Nets to retire Jason Kidd’s No. 5 jersey Oct. 17

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This has been rumored for about a month but on Monday the Nets made it official.

The Nets will retire the jersey of former star player, now team coach and part owner Jason Kidd on Oct. 17, before the Nets play the Heat in a preseason game.

“This is a very humbling honor and one that I will always cherish,” Kidd said in a released statement. “There can be no greater recognition of an athlete’s time with any team than to have his number retired, and this gesture by the Nets organization validates a very significant portion of my career that was spent as a player with this franchise.”

Kidd was as good a point guard as there was in the league at his peak, which included more than six seasons in New Jersey with the Nets where he averaged 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game. Kidd retired this summer after what is a lock first ballot Hall of Fame career.

When he did, he jumped at the offer of Mikhail Prokhorov to come coach the team this season (that’s just one of interesting storylines swirling around the Nets this season).

“My warmest congratulations to Jason as we commemorate his outstanding career as an NBA player and his unparalleled contribution to the Nets franchise,” said Nets Principal Owner Mikhail Prokhorov in his statement. “As one chapter closes, another will soon be written and I know that we are all looking forward to Jason’s continued successes.”

Kidd’s No. 5 will join the numbers of Drazen Petrovic (No. 3), John Williamson (No. 23), Bill Melchionni (No. 25), Julius Erving (No. 32) and Buck Williams (No. 52) in the rafters at Barclays.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.