While four teams are still left to battle for a championship, the rest of the league looks to shore up for next season with coaches, executives and free agents. Here’s what’s going on around the league today.
- A couple of things stood out in the Thunder’s victory over the Spurs in Game 3: a change in defensive scheme with Thabo Sefolosha handling Tony Parker, and a bigger emphasis on sharing the ball. An excerpt from J.A. Adande of ESPN: They found an ideal blend of dribbling and passing after the scale tilted far too heavily on the dribble side in the first two games. ”It was a point of emphasis to start the game,” said Westbrook, who had nine assists to five field goals. “Everybody made an effort to make the extra pass.”
- Zach Lowe of SI.com brilliantly detailed the adjustments Scott Brooks made in Game 3 and why the move is on Gregg Popovich now to make changes of his own.
- Kevin Durant had an incredible dunk over two defenders early in the game, which you can check here. Afterwards, Charles Barkley had this to say about Durantula: “There’s never been a guy like him. He’s the most unique scorer we’ve had in the NBA.” Barkley, by the way, isn’t winning over any of the remaining cities in the playoffs with his nonstop trash-talk about them. The bad mouthing prompted mayors of San Antonio and Oklahoma City to step in and make spirited retaliation videos.
- After the impressive victory for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook continued his trend of… wearing intriguing outfits at the podium on Thursday. The cost of his attire may surprise you, but if you like it, you can buy one too, according to Darren Rovell.
- Rajon Rondo had a historical night in Game 2 against the Miami Heat. Asked how to contain the point guard, Erik Spoelstra had this to say, from The Miami Herald: “I have no idea, I’ll be honest. We’ve tried almost everything.” Rondo’s numbers (44 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds) were unmatched in NBA playoff history, according to Elias.
- The Celtics will have an advantage being home for Game 3, but will have to clean up some issues that dogged them in the previous game, according to Paul Pierce: “They got the offensive rebounds, the loose balls and the kickouts for 3’s. They kicked out to Chalmers or Shane Battier for a 3, and it’s demoralizing when you play good defense for so long. We have to be able to make it one possession, rebound and get the ball out.”
- Sad news today: “Former NBA player Orlando Woolridge was pronounced dead in his parents’ Mansfield home Thursday night. Desoto Parish Chief Deputy Coroner Billy Locke said Woolridge, 52, had been under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.” Wooldridge was the sixth overall pick of the 1981 NBA Draft. May he rest in peace.
- Jim Buss expressed his disappointment of the Lakers season on “Mason & Ireland Show” on 710 ESPN Radio, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles. Buss also discussed his feelings about Andrew Bynum and his wish to better understand the enigmatic center: ”He’s an incredible All-Star center and you can build the future around him.” … ”I keep referring to Phil [Jackson]. Phil said, ‘Let the kid grow up.’ He’s still young at heart. I don’t know what else to say about him.” On his planned dinner with Bynum: ”I want to get to know the kid off the court, not basketball.”
- Speaking of Phil Jackson, the Magic reportedly tried to lure the Zen Master to their front office. He, however, seems to have another team in mind, which we will all have to stay tuned for.
- The Washington Wizards are apparently planning to stick with Randy Wittman as the head coach of the team heading into next season, meaning they don’t plan on winning any time soon. According to Ric Bucher of ESPN: Had the Wizards won the draft lottery and earned the right to draft Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, the cost of investing in a higher-profile coach might’ve been worthwhile, a source said, but with the Wizards still in rebuilding mode and the job Wittman did with their young players last season, the team will stand pat for now. Update: Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the team is finalizing details on a two-year contract.
- Now that the Hornets have such a bright future to look forward to with the No 1. overall pick in the draft, it would make a lot of sense for restricted free agent Eric Gordon to want to stick around; however, he will test the market anyway, reports Marc Spears: ”Wherever I end up will be a good situation or I’m going to make it a good situation,” Gordon said.
- How would you feel if you had to work as a month-to-month employee after helping turn a laughable franchise into an instant contender? You’d probably want to leave for an organization that will treat you better, which is precisely what Neil Olshey may look to do, as reported by Ramona Shelbourne: Clippers general manager Neil Olshey is among the finalists for the Blazers’ job and all indications seem to be that the Clippers will simply let him go if the Blazers decide to offer him the job as there have been no new contract discussions between the Clippers and Olshey, according to sources close to the situation.
- NBA TV has been promoting a documentary of The Dream Team which premiers on June 13 at 9PM ET. You can watch the full games of USA Basketball in the 1992 Olympics, thanks to Ballislife.
- So what has DeShawn Stevenson been up to besides doing his best hipster impression of James Harden? He apparently runs an ATM machine business at home for his buddies to use when necessary, in his kitchen. A little investigation by Matt Moore of CBS Sports shows that the price of the unusual service is rather steep, too.
For yesterday’s blog, click here.
For Wednesday’s blog, click here.
James Park is a regular contributor and blogger for SheridanHoops.com. You can follow him on twitter @nbatupark.