Archives for May 26, 2017
DETROIT – May 26 – (Staff report from official news release) – Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons has won the 2016-17 Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors an NBA coach for his cooperation with the media and fans, as well as his excellence on the court, the Professional Basketball Writers Association announced.
Van Gundy led the Pistons to a 37-45 record in this third season as the team’s coach and president of basketball operations. While his team failed to reach the playoffs, the 57-year-old was a champion when dealing with the media. Van Gundy is generous with his time, is candid during his media sessions and speaks his mind.
The coach was one of five finalists the PBWA selected for the award. The other finalists were Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets, Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets, David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies and Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics.
Van Gundy won the award through a vote of PBWA members.
The award is named for Rudy Tomjanovich, a former Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers coach who always was professional and respectful while dealing with the media. During his 13 seasons as an NBA head coach, Tomjanovich amassed a 527-416 regular-season record and a 51-39 postseason record. His Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.
The PBWA is composed of 205 writers and editors who cover the NBA on a regular basis for newspapers, online outlets and magazines.
Rudy Tomjanovich Award winners
2010-11 Jerry Sloan, Utah Jazz
2011-12 Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics
2012-13 George Karl, Denver Nuggets
2013-14 Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers
2014-15 Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
2015-16 Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors
2016-17 Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
Where: TD Garden, Boston
“We all need to soak this up. This is a great moment, and this is not promised,” James said after scoring 35 points and becoming the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer in a 135-102 blowout of the Boston Celtics in Game 5 on Thursday to clinch the Eastern Conference title.
James, who was joined on the podium by teammates, pointed out that it is a special moment for Deron Williams and Kyle Korver, two veterans heading for their first Finals.
James, who also had eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a blocked shot, then talked about “the beast of an opponent” that is waiting.
Kyrie Irving had 24 points and seven assists and the Cavaliers, who sat their starters for the entire fourth quarter.
When James takes the court June 1 in Oakland, Calif., he will be appearing in his seventh straight Finals while seeking his fourth title.
The Warriors, who beat Cavs for the 2015 championship before losing the rematch in 2016, are 12-0 in this year’s playoffs.
“They’ve been playing great, but you can’t get too far ahead of yourself,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said of the Warriors. “You saw that in Game 3 against Boston. … To be honest, I didn’t do one (bit of) prep for Golden State yet because I really believe that this (Boston) team is a good team.”
James, who shot 13 of 18 from the floor and 4 of 7 from 3-point range, hit a 3-pointer with 2:41 left in the third quarter to pass Michael Jordan and move to the top of all playoff scorers.
James finished the night with 5,995 playoff points, topping Jordan’s mark of 5,987. Jordan appeared in 179 postseason games; James played his 212th.
Before the game, James said, “It’s just a personal goal of mine. It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated — that’s all.”
For the third time in as many TD Garden games in the series, the Cavaliers never trailed. They won the three road games in the series by a combined 90 points, the last two by a total of 77.
Kevin Love had 15 points and 11 rebounds and was a game-high plus-43, and Williams added 14 points in 17 minutes off the bench in the win that made Cleveland 12-1 in the postseason.
Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 23 points, and Gerald Green scored 14.
“We’re definitely disappointed. I felt like if we weren’t, it would be a problem,” Bradley said. “We feel like we should be here, and we feel like we should be a championship-contending team.”
With 2:44 left, the remaining Boston fans began a “Let’s Go Celtics” chant that kept going until the final horn, cheering every basket as if the game were close.
“I leave with a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth not playing as well here, and man you want to play well here,” said an emotional Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who earned his first two playoff series wins this year.
James said he embraced Isaiah Thomas, who sat out the last three games of the series after playing the first two with a hip injury, later paying tribute to Boston’s little big man.
“It was a matchup that we were all looking forward to, and I’m glad that we prevailed,” Irving said. “But they tested us every single minute, and we needed that.”
The Celtics made some noise near the end of the first half, but Irving scored Cleveland’s first 11 points in the opening 3:18 of the second half. Two baskets by James ballooned the lead to 25 with 6:39 left in the third quarter. It soon grew to 32 and then to 35 by the end of the quarter.
James scored 15 and Irving 13 in the period, with James hitting three bombs in the final 2:41.
Irving, who shook off a Game 4 twisted ankle, shot 9 of 15 from the floor and 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
“If we have a great game plan and play inspired basketball, we’re tough to beat,” Love said.
