2013 NBA Finals - Game Seven

Gregg Popovich to reporter in postgame press conference: ‘Good Lord. And they pay you, don’t they?’ (video)

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Correction: Upon closer listening, it sounds as if Popovich said “it’s” rather than “you’re” “not worth much.”

Games in the Spurs-Thunder series have been decided by 17, 35, 9, 13 and 28 points – and in the lone single-digit game, the winning team led by 20 late in the fourth quarter before surrendering a meaningless run.

Despite five blowouts, the series is as close as possible with San Antonio holding a 3-2 lead.

That’s quirky and somewhat interesting, but I have no clue how to explain it. If only there were a basketball genius fielding questions whom we could ask.

After the Spurs won Game 5, a reporter asked Gregg Popovich about the string of big wins by both teams.

  • Reporter: “Five games, five blowouts. To us who don’t really know the game, how do you explain that?”
  • Popovich: “You’re serious? You really think I can explain that?”
  • Reporter: “In simplest terms. I know you can. The question is, will you?”
  • Popovich: “Good Lord. And they pay you, don’t they? They pay –”
  • Reporter: “Very little.”
  • Popovich: “Thus the question. It’s not worth much.”
  • Reporter: “That’s why I’m not up there.”

I hope the reporter wasn’t offended, though Popovich’s words – even with his laugh – were way out of line. I know I wouldn’t have been offended, because this is who Popovich is. He’s a jerk to the media. A long history of him acting like this might mean we shouldn’t take his retorts seriously, but normalizing them doesn’t make them acceptable.

To make matters worse as the exchange continued, the reporter clearly thought Popovich used “can’t” in the same way he says he “can’t” explain his tactical adjustments – as a synonym for “won’t.” But, in this case, I legitimately believe Popovich truly meant “can’t.” Of course, Popovich made no effort to get on the same page as the reporter, instead opting to belittle him.

Another reporter followed up and again asked whether Popovich can explain the series producing five routs. This time, Popovich answered:

No. There’s no way. I have no clue, honestly. I think every game, it’s a different animal. It really is. We talk to our team about that all the time. You have no clue what’s going to happen, how a team is going to come out, whether they’re going to be lethargic or hold the ball, don’t hold the ball, get 50-50 balls or don’t get 50-50 balls. The game is played once it begins, and adjustments start.Both sides are going to make their adjustments, whether it’s substitutions or changing pick-and-roll defenses or who you want to go to, how many minutes so-and-so should play. All that happens when the game starts. There are plays, there are calls, there are runs that happen that make momentum stop or get extended.  And then a lot of it has got to do with players making shots on a certain night, and it can go in either direction.

What do you know? Popovich had a reasonable reply in him all along.

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.