Jeff Van Gundy pulled from calling Knicks-Bulls broadcast

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Jeff Van Gundy is a lead analyst for ESPN, and would normally have been the color commentator on the national broadcast of the Knicks-Bulls contest aired on ESPN Wednesday night.

But due to a complicated set of circumstances, Van Gundy didn’t participate.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today has the details:

ESPN executives and analyst Jeff Van Gundy decided it was best the color commentator not be part of the New York Knicks-Chicago Bulls broadcast at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the decision to keep Van Gundy off the air for the game.

With the Knicks struggling at 5-15 entering the Bulls game and Coach Mike Woodson under pressure to turn the team around, Van Gundy, who used to coach the Knicks, was mentioned by the New York Post as a potential replacement. ESPN and Van Gundy decided it was best if he was not the story of a game he was calling.

Woodson is believed to be on the hot seat given the Knicks’ rough start, but someone like Van Gundy who hasn’t coached since the 2007 season isn’t about to jump into such a volatile situation mid-season, and he’s said previously that he wouldn’t entertain any offers while another head coach was still in place.

Still, the fact that his name has surfaced as a rumored replacement for Woodson if the team indeed decided to make the switch made it awkward at best for Van Gundy to be sitting at the scorer’s table for this one.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)