Kevin McHale reaches deal to coach Rockets

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UPDATE 3:24 pm: Well, that didn’t take long. The two sides have come to an agreement in principle and Kevin McHale is your new coach of the Houston Rockets.

This is reportedly a four year deal with a team option for the last year. This is a Rockets roster in flux, it will be interesting to see what it looks like in four years and how (or if) McHale can mold that lineup.

12:55 pm: Kevin McHale badly wanted another chance to prove himself as an NBA head coach. Looks like he is going to get it.

The Rockets have offered their head coaching job to Kevin McHale, according to multiple sources, including the Houston Chronicle (Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo had it first). They still have to negotiate terms but both sides want this so expect it to get done.

McHale beat out Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank — both former NBA head coaches — for the job.

McHale has an unimpressive 39-55 record in two half-seasons with the Wolves, but that is without context. In both cases he stepped in midseason for a fired coach (Flip Saunders and Randy Whitman) and in both cases the team played better under him than it did his predecessor.

McHale is a legendary Celtics forward with a nice collection of rings. He should be great at molding a young, talented big man — too bad the Rockets don’t have one of those.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey was looking for a guy for the long term, to rebuild with as the coach. This older generation player is an interesting choice.

Jamal Murray throws himself off-backboard alley-oop in traffic (video)

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Jamal Murray‘s performance since signing a max contract extension? Uneven.

But this play during the Nuggets’ win over the Thunder yesterday? Brilliant.

Caught picking up his dribble and seemingly well-defended, Murray flipped the ball off the backboard then finished his own alley-oop.

That’s obviously a flashy move, but it’s also an effective one more players should use. The backboard can be an effective weapon for passing, especially for a player to himself, when he knows exactly where he’s putting the ball and can get a step ahead of the defense.

Brandon Clarke bullies Ian Mahinmi with monster dunk (video)

Brandon Clarke
AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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How wild is it that the Grizzlies have two rookies who can dunk like this?

After Ja Morant threw down a jump-out-of-your-seat jam over Aron Baynes a few days ago, Brandon Clarke just made Ian Mahinmi — a good rim protector — look helpless in Memphis’ win over the Wizards yesterday.

Add Jaren Jackson Jr., and the Grizzlies are onto something with their young core.

Patty Mills hits game-winner in Spurs’ NBA-record fourth straight OT game (video)

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pioneered resting players.

But San Antonio has played an NBA-record four straight overtime games, meaning the Spurs have had to play an extra 25 minutes.

Popovich, via ESPN:

“It’s awful,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

At least Patty Mills spared San Antonio a sixth overtime period in these four games. After DeMar DeRozan missed a free throw, Mills hit the game-winner in a 121-119 victory over the Suns yesterday.

And at least the Spurs are mostly winning these longer games. In this span, San Antonio beat the Rockets in double overtime, beat the Kings, lost to the Cavaliers and now beat the Suns. I’d also argue the Cleveland result was worth it.

 

Report: Luka Doncic might return to Mavericks within a couple weeks

Luka Doncic
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during the Mavericks’ loss to the Heat yesterday.

Whether this timeline constitutes good news or bad news depends on your perspective.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Doncic’s injury is a blow not just to Dallas, but the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars. In the next eight days, the Mavericks make their only appearances of the season in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.

Though Doncic has played like an MVP candidate, the Mavericks also boast considerable depth. They’ve outscored opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions without Doncic.

Those non-Doncic lineups will be thrust into more difficult situations now. That net rating will likely drop, especially against a tough upcoming schedule. Dallas might have been in line for some losses, even with Doncic. So, don’t overreact to that.

But the Mavericks can remain at least competitive without their best player.