Jerry Colangelo was brought in and given power over Philadelphia to shake things up and speed up the rebuild — at 1-26 in year three of “the process,” even the owner on board with the long-term taking plan is uncomfortable. With this move, Colangelo is going to speed up the tempo, at least.
Veteran NBA coach Mike D’Antoni is now the associate head coach of the 76ers, two league sources said Thursday night….
Sixers coach Brett Brown said last week that he would welcome D’Antoni’s addition to the staff because he would add a veteran presence.
The Sixers just extended head coach Brett Brown’s contract by two years, so his seat isn’t getting warm. At least not for a while. But you don’t bring in D’Antoni and not give him some power.
Colangelo was the former owner and guy with the power in Phoenix when D’Antoni was the coach there that pioneered the small ball revolution that has swept the NBA. D’Antoni believes in his system to a fault. Brown has said on multiple occasions he wants to pick up the tempo and run more with the Sixers.
But can they with this roster? Or even the roster that will be there in a year or two? The Sixers best player in Jahlil Okafor needs to score in the post and around the basket. The point guards aren’t good enough to run D’Antoni’s system (Kendall Marshall is not the answer, just a less bad option). The Sixers need more shooting. And if Joel Embiid does come back does he fit with this style of play, or will we once again see D’Antoni trying to fit square pegs in round holes? (Remember New York and Los Angeles, where D’Antoni was never given his roster and how that went.)
This raises a lot of questions, but it does feel like the Sixers are at least trying to do something.
Five Takeaways from NBA Thursday: LeBron outduels Durant, Thunder
It felt like a Throwback Thursday around the NBA — LeBron having to do all the scoring, Durant and Westbrook against the world for the Thunder, Kobe Bryant dunking, Linsanity in Charlotte. Only three games on the docket, but the NBA put on quite a show — unless you are Jason Day’s wife. Here’s what you need to know from around the NBA Friday.
1) In a matchup of stars, LeBron James outduels Kevin Durant, Thunder.Kyrie Irving isn’t back yet, Iman Shumpert was out again, so the Cleveland Cavaliers went with the system that got them to the NBA Finals last season — give the ball to LeBron and let him carry the load. It worked again. LeBron had 33 points (12-of-27 shooting), 11 assists, and nine rebounds on the night. (He wanted the triple-double late and told teammates not to go for a rebound on a late free throw so he could get the board, but Kevin Love grabbed it anyway.) It looked like the Finals Cavs from last season — LeBron scores/creates, Tristan Thompson crashes the boards hard, they slow the game down and defend, and that’s enough many nights. This is not how the Cavs will win a title, but for a Thursday night against the Thunder that formula still works.
Oklahoma City had won six in a row coming in, but this loss highlights the problem they will face deep in the playoffs — Russell Westbrook had 27, Durant 25, Serge Ibaka 23, and then it dropped off the map to single digits. The predicted creative new offense of Billy Donovan has not materialized — it’s a lot of Durant/Westbrook isolation or pick-and-roll, and the best teams can defend that. The Thunder big men don’t pass well, so even their shots have to come from those two. Here was Donovan’s other big mistake: it was a close game entering the fourth (OKC up three) when he rested Durant and Westbrook at the same time — Cleveland went on a 9-0 run. He brought Westbrook then soon after Durant back, but that run grew to 17-2 and a double-digit Cavs lead before the bleeding stopped. Ballgame. The Thunder could not dig out of that hole. The Thunder have so much talent but still feel like a clear third best team in the West, and they have work to do if they are going to threaten the Spurs or Warriors in a seven-game series.
2) LeBron James runs over Jason Day’s wife, sending her to the hospital. Ellie Day and her husband — world second-ranked golfer Jason Day — live in Columbus and had a nice date night going without the kids: Courtside seats to see the Cavaliers and Thunder. But in the fourth quarter the 6’8″, 250-pound LeBron James chased a loose ball into the front row and just ran over Ellie. She had to be taken to the hospital on a stretcher. Fortunately, early reports are that she is doing well with no serious injuries.
