Playoff bound: Hawks clinch 1st postseason berth since 2017
Wizards Hawks Basketball Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) puts up a shot against the Washington Wizards during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Atlanta. It all paid off Wednesday night, when Atlanta clinched its first playoff berth since 2017 by rallying for a 120-116 victory over the Washington Wizards. The New York Knicks snapped an even-longer drought, securing their first postseason berth since 2013 when Boston lost in Cleveland. The Hawks were 14-20 when Pierce was fired on March 1, just days before Atlanta hosted the All-Star Game. He's still a bit irked that he didn't get picked for this season's All-Star Game in his home city.wftv.com
Kawhi and Popovich reunited? Leonard wants to go to Olympics
Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots against Washington Wizards center Moritz Wagner, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)Kawhi Leonard is planning to play for Gregg Popovich again and chase a gold medal. Leonard said Sunday at the All-Star Game in Atlanta that he is planning to compete with USA Basketball this summer at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics — which would reunite him with Popovich. Popovich will serve as head coach at the Olympics for the first time. “If I feel up to it and feel ready to go around that time, then I'm going to play," Leonard said.
Young scores 32 as Hawks rally from 19 down to beat Magic
The star guard scored 32 points and hit the go-ahead free throws with eight seconds remaining as Atlanta rallied from 19 down in the second half to beat the Orlando Magic 115-112 on Wednesday night. McMillan took over Monday when Atlanta fired Lloyd Pierce following a 14-20 start. Atlanta took its first lead at 111-110 when Tony Snell drilled a corner 3 off a feed from Young with 1:09 to play. “It’s no statement to anybody but ourselves that we can win games,” Young said. Magic: Evan Fournier missed his 15th game, this time because of a groin strain sustained Monday while scoring 26 points.
Hawks fire Pierce following high hopes, disappointing start
(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, Pool, File)ATLANTA – Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce was fired less than halfway into a season that began with heightened expectations but was beset by injuries. The Hawks are 14-20 and 11th in the Eastern Conference, following a 109-99 loss at Miami on Sunday night. AdMcMillan filled in for Pierce when Pierce was recently away from the team while his wife was giving birth. This was supposed to be the season the Hawks returned to the playoffs, and Pierce acknowledged before the season it was time to win. Pierce, hired in 2018, was 63-120 (.344) with the Hawks, missing the playoffs in each of his two completed seasons.
Doc Rivers out as Clippers' coach, after seven seasons
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, left, questions a call during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Doc Rivers would easily be considered the best coach in Los Angeles Clippers history. Rivers spent seven seasons with the Clippers, making the playoffs in six of them — major success for a once-woebegone franchise. This season's team, with the summer 2019 additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, was expected to compete for a championship. Rivers has been the coach in five of the Clippers’ six best regular seasons. “I am immeasurably grateful to Doc for his commitment and contributions to the Clippers and the city of Los Angeles,” Ballmer said.
Back to work: NBA's non-Disney clubs start team workouts
The teams that didn't qualify for the restart of the NBA season at Walt Disney World could begin voluntary workouts Wednesday, Sept. 23, to start preparing for their next game whenever that is. Karl Anthony-Towns got to work in Minnesota and his old coach started to mold his new team in New York. After six months without one, it felt so good for some NBA teams to practice again that even Allen Iverson might've enjoyed it. “It gives us some sense of continuity, some sense of togetherness,” said Love, who didn’t want to miss the voluntary workouts. Coaches who didn't know what to expect were pleasantly surprised by the level of play they saw.
For NBA players, Taylor grand jury decision 'not enough'
And James was letting his team know that NBA players, who have spent months seeking justice for Breonna Taylor, did not get what they wanted. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers’ shots that killed Taylor were fired in self-defense. Many NBA players have met, virtually, with members of her family to offer support. ... What currently is happening isn’t good enough.”National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts went a step further. We’re going to continue fighting, we’re going to continue to push, we’re going to continue to use our voices.”___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Silver to CNN: A later NBA season may disrupt Olympic plans
“The goal for us next season is to play a standard season ... an 82-game season and playoffs. A typical NBA season has a regular season that lasts for nearly six months, followed by about a two-month postseason. The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics are set to begin July 23 and run through Aug. 8 — if those games are held. “And, obviously, there are many NBA players who participate in the Olympics for other countries. The U.S. roster for the Tokyo Olympics will be 12 players; there were another 34 players competing for other countries at the Rio Olympics as well.
Williamson back in NBA quarantine, could be out on Tuesday
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Zion Williamson will be out of quarantine by the time New Orleans plays in the first official game of the NBA restart at Walt Disney World. The NBA said Saturday that Williamson will have to serve a four-day quarantine for leaving the leagues Disney bubble on July 16 to tend to an urgent family matter. He returned to Disney on Friday night and immediately went into quarantine. The most important thing is we hope everythings OK with him, Pelicans forward Derrick Favors said Saturday, shortly after the NBA revealed the four-day quarantine determination. COACHES PINSNBA coaches started wearing a large pin during games this weekend, the message reading Coaches for Racial Justice.Its not uncommon for NBA coaches to wear pins or ribbons to support various causes.
LeBron James' group touts sports venues as mega-voting sites
ATLANTA If basketball icon LeBron James gets his way, NBA arenas and other sports venues around the country will be mega polling sites for the November general election. James and his voting rights group, formed this spring with other black athletes and entertainers, are joining with other professional basketball leaders and Michigans top elections official to push for mega voting sites to accommodate in-person balloting amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In Georgia, Fulton County elections officials this week approved the Atlanta Hawks proposal to use State Farm Arena as a polling site. Plans call for the arena to serve any Fulton County voters during early voting and on Election Day, Nov. 3. Voting rights advocates argued in federal court that the plan, part of culling voting sites statewide amid coronavirus concerns, would harm minority voters.
Kerr, Nurse among NBA coaches wondering about Olympic plans
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Golden State coach Steve Kerr was supposed to be in Tokyo for the Olympics this summer. Then again, Kerr isn't certain if he or anyone else from the NBA will be there at all. FIBA pushed back the dates for the four remaining qualifying tournaments to June 29 through July 4, 2021, meaning they would end 19 days before the rescheduled start of the delayed Tokyo Olympics. Toronto coach Nick Nurse is scheduled to coach Canada in that qualifying tournament and, he hopes, the Olympics. Nurse, Popovich and Kerr surely arent the only coaches wondering on this point.
Whats next for the NBA? A plan for testing is the big key
The league and the players know they must go above and beyond in the interest of safety. The rough very rough draft of the NBA calendar suggests next season will start Dec. 1. Meanwhile, the 2020 NBA finalists arent even slated to get nine weeks off before next season starts. The Warriors Klay Thompson last played a year ago, when he tore his ACL in the NBA Finals. But for the players who play deep into this season, then play deep into next season, thats a lot of basketball without a lot of time off.