“When he first entered the gym, if you hadn’t looked over to see him, you wouldn’t have noticed,” said Pippen of Obama. “It was surprisingly low key. He just came in and started shaking hands. He’s someone who is very easy to approach.”

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.