We need a game in this series so we can talk about basketball and not this ridiculous game of telephone.
As we explained before, LeBron James took umbrage at something a reporter told him Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel said — except Vogel never said it. What Vogel said was, “They’re the next team that’s in our way and that’s how we’re approaching it.” Somehow that got translated by a reporter speaking to LeBron as, “Vogel was saying last night that you guys are just another team.’’ So LeBron said he would be ready to show him they are not just another team.
And this was all over sports talk radio, major sports news broadcasts and just about everywhere else Monday. Because…. I have no idea why. But it would not die.
So Monday Vogel was asked to respond to LeBron’s response to the thing he never said. And Vogel’s response was to say he never said it, reports the Pacers official Web site.
“Sorry sports world, the words ‘just another team’ never came out of my mouth,” he said. “Great respect for LBJ and the champs. Looking forward to [a] great series.”
It should be a fun series. The Pacers had a 2-1 lead on the Heat last season and they are certainly playing more cohesively this year (and likely will deal better with defenders fronting the post). That said, Miami has Chris Bosh healthy this time around and that will make things a lot harder on Roy Hibbert, who would prefer not to have to cover his man at the arc.
Can’t wait to see how it all plays out. Really sick of the long break before the start of the series, where non-issues like this become issues.
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.