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NBA notes: Steve Kerr spurns Knicks, agrees to coach Warriors
2014-05-16

The Warriors won the bidding war with the New York Knicks for Steve Kerr on Wednesday, hiring him away from the TNT broadcast table to be their coach. Kerr agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with Golden State, said his agent, Mike Tannenbaum.
The Warriors confirmed the agreement Wednesday night and said they will introduce Kerr at a news conference after the contract is complete.

Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their coach since Phil Jackson took over as team president in March. He won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago and another two under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Kerr, 48, also spent three seasons as general manager of the Phoenix Suns before stepping down in June 2010. He replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors on May 6 after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances mostly due to a sour relationship between him and team management.

Kerr said last month that he has wanted to coach since going back to his job at TNT. And while the lure of building a contender with his mentor at Madison Square Garden looked appealing, the chance to coach a Western Conference contender in his home state proved to be too much.

The Warriors job is certainly a far more attractive one than when owner Joe Lacob hired Jackson away from the ESPN/ABC broadcast table in June 2011. The Warriors are coming off a 51-win season and consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years, and theyve surrounded star Stephen Curry with a talented young core.

Kerr became the hottest coaching candidate on the market after Phil Jackson started courting him to the Knicks two months ago. Kerr also has close ties to Lacob, his son, assistant GM Kirk Lacob, and Warriors President Rick Welts, who worked in Phoenixs front office during Kerrs time as Suns general manager.

Given the disagreements that occurred between Jackson and Warriors management last season and the back-and-forth that played out between them in the media after Jackson was dismissed having an established relationship with Kerr was a big reason Lacob wanted him as coach.

Last week, Lacob lauded Kerr as a candidate and defended the decision to change coaches which has been debated at great lengths in the basketball-united Bay Area. He compared the decision to how he built his fortune as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.
Lacob said theres a different person to lead a business at different stages of development, and the Warriors have gone from a "startup" company to an organization looking to maximize its output.

"Or in this case win an NBA championship," he said. "And we just felt overall we needed a different person to go forward and get to the next level."

And while Kerr has no coaching experience, he played 15 seasons and also similar to Mark Jackson he has been around some of the most successful sideline leaders.

Kerr has credited Phil Jackson and Tex Winter for most of his basketball knowledge. Winter taught the triangle offense and was a longtime assistant for Jackson, who used the system to win an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach of the Bulls and Lakers.

Golden State also spoke with former Orlando Magic and Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy during its search. Van Gundy agreed to a deal with Detroit on Tuesday after the Pistons gave him control of basketball operations something the Warriors wouldnt do with general manager Bob Myers and Kirk Lacob in place.

The Warriors met with Kerr again on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, where Kerr was calling the Thunder-Clippers game. And they apparently made a big enough impression and contract offer to land the man they wanted all along.

Around the league

Pistons The Detroit Pistons are counting on Stan Van Gundy to bring some much-needed stability to a struggling franchise.

Theyre certainly giving him plenty of authority.

The Pistons officially announced Van Gundys hiring Wednesday as their new coach and president of basketball operations. The team will introduce Van Gundy at a news conference Thursday. Detroit went 29-53 last season, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year. That was the end of Joe Dumars tenure as team president. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February.




2015 Kentucky Derby Odds
2015-04-15

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Odds to Win 2015 Kentucky Derby


NBA: Orlando vs. Atlanta Series Betting Preview
2010-05-05

The Magic and Hawks took opposite paths to their second round series matchup, Orlando using only four games, while Atlanta was pushed to the full seven. However, this is what the Hawks wanted, they are out to prove they are an elite club deserving of being in the final four of East tournament, pitted against the defending conference champions. What is set to occur?...Read on, then check the latest series price on the Sportsbook.com LIVE ODDS page.
(2)Orlando vs (3) Atlanta
If the Orlando Magic are a little tight to start Eastern Conference semi-final series with Atlanta don’t be shocked. Not tight like in nervous, more in the muscles being strained, as they haven’t played a NBA game since Mar. 26 in being the only NBA team to sweep their first opponent.
Though Orlando needed only four contests to send the Bobcats packing, a similar performance could send them home before Memorial Day. Dwight "Foul-On-U" Howard played roughly 54 percent of the time against Charlotte and it had nothing to do with being tired or the Magic being far ahead. Howard was continually in foul trouble and was WAY to easily frustrated by the antics of Bobcats big men and let his ego matter more than the team.
Though Atlanta coach Mike Woodson will not be mentioned in the same sentence with Larry Brown as astute NBA coaching legends, he will learn from what the Charlotte was able to do and work to have Howard take himself out of the game instead of being a dominant force.
Vince Carter shot 35.7 percent in his first playoff series with Orlando, that won’t cut it against Atlanta. Carter was too tentative and fell back into comfort zone of hoisting jumps shots. He has to be willing to put the ball on the deck, drive to the rim, get fouled and make free throws to create more wide open chances for jumpers.
If those two players perform up to capabilities, Orlando could have another short series, since Jameer Nelson, Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus were burying three’s like “Fito” with his bone in the backyard. In many ways Nelson is the key performer among this trio, as he can force Atlanta to sit Mike Bibby, since he is not a good defender any longer and make the Hawks use Jamal Crawford as more two-way player.
Orlando won three of four meetings with Southeast Division partner, with average margin of victory 22.1 points per game. The Magic come into this series 40-19 ATS having won 12 or more of their last 15 games.
Coach Woodson wants to believe his club learned something about itself and it will carry over into this next series. Realistically, except for fourth quarter collapse in Game 5, the Hawks have played very good defense for three games and started sharing the ball in the last six quarters.
Atlanta players don’t have to run isolations time after time to score, they get much better offensive flow by passing, cutting and finding open shooters. Though Milwaukee lacked the height to compete with the Hawks inside, the increased offensive movement made them a much better offensive rebounding team which will be a requirement in this series, especially if it leads to fouls on Howard.
On defense, Atlanta was able to pressure the Bucks guards with greater persistence and they will have to have that same gumption with all the Orlando shooters.
To start the series, the better strategy for the Hawks is to man-up the Magic and keep in contact with their sharp-shooters and hope Al Horford can force Howard out to around 10 feet and keep him away from the rim. What hurts Atlanta is when they allow dribble penetration, setting up Howard for easy dunks because of help defense and three-point marksmen are left alone to hit the bulls-eye.
Joe Johnson and Crawford have to be the offensive catalysts as scorers and facilitators. Horford, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams are much better players when they receive passes in their comfort zone.
"We're confident," Hawks center Horford said. "I think we've figured out if we play hard defensively we always give ourselves a chance to win games. And we just have to come out and match their intensity. They have a lot of good shooters, they have Dwight inside. It's going to be a challenge... but we're excited." Atlanta is 5-18 ATS on the road in all playoff games.
Atlanta will have no better chance to grab the upper hand feeding off the momentum of series win and Orlando being rusty for first contest. The Hawks players, at least outwardly believe they can win two series for the first time in franchise history since moving to Atlanta in 1968. That means playing at a level they are not accustomed to and doing whatever it takes. From talent perspective, they could pull the upset, but Orlando is a bad matchup for them with their style (4-8 SU & ATS) and ultimately prevails.
Pick- Orlando (-800) in six over Atlanta (+500)


