Wednesday And-1 links: This is Coach K’s last Olympics

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After a day off we return with our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• This wasn’t a secret, but Mike Krzyzewski confirmed he is not coming back for the 2016 Olympics, London is his last run. What does he have against Brazil?

Coach K added that missing Derrick Rose this summer will hurt USA.

• Also on the Olympics front, Donatas Motiejunas may not play for Lithuania in the Olympics because any injury could void his contract with Houston (he was their first round pick in 2011).

• Reportedly no team even giving Phil Jackson a call? I don’t think he comes back but you think someone would at least test the waters.

Ranking all the free agent NBA coaches (and Stan Van Gundy, who will be a free agent soon enough).

An open letter from a Blazers fan and blogger to owner Paul Allen.

• O.J. Mayo says wherever he is playing next year he wants to be used as a point guard.

• Why were there fewer great NBA centers now? Well, there aren’t.

• Golden State is reportedly interested in Illinois sophomore Meyers Leonard. Look for him to go middle of the first round, and with the Warriors he would back up Andrew Bogut.

• Doc Rivers is the second highest paid coach in professional sports at $7 million a year, according to Forbes. Bill Belichick tops the list.

George Karl said he found the last season the most enjoyable of his coaching career.

• A good look at the power forwards in the NBA Draft. Perry Jones III is the kind of talented guy who could get a GM fired in a few years (because you took him, or because you didn’t and he gets his head together).

Who should the Bulls bring in to replace Derrick Rose the first half of the season?

• An interesting profile of Neil Olshey, the GM who has help turn around the Clippers.

• The NBA’s twitter feed has passed 5 million followers.

• The mayor of San Francisco wants the Warriors to be playing in the city within five years, in a brand new arena.

• The Warriors have promoted Kirk Lacob — the son of owner Jacob Lacob — to assistant GM. The younger Lacob was the GM of their D-League affiliate this past year. If you want to point your finger and say “nepotism” you’ll need to shake your fingers at basically every team in the league.

• Houston Rockets scout David Patrick has been suspended for a year due to player contact during the lockout, the league announced.

• You do know those Clippers celebrated their win with a giant Chris Paul baby head they got in Memphis, right?

A Q&A with the Nets Anthony Morrow.

• Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday.

• Steve Nash and Doc Rivers won the awards for their work with the media from the Pro Basketball Writers Association.

• Cleveland wants to host a future All-Star Game.

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

Associated Press
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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.

Luka Doncic named EuroLeague MVP at age 19

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Luka Doncic, the likely top two pick in the upcoming NBA draft, has led his Real Madrid team to the EuroLeague finals at age 19.

Now he has been named the youngest player ever win the EuroLeague MVP.

For those unfamiliar, EuroLeague is the equivalent of the Champions League in soccer — the very best club teams from around the continent face off against each other. On this biggest of European stages, Doncic has been a force. He is a gifted passer with great court vision. He can take his man off the dribble. He can hit threes. And he knows how to be a floor general and run a game. Did we mention he’s just 19?

Doncic said before the start of EuroLeague that he hasn’t decided what he is going to do about coming to the NBA or going back to Real Madrid. Don’t buy it. This is like asking a major college basketball star right before the NCAA Tournament if he is coming back to “State U” next year, they don’t want to say “no” right before the tourney so they give a non-committal answer. Same here. He’s not leaving millions on the table, he’ll be in the NBA next season.

And he’ll bee good.