Blazers may just decide to make interim coach, GM permanent

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Portland’s year-long, on-and-off search for a GM has been as tidy and clean as a home on Hoarders.

It’s a mess. And after all that it may end up falling back to the guy who has been doing the job the whole time — Chad Buchanan. The “interim” guy who has rocked the job while Blazers ownership and management looked at what they think are greener pastures over the fence.

And if Buchanan gets to keep his job, so might interim head coach Kaleb Canales.

We told you the Trail Blazers GM search seemed stuck in the mud, with different parts of the Blazer brass favoring different people. Add to that Clippers GM Neil Olshey agreeing to terms to stay with the Clippers, and suddenly Buchanan has jumped back into the conversation reports Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com.

A person close to the situation says Trail Blazers’ owner, Paul Allen, is concerned with (Pacers assistant GM David) Morway’s character and finds that he reminds him of a “Kevin Pritchard 2.0” and (Sixers assistant GM Tony) DiLeo’s lack of experience being in charge “is worrisome.”

Morway is at the bottom of the list, according to multiple sources. That leaves Bower – who happens to be the most experienced candidate out of the finalist and would appear to be the logical choice. However, those that know Allen, have said he prefers that his general managers be/remain in good physical shape and Bower doesn’t fit that criteria….

Multiple league sources have told CSNNW.com they don’t think either of the three candidates will get the job and they say Trail Blazers’ acting general manager, Chad Buchanan, “has become an option again.”

Chad Buchanan has done a great job in his year as the “interim” general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers — they have transitioned past the Brandon Roy/Greg Oden era and are ready to rebuild a team around LaMarcus Aldridge and some good role players, plus two lottery picks this year (No. 6 and 11).

Canales was 8-15 at the end of the season as coach, but he was presiding over an injured roster that had been shaken up radically at the deadline. Now the Blazers are about to rebuild with a younger roster and a couple lottery picks and…

The thinking is, if the Trail Blazers aren’t going to be competing for a championship anytime soon and if they’re going to hold on to their two lottery picks, Canales, 34, is being viewed as “the perfect guy” to take over the young Trail Blazer roster.

Expect some of the big name assistant coaches out there — Brian Shaw, Mike Malone, etc. — to get interviewed as well, but the Blazers apparently like the Oklahoma City model of a young coach with a young team growing together.

PBT Extra: Pressure falls on James Harden, Rockets’ bench with Chris Paul out

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Chris Paul is out for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals with a strained hamstring, and that almost certainly will sideline him for Game 7 as well.

That changes the feel of this series.

The Rockets still just have to win one of the next two games to advance to the NBA Finals, and one of those is at home. However, without CP3 a couple of things need to happen. James Harden needs to find his shooting stroke. Gerald Green and the Rockets’ bench needs to step up. And Houston has to keep defending the way they have the last two games.

It’s not going to be easy (especially on the road in Game 6), but the Rockets still have a real opportunity to advance to the NBA Finals.

Watch all of LeBron James’ 46 points in Game 6

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There is going to be a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday because of LeBron James.

George Hill had a strong game (20 points), Jeff Green and Larry Nance Jr. had their moments, but it was all about LeBron — 46 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists in 46 brilliant minutes.

Rather than try to describe his game to you — including the dagger threes late — just watch.

And enjoy. There are still some people out there (mostly on Twitter, it seems) who just want to tear LeBron down for some reason. I pity them. Not just because they are wrong, although they are. Rather, it’s because they are depriving themselves of enjoying one of the greatest players ever to lace them up. LeBron can bully people in the paint, hit step back threes, is as gifted a passer as the game has seen, and just plays a smart, high-IQ game we have got to watch grow over the years. If you can’t enjoy that, you don’t love basketball.

LeBron James is a force nature, scores 46, wills Cavaliers to win forcing Game 7

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What more can be said about the brilliance of LeBron James?

We can point to his 46 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists Friday night in a win-or-go-fishing elimination game. We can point to how he lifted the team up when Kevin Love went down after a blow to the head (more on that later). We could talk about how this is his seventh 40+ point game of the playoffs, the last guy to do that since Michael Jordan in 1989 (when Jordan was 25 and had yet to win a title).

Or, we can just show you his back-to-back dagger threes in the fourth quarter over Jayson Tatum.

That is art on a basketball court.

LeBron got a little help Friday night at home, and with that the Cavaliers won Game 6 109-99, forcing a Game 7 back in Boston on Sunday night.

“It feels good just to play for another game, and like I’ve always said ‘Game 7’ is the best two words in sports,” LeBron said. “And for us to be on the road in a hostile environment where we have had no success up to this point, we should relish the opportunity and have fun with it.”

LeBron was nothing short of brilliant (remember 10-12 years ago people were trying to say he was afraid of the big moment, damn that sounds silly now). He is historically brilliant in Game 7s, but he can’t do it alone.

George Hill, the second best shot creator on the team, had 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Jeff Green had 14 off the bench, and Larry Nance Jr. had a timely 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Nance’s play was crucial because Kevin Love went down 5 minutes into the game after banging heads with Jayson Tatum while setting a screen.

Love’s was being checked for a concussion and his status for Game 7 is not known. (If he does have a concussion, it’s unlikely he clears the league protocol in time to play in two days.)

Despite LeBron and all of it, the Celtics had their chances in this one.

Boston got off to a fast start because Jaylen Brown had 15 first-quarter points and the Celtics shot 61 percent as a team, none of which seemed sustainable but it got them out to a 25-20 lead after one. Then the Cavaliers came on in the second with a 20-4 run behind LeBron, and once they had the lead the Cavaliers never let it go.

Boston will look back on not grabbing rebounds — Cleveland grabbed the offensive rebound on 36.6 percent of their missed shots, a very high percentage — and the fact the Celtics missed nine free throws and think things could have been different.

Boston is going home, where they are 10-0 these playoffs and for some reason inexplicable even to Brad Stevens, they play much better. The Celtics have a great defense, smart players, and a real chance.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James. That may be enough.

“We have one more game to be able to compete for a championship, what more can you ask for?” LeBron said.

Kevin Love being evaluated for concussion, out for second half

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It happened just five minutes into the game — Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Boston’s Jayson Tatum banged heads.

Love was in the midpost and part of his job was to set a screen for George Hill, who was racing out to the arc. In doing so, Love and Tatum banged heads and it wasn’t pretty.

Love spent a few minutes on the ground, went straight to the locker room, and has not returned to the game.

Tatum did not leave the game.

There still is no official word on if Love has a concussion. If he does, he will go into the league’s mandated concussion protocol — which means to be cleared he has to be symptom free through a series of physical tests — and it would be a challenge for him to be back for a Game 7, if there is one.

And their likely will be one. After struggling in the rest of the first quarter without Love, the Cavaliers have gotten solid performances out of Hill, Jeff Green, and of course, LeBron James has been brilliant. The Cavaliers have a comfortable 15-point lead late in the third quarter.