Scott Skiles

Report: Scott Skiles makes Nets’ short list

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The Nets were surely dejected when Phil Jackson turned them down, so it seems they want at least one coaching candidate who’s extremely unlikely to reject them. Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times (hat tip: Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball):

the Nets also have put Scott Skiles on their short list. Skiles was fired by the Bucks in January after four-plus tumultuous seasons in Milwaukee. Under Skiles, the Bucks had constant internal issues and qualified for the playoffs just once.

Frankly, I’m surprised Skiles hasn’t garnered more interest around the league. As Woelfel notes, Skiles has plenty of shortcomings, but he’s one of the few coaches on the market with a winning career record.

Most recently, Skiles guided the Bucks to a 46-36 record in 2009-10, his second season, after the team went six straight seasons without a winning record. Before that, Skiles helped the Bulls go 47-35 in 2004-05, his first full season and Chicago’s first winning season since Michael Jordan’s second retirement.

Skiles has proven he can implement a hardnosed, defense-first system – which might be what the Nets need – but they were already good enough to earn home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs this year. Skiles specializes in changing the culture of losing teams before he grinds on everyone too much and gets fired, and that’s not what Brooklyn needs.

In his first head-coaching job, Skiles took over a good Suns team from Danny Ainge and kept them good for another season before losing his job during the following year. That experience might prove most similar to Brooklyn situation, and Skiles fared only OK. The Nets could do worse, but they could also do better.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.