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San Antonio Spurs Win Fifth NBA Championship

San Antonio Spurs Win Fifth NBA Championship

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) — Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as San Antonio captured their fifth Larry O’Brien trophy with a 104-87 win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night.
The Heat jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half, but the Spurs came roaring back, taking the lead for good when Leonard drilled a three with 4:47 left in the second quarter.
The 22-year-old Leonard was named the series MVP. He averaged 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in the Finals.
The Spurs’ last NBA championship came back in 2007. It marked the team’s fourth title in nine years.
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Metta World Peach to Coach High School Girl’s Basketball Team

Metta World Peach to Coach High School Girl’s Basketball Team

Harry How/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Metta World Peace may no longer playing professional basketball, but he has decided to become a coach. World Peace will serve as an assistant coach for the Palisades High Girl’s basketball team.
Palisades coach Torino Johnson confirmed to the media that World Peace will join his staff. Johnson had previously met World Peace after coaching his daughter four years ago.
“He’ll be heavily involved in our program,” Johnson said, according to the Orange County Register. “We keep having, it’s an ongoing dialogue, but it’s all positive. There’s no out. The only purpose for this is to be positive and to be impactful — and this is of his choosing.”
Palisades went 21-12 in 2013-14. The team won the L.A. City Section Division 2 title in 2012.
World Peace spent 15 seasons in the NBA for the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Rockets, Lakers, and Knicks. He averaged 13.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
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Sources: Cavaliers Reach Out to Marc Jackson

Sources: Cavaliers Reach Out to Marc Jackson

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Marc Jackson may not be in his new job for long. The current ESPN Analyst, who rejoined the network after being fired by Golden State last month, is reportedly being targeted by the Cleveland Cavaliers for their vacancy.
Sources say that Cavaliers general manager David Griffin called Jackson and spoke with him about becoming the team’s head coach. No formal interview was set-up and there have been no reports to gauge Jackson’s interest in the position.
The team has already interviewed such candidates as Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins, Vinny Del Negro, and former Cavalier Mark Price. David Blatt, the former coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, is reportedly a person of interest as well. 
Jackson coached the Golden State Warriors for three season, building up a 121-109 record and helping to lead the team into the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in 22 years. The Warriors won 51 games in 2013-14 under Jackson’s tutelage. 
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Spurs Stomp Heat, Take 3-1 Finals Lead

Spurs Stomp Heat, Take 3-1 Finals Lead

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and 14 rebounds while playing tremendous defense against LeBron James to help San Antonio dominate the Heat in a 107-86 win in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Spurs now take a 3-1 lead in the series and are one win away from a world championship.
“I’m pleased that they performed as well as they did while we’ve been in Miami, and that’s about as far as it goes,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “Now we’ve got to go back home and play as well or better.”
For the second straight game, San Antonio dominated, leading by as many as 24 points in the third quarter. The Spurs shot 57.1 percent from the floor as a team, including 9-for-21 from three-point distance. Miami, who had not lost at home this postseason prior to Game 3 on Tuesday, shot just 45 percent in the loss.
Despite 28 points from LeBron James, 19 of which came in the third quarter, the Heat were unable to find an answer defensively. Now they must do what no team has ever done, win an NBA Finals after trailing 3 games to 1. 
Tim Duncan surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most career playoff minutes (8,869) as well as Magic Johnson’s all-time record for double-doubles in the postseason (158). Duncan has helped bring San Antonio all four world titles in franchise history, the most recent of which in 2007. He can add a fifth to his resume on Sunday when the team returns to San Antonio.
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N.Y. Knicks Introduce Derek Fisher As New Head Coach

N.Y. Knicks Introduce Derek Fisher As New Head Coach

NBA Logo(NEW YORK) — The New York Knicks introduced Derek Fisher as their new head coach at a news conference on Tuesday.
The 39-year-old Fisher played for Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson for parts of nine seasons, winning five NBA championships.
“For Phil and the history we have together,” Fisher said, “to have this opportunity now to work together again is something that is extremely exciting and I look forward to it in a very special way.”
Yahoo! Sports reported on Monday that Fisher and Knicks were in the process of finalizing a five-year, $25 million contract.
The Knicks haven’t won the NBA championship since the 1972-73 season, when they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.
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Michael Jordan Says Hornets Will be Busy This Offseason

