Kurt Helin

during game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

Watch Kemba Walker drop 34 on Heat to even series

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After an up-and-down first three games of this series, the scoring machine that is Kemba Walker showed up for Game 4.

Walker dropped 34 points on Miami, helping his Hornets even the series 2-2.He had 11 of those points in the fourth quarter, helping seal the win. Walker did most of his damage attacking and finishing in the paint, but he knocked down a few step-back jumpers, too.

The Hornets need more of this Walker the rest of the series.

Report: Kings interviewed Vinny Del Negro, Mike Woodson for head coaching job

Vinny Del Negro
Associated Press
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Things that would anger the Sacramento Kings fan base include…

Vlade Divac is undertaking a broad search for the next Kings coach, and on Monday that search included sitting down with former NBA coach Vinny Del Negro for an interview, with Mike Woodson up next, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Sacramento Kings interviewed Vinny Del Negro for the franchise’s head-coaching job on Monday, league sources told The Vertical. Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson is expected to meet with Kings officials as soon as Tuesday for an interview, league sources said.

Del Negro is not a name the fan base wants to hear, but he gets a bit of a bad rap as a coach. Del Negro has a career winning percentage of .533, his teams have never finished below .500, and the last season he coached he won 56 games with the Clippers. He’s been pretty good at developing young players, including Derrick Rose. That said, there are certainly things he can be criticized for: simplistic offenses, his heavy reliance on pick-and-roll sets, and his treatment of players. Remember Del Negro tore down DeAndre Jordan to the point he was useless late in games; his Clippers’ replacement Doc Rivers, in turn, has built him up and made Jordan a third team All-NBA player. Also, point guard Rose and Chris Paul did better with the next coaches they had because the systems gave them more options (to be fair, he was replaced by two of the best in Tom Thibodeau and Doc Rivers).

Mike Woodson’s teams in Atlanta may be remembered for their “iso-Joe” offenses centered around Joe Johnson, but his teams also won more games every season and were a playoff threat annually. His teams usually defend well.

Expect a lot of first interviews by the Kings. What will be interesting is who gets second interviews.

Unlike past Kings’ coaching hires, Divac will be the voice making the final call on this one, according to reports. In the past, hands-on owner Vivek Ranadive had a much larger role in the process. The new system of letting the basketball guys make the basketball decisions is a good one.

Watch DeAndre Jordan airball back-to-back free throws

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Ouch.

We haven’t seen as much hack-a-Jordan as I feared this series, but the Portland Trail Blazers have wisely sent the Clipper big man to the foul line every time they can when he gets the ball inside. Monday night that led to this ugly sequence (in a night of ugly sequences for the Clippers).

The series is knotted up 2-2. Don’t be shocked if we start to see more and more Jordan at the free throw line in the coming games.

Report: Lakers to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for head coaching job

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina, center, of Italy, adjusts his tie during a timeout during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Associated Press
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He would be a good hire, albeit on that might be hard to sell to a fan base looking for a bigger name.

The Lakers are expected to sit down soon with Spurs lead assistant coach Ettore Messina, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Lakers have received permission from the San Antonio Spurs to interview their lead assistant coach, Ettore Messina, as a possible replacement for the recently departed Byron Scott. It is unclear how soon the team plans to interview Messina, the widely-respected Italian coach who won four Euroleague titles and was twice the Euroleague coach of the year before spending the 2011-12 NBA season on the Lakers coaching staff headed by Mike Brown.

The Kings also reportedly are interested in Messina. He would have a little time to interview right now as the Spurs are off after sweeping Memphis in the first round (they start the second round against Oklahoma City on Saturday).

Messina knows the game well and how to coach it — one of his EuroLeague titles came from a team led by a young Manu Ginobili, who still sings his praises. Messina’s teams in Europe tended to work inside out (through post ups or penetration) with good passing big men taking advantage of proper spacing to find shooters. His teams also push the tempo, and he likes things like drag screens in the secondary break. If you want to understand him better, read this letter he wrote back in 2007 for Ball in Europe. Also, don’t compare him to recent European coaching import David Blatt, Messina doesn’t quite that same ego.

The Lakers have Luke Walton on top of their coaching short list, but if he decides he doesn’t want the job Messina would be a great hire. Just maybe a tougher sell to a fan base expecting a bigger name.

It’s not just Chris Paul, Clippers’ Blake Griffin 50/50 for Game 5 with quad injury

ChrisPaul
Getty Images
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Monday night was about as rough a night as Doc Rivers could have imagined — his Clippers lost to the Blazers, tying the series at 2-2, and that wasn’t the worst part of the night. Chris Paul suffered a broken hand that almost certainly means he is done for the season.

But that wasn’t the only significant injury, the Clippers could be without Blake Griffin in Game 5 as well Doc Rivers said.

Remember it was the quad that originally kept Griffin out injured last December — while he was out he punched a team employee and broke his hand, which added months to his time off — and it was that quad that in part delayed his return from that broken hand. It’s not going away.

If the Clippers have to start Austin Rivers and Paul Pierce in the place of Paul and Griffin, Game 5 just became a massive challenge. Even if it’s in Los Angeles.