Five Things to Watch: Milwaukee Bucks

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Brandon KnightCapping off a mediocrity-defining three-year stretch that saw them finish ninth, ninth and eighth in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks should have entered the summer of 2013 with change as the most obvious mandate.

As in change everything.

Despite a return to the playoffs and encouraging progress from big men Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson, the Bucks had little to show for their efforts last season, as coaching upheaval and a dysfunctional locker room motivated GM John Hammond to take a flamethrower to his roster once again.

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SH Blog: Prigioni likely for Game 2; Clippers beat Grizzlies at own game; Cavs casting wide coaching net?

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David LeeWe’re one and a half-days into the playoffs, Miami and Milwaukee just tipped off, and so far there haven’t been any big surprises result-wise. But like last year, when Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the first playoff game, one team has already lost a key contributor, with the Warriors’ David Lee going down to a hip injury.

For more details on Lee’s injury, head over here. Also on Sheridan Hoops, we’ve got a roundup of what we learned on the first day of the playoffs from Chris Sheridan, and a column from Jan Hubbard on the Thunder-Rockets matchup.

Now here’s all the latest NBA news and rumors as we wrap up the first weekend of the playoff season. There’s lots more to go, folks.

 

  • In what was anticipated to be perhaps the tightest of the first-round series, the Clippers knocked off the Grizzlies in Game 1. Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes: “It wasn’t exactly the bruise-fest we expected it would be. The officials didn’t really allow for that, calling 57 fouls and four each on Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph well before the end of the third quarter. It seemed every time Griffin and Randolph were about to go at it, one was called for a foul that led them to the bench. Griffin eventually fouled out with 3:32 left after scoring only 10 points and grabbing five rebounds. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had an equally subpar game, scoring three points, grabbing eight rebounds and sitting out nearly the entire fourth quarter. Despite those performances, the Clippers not only dominated the game but dominated the boards, outrebounding the Grizzlies 47-23. “It’s going to be physical every single game, that’s the way he likes to play and that’s the way you have to play him,” Griffin said. “As long as at the end of the game we’re winning that rebounding battle and we’re up, I’m cool with it.” “
  • Marc Gasol: "We got beat at our own game."
    @MadelynBurke
    Madelyn Burke

Some more interesting Clippers talk:

CP3 on Bledsoe: "There’s no way he can be here next year because we probably won’t have enough money to pay him."
@ArashMarkazi
Arash Markazi

CP3 on Bledsoe: "He should be a starting point guard in this league next year.”
@ArashMarkazi
Arash Markazi

CP3 won't talk about his future but the way he's talking about Bledsoe's would lead you to believe CP3 is here long-term.
@ArashMarkazi
Arash Markazi

Bledsoe is under contract next season at $2.6 million but Clippers will certainly be in the market to deal him after CP3 re-signs.
@ArashMarkazi
Arash Markazi

