Kurt Helin

Terrible news: Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan says he has Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia

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This is depressing news.

Jerry Sloan, the tough former Bulls player who went on to coach the Utah Jazz for 23 seasons, is suffering from both Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. The very private Sloan spoke to Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune about his health.

During an interview at his home in Riverton, with his wife Tammy at his side, Sloan said he was diagnosed with the illnesses last fall. He decided to go public with because the Parkinson’s symptoms, which include tremors, a hushed voice and sleeplessness, have progressed to the point where people have started to notice.

“I don’t want people feeling sorry for me,” said Sloan, who continues to walk four miles a day.

That’s about the most Jerry Sloan quote ever.

The Utah Jazz released this statement:

“Jerry Sloan is and always will be a beloved member of the Utah Jazz family, and we know he will approach this fight with the same grit and determination he displayed as a Hall of Fame coach and All-Star player in the NBA for 40-plus years. On behalf of the Miller family, the Jazz organization and Jazz fans everywhere, we send Jerry and his wife Tammy our love, support and best wishes.”

Parkinson’s disease “is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time…. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms” according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation website. Parkinson’s most commonly associated with shaking hands, but that is just one symptom of a disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain where dopamine is produced.

Lewy body dementia is less well known; it is a form of dementia that can be associated with Parkinson’s.

The Sloan we all know is a strong man and as fierce a competitor as the league has ever seen.

Sloan’s playing career and coaching style were the very definition of old-school, but he got the most out of his teams. In his 11-year playing career, Sloan was a two-time All-Star who made the NBA’s All-Defensive team six times.

However, it’s as a coach that Sloan is best remembered — and why he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He coached the John Stockton/Karl Malone Utah Jazz within a couple of Michael Jordan shots of an NBA championship, and his teams overall won 60 percent of their games. He is third on the all-time wins list for coaches.

We wish nothing but the best for Sloan and his family. Take care coach.

Cavaliers to rest LeBron James against Pacers Wednesday night

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The Indiana Pacers just caught a break.

The Pacers are trying to secure a playoff spot — they are the seven seed in the East, two-and-a-half games up on the nine seed Bulls — but faced their toughest test the rest of the season Wednesday when they take on the Cavaliers. Except, now the Cavaliers are going to be missing one key player.

This gives LeBron the chance to do a little more coaching.

While the Cavaliers still have Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the rest of the roster available Cleveland is just 1-3 this season without LeBron.

The Pacers were likely to make the playoffs anyway — they close the season with the Nets, Knicks, and Bucks, all winnable games. Plus the Bulls just suck.

In theory, if the Cavaliers lost every remaining game and the Raptors won out Toronto could get the top seed, but that’s not happening. Cleveland will get the top seed, and more rest for LeBron heading into the playoffs is a good thing.

Tony Parker says Spurs may play everyone in games against Warriors

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Predicting what Gregg Popovich will do next is a fool’s errand. You’d have better odds on that oversized Wheel of Fortune in the front of a Vegas casino they try to sucker the tourists into playing.

Popovich has rested a lot of key players lately, but he suited everyone up Monday night for a potential first-round playoff preview against Utah (which the Spurs won on a Kawhi Leonard jumper). That got Tony Parker thinking: Maybe Popovich will play everyone Thursday night when the Spurs take on the Warriors in Oracle Arena. Here’s what the French point guard told ESPN.

“I think we’ll play,” Parker said. “Utah, I thought he was going to rest everybody. But we played Utah, so I don’t see any reason we’re not playing Golden State.”

That goes against the conventional wisdom that Popovich would rest key players — if not all the key players — Thursday night in Oracle. The teams then face off again Sunday in San Antonio.

In theory, if the Spurs win both those head-to-head matchups and the Warriors lose one of their other two games — both against the depleted Grizzles — the Spurs could tie the Warriors at 70 wins and get the top seed on a tiebreaker. But I find it hard to believe Popovich is betting on that.

My guess is Popovich will rest players — maybe not all, but some — in these two games. First, let the Warriors continue to tire themselves out going for 73 wins.  Second, get your older core players more rest. Finally, leave the last taste in the Warriors’ mouths of these two teams in a serious game as the one the Spurs won in San Antonio last month.

But I wouldn’t bet a penny on my predictions of what Popovich will do.

Quincy Acy deflects pass — while on bench. That’s not allowed.

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You don’t see a lot of bench interference calls in the NBA.

