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Associated Press

Jeremy Lin plans to return to Nets a new player next season

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jeremy Lin didn’t even make it through one full game this season.

He plans to return next season playing a different way so he can stay on the floor and help the Brooklyn Nets keep building.

Lin played in just 36 games in 2016-17 due to hamstring injuries and ruptured his right patella tendon in a loss at Indiana on opening night of this season. His plan to stay healthy focuses on ditching all the on-court motor skills that started Linsanity six years ago across the city with the New York Knicks in exchange for a new range of motion.

“So, like, at every level of ability to be more dynamic, I’m not just looking at whether my knee will hold up. I’m looking at whether I have done enough to completely change pre-existing movement patterns,” Lin said Thursday, a day after the Nets finished 28-54, their third consecutive 50-loss season after three straight playoff appearances.

The Nets won seven of their last 13 games after losing 19 of 22.

The 29-year-old Lin spent a large chunk of his rehab process at Fortius Sport and Health in Vancouver, British Columbia, under his personal trainer, Rick Celebrini, who in the past worked with former NBA star Steve Nash.

Running, shooting and defending will all seem new for Lin, who signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Nets in July 2016, and in February opted in to his $12.5 million player option.

“It won’t look different to the eye, or on TV any different, but it will be very different in terms of how I do it, and where I move from and what muscles I’m using and what tendons and joints I’m not using,” Lin said.

His injury led to the development of others at point guard.

Spencer Dinwiddie became a candidate for the Most Improved Player award after averaging career highs with 12.6 points and 6.6 assists. Coach Kenny Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks also got a good look at D'Angelo Russell, who took over Lin’s duties, but then needed knee suffer that forced him out until mid-January. Once the 22-year-old returned to the court, he showed flashes of why the Los Angeles Lakers made him the No. 2 pick of the 2015 draft before including him in the Brook Lopez deal last summer.

Add in Allen Crabbe, who struggled at times but set the franchise season-single record of 201 3-pointers made; an improved defender in second-year player Caris LeVert; a young shot-blocker in rookie Jarrett Allen; and the rising play of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson along with the veteran presence of DeMarre Carroll, Lin has a reason to feel optimistic.

 

 

PBT Extra: The red-hot Sixers in the Eastern Conference Finals? It’ll happen.

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Last season the Philadephia 76ers won just 28 games, and they entered this season with tons of questions: How good is Ben Simmons? How many games will Joel Embiid play? Can this team defend? How will veterans such as J.J. Redick blend in?

The Sixers answered every question, passed every test put to them.

The result is 52 wins and the three seed — and in this PBT Extra I get into how the Sixers now have a clear path to the Eastern Conference Finals. There will be challenges — Miami is a disciplined team that will force the Sixers to be focused and play good defense, but you have to like where Philadephia sit.

PBT Extra: Jeff Hornacek out in New York, but it wasn’t all his fault

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Jeff Hornacek knew what was coming, probably from the minute Phil Jackson went back to his Montana ranch and Steve Mills/Scott Perry were given control of the franchise. Certainly, as this season wore on, Hornacek knew the writing was on the wall.

Late Wednesday night, Hornacek was fired after his second season as Knicks coach.

In this PBT Extra I have some sympathy for Hornacek — this was not all his fault. Not the bad contracts, not the injuries. That doesn’t mean he coached this team up enough to overcome those issues, nor does it mean the time for change had not arrived. It had. But there is context.

There’s also a lot of discussion of who is next in the big chair in New York. Will Knicks fans be happy with anyone who is not Mark Jackson?

James Harden says NBA moms have meetings

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Kevin Durant‘s mom Wanda has been all over your television, and when she’s not there she’s having fun and defending her son on social media. She probably is the most recognizable NBA mom.

But she’s far from alone on social media — moms of NBA stars have become stars in their own right.

And they have meetings, James Harden told GQ (hat tip NBA Reddit).

Harden takes evident pride that his career has enabled his mother, Monja Willis, to have an NBA life of her own. Willis is one of a bumper crop of delightful NBA moms, led by Draymond Green‘s mom, Mary Babers-Green, and Kevin Durant’s “real MVP,” Wanda. They are funny, salty, ferociously protective of their sons, and living their best lives on Instagram. “My mom—she hangs out with, like, moms of other players that I don’t even talk to,” Harden says, amused.

“There are mom meetings, things like that.”

You’re joking, right?

“No, I’m serious. Mom meetings. That makes me happy, ’cause they get to talk about their sons behind our backs. She deserves that.”

Do they not invite Deron Williams’ mom because nobody really likes her, either?

I so want to be a fly on the wall for those meetings, especially after they’ve had a few mimosas. Or martinis.

Report: Corey Brewer to play in Game 1 for Thunder

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When Andre Roberson went down injured for the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder floundered about for a while. Roberson was the key fifth starter with their four stars, a lock-down, elite defender who the Thunder had figured out how to use (or, hide) on offense and not hurt them. Without Roberson, the Thunder looked lost.

Until they brought in Corey Brewer (who was bought out by the Lakers and waived). The solid veteran wing has stabilized that starting unit. Which is why when Brewer sprained his knee in the final game of the season Wednesday night, there was concern. Good news for OKC, he should play, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

When Brewer is out on the court with the rest of the starting five (Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Steven Adams) the Thunder essentially play their opponents even (-0.5 net rating). (For comparison, that same for with Roberson was +14.2 per 100 possessions).

Oklahoma City will face a team that counters their strengths in the first round: Westbrook and the Thunder want to attack, the Utah Jazz funnel everything into the future Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and challenge those attacks. OKC should be able to slow Donovan Michell and the Jazz offense down, but scoring will not be easy. This will be a physical series.

And the Thunder will need Corey Brewer in it.