  • Another one of the more exciting matchups on the first day of the playoffs (on paper, going in) was the Nets and the Bulls, and in this one, the Nets came out on top. Here’s Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: “(Deron) Williams ripped Chicago’s defense to shreds, finishing with 22 points and seven assists, highlighted by that jam in the third quarter that would have been unthinkable just one month ago while he battled ankle injuries. “It just happened,” Williams said. “I just was trying to show some guys in the NBA I might be able to compete in the dunk contest next year. My legs feel good, my ankles feel good right now. I’m excited to be back in the playoffs.” Brook Lopez, competing in his first playoff gamer, pounded the paint, adding 21 points and five rebounds. The Nets shot 56%. “Brooklyn hit us with a haymaker,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.”
  • Noah's foot is absolutely killing him. He iced it twice in the locker room. He says he will play Monday but it looks hard for him to move.
    @NickFriedell
    Nick Friedell
  • Here’s Marc Berman of the New York Post with some Knicks news: “Knicks coach Mike Woodson said if yesterday had been a Game 7, starting guard Pablo Prigioni likely would have suited up on his balky right ankle in the first-round playoff opener against the Celtics. Woodson said he believes Prigioni will be ready for Game 2 on Tuesday and for the Knicks, that is a good thing. That’s because Woodson started Chris Copeland at the wing, and he appeared hampered by a recent shoulder surgery and seemed a bit overwhelmed in his playoff debut. Copeland, recently a scoring beast, was scoreless in 12:46, going 0 for 3 in the Knicks’ 85-78 win.”
  • Jennings on comments: "What am I supposed to say? Let's try our best and hope to win a game? Everybody's writing us off anyway."
    @EthanJSkolnick
    Ethan J. Skolnick
  • Bob Finnan at the News-Herald in northern Ohio looks at some candidates for the Cavs’ now-open coaching job, which he notes is widely rumored to be led by Mike Brown: “A source close to former Miami and Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said Van Gundy has no interest in coaching any of the three current openings in the NBA: in Philadelphia, Detroit or Cleveland. Ex-Portland and Seattle coach Nate McMillan might have some interest in the Cavs’ job, but if the Sacramento Kings move to Seattle, he’d be earmarked for that position. Former Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles is available. He’s hard-nosed and a defensive coach, but he is known to wear down everyone around him with his relentless style. There are several up-and-coming assistant coaches who could draw interest from Cavs general manager Chris Grant. One of them could be Denver assistant coach Melvin Hunt, who spent several years on Brown’s staff in Cleveland. Hunt also worked under Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is currently Nuggets coach George Karl’s lead assistant and is well-respected around the league. Hunt has a good background in coaching defense and in developing young talent. He works very closely with the Nuggets’ young stable of big men.”

  • Byron Scott will be candidate in Milwaukee if interim coach Jim Boylan not retained, Bucks sources say.
    @SamAmicoFSO
    Sam Amico

Bernucca: Lackluster Lakers fooling themselves and their fans

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Dwight Howard dominates the paint on both ends, Kobe Bryant plays less than 30 minutes for the first time this season, Steve Nash runs the offense with precision, the defense has its best game in weeks and the Lakers run away with a 20-point win in their Sunday home whites.

So, everything’s back to normal again in Tinseltown, right?

Who cares that it was against the Cavaliers, who lose three of every four games they play? Or that Cleveland was missing Anderson Varejao, their best rebounder, post defender and energy player? Or that Howard and Bryant were primarily matched up against rookies Tyler Zeller and Dion Waiters?

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Geltzeiler: Which NBA Coaches are on the Hot Seat?

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This has been a unique season in terms of NBA coaching firings.

There are always coaches who buy it somewhat early in the season (think Paul Westphal last season for Sacramento.)  Typically those firings are reserved for particularly heinous starts to the season (think Lawrence Frank with the 2009 Nets). 

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SH Blog: Garnett allegedly said Anthony’s wife tastes like cereal, Love and Varejao to miss significant time

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Nobody can say no to Honey Nut Cheerios?

It probably wasn’t exactly in those words, but it’s close enough to describe what Kevin Garnett may have said to Carmelo Anthony about his wife LaLa (Vazquez) Anthony to push him over the top.

Garnett apparently picked a very poor time to use Anthony’s wife as a method of trash talk, according to Marianne Garvey of Daily News:

Carmelo Anthony lost his cool after Boston Celtics bigmouth Kevin Garnett reportedly said his wife “tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios” — a dig at Anthony, who is estranged from his sweet spouse. The NBA superstars nearly came to blows Monday night after Garnett incorporated the General Mills cereal in a fit of trash talking about reality TV-star La La Anthony. “Your… wife tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios,” Garnett told Anthony in a heated Eastern Conference game at Madison Square Garden, according to the website Black Sports Online. Garnett’s slight came off as offensive and tasteless to Melo, who is having marital problems, a source told the Daily News.  Anthony and his wife have been living apart for at least two months, and La La rang in the New Year without him in Miami’s South Beach, the source said. “Getting ready to shut down Miami TONIGHT. Happy New Year!” La La tweeted from South Beach on New Year’s Eve. Anthony refused Tuesday to confirm what Garnett said to set him off, but he acknowledged that the caustic Celtic “crossed the line.”

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