Patrick Beverley has become a household name for NBA fans during these playoffs, thanks to his involvement in the play that led to Russell Westbrook’s season-ending torn meniscus injury.
As the series between the Rockets and the Thunder shifted back to Oklahoma City for the first time since the incident, Beverley was targeted by fans and Thunder players as the villain, despite the fact that the play that injured Westbrook was in no way a dirty one, and happens every single night during the regular season.
Midway through the first quarter of Houston’s Game 5 win, the Thunder’s Reggie Jackson decided it would be a good idea to put Beverley on the receiving end of the type of play that ultimately sidelined Westbrook, and aggressively went for a steal as Beverley was in the midst of signaling for a timeout.
Beverley knew exactly what Jackson was trying to do here, so he gave him a little bump after the whistle to let him know he would be willing to defend himself if the Thunder wanted to take up this nonexistent cause of retaliating in Westbrook’s honor.
Beverley was immediately whistled for a technical foul, and I think that was the wrong decision by the officials.
The referees had to have been aware of the situation, and especially on a similar play that involved Beverley and Westbrook, they should have let Beverley’s reaction go with a no-call.
Additionally, if you look at the two plays side by side, Westbrook was still in the process of collecting the ball, and Beverley had a legitimate chance to steal it. In the Game 5 play involving Jackson, Beverley had already picked up his dribble and the referee had blown the whistle before Jackson was able to make contact, which to me, makes these two very different scenarios.
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.
ESPN sources say Sixers associate head coach Mike D'Antoni is interviewing for the Houston Rockets' coaching job this week
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.
Sources say Houston will also talk to Frank Vogel as well as part of a Kings-style broad search if the Pacers let Vogel go as many expect.
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.
Cavs set single-game three-point record in blowout win over Hawks
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:
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.