Hunter trying to force vote to oust Fisher as union president

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This is becoming a mess. Potentially a very public mess.

We told you earlier today that NBA players’ union president Derek Fisher had ordered an outside audit of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) books and business practices. Union Executive Director Billy Hunter got the union’s executive committee to kill that audit. Then the committee requested Fisher resign as president, something he refused to do.

Now Hunter is trying to get the team reps to vote Fisher out as president, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo.

National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter is pushing to organize a vote of team player representatives on Friday to oust union president Derek Fisher, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The union constitution isn’t readily available to the public, so it is unclear how many of the potential 30 team representatives would be needed to vote Fisher out of office. One player representative told Yahoo! Sports he wasn’t sure the reps could do anything but offer a “no confidence” vote.

Fisher told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated he isn’t going anywhere.

“I do and have always taken my job as president of the players’ association very, very seriously,” Fisher said on Friday. “And anyone or any group who questions my intentions in any decisions I’ve ever made that I felt were best for our players I think need to step back for a moment and ask themselves this: Why would I try and ask certain questions and call into review the association that I’m the president of unless I thought there were some serious questions that needed to be answered, things that I, as president, aren’t satisfied with?

“It calls my leadership into question in some ways, in terms of not being able to put certain controls in place. I’ll take the hits, and the negative comments that may come or whatever may happen, but it won’t take me away or distract me from doing what I feel is best for all of our players.

“This is in no way about me. It’s about our membership. So I won’t lose focus of that idea. I’ll continue to push for what I feel is right for our players.”

Hunter seems to have support on the union’s executive committee, but how much support he has among the general membership remains to be seen. Among agents Hunter has never been popular and they may try to influence their clients on this matter as well. During the lockout there was a split between backers of Fisher and Hunter in the union, but over the months of the season that crack has grown to a cavern.

Which is to say, it’s all going to get ugly. Fast.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

Cavaliers cruise past Celtics in Game 3, change complexion of Eastern Conference finals

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
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The Cavaliers were heavy favorites over the Celtics entering the Eastern Conference finals. LeBron James has dominated the East for years, and Cleveland appeared to hit its stride in a sweep of the Raptors last round. Boston was shorthanded and inexperienced.

Were the Celtics’ two wins to open the series, as impressive as they were, really enough to override everything else we knew about these teams?

The Cavs walloped Boston in Game 3, 116-86, Saturday. Cleveland now has four of the NBA’s last five 30-point playoff wins – two against the Celtics last year, one over Toronto last round and tonight. (The Cavaliers lost the league’s only other 30-point game between, to the Pacers in the first round.)

Boston still leads the series 2-1, and teams up 2-1 in a best-of-seven series have won it 80% of the time.

But the team up 2-1 is usually the one seen as better entering the series. That isn’t the case here, not with LeBron on the other side. And the leading team usually isn’t so woeful on the road, which will remain a major storyline entering Game 4 Monday in Cleveland.

The Celtics bought themselves margin for error, but they blew a lot of it tonight.

It’d be an oversimplification to say the Cavs just played harder, but they did, and it went along way. They chased loose balls, tightened their defense and moved more off the ball offensively. Cleveland jumped to a 20-4 lead, led by double digits the rest of the way and spent most of the game up by at least 20.

LeBron (27 points, 12 assists, two blocks and two steals) dazzled as a passer and locked in as a defender. He received help from several players:

In a low-resistance effort, Boston didn’t goon up the game at all.

The Cavaliers still have plenty of work ahead to reach their fourth straight NBA Finals, but tonight, they showed a path to advancing. Climbing out of their early series deficit now looks far less intimidating.