Schayes: In the NBA, Sometimes You Can Go Home Again

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Last week, stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett played a road game. But not just any road game. Pierce Garnett

It was perhaps the most significant road game of their careers.

The future Hall of Famers returned for the first time to basketball-bonkers Boston, the city where they won hearts and championships. The former Celtics were given a warm welcome that included video tributes and had an emotional evening.

In this era of free agency, many players have a similar experience. They move from a place where they have been a fixture and get to return to their previous home for the first time.

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Schayes: Pardon Me, But Miami-Indiana Meant Next to Nothing

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Today’s big story is last night’s game between the Pacers and Heat for early bragging/validation rights.

And the boss was not happy with what went down at the end, with the officials swallowing their whistles as LeBron clearly fouled Paul George on a game-tying 3-point attempt by Paul George just before the final buzzer. The Joey Crawford conspiracy theories will only continue to grow from here.

Those are the only viable teams with a chance of winning the Eastern Conference, and the media needs something to talk about for the next four months. The Omer Asik stuff gets old after a while, you know?

So this game becomes a massive story (even though it’s not) about a building rivalry (LeBron James just said there are no real rivalries anymore) to determine dominance in the conference (it’s really just another game).

Who wins is very important to the media. But as I stated in an earlier column about “statement games,” it doesn’t mean squat come playoff time.

I think the bigger issue is that with six months to go until the NBA Finals, so many teams are out of it. In the East, only two of 15 teams have a chance of reaching the Finals. Barring a series of catastrophic injuries, it will be Indiana vs. Miami in the conference finals.

Schayes: Coaches are Hired to be Fired, But This is Ridiculous

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lionelhollinsEvery professional sport lives by the famous adage, “Coaches are hired to be fired.” It is well known that when things go south, it is the coach and not the players who get the blame and the ax.

In the NBA, with 15 players collectively making somewhere north of $60 million in salary and being almost impossible to replace, it is no wonder that the coach and his assistants are the usual fall guys for poor performance. Few jobs carry so much responsibility with such little real authority.

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Schayes: On NBA Coach of the Year, and Coaches in General

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220px-Erik_SpoelstraWith the NBA season winding down, award season is right around the corner. The Coach of the Year award this season is a very tight race.

I have a tremendous history with coaches. It started by growing up with an NBA Coach of the Year living across the hall from me for my entire childhood.

That helped me grow up to have an 18-year NBA career playing for 15 different coaches. And when you consider that I had one coach (Doug Moe) for eight of those years, that means that I went through 14 coaches in the other 10 years. I was not a coach-killer, but it does show the life expectancy of a coach is about the same as a fruit fly. 

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The Bernucca List – Edition 22


Could the season be over already?

This is the last regular-season edition of The Bernucca List, our weekly test of your NBA knowledge. It’s been fun and challenging coming up with these lists, and we hope it has been the same for you.

Last week’s list was correctly solved by reader KleRoi, who answered, “Teams that never have reached the conference finals.”

Believe it or not, the Atlanta Hawks are on the list. They are the only team that predates the formation of conferences in 1971 that has not played in a conference final.

KleRoi also asked, “What did I win?” You win our undying gratitude for being a somewhat regular visitor to our site.

This week’s list is below. If you think you know the answer, enter it as a comment or send me a Tweet.

The Bernucca List

Larry Bird
Scott Brooks
Frank Layden
Sam Mitchell
Gregg Popovich
Tom Thibodeau