Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers

Steve Nash’s ankle kept him sidelined Thursday, D’Antoni hints we may see that during season

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Steve Nash didn’t play the final three quarters of the Lakers preseason loss in Las Vegas to the Kings because of his ankle. It didn’t loosen up well during warm-ups, yet he started the game and played 8:34 minutes where he took one three (missed it), dished out a couple of assists, then went to the bench not to return.

No big deal, it’s preseason, resting Nash and letting the young guys run makes sense. We’re not going to see this during the regular season, right?

Mike D’Antoni isn’t so sure, as he told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

“I’m not concerned,” D’Antoni said. “I think this will happen on and off on all year. But he’s going to give you a good season and good stuff. But we have to take care of him.”

Nash’s said ankle has been bothering him since before training camp started and it has gotten a little better, at least it had before Thursday. Now the Lakers are off to China for games, where Nash hopes to play.

Nash is 39 and will turn 40 in February. So maybe if I were D’Antoni I’d be a little concerned.

There are plenty of Lakers fans — plus a few prognosticators, some on this site — who see the Lakers as a potential playoff team in the West. I don’t because of things like this. The Lakers just have no margin for error to make the postseason in a deep West. They need Nash to be healthy all season, they need Kobe Bryant to come back early from his Achilles injury (which seems likely) and be close to his old self, they need Pau Gasol to stay healthy and be dominant around the paint (and not get traded mid-season), they need role players like Jodie Meeks to step up big, and they need to find a way to play some defense.

That’s far too many “ifs” that need to go their way for me.

Nash having ankle issues that slow him and linger into the season seem the more likely scenario, the kind of death by a thousand little cuts that the Lakers just cannot overcome.

Watch all 25 threes from Cleveland in Game 2 win

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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.

Cavaliers threes shotchart

Report: Rockets to interview Mike D’Antoni, Frank Vogel for coaching vacancy

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers gestures during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on February 28, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 126-122.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Cavs set single-game three-point record in blowout win over Hawks

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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.

Nope.

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 whips one-handed pass, leads to open Kevin Love three (VIDEO)

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 2: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers fights for a loose ball against Al Horford #15 and Kyle Korver #26 of the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Hawks 104-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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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.