Tyrone Corbin out as Utah Jazz coach

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The Utah Jazz will soon have their fourth coach since 1982.

In a break from an astonishing bout of continuity, the Jazz will not renew Tyrone Corbin’s contract.

After taking over for Jerry Sloan during the 2010-11 season, Corbin went 112-146 as Utah’s coach. Under his watch, the Jazz made the playoffs in 2011-12 and then had another winning record in 2012-13 (43-39). But they didn’t win a postseason game, and this year, they went 25-57 for their worst record since 1981-82.

That season, Frank Layden became head coach, a position he held into the 1988-89 season. Then, he gave way to Sloan, who coached 23 years.

In the end, Corbin – not distinguishing himself from many – couldn’t succeed in replacing the legend.

Jazz team release:

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has elected not to offer head coach Tyrone Corbin a new contract. As a result, a search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

“I would like to thank Ty and his staff for all of their hard work, dedication and professionalism over the last three-plus seasons,” said Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey. “This has not been an easy decision, but after a thorough review process, we as an organization feel that this is the best decision for our franchise moving forward.”

“The decision to make impactful changes in our organization is never taken lightly,” said Greg Miller, CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. “Ty has always represented the Jazz franchise in a first-class manner both on the court and in the community. He did a wonderful job of building relationships with the players and encouraged their growth throughout the season. We wish Ty, Dante and their family nothing but the very best for their future.”

“Ty represented himself and the Utah Jazz organization with great class and dignity, and he and his family have been an important part of our team and community for many years,” said Jazz President Randy Rigby. “I want to thank them for their numerous contributions to this franchise and wish them well in the future. They will always remain a part of the Jazz family.”

If Corbin wants to become an assistant coach somewhere, he should have opportunities. He proved himself in that role on Sloan’s staff, and he kept a sinking team professional. That deserves a certain role in this league, but probably not the one Corbin just lost. Even though this dismissal Utah season was more due to a designed rebuild (call it tanking if you wish) than anything Corbin did, he just gave little indication he possessed the aptitude for being a successful head coach.

Money is always a factor, but Utah presents a compelling roster situation for potential replacements . The Jazz have a lineup full of promising young players – Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Plus, they’ll have a juicy lottery pick in the upcoming draft and the No. 23 pick from Golden State.

The Jazz might not be ready to contend for a playoff berth next season, but they offer a quality destination for a budding assistant coach or college coach who might need a season to grow on the job. By 2015-16, this team should be a factor in the postseason race, and today’s decision is a step in the right direction.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.