Jim Boylan

Milwaukee Bucks fire interim coach Jim Boylan, as expected

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Jim Boylan was given an impossible task — take over a mismatched Milwaukee Bucks roster in the middle of the season when Scott Skiles walked away (after five years) and try to make something of it. Oh, and here is J.J. Redick, can you make him mesh with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Thanks. Have fun.

Boylan went 22-28 with the Bucks, who slumped at the end of the season then were swept out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat.

Wednesday the Bucks swept Boylan out of the coach’s seat, letting him go, something first reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on twitter and later confirmed by the organization. Boylan was a Wisconsin guy (he was the point guard on Marquette’s 1977 national championship team) but this wasn’t a great fit.

“At this time we feel it’s in the best interest of the organization to seek a new coach to lead our team,” Bucks GM John Hammond said in a released statement. “We appreciate Jim’s efforts not only in his time as head coach, but in his entire tenure as a coach in Milwaukee. On behalf of the Bucks organization, I thank Jim for his five years here and his many contributions on and off the court. We wish Jim and his wife, Jane, the best.”

It’s a little early to have a frontrunner for his job, but there has been a buzz around the league for a while that the Bucks have interest in Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson (who also will interview with the Bobcats). Stan Van Gundy is a target as well, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (although that seems less a fit).

Firing Boylan was expected, it’s one of a lot of steps the Bucks need to make this summer to revamp the team. That should start with trying to decide what kind of team they want to build and not just assembling pieces. Next would come dealing with the backcourt — Redick and Ellis are unrestricted free agents, Jennings is a restricted free agent (meaning the Bucks can match any offer Jennings gets).

But in the midst of that, the Bucks need to find a new coach, also.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: