Kurt Helin

Watch some of Hawks’ 12 blocked shots vs. Celtics


Atlanta got to the playoffs on the strength of their defense.

That also won the Hawks their first-round series against the Celtics — Boston struggled to get score consistently against Atlanta. On Thursday night that included 12 blocked shots as the Hawks took away the paint and the Celtics could not make them play.

Well done by the Hawks but that defense is about to be put to the test in the next round — the Cleveland Cavaliers have much more dangerous weapons.

Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert latest to jog into viral “Running Man Challenge”

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In a sure sign that a social media craze has peaked — I’d say “jumped the shark” but I think that phrase jumped the shark a decade ago — it has come to mainstream media like this site. And your morning news show. And the NFL network.

It’s the “Running Man Challenge,” which was started by these two guys but has swept through colleges and with that university sports programs nationwide. The idea is simple: It’s people doing the running man to the 1996 Ghost Town DJs’ “My Boo” then post it to social media, usually Instagram (but musical.ly and everywhere else too, it seems).

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert were doing it before practice Thursday, and it was caught by their Spanish-language play-by-play announcer Rafael Hernández Brito.

In case you think these two Cavs were the first, Miami’s Justise Winslow was on this a week ago.

Really? NBA says Hornets did not foul Dwyane Wade on final shot


I need to put this disclaimer at the top: The referees did not cost Miami Game 5. It was more than one play: Goran Dragic shooting 5-of-15, Luol Deng shooting 4-of-12, the bench surrendering the start of a 15-5 Hornets run in the middle of the fourth that gave Charlotte the lead, or a lack of a key box out, and we could go on. And if you want, we can find bad calls the other way as well.

That said, I disagree with the league on this one.

The NBA’s referee report on the final two minutes of Charlotte beating Miami in Game 5 has come out and said Dwyane Wade was not fouled on his shot in the paint with five seconds to go. On Cody Zeller the league said:

Zeller (CHA) comes towards Wade (MIA) from across the restricted area, planting his foot and jumping vertically to defend Wade’s shot. Zeller absorbs contact when it occurs and, while his arms are not completely vertical, multiple angles confirm they do not make contact with Wade. Therefore, Zeller maintains a legal guarding position as he attempts to defend the shot.

This is where I think the league is wrong — Zeller did not jump vertically, he aggressively came across the lane and leaped forward making contact with Wade. I’m not alone here, this is from former NBA head of officials Stu Jackson.

As for Courtney Lee‘s contact with Wade on the same shot, here is the league’s response:

Lee (CHA) makes contact with the ball during Wade’s (MIA) upward shooting motion, which makes his subsequent, minor arm contact with Wade incidental. Lee then makes contact with Wade’s arm again at about 00:04.9, however, Wade has already lost possession of the ball.

The point is moot. Even if the league office had admitted the call was wrong, nothing would have changed the outcome.

If the Heat want to win Game 6 on the road they can’t count on a call at the end of the game, they need to get all the things right earlier in the game that made it close in the first place.

Cavaliers’ coach Lue believes David Blatt deserves another chance

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue would like to see his former boss, David Blatt, get another NBA job.

Blatt was fired in January despite a 30-11 record and replaced by Lue, who guided Cleveland to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

On Wednesday, Blatt interviewed with the New York Knicks, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press.

“He definitely deserves another chance,” Lue said. “I thought Coach Blatt did a great and phenomenal job here. He taught me a lot. Just being friends with him and getting a chance to understand him was great for me. I know a lot of guys around here, we talked about it the other day, they miss him and his presence.

“Hopefully, he gets another job in this league because he deserves it.”

Blatt led the Cavs to the finals in his first season.

Austin Rivers says his father Doc’s mother passing was toughest thing he ever saw him deal with


LOS ANGELES — It was a very unexpected moment in the Doc Rivers’ pregame press conference.

He’d been asked about what he had to do to keep the spirits up of a young team that had just lost its two best players for the remainder of the playoffs and looked destined for quick elimination. The follow up question was who he leaned on to keep his spirits up? The usually loquacious and joking Rivers kind of stammered around an answer for 30 seconds, ending by saying “I don’t know.”

Then as an unrelated next question came, Rivers’ eyes filled up with tears. Rivers apologized, and said that the question about who he leaned on got him thinking about his late mother. “That would have been the person.” Rivers’ mother Bettye passed away almost a year ago, last June.

After the Clippers’ loss, Austin Rivers was asked about Bettye and his father’s relationship by Arash Markazi of ESPN.

“He doesn’t really share his life outside of basketball with me,” Austin said. “He and I don’t know each other like that. We know each other as strictly basketball. A lot of people on the outside don’t understand that because people think we have a relationship like every other father and son. We just don’t. That’s because he’s been gone my whole life, and that’s fine.

“It’s worked out for the both of us. But the one person he could always really be with was his mom. That’s the toughest thing I’ve ever seen him go through; more than the Sterling stuff and even when his dad passed away. His mom was everything to him. I’ve never seen him like that.”

Powerful stuff. And it gives you an insight into the sacrifices of NBA coaches.