Michael Jordan Says Hornets Will be Busy This Offseason

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for MJCI(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — With a successful 2013-2014 season under their belts, the newly-named Charlotte Hornets and their owner Michael Jordan have assured fans that the team will make a splash this offseason in an effort to build the team into a real contender one day.
This past season, the team formerly known as the Charlotte Bobcats, made the playoffs for the first time since 2010 in large part to an active free agency that included the signing of center Al Jefferson.
“I always thought Charlotte was a great destination,” Jordan said. “Big Al has proven that you can come here and make a big difference. Hopefully we can look at that and attract some other superstars.”
The team is armed with three picks and over $13 million to play with this offseason.
The Bobcats finished 43-39 this past season, which was quite an improvement considering the team had gone 28-120 the two seasons before that combined.
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Ricky Rubio Will Pitch Kevin Love on Staying in Minnesota

Ricky Rubio Will Pitch Kevin Love on Staying in Minnesota

Thomas Northcut/Digital Images(NEW YORK) — With rumors growing that Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love wants to be traded sooner than later, his teammate, Ricky Rubio, will do his best to convince Love to stay with the organization.
“I don’t want to convince him if he doesn’t want to stay. But I want him to stay and I’m going to tell him what I think, which is we’ve been improving each year and he’s a great player, he helps us a lot,” Rubio told NBA.com.
“I think we need to make the next step. …The media says it’s pretty settled, but I don’t know what he thinks. What I’ve been hearing is from the media, not from him, so I don’t trust that. It can be an opinion from you guys. I just really want to talk to him as a teammate,” he continued.
While the team has improved their win total each season since Love and Rubio’s first season together in 2011, the Timberwolves still haven’t made the playoffs since Love entered the NBA in 2008.
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Dwayne Wade Fined $5K for Game 2 Flop

Dwayne Wade Fined $5K for Game 2 Flop

Ron Elkman/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade was fined $5,000 on Monday for over-exaggerating a foul in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
The league deemed that Wade “flopped” late in the second quarter when fouled by San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili.
“He took a swipe and he hit me,” said Wade before the fine was announced. “It was a late call by the ref, but he called it.”
The incident occurred with 4:09 to play in the second quarter. Ginobili took the ball nearly 35 feet from the basket. Wade embellished the contact, drawing a foul, and made both resulting free throws. Ginobili was relegated to the bench with his third foul of the half.
The Heat went on to win the game by two points, 98-96, evening the series at one game apiece.
Game 3 is Tuesday night in Miami.
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Sterling Changes Mind Again; Won’t Sell Clippers, Will Sue NBA

Sterling Changes Mind Again; Won’t Sell Clippers, Will Sue NBA

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has changed his mind once again. The embattled owner has withdrawn support of the sale negotiated by his wife and will go forth with a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver.
“I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights,” Sterling said Monday in a letter. “While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled.”
The deal to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion was negotiated by Sterling’s wife Shelly last week. Max Blecher, Sterling’s attorney, now says the owner will challenge the sale, as well as the actions taken by his wife.
Sterling and his attorneys are alleging that that the league violated his rights by using information obtained from an “illegal” recording that brought to light racist comments made to a girlfriend. 
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Rick Fox Says He’ll Be ‘Impressed’ If Miami Heat Get Three-Peat

Rick Fox Says He’ll Be ‘Impressed’ If Miami Heat Get Three-Peat

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) — Rick Fox understands what it takes to get to an NBA Finals four years in a row, having been part of the last NBA team to win three titles in a row with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000-2002. Fox said if the Miami Heat win the championship again this year, he’d give the team props.
“Their margin for error when it comes to health is really narrow,” Fox told ABC Sports Radio on Monday. “If they win and they make it through, I’ll be extremely impressed having played into June for four straight years in a row.”
Reflecting on his own wins, Fox said that he enjoyed the second NBA title with the Lakers in 2001 the most because the team clicked on all cylinders.
“It was the purist run to a championship,” Fox said.  “We almost went undefeated and we knew what we were doing.  We were on a high level of aptitude with the triangle, it was effortless.”
Fox, who studied radio and television during his time at North Carolina, also weighed in on Rashad McCant’s controversy, where the athlete admitted he had tutors write many of his term papers during matriculation and barely went to class.
“What was demanded of us was to be student athletes first,” Fox said.  “That’s not the experience I had or the experience of any of my teammates would tell you they had.”
“He’s a bit of an outlier in that respect and in my estimation a liar in the other,” he continued. “It’s unfortunate that he’s taken that route.”
Fox is currently staring in Off Season, available on Vimeo and on Demand. He also stars in VH1′s Hit the Floor, which airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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James Scores 35, Heat Tie Series