The Cleveland regulars were 16 of 33 from behind the arc through three quarters — after the Cavs went 19 of 39 on treys in a 44-point win in Game 2. They finished 19 of 41 Thursday.
The Celtics were 9-9 during a playoff run that capped a successful season.
“It’s pretty cool to think that in three weeks you’ve got the No. 1 pick in the draft,” Stevens said.
Added Bradley: “Sky’s the limit if we’re able to keep the core guys together.”
NOTES: Cleveland’s 109 points through three quarters marked the most the Celtics have allowed in the shot-clock era. … Like LeBron James, F James Jones is also going to his seventh straight NBA Finals, all with James. Bill Russell holds the record of appearing in 10 consecutive Finals. … All three of Boston’s walking wounded — Fs Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and Amir Johnson — were able to play. … Acting Golden State coach Mike Brown, asked about Cavs coach Tyronn Lue’s comment that the Celtics are harder to defend than the Warriors, said, “That’s his opinion. It’s cute.” … The Cavaliers’ 43 points in the first quarter made Cleveland the first playoff team since the 1990 Celtics with three 40-point quarters in the same series. … The teams observed a moment of silence for the victims of Monday’s bombing in Manchester, England.
Where: PPG PAINTS Arena, Pittsburgh
The win lifted the Penguins into the Stanley Cup Final for the fourth time in 10 years. That series begins Monday when the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators visit. Pittsburgh will try to become the first repeat titlist since the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back Cups in 1997 and ’98.
Getting back to this point is special for Kunitz, who is chasing his fourth Cup, his third with Crosby and the Penguins.
“For sure, never knowing if you’re going to get another chance to come this far or if you’re going to get a chance to play on this ice again with this team,” Kunitz said.
That familiar chemistry with Crosby was a big part of the winning goal. The Senators’ focus on Crosby allowed Kunitz to set up unguarded.
“(Winger Conor Sheary) did a really good job of bringing it up the wall and walking the blue (line),” Kunitz said. “I think Sid came right off the bench. When he drives it deep, everyone (on the opposing team) gets scared and you can find that soft area. Obviously, Sid’s got great vision. He put it right there.”
It was just as comfortable for Crosby.
“I’ve definitely seen that one from him before,” Crosby said. “With the way he was holding the stick you could tell he wanted it bad. I just tried to lay it there for him.”
Ottawa fell short of making the Cup final for the first time since 2007 despite forcing a Game 7 with a 2-1 win in Game 6.
“They gave it their all. They put their souls into it,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said of his players.
Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray, playing on his 23rd birthday, stopped 27 of 29 Senators shots.
Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who stopped 45 of 46 shots in Game 6, made 39 saves Thursday.
“Shock, I think at the moment,” Anderson said of the emotion after the loss. “It’s surreal. It doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening, but it is.
“We played our hearts out and gave everything we have and we’ve got nothing to be ashamed of and we laid it out there and we put it on the line and guys were dog tired out there and battling and it just wasn’t in the cards for us.”
The game was nearly halfway through regulation before the Penguins scored the first goal off a two-on-one against Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson. Kunitz one-timed a pass from Sheary in tight to make it 1-0 at 9:55 of the second period. It was Kunitz’s first goal in his past 22 playoff games.
Just 20 seconds later, Mark Stone tied it for the Senators, taking a short pass ahead from Karlsson, and from the lower part of the right circle, lifting the puck over Murray’s glove.
“Scoring and then them answering right back — for us to get right back to our game, keep plowing away, keep creating in the offensive zone and keep playing good defensively shows how mentally tough this hockey team is,” Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole said.
Justin Schultz scored on a wrist shot from the center point at 11:44 of the third on Pittsburgh’s only power play of the game. The goal, through a Kunitz screen, gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
At 14:41 of the third, Ryan Dzingel lifted the Senators into a 2-2 tie when he scored on a rebound of a Karlsson shot.
That was it until Crosby and Kunitz found their old magic.
Crosby ranked the win among the best he has been a part of.
“It’s up there,” he said. “I mean, I think it’s a nerve-wracking game. We know that with the way they play, too, it felt like you could feel comfortable with your game, you could generate chances, but they only need one going back the other way to score. Playing against a team like that, you just have to stay with it and stay poised, and I thought we did a great job at that.”
