UPDATE 6:57 pm: It’s official — Jameer Nelson is a member of the Dallas Mavericks for the upcoming season.
5:49 pm: Quality shots have been hard to come by in Orlando the past couple seasons. Ever since Dwight Howard left there hasn’t really been a Magic player that demanded a double team or forced you to adjust your defense.
Jameer Nelson thinks that impacted his three point shooting this past season. He also expects things to be different in Dallas.
Nelson is meeting with the Mavericks Thursday and, has been expected, they are going to reach a deal soon, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
In Dallas there are players that demand double teams — Dirk Nowitzki every night, Monta Ellis some nights — and guys who can benefit from the better looks like Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler and now Nelson. The point guard talked about that with Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning NewsA.
“My 3-point percentage hopefully will go up playing with better guys,” he said. “The looks will be there. Dirk will draw a lot of attention. Monta draws a lot of attention. Chandler Parsons, too. Everybody’s going to draw attention, so somebody’s going to be open. I’m just preparing myself to make open shots.”
Nelson is going to split time at the point with Raymond Felton and Devin Harris (plus you can be sure Ellis will serve as a defacto point guard at times). The guy who does not turn the ball over, defends a little and knocks down the open threes will get the lion’s share of the minutes.
That could be Nelson. He can’t do it for 30+ minutes a night anymore, but for 20-25 he could be a guy Rick Carlisle leans heavily on as the season moves along.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.