Report: Mike Krzyzewski to return, coach Team USA in 2016 Olympics

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Looks like Kevin Love will not have to do any recruiting after all.

After saying before, during and immediately after Team USA won the gold medal in London last summer that he was done as the head coach of the team, Mike Krzyzewski has had a change of heart.

Coach K will be back to coach USA Basketball in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, reports Pete Thamel at Sports Illustrated.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will be returning as the head coach of USA Basketball for the 2016 Olympics, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. A formal announcement is expected in the next 48 hours.

USA Basketball President Jerry Colangelo had long wanted this outcome and was patient in the process of picking a replacement — such as Gregg Popovich or Doc Rivers — in hopes he could convince Krzyzewski to change his mind. Apparently Colangelo is a good salesman.

This is good news for people who like to see Team USA wearing gold.

Krzyzewski was 62-1 as coach for Team USA during the past eight years. The reason is players come to play for him — after it had been the trend for elite players not to suit up for Team USA Coach K helped change that. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and pretty much every name player was ready to go for Team USA.

Coach K has the stature to rise above the petty politics of agents and shoe companies and get players to both suit up for the team and to check their egos at the door. Kobe was willing to focus just as a defensive stopper (although he still took a few shots). Krzyzewski put together a pressing, up-tempo system that was both fun to play and highlighted Team USA’s athletic advantages. It worked. And guys like to win.

And with him at the helm, Team USA winning in Brazil in 2016 seems even more likely.

Coach K will start the cycle again with a Team USA camp in Vegas this summer, next summer come the World Championships (win that and you get an automatic berth in the Rio Olympics). Expect some changes to his coaching staff, however — Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan may not return. That is not decided yet, however.

Scottie Pippen on LeBron James, Michael Jordan: “It’s not a fair comparison”

AP
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The battle has, stupidly, raged on between supporters of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both sides seem to believe their preference is irrefutably the choice for the best player in NBA history.

And because they did not play in the same era, the question will never be answered. No doubt in 50 years they will write columns about Jordan vs. LeBron, just like their fathers, and their father’s fathers before them.

James has certainly seemed to take a bit of a leap in the eyes of the NBA community this season, likely because of his wonderful performance at age 33. He’s also single-handedly won two playoff series this year. It’s been incredible.

But LeBron rising above Jordan has also brought out some more reasonable takes. Former Chicago Bulls legend and Jordan running mate Scottie Pippen spoke up recently about the debate, giving a measured analysis that I think is pretty strong.

In short, Pippen basically said you can’t compare the two because of the eras, the style, and the fact they just don’t play the same position (if LeBron even has a position, that is).

Via Twitter:

That sounds right to me.

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”

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.