NBA coaches attire: Masks are in, jackets are optional
FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2020, file photo, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reacts during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. For NBA coaches, masks are required this season. Suit jackets or sport coats will not be required but coaches wont be able to wear the short-sleeved shirts that most donned for games in the bubble, either. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool, File)MIAMI – For NBA coaches, masks are required this season. “That’s why I continued to wear masks during the playoffs, during the finals, even when we were not required to wear them during our media sessions,” Spoelstra told The Associated Press. The league, with limited exceptions, also will require coaches to wear masks “at all times” inside their team facility, while traveling and during practices.
Pelicans' Van Gundy talks teaching, commitment to defense
Van Gundy agreed to a four-year contract, according to one of the people who spoke Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the hiring has not been announced. Van Gundy has a track record of bridging that gap between knowledge and talent with younger players in his previous coaching stops. “There is a lot of teaching to do to bring these guys along,” Van Gundy said Tuesday during a formal introduction via video conference because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the Pelicans, Van Gundy said, he saw ownership that had won a championship in a major professional sport, even if it was the NFL. Van Gundy called Williamson and Ingram “two of the most unique young guys in the entire league.”“There's just a lot to build around there,” he added.
Stan Van Gundy agrees to become New Orleans Pelicans' coach
Two people with knowledge of the situation say Stan Van Gundy has agreed to become the next coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, where hell get the chance to work with No. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)Stan Van Gundy announced Wednesday that he is headed to the New Orleans Pelicans, where he'll take over a promising team that includes No. Van Gundy said on his Twitter account that he was “excited" and thanked Pelicans owner Gayle Benson and others for the opportunity. “I’m excited to join a talented New Orleans Pelicans team," Van Gundy wrote. In New Orleans, Van Gundy will replace Alvin Gentry, who was let go after the Pelicans missed this season’s playoffs.
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.
Pelicans fire Alvin Gentry after 5 seasons as team's coach
FILE - In this March 20, 2020 file photo, New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans. The Pelicans have fired Gentry, Saturday, Aug. 15, after the club missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza, File)NEW ORLEANS The New Orleans Pelicans fired coach Alvin Gentry on Saturday after the club missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. Gentry was hired by former Pelicans general manager Dell Demps after the club fired Monte Williams following the 2014-15 season, when Anthony Davis was the face of the franchise. Odds makers favored the Pelicans to make the playoffs, but they were eliminated after dropping four of six after resuming their season.
Spurs help playoff chances, top Pelicans, Zion 122-113
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs helped their playoff chances. JJ Redick scored 31 points with a season-high eight 3-pointers for New Orleans, which got 25 from Williamson and 17 from Brandon Ingram. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry called it a Game 7-type game beforehand but stayed with the plan of playing Williamson in short bursts. Williamson scored the next eight points by himself, kick-starting what became a 28-12 run by the Pelicans to end the quarter. DeRozan scored inside on the next San Antonio possession, and a late 8-0 spurt by the Spurs sealed the deal.
It's official: NBA will have a play-in series in the West
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Its now official: There will be a play-in series to determine the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The league decided to add the play-in series option in an abundance of fairness, since about 14% of the regular season schedule was eliminated because of the coronavirus pandemic. No team has clinched a spot in the play-in series; the Grizzlies could have assured themselves of no worse than that had they beaten the Raptors on Sunday. Game 1 of the play-in series will be Saturday, with Game 2 if necessary the following day, Aug. 16. ABC will air Game 1 of the play-in series on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EDT.
Spurs help playoff chances, top Pelicans, Zion 122-113
A win by the Trail Blazers over Philadelphia would eliminate New Orleans from postseason consideration. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry called it a Game 7-type game beforehand but stayed with the plan of playing Williamson in short bursts. In the fourth, Gentry took Williamson out with 6:53 left, putting him back in for the last-ditch try about two minutes later. Williamson scored the next eight points by himself, kick-starting what became a 28-12 run by the Pelicans to end the quarter. DeRozan scored inside on the next San Antonio possession, and a late 8-0 spurt by the Spurs sealed the deal.
