Steve Nash had a good relationship with Alvin Gentry in Phoenix, his former head coach who led Nash and the Suns to the Western Conference finals back in 2010. Not surprisingly, Nash had good things to say in the wake of Gentry’s dismissal from the organization on Thursday.
Nash essentially said that the parting of ways between the Suns and Gentry might ultimately have been a good thing, considering the direction the team was headed along with Gentry’s talents as a competitor and respected leader in NBA circles.
From Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles:
“Obviously, I’m sad for Alvin (Gentry), but in some ways maybe this is a good thing for him,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said after practice Friday. Nash was coached the last four years by Gentry, reaching the Western Conference Finals together against Los Angeles in 2010. “He’s a great coach, a really good coach and any club would be lucky to have him as a coach, that’s for sure. He’ll land on his feet for sure because he can really do a good job.”
Was Nash surprised by the firing?
“I think the writing’s been on the wall,” Nash said. “It looks like it to me … They wouldn’t extend his contract. They just gave him the year to kind of play it out. It looked like they wanted to get their own guy in there.”
Gentry truly didn’t have a chance with this roster. And while management felt that the team was regressing at worst, and not improving at the very least, there’s some truth to the fact that they wanted to go in another direction long-term, as evidenced by the lack of a contract extension given to Gentry before the season began.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.