Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• While they may be looking overseas for a coach, the Hawks are looking statside, also, they interviewed Stan Van Gundy and Mike Budenholzer recently. Buzz is SVG is not interested.
• Former NBA players union executive director Billy Hunter has filed a lawsuit against the union and Derek Fisher. Fun times.
• The Sixers got permission to talk to Kelvin Sampson about their coaching job. Everyone has spoken to Kelvin Sampson, I think.
• If you read one thing today, it would be this fantastic Jonathan Abrams piece at Grantland talking to old-school players such as Bob Cousy and Elgin Baylor about what it was like to travel to games in their day — three games in three nights and you flew coach commercial.
• Roy Hibbert didn’t exactly mince words with how he felt the Pacers played in Game 5 in New York Thursday.
• Craig Sager photobombed Will Smith. (Best GIF of the year.)
• If you missed it, a woman who knows a thing or two about clubbing — Rihanna — said why she thinks J.R. Smith was slumping. And she sounds a little like a woman scorned.
• Eddie Jordan talks about his season with the Lakers. Doesn’t sound like the assistant coach enjoyed it all that much.
• If you want to try out for the D-League, here’s how.
• Here is a list of guys who made the NBA All-Rookie team but really still were busts.
• Here is a great feature on Phil Jackson and his basketball mind.
• Phil Jackson would like to remind you he has more championship rings than you do. Than anyone.
• Erik Spoelstra demands the Miami Heat recycle so all those unused team scouting reports don’t harm the environment.
• Some people still think the NBA is really slanted toward big markets. Unless the Knicks complete their comeback Miami will be the largest market in the conference finals on either side, and frankly they are 14th in the NBA in television markets.
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar taught Britney Griner the skyhook.
• Finally, Quincy Pondexter brought his Huskie puppy to practice, as you can see below. (Pondexter was a Huskie in college, remember.)
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.