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Coaching Vacancies, Playoffs Continue

Playoffs continue, as do coaching vacancies. Some notes for a Tuesday.

Stephen Dunn

In addition to the Wolves, so far the Knicks (Mike Woodson) and the Jazz (Ty Corbin) are looking for new coaches.  The Knicks, fronted by new boss Phil Jackson, appear to have focused in on former Jackson player, and Suns General Manager, and current TNT broadcaster Steve Kerr.

Who the Jazz might look to is unclear. It is going to be a very young team that has a lot of learning and improving to do, so it probably is not a situation for an experienced coach looking to win right away. The Jazz will be centered around their young players including this year's rookie Trey Burke and whoever they choose in the lottery this summer.  It is going to take patience to get them back to winning regularly.

The latest names we've heard connected to the Wolves job are: Fred Hoiberg (likely to stay at ISU), Tom Izzo (MSU), Billy Donovan (Florida), Stan Van Gundy, and Lionel Hollins.  Working on a piece about these guys and who makes the most sense, but in short: college guys worry me.  Hoiberg is a bit of an exception, since he has so much NBA experience and hasn't been gone from the league for long.  But a guy like Donovan for a team that needs someone who will instantly earn respect from the star...very risky.

Meanwhile, there are teams still playing basketball.  Last night, the Grizzlies evened their series with the Thunder with an overtime win in spite of the officials' best efforts.  Big games from Zach Randolph and Courtney Lee helped, as did the fact that the Grizz were able to get significant contributions from their bench, while the Thunder reserves really struggled.  I thought this series would be a tough one for the Thunder, and that's what I still expect. The Grizzlies are a tough out. No bluff.

The Clippers also evened their series last night against the Golden State Warriors with a 40 point rout that was led by Blake Griffin's 35 points on 13-17 from the field. I think he was a little crabby after game one's foul trouble kept him off the floor for most of the tilt.  The game was over early, as the Clips had a 26 point lead at halftime, and cruised from there.  But it was just one game, and the Warriors got what they needed, a win on the road.  The series shifts north for the next two games, in front of one of the loudest crowds in the league.

Tonight features three game 2s:

Hawks at Pacers
6:00 pm Central

The Hawks surprisingly pulled away to score a game one upset, things are messy in Indiana and the pressure is on.

Nets at Raptors
6:30 pm Central

The Nets scored a road win in the series opener, and one wonders if their experience is a factor, something I don't generally buy into.

Wizards at Bulls
8:30 pm Central

The Bulls look to even the series on their home floor after a terrific performance by the Wizards front court trio of Nene Hilario (24pts), Trevor Ariza (16) and Marcin Gortat (15), while they managed only 42% shooting.

Elsewhere, the Champions League semifinal ties start today, with Chelsea in Madrid to face Atletico, the surprise La Liga side that is having a glory season.  The game is at 1:45 Central.  Tomorrow Real Madrid hosts defending champion Bayern Munich in the first leg of the headline semi.  Big week in Madrid.

Today in History

1370: Building of the Bastille in Paris begins
1659: Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell disbands English Parliament
1889: Oklahoma land rush begins, "Sooners" profit
1897: Jewish newspaper "Forward" publishes first issue in NYC. 
1915: Germans use poison gas in battle for first time
1954: NBA adopts 24 second shot clock and 6 foul rule, clearing the way for modern pro basketball
1993: Holocaust memorial museum dedicated in Washington, DC
1994: 7,000 Tutsis are slaughtered at a stadium in Rwanda

Today's musical birthday is Charles Mingus, born in 1922 (d. 1979).