NOTES: Pittsburgh D Justin Schultz (shoulder) returned but RW Patric Hornqvist (upper body) did not. Both took the pregame warmup and were considered game-time decisions. … Penguins LW Conor Sheary was back after being a healthy scratch for two consecutive games, replacing RW Josh Archibald. … Ottawa C Colin White, who made his NHL postseason debut in Game 6, was scratched in favor of C Chris Kelly.
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz tied a personal best, and his teammates in the bullpen kept it going as the Boston Red Sox pitchers matched a major league record. Pomeranz struck out 11 in just six innings, and four Boston relievers added another nine strikeouts as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 on Thursday night to complete a three-game series sweep.It marked the sixth time major league history that a team struck out 20 times in a nine-inning game.
“Tonight was an outstanding display of pitching from every guy that took the mound,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
All five Boston pitchers had at least one strikeout, and every Texas batter struck out at least once on a cold, wet night.
The start of the game was delayed 28 minutes by rain, but that didn’t throw off Pomeranz in the slightest as he started with two quick strikeouts in the first, followed by striking out the side in the second.
Pomeranz held Texas to two runs on four hits and walked just one while putting an end to a personal two-game losing streak.
“I felt lost for a couple of starts. I wasn’t satisfied,” he said.
Pomeranz (4-3) was back on track Thursday, and he received some early help from Boston batters. Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning for Boston (25-21), and Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run homer in the third.
Deven Marrero added a two-run homer in the eighth for the Red Sox, who won their fourth straight and tied their longest winning streak of the season.
“Big win. Texas had been hot coming in,” Moreland said. “We knew with the conditions it was going to be tough.”
Elvis Andrus homered for Texas, which continued to stumble following a 10-game winning streak. The Rangers lost for the fifth time in six games, falling back to .500 at 24-24.
“It is surprising, but that’s the beauty of baseball, I guess,” Andrus said. “You cannot take anything for granted. You cannot take any team for granted. Even when you feel you’re playing at your best, stuff like this can happen.”
Boston fanned 20 in a nine-inning game for the third time — the other two solo efforts by Rogers Clemens in 1986 and 1996.
After Pomeranz exited, Heath Hembree struck out both batters he faced, and Robby Scott struck out his lone batter. Matt Barnes fanned two in a perfect eighth inning.
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel ended up getting four strikeouts in the ninth after Nomar Mazara, leading off, fanned on a wild pitch and was able to reach first. Mazara didn’t get a chance to go anywhere because Kimbrel finished off the game by striking out three more.
Pomeranz surrendered Andrus’ leadoff homer in the fourth. The only walk Texas drew led to the Rangers’ second run. Delino DeShields walked to lead off the sixth, stole second and scored on a one-out single by Mazara to cut Boston’s lead to 4-2.
Pomeranz was able to stop the damage there, getting Jonathan Lucroy to fly out to center and striking out Rougned Odor to end the inning. It was the 11th strikeout for Pomeranz, matching the career high he set on Aug. 25, 2016, at Tampa Bay.
“Big bounce back start for him,” Farrell said. “On a night when the conditions weren’t ideal, he threw the ball exceptional tonight.”
Nick Martinez (1-3) struggled early for the Rangers before settling down and pitching through the fifth. He allowed four runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking two.
Despite all the strikeouts, Texas manager Jeff Banister credited his team for not letting the Red Sox run away with it.
“That’s this club. They continue to battle. They’re going to stay in it and fight all the way to the end,” Banister said. “These guys stay engaged the whole time.”
The Rangers were able to keep within reach of the Red Sox by averting disaster in the sixth. Dario Alvarez started the inning and lasted only two batters, hitting Moreland and walking Jackie Bradley Jr. Tony Barnette came out of the bullpen for the Rangers and got Christian Vazquez to ground into a double play before striking out Marrero.
Marrero struck out his first three trips to the plate, then salvaged the night with a two-run shot to left in the eighth.
NOTES: LHP David Price (strained left elbow) will make his season debut for Boston on Monday when the Red Sox visit the Chicago White Sox. … Boston LHP Drew Pomeranz needed eight strikeouts to reach 500 for his career, and he reached the milestone by getting 1B Mike Napoli swinging to end the fourth. … Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts, who hit 21 home runs last season, hit his first of 2017 in his 42nd game of the season. … Boston’s Josh Rutledge replaced Dustin Pedroia at second base in the top of the sixth. The Red Sox said Pedroia had pain in his left knee and called the move precautionary. … The Red Sox remain at home for the weekend with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners. Texas plays three games in Toronto beginning Friday.