Grant Hill announces his retirement after 19 seasons

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Grant Hill is retiring after playing 19 seasons in the NBA, and he made the announcement personally on national television during TNT’s pregame coverage of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Hill played sparingly for the Clippers in his final season, and the team had a prepared release ready once Hill broke the news.

“The entire Clippers organization wants to congratulate Grant on an incredible career,” Clippers Vice President of Basketball Operations Gary Sacks said. “For 19 years, Grant has always been the embodiment of class, a true professional and not only one of the best players – but one of the finest individuals I have been around. We were fortunate to have Grant with us last season, and we wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”

Hill played five seasons for the Phoenix Suns before joining the Clippers for this last one, where he really didn’t get a chance to make the impact he was hoping to on a team with championship aspirations. Limited by injury, Hill appeared in just 29 games in Los Angeles, and his averages of 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per contest were by far the lowest of his career.

Just the season before, and really in his final three season in Phoenix, Hill had become his team’s best defender, and regularly guarded the opponent’s best player from the one to the four position. He remained an excellent finisher at the rim on the fast break even in his later years, and was always the consummate professional who was never anything less than a class act to deal with 100 percent of the time.

A seven-time All-Star, Hill had a decorated career that was stellar by any account, even despite the injuries he suffered while with the Orlando Magic. Originally selected with the third overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, he was the co-Rookie of the Year in 1995, and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1997 and the All-NBA Second Team in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. He was also a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team which won the gold medal.

Hill finishes his career with averages of 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.2 steals in 33.9 minutes per game. He will have several opportunities available to him in his life after basketball, one of which which may include an invitation to join the front office in Phoenix in some capacity. The team’s president of basketball operations, Lon Babby, was Hill’s longtime agent before joining the Suns organization.

Watch Hassan Whiteside beat the Pistons at the buzzer with tip-in (VIDEO)

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The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.

The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.

That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.

Via Twitter:

Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.

Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again:

Kobe Bryant says LeBron James has earned the right to take a rest (VIDEO)

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Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.

Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.

Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”

Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.

Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.

“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.

The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.

Phil Jackson’s reaction to Kristaps Porzingis getting turned upside down feels about right

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New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise, so any time he’s upended and nearly lands on his noggin it’s a cause for concern. To say the least.

That’s what happened on Monday night, as Porzingis got turned upside down during a play near the basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Porzingis was OK on the play, and Detroit big man Andre Drummond did his best to help catch him so nothing too scary happened.

Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson had a pretty hilarious reaction to the whole thing. I guess that’s what happens when you watch your basketball life flash before your eyes.

Porzingis was unhurt and played a full 37 minutes. New York beat Detroit, 109-95.

Jimmy Butler won’t pick LeBron over Durant as toughest matchup in NBA, and for good reason

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Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler is a smart dude. He’s spent years of offseason work turning himself into a max-level player, and that shows he knows not only how to work but how to attack the game of basketball.

He’s also smart enough to know he shouldn’t go poking the bear when it comes to two future Hall of Fame players in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

When asked whether the Cleveland Cavaliers star or the Golden State Warriors scorer was the toughest matchup in the NBA, Butler made sure he wasn’t adding any kind of blackboard material to rile up either player.

Via Twitter:

The best way to defend LeBron or Durant: don’t make them angry.

Smart move, Jimmy.