Mike Brown

Who’s next as 76ers head coach? How about some Curry? Or Mike Brown?


Doug Collins is stepping down. Oh, he could be back with the Sixers next season in some kind of front office role or as a consultant — the two sides will find some kind of buyout and graceful exit for him — but he will not be grinding the players in practice and storming the sidelines in games.

So who is next?

Philadelphia is a rebuilding team (unless you think Andrew Bynum comes back healthy next year and dominates… go ahead and bet on that). So they need to find a coach suited to that role, one who relates and can guide young players. Here’s a list of likely candidates.

• Michael Curry (current 76ers lead assistant). If management wants continuity, this is the guy, as CSNPhilly.com’s John Finger points out.

When Collins was ousted as coach in Detroit in 1998, he lobbied for his top assistant, Alvin Gentry, to take his place. Undoubtedly, Collins will push just as hard for Curry to be his successor this time around, too.

Curry has a good relationship with the players and he has been a head coach before — he got the 2009 Pistons into the playoffs. With 39 wins, but they got into the playoffs.

• Mike Brown (former Lakers, Cavaliers head coach). Andrew Bynum had one All-Star professional season — when Mike Brown coached him. And while you would have no idea watching the Lakers this season, Mike Brown is a defense-first guy. This Sixers team with guys like Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young (and maybe Bynum) should be a defensive force. He can help get them there, but make sure he brings and offensive guru in as an assistant.

• Jeff/Stan Van Gundy. Their names will come up by fans of every of team looking for a coach. I don’t expect the Sixers would go this direction — both of them take over the course of the organization and I don’t get the sense that’s what Sixers ownership wants.

• Brian Shaw (current Pacers lead assistant). Shaw leads the list of assistant coaches that deserves a shot. He’s been the lead assistant under some guy named Phil Jackson (but for reasons nobody fathoms that doomed him to getting the Lakers job) and in Indiana for a strong staff under Frank Vogel. He isn’t just a triangle guy, players like him and he deserves a shot.

• Elston Turner, Patrick Ewing, Mike Budenholzer. Here are your other top assistants who deserve a shot at a top gig and would be a good hire.

• Kelvin Sampson (current Rockets assistant coach). He turned a lot of heads doing a good job with the Rockets when Kevin McHale was out this year. A guy out of the college ranks that knows how to work with young players.

• Lionel Hollins (current Grizzlies head coach). It is possible he is out in Memphis this summer — his deal ends this summer and he doesn’t seem to be on the same page as ownership and the new front office. His status likely is determined by how the Grizzlies do in the playoffs.

Cory Joseph drains game-winning three at buzzer for Raptors (VIDEO)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Cory Joseph made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Toronto Raptors an 84-82 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

Kyle Lowry scored 27 points for the Raptors, who before Joseph’s 3 had not led since early in the first quarter.

Joseph took DeMar DeRozan‘s pass in the corner and nailed the winning shot. He finished with 12 points as Toronto won its fourth straight despite tying a season high with 22 turnovers

Bradley Beal scored 20 points for Washington, which lost its fourth straight despite allowing its fewest points of the season.

John Wall added eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, but missed a pair of late free throws that opened the door for Toronto to win in regulation.

With 3.0 seconds left following those misses and a timeout, DeRozan got the ball, drove toward the baseline and kicked the ball out to Joseph in the left corner. Joseph rose and sank his 3-pointer as time expired.

Washington failed to hit a field goal over the final 4:24 to fall to 1-8 in its last nine regular-season games against Toronto. The Wizards did sweep the Raptors in the first round of last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs.

Toronto trailed by as many as 10 before Lowry’s 3-pointer from the left wing tied it at 70-all early in the fourth.

Washington answered with a 10-2 run before Toronto scored the next seven points, with Lowry’s 3-pointer off DeRozan’s kickout making it 80-79.

After DeRozan and Lowry each missed shots with a chance to take the lead, Wall and DeRozan traded free throws. But Wall missed a pair next, setting up the final sequence.


James hits game-winner, Cavs edge Nets (VIDEO)


CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James made a running hook shot with a second left and scored 26 points, giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a 90-88 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.

After Joe Johnson‘s three foul shots tied the game with 15.2 seconds left, the Cavaliers called timeout and took the ball at midcourt.

James took the inbounds pass, dribbled to the top of the key before cutting to the right of the lane and hitting a hook shot over Brook Lopez, the Nets’ 7-foot center.

James scored 10 points and added a key steal late in the game to help Cleveland (13-4) remain unbeaten at home in nine games.

Kevin Love also scored 26 points for Cleveland, which played a sluggish first half and didn’t take its first lead until midway through the third quarter.

Lopez led Brooklyn (4-12) with 22 points. Johnson added 17 for the Nets, who fell to 1-10 on the road.

Tristan Thompson‘s basket with 1:13 remaining gave Cleveland an 86-85 lead and James made two free throws with 16 seconds left, but Johnson was fouled by J.R. Smith attempting a 3-pointer.

Johnson hit all three foul shots, but James made sure the Nets’ strong effort fell short.

James helped Cleveland rally from an 83-76 deficit in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and a three-point play before the Cavaliers took the lead on Thompson’s basket with 2:44 remaining.

Brooklyn built the lead to double figures in the second quarter and led 50-44 at halftime. Cleveland took its first lead at 61-60 on Love’s 3-pointer midway through the third. Matthew Dellavedova‘s 3-pointer gave the Cavaliers a 69-68 lead going into the final period.

Mo Williams scored 14 points for the Cavaliers while Thompson had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Thaddeus Young had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets.


Scott Skiles says he would not have traded Tobias Harris to Magic

Tobias Harris, O.J. Mayo
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Back at the start of the season in 2012 and into early 2013, Tobias Harris was buried on the bench in Milwaukee — glued there by coach Scott Skiles. At the trade deadline that February, the Bucks sent Harris to Orlando  — where he blossomed into a quality forward that is part of the Magic’s future.

The Magic now coached by Scott Skiles.

Did Skiles want Harris moved at the time? No, he told Journal Sentinel (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“He was pretty mature as a person even then,” Skiles said of Harris, who left Tennessee after his freshman year to enter the NBA draft. “In camp he got sick; he fell behind.

“At that time, we just felt (Luc) Mbah a Moute was a better defender and (Mike) Dunleavy was a better offensive player, and Tobias didn’t get as many minutes. But we were high on him.

“Not that anybody would have listened to me, but if I would have still been the coach, I would not have been for moving Tobias. That’s for sure, if somebody would ask my opinion.”

Skiles was under pressure to win back then in Milwaukee (he was let go at the end of the season) so you can’t be surprised he was playing the veterans he trusted over the young player who would be making mistakes.

Skiles trusts Harris now; he’s giving him more than 30 minutes a night. While he’s played some small four to start the season, Skiles has switched the lineups and now has Harris starting at the three (Channing Frye is at the four). In that role he has averaged 18 points through two games, Harris has looked more comfortable. We’ll see if that sustains, but you know Skiles is giving him a chance.


DeMarcus Cousins out for Kings vs. Warriors Saturday

DeMarcus Cousins, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams
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As if Golden State was not already a prohibitive favorite Saturday night.

DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a strained back and that will continue Saturday. Our old friend Bill Herenda tweeted it first.

Not only are the Kings 1-6 without Cousins, but they were also on their way to beating Charlotte Monday until Cousins had to leave the game.

Golden State will likely be without Harrison Barnes in this game after spraining his ankle in the last game. Expect Andre Iguodala to get the start, or if interim coach Luke Walton doesn’t want to mess with the bench rotation he could go with Brandon Rush.