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Reports: Knicks reach out to Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, David Fizdale, Jerry Stackhouse

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The star player is going to miss at least half of next season. The support and consistent direction from team ownership is lacking. There are factions and power battles within the front office and entire organization. And the fan base is vocal and not quietly patient.

Still, the New York Knicks coaching job is one of the most desirable in the NBA.

Which is why the biggest names available are lined up, as reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

According to a source close to the Knicks search, Van Gundy and Jackson join a growing list of head coaching candidates that the Knicks have officially reached out to. That list includes former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale, who revealed Friday that he will interview with the Knicks next week.

Also, Jerry Stackhouse, the coach of Toronto’s G-League affiliate, has been contacted and could have an interview date confirmed by Monday.

Fizdale, who sat in on the Warriors’ practice before Game 1, confirmed to the media he is scheduled to interview with the Knicks. Both Stackhouse and Fizdale have been contacted about the openings in Charlotte and Orlando as well.

No real surprises there — the Knicks are going after the biggest names and best guys without a job.

One potentially complicating factor looming out there — the Milwaukee Bucks job. Currently, Joe Prunty sits in that chair (as the interim coach after Jason Kidd was fired) leading the Bucks into the playoffs against the Celtics. How the postseason goes could impact if that job becomes open, but if it does it would be the most desirable one in the NBA due to the presence of Giannis Antetokounmpo and a strong supporting cast. Van Gundy, Fizdale, and other big names who think they could have a shot at that gig may not want to move fast on the Knicks or any other coaching job in the interim.

This is the Knicks, so expect this to just be the start of the drama in their search.

Nick Young showed up for Warriors game in boxers, silk robe

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Someday, Swaggy P is not going to be in the NBA, and we’re going to miss him.

It was the Warriors biggest game this season, the start of the playoffs, the game where Golden State needed to show up focused and shake off the malaise that had enveloped them for weeks.

Nick Young showed up in boxers and a silk robe.

What did Crash Davis say in Bull Durham? “Win 20 in the Show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the Show, however, it means you’re a slob.”

The Warriors won in a rout Saturday 113-92. So today, Swaggy P is colorful.

Switch flipped: Warriors rout Spurs in Game 1

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Who is vulnerable, exactly?

Tell me again how the Warriors would struggle to flip the switch in the playoffs.

From the opening tip Saturday Golden State played with energy on defense, moved the ball on offense, and exploited their considerable athleticism advantage over San Antonio. The Warriors shed the disinterested, coasting skin they had worn for weeks and came out playing with the passion — and playing with the flair, having fun — we have come to expect from them.

The end result was a 113-92 Warriors win that was never really in doubt by the middle of the first quarter.

“At the end of the season, I think we were thinking too far down the line and worrying about the playoffs when we should have been worrying about today,” Kevin Durant said in his postgame interview about the Warriors flipping the switch. “Today we worried about the present, came out with a good game plan and executed it.”

The Warriors need to guard against the return of complacency game-to-game — especially if they have a couple of easy wins in a series in a row — but for one day that question was put to rest.

The Warriors now lead the series 1-0, and while Gregg Popovich will make adjustments, it’s hard to imagine what he could do with the players at his disposal that would change the outcome of this series with the way the Warriors have dialed in. The Warriors are just vastly more athletic and it allows them to create matchups and opportunities that work for them.

Nothing highlighted that athleticism gap early like the play of JaVale McGee. The Warriors started McGee at center and guarding LaMarcus Aldridge and he was a force — at one point in the first quarter it was McGee 9, Spurs 8 (the Warriors had 15). In the first half, MeGee had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting plus a couple of blocked shots inside.

Klay Thompson finished with 27 points and hit 5-of-6 from three, Durant had 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, Draymond Green finished with 12 points and 11 assists, and McGee ended the game with 15 points.

Most importantly, the Warriors were engaged defensively from the start, holding the Spurs to 40 percent shooting for the game (although the Spurs did go 9-of-22 from three).

From the opening tip, Golden State was executing smart plays. The Warriors used the Spurs switching defense against them, forcing a smaller guy — Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills — on Kevin Durant, and while the Spurs smalls pressured KD just shot over the top of them on his way to 16 first-half points on 10 shots.

Spurs came out more physical and aggressive in the second half, but it didn’t matter. As the game wore on, the Warriors looked more and more comfortable. They looked more and more like their vintage self.

San Antonio’s offense all season used at its core LaMarcus Aldridge working out of the post, where he can score two on a fadeaway over anyone. But he doesn’t have a lot of shooting around him to space the floor, so he might hit a cutter on the pass, but the Spurs come away with two. Then the Warriors drain a three. The math just doesn’t work for the Spurs, and they have no answer for Durant.

If the Warriors stay engaged and defending at this level, the math is going to end this series quickly for the Spurs.

Michigan’s Moe Wagner enters NBA draft, skips senior season

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Moe Wagner has decided to sign with an agent and enter the NBA draft.

The Michigan big man announced his plans Saturday with an essay written for The Players’ Tribune.

Wagner is projected as a second-round pick, although bigs tend to climb the board as we get closer to the draft, especially if they have good workouts for teams.

Wagner helped the Wolverines reach the NCAA finals earlier this month, earning a spot on the Final Four All-Tournament team. The 6-foot-11, 245-pound German forward, who idolizes Dallas Mavericks superstar and countryman Dirk Nowitzki, entered his name in the draft last year and later withdrew it to stay in school for his junior season.

He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and made .394 percent of his 3-point shots last season.

 

Stephen Curry to be re-evaluated in one week; second round return still seems likely

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Steve Kerr has made it clear before that Stephen Curry would sit out the first round of the playoffs, where the Warriors take on the Spurs starting Saturday, in part to protect him from himself. They need a fully healthy Curry to beat an outstanding Houston team in the conference finals in a few weeks, they should be fine against San Antonio.

Along those lines, Stephen Curry will rehab for another week then be re-evaluated, the team announced Saturday before Game 1. This week he will be put through more lateral movement and other steps toward a return.

The expectation is still he is back at the start of, or early in, the second round.

Without Curry, the Warriors’ offense is still dangerous — they have elite scorers in Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, a good passing and playmaking big in Draymond Green, and plenty of veteran role players who know how to put the ball in the basket. But it’s not the same. The Warriors offense is built around Curry and his ball movement and movement off the ball. Curry’s presence opens up the floor for others because even if he’s 28 feet from the bucket on the weak side a defender needs to be near him, and another needs to have his eye on him. Remove Curry and the Warriors take more midrange jumpers (29 percent of their shot attempts are midrangers when Curry is on the court, that jumps to 43 percent when he’s is out, according to Cleaning The Glass).