Sacramento’s Quincy Acy earned one Tuesday night against Portland. It wasn’t intentional. The Blazers were inbounding the ball on the baseline in the corner near the Sacramento bench. You can see Acy calling out and trying to point out to DeMarcus Cousins that a player had slid behind him near the basket — but Acy was reaching out in front of him just as the inbounder tried to throw his pass, and it hit Acy’s outstretched arm. The ball caromed to Cousins, but the referees correctly blew the play dead.

Yes, that’s a foul.

Five takeaways from NBA Tuesday: Should Warriors think rest not record?

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What you missed from a night around the NBA while cooking breakfast for yourself and 10,000 of your closest friends….

1) Warriors blow lead at home and lose to Timberwolves, should Steve Kerr start thinking rest over record?
I know that Steve Kerr said the Warriors are not pushing for 73 wins. I know after Tuesday’s loss Kerr denied that fatigue was an issue and part of the reason they have lost two-of-three at home. But the reality is the Warriors have been sloppy with the ball of late — 23 against the Timberwolves Tuesday — and if Stephen Curry‘s shooting can’t bail them out (21 points on 25 shots Tuesday, 0-of-8 in the first half) they are vulnerable. Curry looks tired to me, and that’s why the shots aren’t falling. Which brings us to the issue of rest.

It’s not necessarily physical, but Draymond Green admitted the team has seemingly been distracted by the chase for 73 wins — a number that will be hard to reach after the Warriors blew a 17-point lead and fell to Minnesota in overtime 124-117 Tuesday. Golden State is now 69-9 and would need to go 4-0 the rest of the way to break the record. They have two games left against beat up Memphis, and two left against the Spurs. But if they are serious about winning a title, a little mental break and some rest before the playoffs start may be what the team needs.

The Warriors finally got healthy Tuesday — Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut were back — but the bench had its worst outing in recent memory. The Warriors defense was not sharp all night, allowing open looks and space for drives — particularly by Andrew Wiggins, who had 32 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Curry and the offense could not cover up that play one more time, not against an improving Timberwolves team. The Warriors need to get right before the games get more serious in a couple of weeks, and if rest is part of that it should come as a higher priority than a regular season wins record.

2) Bulls playoff dreams on life support after loss to Grizzlies (while Memphis’ look solid again). Let’s be honest: The Chicago Bulls are not making the playoffs. Chicago is two games back of Detroit with four to play — and the Pistons have the tiebreaker. Chicago would need to win out — including beating Cleveland and Miami the rest of this week — and hope the Pistons lose three out of four so Chicago can get in the postseason. While technically not impossible, that’s not happening.

That’s the reality of Chicago’s 108-92 loss to Memphis Tuesday. Jimmy Butler is trying to play through pain but is clearly not right (2-of-8 shooting for 5 points), Derrick Rose is never going to be the guy who can carry a team again, Pau Gasol is solid but at age 35 is past his prime, and the Bulls defense is terrible. That’s not a playoff team.

The win ends Memphis’ six-game losing streak and should stop talk of them falling out of the playoffs — the Grizzlies are 3.5 games up on nine-seed Houston with four to play. Zach Randolph‘s 27 points and 10 boards secured the crucial win. That said, the banged up Grizzlies are the team everyone in the top half of the West would prefer to play in the first round of the playoffs, this team is a shell of its former self.

3) Kawhi Leonard hits the game winner as Spurs edge Jazz. Utah is a feisty team that will not go quietly, something the Spurs — the full complement of Spurs, the big names all played — learned the hard way Tuesday night. Utah fought from 16 back to make it a game, but in the end, there was Leonard hitting the contested shot to win the game. This could be a first round series preview, and if so I’ll take it — this would be a fun matchup.

4) This year’s Sixers will not be the worst team in NBA history, win 10th game. The Sixers are bad — 10-68 on the season — but they are not historically bad. Which is something, I guess. Tuesday the Sixers beat what’s left of the injury-ravaged Pelican’s roster 107-93 thanks to 22 points from Carl Landry. That gives the Sixers 10 wins on the season, better than the all-time low for an 82-game season (9-73 by the 1972-73 76ers). Not sure that’s a reason to throw a party, but avoiding ignominy is a good thing.

5) Another day, another Russell Westbrook triple double. Westbrook now has 17 triple doubles on the season, after grabbing another — 13 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists — in the Thunder’s 124-102 win against Denver. As I noted in the last PBT Podcast, Westbrook would be second on my MVP ballot, he’s been that special this season.