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Bulls part ways with coach Fred Hoiberg



The Fred Hoiberg era with the Chicago Bulls has drawn to a close. 

After a 5-19 start to the 2018-19 season, the team announced Monday it has relieved Hoiberg of his coaching duties. Via a statement released by the team this morning, Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson said:

“Decisions like this one are never easy to make, however I felt this was the right choice for our organization at this time. After a thorough evaluation, I elected to make this move with the overall development of our team in mind. As a team, I believe it is imperative that we make unfaltering strides in the right direction and build the right habits to help put our players in the best position to evolve not only now, but into the future. I want to thank Fred for his dedication and efforts, as well as for his enduring commitment to our team.”


The Rockets edged the Bulls in Chicago’s last game under coach Fred Hoiberg.

Hoiberg was named coach of the Bulls on June 2, 2015 after spending five seasons as coach of Iowa State. During his time in Chicago, he compiled a 115-155 record (.426 winning percentage) and led the team to the playoffs in 2016-17. The Bulls lost to the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round and have not been close to the postseason since. 

The team has named associate head coach Jim Boylen as the new coach. Per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Boylen will not have an interim title attached to his name and has a chance to earn the job going forward. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Boylen is under contract through the 2019-20 season, although it remains unclear if the team will ask him to coach under his current deal or negotiate a long-term extension with him.

In addition, Johnson reports Hoiberg was in the midst of his $25 million contract, which is guaranteed. That means the Bulls will be paying him through next season unless he lands a coaching gig elsewhere.

Boylen joined the Bulls on June 17, 2015 and has 33 years of coaching experience, that includes 20 seasons in the NBA. He entered the NBA in 1992-93 with the Houston Rockets as the team’s video scout. Four seasons later, he was promoted to an assistant coaching role on Rudy Tomjanovich’s staff. He was also an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors (2003-04), Milwaukee Bucks (2004-05), Indiana Pacers (2011-13) and San Antonio Spurs (2013-14). 

Before landing with the Pacers in 2011, Boylen was coach at the University of Utah from 2007-11.

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About Last Night: Nance Jr. beats buzzer, ends Pacers’ streak



A reminder on The Horry Scale: It breaks down a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety night in November?) and celebration. Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, named for the patron saint of last-second answered prayers.

* * *

Riding a seven-game winning streak, the Indiana Pacers were looking to continue their climb in the Eastern Conference standings. A home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers seemed like a favorable spot.

And then Larry Nance Jr. happened.

Nance stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, a career-high 16 rebounds, six assists and the first game-winning shot of his pro career to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a rare 92-91 road victory.

DIFFICULTY: After outwrestling Victor Oladipo in front of the basket, Nance waited patiently as he anticipated Rodney Hood’s errant jumper then threw up his right hand and beat the buzzer.

“I told Hood to put the ball up on the rim with a couple seconds left so I can see if I could do something with it,” Nance said. “He made a good move and did exactly that. I was lucky enough to get a hand on it and then direct it in.”

GAME SITUATION: Victor Oladipo missed two free throws with 9.5 seconds left, opening the door for Cleveland. On the game’s final possession, the play was drawn up for Hood, who went one on one with his defender. His jumper in the lane missed, but Nance was there to clean it up and give his team the dramatic victory.

CELEBRATION: The buzzer-beater set off a wild scene in which Cavs players began mobbing Nance before the replay review confirmed the call. Even some of Cleveland’s injured players joined the party as the stunned crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse looked on. Moment laters, Nance got doused by teammates during the postgame interview.


GRADE: Playing without three of their top five leading scorers (Kevin Love, Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson), this was an improbable win for the Cavs, who haven’t had much to celebrate this season. And considering how hot the Pacers had been, this was one of the bigger upsets of the season. Three Horrys.


Protecting the rim

Instead of being turned into a poster, Nets center Jarrett Allen did something only a handful of players have ever done: reject a dunk attempt from LeBron James.


The Nets went on to beat the Lakers 115-100, extending their longest winning streak in nearly four years to six games. James finished with 36 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and put his spin on the stunning rejection.

“He’s in his twenties, I’m in my thirties. It takes me a little longer to get warmed up, but that’s fine,” James said, per Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily. “When you’re a shot blocker, I’m sure you can get a block. It happens. It’s probably all over social media, so that’s cool.”


NBA loses celebrity superfan

Actress. Director. Producer. Clippers and Lakers season-ticker holder. Penny Marshall died Tuesday at the age of 75, and her impact was felt across Hollywood, as well as the NBA.

Other NBA figures paying tribute to Marshall on Twitter include Magic JohnsonVlade Divac and Chris Paul.

Back in 2008, The New York Times caught up with Marshall at a Lakers game and asked her about her favorite visiting team, which at the time was the Utah Jazz.

“There’s Andrei Kirilenko. And Deron Williams is terrific. He’s adorable,” Marshall said. “Any more tattoos and he’s going to get traded to the Nuggets.”


Boban The GOAT

Apparently, Boban Marjanovic has discovered advanced statistics…


FYI, the Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is a per-minute rating developed by John Hollinger, a former ESPN writer who is now Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies. PER is pace-adjusted and summarizes a player’s statistical accomplishments in a single number.


Howard sighting

With the Wizards in Atlanta to face the Hawks, Dwight Howard spoke to reporters before the game for the first time since having back surgery Nov. 30.


Singing struggles

Before the Lakers-Nets game, British singer and actress Cynthia Erivo forgot the words to the national anthem. After pausing to refocus, she began again from the start of the song, got a word wrong and then skipped a couple of lines. But the crowd was supportive of her strong finish and gave her a nice ovation afterward.


And for some reason Luka Donic is learning to sing John Denver songs …


Worth noting

At 21-9, the Nuggets matched the 1976-77 squad for the best start in franchise history through 30 games

Vince Carter knocked down a 3-pointer to move past Paul Pierce for seventh place on the all-time list

Jarrett Allen’s rejection of LeBron’s James dunk attempt marked just the ninth time in 1,850 career attempts someone was able to stop LeBron from slamming it home, according to ESPN Stats & Info

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Ingram, Rondo return after G League rehab stints



LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have recalled forward Brandon Ingram and guard Rajon Rondo from the South Bay Lakers following rehab assignments, it was announced Tuesday.

Ingram appeared in 20 games (all starts) this season before suffering a sprained left ankle on December 5 vs. San Antonio, averaging 15.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 30.7 minutes per game.

Rondo appeared in 11 games this season before suffering a right hand injury on November 14 vs. Portland, averaging 8.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 25.2 minutes a game.

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Hawks’ Bazemore fined for tossing ball into stands



NEW YORK — Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore has been fined $10,000 for throwing the ball into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Bazemore was assessed a technical foul, occurred with 9:09 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Hawks’ 144-127 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 16 at Barclays Center.

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