3) Kobe Bryant was vintage self, but Rockets still get a comfortable win. If you’re paying to see the Lakers at Staples, do you want to see the team win? If you’re a Laker fan, don’t you want to see the team increase the odds of holding on to their pick this June (it is only top three protected). Still, you want a show. You want to see some turn-back-the-clock Kobe. Well, Lakers fans got that Thursday at Staples, Kobe had 22 points, hit some tough jumpers, and even had his first dunk of the season. But James Harden and the Rockets got the win handily, 107-87.
4) Jeremy Lin goes off for 35 and Hornets beat Raptors in overtime. This game was an example of why you need League Pass — you missed a fun one if you weren’t watching. The Hornets led by double-digits much of the game, but Kyle Lowry sparked a 15-3 run that made it close and then DeMar DeRozan (31 points on the night) hit a jumper with 13 seconds left that sent the game to overtime. The Hornets relied on Lin and Kemba Walker — the pair had 24 of the Hornets’ 33 points in the fourth quarter and OT — and that was enough. Walker had nine in the OT, but the big numbers went to the guy with the spiky hair.
5) The Thunder’s Steven Adams dunked on LeBron. You don’t see this every day. (LeBron will take the win and live with it.)
Turn back the clock: Kobe Bryant dunks on Clint Capela (VIDEO)
If you paid to see some vintage Kobe Bryant at Staples Center Thursday night, you got your money’s worth. It was throwback Thursday for No. 24.
Kobe had 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting on the night, looking like his old self hitting some tough jumpers and putting the ball on the floor at times. That included getting up for his first dunk of the season and throwing it down over the Rockets’ Clint Capela. Bryant was fun to watch.
The Lakers, however, still couldn’t get any stops and fell to the Rockets 107-87.
The Raptors rallied back from a 16-point deficit late in the third quarter.
The Hornets led 72-56 on Lin’s layup with 4:14 left in the third period. The Raptors came back, eventually tying it at 90 on DeRozan’s jumper with 26 seconds remaining.
Toronto took its only lead of the game on Lowry’s layup 15 seconds into overtime. After two ties, Hairston hit his 3. The Hornets closed out the game by outscoring the Raptors 10-3 over the final 67 seconds, going 8 of 8 from the free throw line.
Behind Lin’s 18 first-half points, Charlotte pulled ahead of Toronto early, leading by as many as 13 points and taking a 56-44 margin at the break.
The Hornets shot 50 percent from the field (22 of 44) over the first two quarters, and made 7 of 18 3-pointers. Meanwhile, the Raptors made just 16 of 41 (39 percent) and only 3 of 15 3-pointers.
Raptors: Toronto was whistled for two technical fouls – on Biyombo in the second quarter, and Lowry in the third.
Hornets: Lin made just his second start of the season in place of guard Nicolas Batum, who was out with an undisclosed illness. . Center Al Jefferson began a five-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. Jefferson had missed the previous six games with a strained calf muscle.
Going for loose ball, LeBron James crushes Jason Day’s wife sitting in first row
Hopefully, this is nothing serious. According to TNT’s Craig Sager she was conscious and talking, but being taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
Late in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers 104-100 win against the Thunder, LeBron James chased a loose ball out of bounds and crushed Ellie Day, the wife of golfer Jason Day, as the couple sat in the front row. You can see the video above. It was a fluke thing, but LeBron is 6’8″ 250 (officially, probably a little lighter than that) coming full speed is going to level anyone in that chair.
She had to be taken out on a stretcher and straight to an ambulance. Day left the arena with her.
Ellie Day is an Ohio native and the couple and their children settled in Columbus. They are big Ohio sports fans, having gone to Ohio State football games and other events.
Day is the defending PGA Champion and the current second-ranked player in the world.