Gobert lifts Jazz past Pelicans 106-104 in NBA restart
He scored 13 points in just more than 15 minutes, highlighted by a couple alley-oop dunks, one on a nearly half-court lob from Lonzo Ball. But Williamson checked out for good with 7:19 left in the fourth quarter and watched the tense finish from the sideline. Thats all it is.Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points for Utah and helped lead a second-half comeback, while Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley each added 20. When Jordan has space on the floor to work, hes really difficult to guard," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. The Jazz went 8 of 34 from 3-point range but scored 54 points in the paint and went 24 of 28 on foul shots.
Pelicans place Zion Williamson in starting lineup vs. Utah
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Zion Williamson was in the New Orleans Pelicans' starting lineup against Utah on Thursday night, just two days after practicing for the first time in two weeks. Williamson left the team July 16 to attend to a family medical matter. Right knee surgery forced the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Williamson to miss the first 44 games of his rookie season. His return bolsters the Pelicans' hopes for a playoff spot. New Orleans resumes the season 3 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Players, coaches kneel before NBA's re-opening night
The NBA had a strong, powerful re-opening night message. Tonight we witnessed sober, powerfully moving and heartfelt demonstrations by our players of their commitment to the pursuit of justice," National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts tweeted. And all the players, all the coaches, are united in that fact and committed to do what we can do to effect long-term change.Many players warmed up wearing shirts that said Black Lives Matter." Thursday also marked the debut of new jerseys bearing messages that many players chose to have added, such as Equality" and Peace." NBA players have used their platforms both in the bubble and on social media to demand equality, to demand justice for Taylor.
Zion Williamson practicing, could play in Pelicans' opener
Zion Williamson returned to New Orleans Pelicans practice for the first time in nearly two weeks on Tuesday night and coach Alvin Gentry said the NBAs top overall draft pick might play when the club resumes its season against Utah on Thursday night. If hes ready to play, hell play. So well see and evaluate tomorrow where he is the medical people will and so will Zion. That kept the Pelicans hopeful that hed be able to get ready to play quickly when he returned from a family matter that he has kept private. The Pelicans are 3 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Game on: NBA finally set to see games that count again
FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2020, file photo, Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Milwaukee. But after 20 weeks of waiting, wondering and worrying, the 2019-20 NBA season is ready to hit the restart button with a champion scheduled to be crowned in October. For the front-runners like the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks and West-leading Lakers, the eight remaining games before the playoffs are about tuning up their games. The biggest names are here: reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks, LeBron James of the Lakers, scoring champion James Harden of Houston, plus the reigning Finals MVP and All-Star Game MVP in Leonard. The intensity is going to start to pick up with the games just meaning much more, Philadelphia forward Al Horford said.
Masked man: Spurs' Popovich wears face covering for game
Popovich was not serving as head coach for the game against the Milwaukee Bucks. It is unclear if Popovich will wear a mask for the entirety of the Spurs time at Disney. Popovich was the coach who spoke in the teams pregame news conference and followed NBA rules by wearing a mask in that availability. GIANNIS' FOULSBucks star and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had five first-half fouls in his team's scrimmage opener against San Antonio. The last time a player had five first-half fouls in an NBA game that counted was Dec. 7, 2013, when Utah's Mike Harris did it against Sacramento.
Popovich had reservations, but Spurs coach ready for restart
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2019, file photo, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks with the media during NBA basketball media day in San Antonio. And for the San Antonio coach, a couple days of lockdown at Walt Disney World brought back the memories of doolie life. Lockdown at Walt Disney World, he said, reminded him of those days. But two days, anybody can do that, the San Antonio coach said Saturday. The NBA restart will be about raising awareness on social issues and combating racism, and Popovich wants to be a big part of that conversation.