Report: Jason Kidd safe as Nets coach until team gets healthy

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The Nets are going through an especially rough time right now, and even mentioning as much seems like a gross understatement of the facts.

Brooklyn has lost several of its key players due to injury, including Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, and Jason Terry. Head coach Jason Kidd parted ways with assistant Lawrence Frank on Tuesday, and has been trying to make adjustments on the fly ever since — ones that have ultimately hurt the team more than they’ve helped, considering the consecutive home losses that have been suffered, each of which came by in the neighborhood of 30 points.

But despite the blowouts and the dismal performance on the court by the players healthy enough to be out there, Kidd is in no danger of losing his job just yet. The team wants to see what Kidd is able to do with the roster at or near full strength before making any such decision on his future.

From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

Kidd isn’t in as much trouble as you’d think. The Nets don’t believe they’ll get an accurate picture of what he can do as a coach until they’ve got their full complement of players. That means the clock isn’t ticking on him until after Deron Williams comes back and starts playing regularly.

And that makes some sense.

Kidd hasn’t done anything from a coaching perspective to lead you to believe he knows what he’s doing in the role to this point, and has refused to use the injuries as an excuse — even though he and Kevin Garnett both mentioned that the team needs to get “whole” after the blowout loss to the Knicks earlier this week.

The reality is that management wants to see what it has in its roster before blaming Kidd for this mess, but one thing is clear: If Deron Williams returns and Brooklyn keeps losing by 20+ points regularly, then the team won’t have any choice but to replace Kidd before the season is finished.

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.