Isiah Thomas is back on your TV as analyst for NBA TV

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As you read this story, a lot of you will be testing out the mute button on your remote (something I tend to reserve for the Spurs broadcast team). But hear me out, this may not be a bad thing.

Isiah Thomas is going to be back on your television as a studio analyst for NBA TV, the station (run by Turner Sports) announced Wednesday. He will make his debut Friday night as NBA TV shows the Bulls vs. Knicks.

First off, it’s better than giving him a Knicks front office job again.

Thomas had a stint as a television analyst before, working for NBC from 1998-2000, before returning to the coaching ranks. I’ll be honest, I have little to no memory of how he did in that role.

But he has the potential to be good in studio. What are the requirements for that job? First, have good basketball knowledge. And no matter what you want to say about Thomas front office guy he is a Hall of Fame player who coached in the NBA and knows the game. Next, he’s charismatic (well, James Dolan thinks so). The question is can he pass that knowledge along — can he watch Joakim Noah’s play Friday night, see something and turn it into an insightful comment that helps us understand what is going on? We shall see.

Thomas has a bad rap online because he was a horrific GM for the Knicks. And ran the CBA into the ground. And was a mess as a college coach. And a few other things. All well deserved, we have certainly had our fun with Isiah here over the years. And will again.

But so long as he isn’t given personnel control over studio hosts, he should be fine. I’m willing to give him a chance.

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.