James Scores 35, Heat Tie Series

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — After two days of taking criticism for missing the final four minutes of a Game 1 loss, LeBron James scored 35 points and added 10 rebounds as Miami defeated San Antonio 98-96 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The Heat have won 13 straight postseason games after a loss, evening the series at one game apiece.
“What happened on Thursday was Thursday,” said James after the win. “My whole focus was how I was going to try to help this team even this up and just try to make some plays.”
One play he made was an assist to Chris Bosh for a go-ahead three at the 1:18 mark of the fourth quarter. That gave Miami a 95-93 advantage that they would not relinquish. A Dwayne Wade layup on a broken play upped the lead to five with nine seconds remaining to seal the deal.
The back-and-forth affair saw San Antonio lead by as many as eight points, and hold a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. While nursing an 87-85 advantage, both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker missed a pair of free throws midway through the frame. James followed with a three-pointer to take the lead and regain momentum.
Duncan finished the game with 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs while Parker had a team high 21 points. Four different players for the Heat scored in double-figures. Game 3 is Tuesday night in Miami.
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Jazz Hire Quin Snyder as Head Coach

Jazz Hire Quin Snyder as Head Coach

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Quin Snyder has been hired to become the head coach for the Utah Jazz. The team announced a three-year deal with an option for a fourth on Friday.
“The opportunity to join the Utah Jazz and to be part of such a highly respected franchise with an incredibly bright future is a great honor,” said Snyder in a statement released by the team. “I approach this opportunity with gratitude and humility and am committed to doing everything I can to help the Jazz become a championship-caliber team.”
A longtime assistant, Snyder has also spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers. The 47-year-old was also the head coach of San Antonio’s D-League team in Austin, Texas. Snyder was also the head coach at the University of Missouri from 1999-2006.
Snyder replaces Tyrone Corbin who went 112-146 after taking over for Jerry Sloan on Feb. 10, 2011, making the playoffs in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season. A formal news conference will take place on Saturday to introduce the new coach.
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Gatorade Issues Apology to LeBron, Electrical Malfunction Fixed

Gatorade Issues Apology to LeBron, Electrical Malfunction Fixed

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An electrical malfunction left the air conditioner within the AT&T Center useless, causing temperatures within the arena to reach the nineties during Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
Heat All-Star LeBron James suffered cramps in the fourth quarter that kept him out the final four minutes of the game in San Antonio’s 110-95 win.
Following the game, Gatorade tweeted, “Our athletes can take the heat,” but issued a statement to ABC News on Friday.
“Our apologies for our response to fans’ tweets during last night’s Heat vs. Spurs game.  We got caught up in the heat of the battle. As a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team,” a Gatorade spokesperson said.
The electrical failure was fixed on Friday morning and the Spurs Sports & Entertainment issued a statement regarding the issue.
“The electrical failure that caused the AC system outage during Game 1 of the NBA Finals has been repaired.  The AC system has been tested, is fully operational and will continue to be monitored.  The upcoming events at the  AT&T Center, including the Romeo Santos concert tonight, the Stars game on Saturday night and Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, will go on as scheduled.  We apologize for the conditions in the arena during last night’s game.”
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Spurs Top Miami, and Beat the Heat, in Game 1

Spurs Top Miami, and Beat the Heat, in Game 1

Chris Covatta/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — The San Antonio Spurs outscored Miami 36-17 in the fourth quarter, and battled an air conditioner issue to boot, to defeat the Heat 110-95 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. An electrical malfunction left the air conditioner within the AT&T Center useless, causing temperatures within the arena to reach the nineties.
“It was tough on both teams,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They were pretty dead. We tried to get guys in and out. It was really hot out there.”
Miami led 86-79 with just under nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but a 15-4 Spurs run turned it into a four-point San Antonio lead. After LeBron James cut the deficit to 94-92, the sweltering temperatures forced the Heat forward out of the game with apparent cramps. The Heat scored just three points in the final four minutes without James as San Antonio won their eighth straight home playoff game.
“After I came out of the game, they kind of took off,” James told a pool reporter after the game. “And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team.”
Danny Green scored 11 of his 13 points in the final frame, including three 3-point baskets, leading a San Antonio charge that saw them close the game on a 30-9 run. Tim Duncan had 21 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Spurs while James led all scorers with 25 points. 
NBA President of Basketball Operations, Rod Thorn, said after the game that the conditions on the court were not harmful to the players. Thorn also stated that officials expected the air conditioning issue to be resolved in time for Game 2 on Sunday.
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All NBA-First Team Released

All NBA-First Team Released

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The NBA has released their All-NBA First Team, and this year’s team is highlighted by MVP Kevin Durant.
Durant was the lone unanimous member of the team, as he averaged an NBA-high 32.0 points per game along wi…

