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Spurs’ R.C. Buford wins Executive of the Year, though Trail Blazers’ Neil Olshey gets most first-place votes

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We were split between the Spurs’ R.C. Buford and the Trail Blazers Neil Olshey for Executive of the Year.

Apparently, so were NBA executives.

Buford won the 2016 Executive of the Year despite Olshey getting more first-place votes from their peers.

Here’s the full voting with executive, team (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points):

  1. R.C. Buford, San Antonio (9-10-2-77)
  2. Neil Olshey, Portland (10-3-4-63)
  3. Bob Myers, Golden State (5-4-1-38)
  4. Masai Ujiri, Toronto (2-2-2-18)
  5. Rich Cho, Charlotte (1-2-6-17)
  6. Danny Ainge, Boston (1-2-2-13)
  7. David Griffin, Cleveland (0-3-1-10)
  8. Stan Van Gundy, Detroit (0-1-3-6)
  9. Pat Riley, Miami (0-1-3-6)
  10. Sam Presti, Oklahoma City (1-0-0-5)
  11. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia (0-1-2-5)
  12. Wes Wilcox, Atlanta (0-0-1-1)
  13. John Hammond, Milwaukee (0-0-1-1)
  14. Dennis Lindsey, Utah (0-0-1-1)

Thoughts:

  • R.C. Buford and Neil Olshey had excellent years, as we explained here.
  • Buford, who also won in 2014, is the first two-time winner since Bryan Colangelo (2005 Suns and 2007 Raptors). This can be a funny award.
  • What did Bob Myers do to earn votes this year? Re-sign Draymond Green as a restricted free agent? Lure Anderson Varejao after his buyout? Not trade for Stephen Curry? Myers is an impressive general manager, but this team has been built for a while (as was the case when he won last season). This doesn’t seem to go past simplistic “Warriors are good, so they deserve awards” thinking.
  • I’m not surprised Richard Cho finished highly, but I’m not on board. He made the Hornets better this season, but he did so with a rotation full of expiring contracts. One false step in free agency, and the entire foundation collapses. It could work out for Charlotte if Nicolas Batum and other key free agents re-sign, but I don’t think a first-round exit justifies such an treacherous outlook.
  • An executive from each team votes for this award, so unlike honors where media pick, each voter’s choices aren’t publicly disclosed. The closeness and anonymity of voters opens the door for voting to push an agenda. Do three executives really think Sam Hinkie had a top-three year, or do they just want to throw support to the deposed 76ers general manager? On that note, I’m little surprised Jerry Colangelo didn’t get an honorary vote from the other side of the divide. Does anyone truly believe overseeing the Bucks’ backslide justified a John Hammond vote, or this protesting Jason Kidd’s arrangement?
  • Another curious vote-getter: Wes Wilcox. Mike Budenholzer runs the Hawks’ front office.
  • I wonder whether Phil Jackson is surprised about not getting any votes this year, too.

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.)