This Edition of “NBA News Today” includes NBA Playoff news and updates. Updates on hiring and firing of head coaches are included as well.
OKC HEADS TO WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
The Thunder are heading to the Western Conference Finals. Their next opponent? The defending world champions, the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder were magnificent in their 4-2 series win over the San Antonio Spurs. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were both superb. However, OKC were more than the fantastic duo. They received tremendous play by 3rd year Center Steven Adams.
The number 12 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft had his coming out party this season as he was a dominant force down-low. He capped off his great series against San Antonio by having 15 points and 11 rebounds in the series clinching game 6. First year head coach Billy Donovan has shown he is up to the challenge after a tremendous coaching career at the University of Florida. Donovan has received nice contributions from shooting guard Andre Roberson and Center Enes Kanter. Up next will be perhaps the most anticipated Western Conference final in years.
The loss to San Antonio might mean the end of a career to one of the all-time greatest NBA players. Tim Duncan clearly looked his age in this series and it could possibly mean the end of the career to the guy nicknamed “The Big Fundamental”. One of the nicest and classiest players that ever put on an NBA uniform, if it is the end for Duncan we just have one thing to say to him. Thank You.
THE WARRIORS TOPPLE PORTLAND/AWAIT OKC
The match-up NBA fans have been waiting for is only a few days away. Golden State toppled a very tough and competitive Portland Trailblazers team in 5 games to advance to the Western Conference Finals. 2-time league MVP Steph Curry has come back from his sprained MCL and looks ready to match-up against Russell Westbrook and company. The Portland series was tougher than expected as the Portland duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum put up a good fight. However, the depth of the Warriors proved to be too much to handle.
The Western Conference Final is a dream match-up. Westbrook and Durant. Curry and Thompson. There is star power everywhere you look. This series is what the NBA playoffs are about. The best teams and best players going against each other in a 7 game series. We will have a preview of the Western Conference finals soon so STAY TUNED! This is a must watch series for all NBA fans.
The best team in the Eastern Conference all season long looked like it in their 4-0 series dismantling of the Atlanta Hawks. Cleveland was superb against a clearly over-matched Hawks team. Head Coach Tyronn Lue has his team playing phenomenal basketball at just the right time. LeBron James was his usual dominant self. However, it was the play of Cleveland’s other 2 main pieces that have Cavs fans thinking championship. Point Guard Kyrie Irving and Power Forward Kevin Love are playing excellent basketball. Remember, Cleveland took Golden State to 6 games in last year’s NBA Finals and both Irving and Love were injured and didn’t play.
Irving has rebounded from his injury and is playing as well as any PG left in the playoffs. Love, who went for 27 points and 13 rebounds in the series clinching game 4 against Atlanta seems to be playing with more fire and passion. While we would prefer Love to be more of a presence inside, you can’t dismiss the facts that he is producing. Cleveland will be heavy favorites in the Eastern Conference finals against either Toronto or Miami.
TORONTO UP 3-2 AGAINST MIAMI
Perhaps the most competitive of all the NBA playoff series is Toronto and Miami. The series has been back and forth. Game 6 is Friday, May 13 in Miami. The Heat have been getting great play 34-year old future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade. Injury problems are a concern for the team from South Beach. Small Forward Luol Deng is questionable for game 6 with a bad wrist.
Perhaps more importantly, Center Hassan Whiteside will most likely miss his 3rd straight game with a right MCL sprain. When healthy, the 26-year old Whiteside has been a dominating presence down-low for Miami. If he can’t play it will really hurt Miami’s chances of forcing a game 7 in Toronto.
The back-court duo of point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard Demar DeRozan have been shaky in this series, however both played well in Toronto’s 99-91 win in game 5. DeRozan went for 34 points while Lowry contributed 25 points. If the Raptor’s get that kind of production from their 2 stars in game 6, there probably won’t be a game 7. Whoever wins this series will get the red-hot and rested Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The past week has been a frenzy as NBA organizations have been firing and hiring new head coaches. Let’s take a look.
JOERGER NAMED NEW HEAD COACH FOR SACRAMENTO
David Joerger, who was recently fired by the Memphis Grizzlies, signed a 4-year deal worth 16-million dollars to become the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings. We believe this is a great signing by Sacramento. Joerger did an admiral job coaching the Grizzlies, which had a slew of injuries this past season. Sacramento is getting a coach who will bring leadership to an organization in desperate need of it.
The Kings have All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and a possible high lottery pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft. It will take time for Joerger to make it work with the Kings, however at least now there is some stability for the NBA franchise.
SCOTT SKILES RESIGNS IN ORLANDO
Scott Skiles surprisingly resigned after 1 year as the Magic Head Coach. A tough, no-nonsense coach, the 52-year old Skiles cited philosophical issues within the organization as a major reason why he won’t be back. Whoever lands this job will have some nice, young talent to work with. Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo, and a lottery pick this season gives the franchise hope for the future. The next head coach will be the 4th in 4 years for Orlando. It is very hard to have sustained success in any sport when there is so much turnover at the head coaching position. We will update the Magic coaching search whenever news breaks.