Larry Bird Wants Lance Stephenson Back on Pacers Next Season

Larry Bird Wants Lance Stephenson Back on Pacers Next Season

Jed Jacobson/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — Despite his colorful performance during the NBA playoffs, the Indiana Pacers hope to bring back free-agent guard Lance Stephenson.
Stephenson made headlines during the Pacers’ series with the Miami Heat when h…

Phil Jackson Fined $25K for Tampering

Phil Jackson Fined $25K for Tampering

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New York Knicks president Phil Jackson was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Monday for tampering with Oklahoma City’s Derek Fisher.
Sources with knowledge of the situation said that Jackson was fined for comments he made at a press conference last week regarding the Thunder guard. Jackson had said that Fisher was on his short list of possible candidates for the vacant Knicks head coaching position. Fisher was still an active member of the Thunder when the comments were made.
The league’s anti-tampering rules state that teams cannot directly or indirectly express their interest in other team’s impeding free agents. Fisher’s contract with Oklahoma City was up when the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday. Fisher played for Jackson while with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999-2004 and again from 2007-2011.
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Former Nets Owner Among Dead in Massachusetts Plane Crash

Former Nets Owner Among Dead in Massachusetts Plane Crash

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former New Jersey Nets owner Lewis Katz was among the dead in a plane crash that claimed the lives of six others in Massachusetts, a business partner confirmed on Sunday. Katz, who also once owned the New Jersey Devils, was 72.
Harold H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest said he was informed by the pairs lawyer. Katz’s death comes days after he and Lenfest acquired full control of The Philadelphia Inquirer, buying out their co-owners with a $88 million deal.
“All of us at the NBA were extremely saddened to learn of the tragic, sudden death of former Nets owner Lewis Katz,” a statement released by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “Lewis was a trusted friend and valued member of the NBA family. He was a visionary businessman who touched the lives of so many with his tireless pursuit of innovation and enterprise, as well as his deep commitment to his family, friends and community.”
The former Nets owner made his fortune investing in both the Kinney Parking empire as well as the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network.
Katz oversaw the most successful period in the Nets franchise, purchasing the team in 1998, and watching them reach the NBA Finals in both 2002 and 2003. He sold the team a year later. A 1963 graduate of Temple University, Katz spoke at the schools commencement ceremony in May and received an honorary degree.
Katz is survived by his son, daughter, and several grandchildren.
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Spurs Win West, Earn Rematch with Miami

Spurs Win West, Earn Rematch with Miami

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) — Tim Duncan scored seven of his 19 points in overtime as San Antonio outlasted Oklahoma City, 112-107 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. With the win, the Spurs advance to their second straight NBA Finals where they will face the Miami Heat. 
After five blowout games, three in favor of San Antonio, the Spurs and Thunder played their most hotly contested game of the series. Duncan also had 15 rebounds as San Antonio had to play the entire second half without point guard Tony Parker, who left with an ankle injury.
“We didn’t know how much Tony was hurt in his ankle,” said Boris Diaw, who led the Spurs with 26 points off the bench. “But we didn’t want to go to Game 7, and we didn’t know if he would be ready to play if we did or if he would be 100 percent, so we tried to get it over with tonight.”
San Antonio trailed by seven at halftime but opened the second half on a 9-2 run to tie things at 51-51. The Spurs scored 37 points in the third quarter and entered the final frame with a 79-69 lead. Oklahoma City, led by league MVP Kevin Durant, battled back to take a 99-97 lead with 32 seconds left in regulation. 
Manu Ginobli drilled a three from the top of the arc to put the Spurs ahead by one, but missed a free throw that would have given San Antonio a four-point advantage. That opened the door for Russell Westbrook who was fouled on a drive to the basket, hit both free throws, and forced overtime.
Duncan scored all seven of his overtime points in a row, leading San Antonio from a 103-105 deficit to a 110-107 lead. The Spurs will face Miami in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals that the Heat won in seven games. Game 1 of the 2014 Championship round is Thursday night in Texas.
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Frank Vogel Will Return to Pacers Next Season

Frank Vogel Will Return to Pacers Next Season

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Frank Vogel is safe next season, reports ESPN and Yahoo! Sports.  The Indiana Pacers decided that they will be giving Vogel another shot in the 2014-15 season after the team fell to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night.
Vogel guided the team to their second straight Conference finals appearance, but has not been able to finish the deal against Miami.
Vogel will return to coach in his fifth season in the final year of his contract.
Indiana was almost upset in the first round by the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks and Vogel saw the team go 23-19 in the second half of the season.
Vogel is 167-100 in the regular season and 28-26 in the playoffs.
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