UPDATE 5:34 pm: It didn’t take that long for him to decide.
Not long after Doc Rivers was formally introduced as the Clippers head coach, Alvin Gentry said he would become part of Doc’s staff, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni signed off on this (not that he had much of a choice).
11:33 am: Former Suns head coach Alvin Gentry was a candidate to be a head coach with a few teams this offseason, but the clubs he interviewed with ended up going in other directions.
That doesn’t mean Gentry will be out of the coaching game next season, however, as he now has offers to join the staffs of both NBA teams in Los Angeles.
From Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:
Alvin Gentry will soon decide between an offer to be an assistant coach on Mike D’Antoni’s staff with the Los Angeles Lakers and an invitation to be an associate head coach on Doc Rivers’ new staff with the Los Angeles Clippers, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Tuesday night.
The ties to the current Lakers team, with Mike D’Antoni as head coach and Steve Nash in place as the starting point guard, would make the Lakers a comfortable choice.
The Clippers job is much more intriguing, though, considering the title proposed for Gentry’s position, as well as the additional responsibilities granted to new head coach Doc Rivers.
Rivers received the Senior VP of Basketball Operations title to go along with his head coaching gig, which might mean he could look to move permanently into the front office before coaching for the three full seasons on his contract. Should that happen, Gentry would essentially be next in line, which would make the Clippers job more appealing, and a better long-term situation to become a part of than the inherently volatile one being offered by the Lakers.
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).
That sounds right to me.
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.
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.
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.