Despite a report earlier in the week that Dwane Casey would return as coach of the Raptors, new Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri wasn’t so resolute in his public statements on the matter. Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun:
Ujiri stopped well short of guaranteeing that Casey will be his head coach heading into next season.
“I’ve talked to Dwane Casey a couple of times and we’re going to sit down and I will understand what his philosophies are and I will tell him what my philosophies are and I’ll tell him what I think needs to be changed,” Ujiri said. “For me this organization is going to be like this now (hands together) and we will all be on the same page and have the same goals.”
“For me, Dwane Casey has done a great job but I need to sit down with coach and figure out what his philosophies are and what he’s thinking for the future of this team … I need these 2-3 weeks where coach and I are going to figure out whether this thing is going to go forward for the next year. Right now I don’t see any reason why not.”
In two or three weeks, the top coaching candidates will likely be off the market. I think Casey has shown enough that firing him then probably wouldn’t guarantee a better result, and another year with Casey coaching the Raptors probably makes sense for both sides.
But if Ujiri finds he and Casey really are on different pages, Ujiri would be better off parting then rather than dragging it out for another season. There are plenty of promising assistant coaches who deserve a shot as a head coach, and I’d trust Ujiri more than most to find one.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.