Did the words of John Thompson III help break Hibbert out of his slump?

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One game is not enough, if Roy Hibbert has fully broken out of his slump — as it appeared Wednesday night when he dropped 28 points on the Wizards and sparked a Game 2 Pacers win — he will have to do it more than once.

But if he has broken out, Pacers fans may want to thanks his old Georgetown coach.

John Thompson III joined the crew from Comcast Sportsnet Washington to talk about the series and the coach said he flew to Indiana to meet with his former star center and offer some words of advice before Game 2.

“I think the main thing is just letting him know we’re here for him. He has been struggling, he’s been beat up, he is not playing well, and I think the main thing, I wanted to sit down in my own way and remind Roy that he’s still Roy. And to make sure he remembers who he was. And I think he got the message.

“That’s code for what I really said to him.”

After the game Thompson deflected the idea that his words changed things, suggesting the Pacers started using Hibbert properly.

“He was playing at a level he had to snap out of it at some point, it was not anything I said to him, he just came around….

“Well they gave (the ball) to him. It’s the first time in a while where he touched the ball consistently early in the game, which got him feeling good about himself, which carried over throughout the game….

“Early in the game he got touches, early in the game they gave it to him, early in the game he felt good about himself because he was getting the ball, and think that has to happen. IF they give him the ball, if he gets touches and they get movement, good things happen.”

We’ll see if Hibbert can sustain this (he’s had good games before during this slump, only to revert again). If so, Frank Vogel may owe Thompson big.

Wizards fans, many of whom are fans of Georgetown, feel free to be conflicted.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.