NBA confirms officials made correct call in waving off Paul Pierce’s game-tying three vs. Hawks


Paul Pierce did it again — until the replay showed that he didn’t.

That’s the short version of what went down at the end of Game 6 between the Hawks and the Wizards, when Pierce appeared to knock down a ridiculously difficult three-point shot to tie things up at the end of regulation, and thus force an overtime session that would extend Washington’s season for at least another five minutes.

The call on the floor was that the shot was good, but after going to the replay, the officials determined that the ball — ever so slightly — was still on Pierce’s fingertips just after time expired.

A day later, the league’s Last Two Minute report confirmed that the call was right.

“After communicating with the Replay Center, the ruling on the court that Pierce’s (WAS) successful three-point field goal was released before time expired was overturned,” the report said.

There wasn’t really any controversy about this at the time; the video seemed to show fairly clearly that the ball was still touching Pierce’s hand as the red lights went on, indicating that the clock had run out.

But the publishing of these reports continues to be a welcome effort at transparency nonetheless.

Kyrie Irving held out of practice with knee injury, Cavaliers ‘hope’ he can play in Game 1 vs. Hawks


Kyrie Irving left in the second quarter of the Cavaliers’ series-clinching Game 6 win over the Bulls, after stepping on a teammate’s foot and appearing to aggravate a previous left knee injury.

Irving was initially labeled as probable to return once he had the knee re-wrapped, but as it became apparent that Cleveland was doing just fine without him, Irving was able to sit the rest of the contest out.

The Cavaliers are being extremely cautious with the injury in advance of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which takes place in Atlanta on Wednesday. Irving was held out of Saturday’s practice, and the team remains “hopeful” that he’ll be ready to go after a few days of rest.

From Marla Ridenour of

Cavs coach David Blatt said Irving saw the doctors again Friday. Blatt couldn’t give a definitive assessment of Irving’s status for Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Hawks in Atlanta, but said the Cavs “hope” he can play.

“He going through a lot of treatment and we’re monitoring and just hoping that he progresses from here until game time,” Blatt said.

The Cavs are off Sunday, although some players may come to Cleveland Clinic Courts to work out.

“We determined that he’s going to rest and going forward, (he is) day-to-day. We’ll see how he’s feeling and what we can do with it,” Blatt said of Irving. “We’re very much on top of this obviously and Ky is doing everything he possibly can to get well.”

Irving said he absolutely could have returned to play in Game 6 if it had been necessary, so with five full days off until the next round begins, it’s safe to expect him back in his team’s starting lineup, despite the precautionary measures.

Stephen Curry chides reporter for asking ‘the worst question’ (VIDEO)


Postgame press conferences in the playoffs can, at times, become a bit of an adventure.

Not only are the personalities of the players and coaches more likely to be exposed to the masses on the larger postseason stage, but there is also a fair amount of press in the building that hasn’t covered basketball in person all season long, and that can make for some interesting questions.

It’s unclear whether the reporter who posed this one to Stephen Curry falls into that category, but asking if there was a team Curry preferred to avoid in the Conference Finals provoked a fairly interesting response.

“No disrespect, that’s the worst question,” Curry said with a laugh. “It doesn’t matter to us.”

[via The Big Lead]

Report: Kristaps Porzingis ‘a serious threat’ to be selected with one of NBA Draft’s top three picks


The top four slots in the most widely-respected mock drafts have been set for some time now, with some combination of Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay being firmly in place.

But as we get closer to the June 25 event, and as teams begin to more closely evaluate the talent available , another name is threatening to emerge as one of the top selections.

From Scott Howard-Cooper of

Kristaps Porzingis, a smooth-shooting power forward from Latvia, has emerged as a serious threat to break into the top three of the June 25 draft in a potential serious shakeup to the long-held perception the top four spots are set, with some executives at the pre-draft combine here saying Porzingis could go second.

“He could go two,” one general manager said. “He’s that good. Nobody says anything bad about him.”

Said the head of basketball operations for another team: “I think he’s a lock for the top five and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go as high as top three. He’s good. We all like to do our comparables. He’s like Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol….. I’d take him ahead of (Jahlil) Okafor.”

Porzingis is 7’1″, and averaged 10.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots in international play this past season, while knocking down 37.9 percent of his shots from three-point distance.

The draft isn’t always about taking the best player available; teams often go with needs even if a more talented prospect is attainable at the time.

Once Tuesday’s Draft Lottery is completed, and we know for sure exactly who is picking where, things will begin to come into focus as far as the top of the draft board is concerned. But it’s clear that despite what’s been projected to this point, nothing can be counted on until Adam Silver officially reveals each team’s pick once draft night is upon us.

Report: Tom Thibodeau is ‘gone’ from Bulls; ‘They know it and he knows it’


The reports have been coming in for some time now that Tom Thibodeau would be done as head coach of the Bulls, no matter how well the team did or did not fare during its run through the postseason.

Now that Chicago has been eliminated from the playoffs, the latest report about Thibodeau’s future with the Bulls seems much more final.

From Marc Stein of

Many unknowns remain in the Thibodeau saga, naturally starting with the two years and nearly $9 million left on the coach’s contract and the likelihood that both sides will be hoping the other blinks first in the unavoidable standoff forthcoming in terms of how these parties negotiate a divorce.

Yet there’s little mystery surrounding what both sides want. The story is the same no matter who you check with: Thibodeau and his front-office superiors John Paxson and Gar Forman, despite their public pronouncements to the contrary, are utterly done with each other.

As one source close to the situation puts it: “Thibs is gone. They know it and he knows it.”

So what happens next?

Thibodeau still has two more years on his contract with the Bulls, and the team is going to want some sort of compensation for letting Thibodeau walk. Chicago is expected to explore that route before agreeing to a buyout or simply firing him outright.

But the Bulls also reportedly want to have a replacement committed — and one which ownership perceives as an upgrade — before parting ways with their current head coach.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

For what’s its worth story from Bulls side is Thibs not going anywhere unless they get the upgrade guy they want committed first.

Nothing is happening with all of this just yet. The Bulls need to see whether guys like Fred Hoiberg or Alvin Gentry can be persuaded to come, and if they can’t, then the team will need to locate another satisfactory candidate before pulling the trigger on Thibodeau’s termination.

As for Thibodeau himself, there will be no shortage of options for him to patrol the sidelines elsewhere next season, with the Pelicans job likely to be the most desirable of the bunch.