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Heat outlast discombobulated Pelicans, Anthony Davis’ domination

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With the Pelicans trailing the Heat by six and 18 seconds remaining, Norris Cole put his hand in front of Dwyane Wade and looked back to his bench.

Finally, New Orleans’ coaches and players communicated clearly. The message from the bench:

Wave the white flag.

Cole allowed Wade to dribble out the clock and Miami to preserve its 94-88 overtime win. Behind 30 points and 10 rebounds from Chris Bosh, the Heat moved to 7-0 on Christmas the last seven years.

Their latest Dec. 25 victory tipoff tipped shortly after noon, and it showed. Both teams looked off, though Miami’s defense certainly contributed to the Pelicans’ woes.

But plenty of New Orleans’ wounds were self-inflicted.

For a while, the biggest drama was whether Anthony Davis – who finished with 29 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks – would outscore his teammates. Davis dominated, but other Pelicans were equally miserable. It took New Orleans five possessions to score and 12 for someone other than Davis.

Davis, who played 50 minutes, eventually tired. Still, the Heat couldn’t muster enough offense to put the game out of reach.

Ryan Anderson (18 points and eight rebounds) provided a spark for the Pelicans, who overcame a 13-point deficit despite absolute dreadful play by their starting backcourt, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon.

Yet, New Orleans’ making the game competitive only highlighted their disarray.

Multiple times out of time outs, the players looked completely out of sync with what Alvin Gentry wanted to run. That including the Pelicans’ final possession of regulation. Gentry called timeout, drew up a play and then immediately called another timeout when the team began to run the ply incorrectly. The result? Davis missing a contested jumper and the game remaining tied.

Bosh scored seven points in overtime, and New Orleans couldn’t wait to end its first Christmas game since 2008.

Welcome to the national spotlight, Anthony Davis.

Report: Brooklyn Nets looking to hire a blue-chip head coach

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When the Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson parted ways in early-March, the team installed Jacque Vaughn as the interim head coach. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that’s a short-term appointment. On his podcast “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective”, the reporter said the Nets are looking to hire a coach with a track record of NBA success.

Windhorst said, “One of the things that has been expressed sort of the grapevine, that’s the way I’m going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators, is that Durant and Irving would like a blue-chip coach. I don’t know what this says about the way they thought about Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”

Names that have been linked to the Brooklyn opening are Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson and both Jeff and Stan Van Gundy.

Atkinson leaving Brooklyn was a surprise, considering he had led the Nets back to the playoffs in 2019. That success came after a three-year rebuild. That process was kicked off when general manager Sean Marks hired Atkinson to lead the on-court development. Under Marks and Atkinson, the Nets developed several players who had been given up on by other teams.

Brooklyn was 28-34 when Atkinson was let go. The Nets had gone 2-0 under Vaughn before the NBA suspended play in mid-March.

Rumor: NBA considering resuming 2020 season in a single site with shortened playoffs

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The NBA is determined to salvage what they can of the 2019-20 season. That includes drastically adjusting the playoff schedule per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Among proposals being considered are best-of-three playoff series. The NBA has all but rejected a single-game elimination tournament. That would only be considered as a last resort per Berman.

One of the proposals on the table is gathering the entire league in one site to conclude the season. This proposal would involve playing games without fans present, but televising the contests. That would involve a 5-to-7 game regular season, followed by the playoffs.

Sites rumored to be under consideration are Las Vegas, Orlando, Hawaii, Atlantic City, Louisville and the Bahamas. Any site would have to have basketball facilities, as well as well as plenty of room to house the teams in a closed environment.

One league official was quoted by Berman as saying “Nothing is off the table.” Another told Berman “They’re very determined to have a champion.”

This Day in NBA History: Kyle Korver scores 11 points in one minute (VIDEO)

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These days, the Milwaukee Bucks are the beneficiaries of Kyle Korver’s three-point shooting prowess.

But back on March 30, 2015, Korver was wearing an Atlanta Hawks Jersey when he destroyed the Bucks. Korver exploded for 11 points in one minute during the third quarter. The only reason it wasn’t 12 points is his foot was on the line on one shot.

This video is a reminder of why Korver is so dangerous to this day (even if he has lost half a step).  He runs the floor hard and gets to his spots, he’s constantly moving to get open, and once open his quick release means he doesn’t need much room to get a shot off. Defenders always have to always account for him — in transition, on the weakside, wherever he is you can’t leave him.

If you do, he can rack up points fast.

Steve Kerr: ‘Very unlikely’ Warriors will play another regular-season game

Warriors coach Steve Kerr
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NBA owners and players are reportedly united on finishing the season or, as Adrian Wojnarowski put it, “finding a way to be able to crown a champion this season.”

Where does that leave the Warriors, the only team eliminated from the playoff race before coronavirus forced a league-wide stoppage?

Golden State coach Steve Kerr on “The Full 48,” via Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“Look, for us, our season is basically over,” Kerr said. “If the league was somehow to start up again, it’s very unlikely we would be playing regular-season games given that they’d be in such a time crunch. Who knows?

“But I’m feeling for all the teams in the fight, in the thick of it for a championship, that are in the playoff race, teams that have put so much into this, and this was obviously a year for us where we were trying to get healthy, trying to develop some young guys. So I’m not concerned about our guys, our team. I feel sorry for the teams that are kind of in limbo right now.”

There’s chatter about resuming play with a play-in tournament and postseason in Las Vegas. The league could be sharing plans internally. Kerr could be proven right. It’s certainly possible Kerr was even already told the Warriors are finished with the regular season.

But I don’t share his prediction.

There’s a lot of money to be made by holding more regular-season games, especially for high-revenue teams like Golden State.

This was a gap year for the Warriors. They’re clearly ready to move on.

But Stephen Curry is healthy again. By the time the hiatus ends, Klay Thompson might be cleared. With other stars on the court, Draymond Green could be more engaged. Though there would be limits on Golden State’s competitiveness, that team would be a draw that could help stuff the league’s coffers.

As Kerr said, there are unprecedented timing issues. Yet, every game is a revenue opportunity. That matters, too.