Report: If Nets don’t land Phil Jackson they may stick with Carlesimo for season

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This much we know — the New Jersey Nets big plan to replace Avery Johnson starts with Phil Jackson. They want the biggest name out there, the guy with 11 championship rings, to come in and make the whole better than the sum or its parts with this Nets team. I still don’t think he takes the job but they are going after him.

And if he says no, Plan B is… nobody knows.

While some names — Kelvin Sampson, Jeff Van Gundy — have been floated, they may just stick with P.J. Carlesimo for the rest of this season, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.

First, this would give Carlesimo a chance. Win enough and he gets to keep the job.

I can see why this may be the call because the coaches that have options (Stan Van Gundy, for example) may look at the Nets roster and ownership’s expectations and take a pass. And then you are falling down the ladder and the guy you do go with knows he was option number four. Or five.

Waiting until summer makes sense, because getting anyone mid-season is not going t lead to a dramatic change instantly unless that person knows how to get Deron Williams to throw off the shackles of mediocrity. (And I’m not sure anyone but Deron Williams can do that.)

Lonzo Ball finishes one-handed alley-oop on Willie Cauley-Stein (video)

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So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.

But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.

But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.

Marc Gasol makes 3/4-court shot just after buzzer (video)

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When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.

Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.

Watch Knicks string together 28-0 run against Raptors

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Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.

Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.

Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.

New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.