NBA: Raptors invade Atlanta seeking playoff bid
2010-04-09

The Toronto Raptors find themselves in a difficult spot with just four games remaining in the NBA’s regular season. While tied with the Bulls for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as of this morning, Toronto needs a win in a city it has struggled, Atlanta, all the while hoping to avoid looking ahead to Sunday’s showdown with Chicago. Making matters worse, Raptors star Chris Bosh could be sidelined for the rest of the season. Sportsbook.com has installed the host Hawks as 9-point favorites for Friday’s contest.

Three weeks ago, Bosh helped the Toronto Raptors take advantage of the absence of Atlanta Hawks leading scorer Joe Johnson. While Johnson might be out again Friday night in Atlanta, the Raptors won’t be able to rely on Bosh this time. Attempting to close in on the Eastern Conference’s final playoff berth, Toronto will try to overcome the loss of its leading scorer and rebounder and win in Atlanta for the first time in nearly 2 1/2 years.

Bosh made a 16-foot jumper with 2.1 seconds left in a 106-105 home victory over the Hawks on March 17, while Johnson sat with a strained Achilles’. That shot is one of the reasons Toronto (38-40, 35-41-2 ATS) is still battling Chicago for the eighth playoff spot in the East.

The Raptors will have to beat out the Bulls without Bosh, who’s expected to be sidelined for “weeks” while recovering from surgery to repair a facial fracture. The All-Star forward, whose averaging career bests of 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds, suffered the injury when he took an inadvertent elbow from Cleveland forward Antawn Jamison in a 113-101 loss Tuesday.

The next night, Hedo Turkoglu bumped heads with Boston’s Tony Allen as Toronto dropped its third straight, 115-104. Turkoglu remains day-to-day after a CT scan showed no major injuries.

“When it rains it pours, I guess,” swingman Antoine Wright said. “We’re dropping like flies right now.” The spread losses are piling up as well with 4-14 ATS record after allowing 100 or more points.

Those injuries could hurt the Raptors, who are 6-13 ATS off SU loss, during a pivotal two-game stretch against the Hawks (49-29, 44-33-1 ATS) and Bulls, who visit Toronto on Sunday.

Heading to Atlanta doesn’t seem like a good way to begin as they’re winless in four trips (1-3 ATS) since a 100-88 victory Dec. 11, 2007. The Raptors, though, could have an opportunity to snap that skid if Johnson misses his fourth straight game with a sprained right thumb.

Before the loss in March, the Hawks had won four straight over Toronto with their leading scorer (21.2 ppg) in the lineup, including the first two meetings this season. In the previous matchup in Atlanta, they broke a Philips Arena scoring record with a 146-115 victory Dec. 2. Al Horford scored 24 points to lead nine Hawks players in double figures.

Atlanta, though, has scored 94.3 points per game - 7.3 below its season average - over its last nine contests, topping 100 just once. Despite those scoring struggles, the Hawks have won 10 straight at home (6-4 ATS), their longest streak since taking 20 straight from Nov. 12, 1996-Feb. 12, 1997.

Adding to that run would give Atlanta its first 50-win season since 1997-98 and also help in the race for the East’s No. 3 seed. The Hawks enter Friday tied with Boston with four games remaining for both clubs and they are 6-2 ATS if their opponent cracked the century mark in points in previous outing.

They’ll face a Raptors team that’s allowed at least 113 points in four straight games and an average of 108.7 during a 7-16 stretch. That could help the Hawks deliver a better performance than in Wednesday’s 90-88 loss at Detroit. Against a team that was missing five players, Atlanta blew a nine-point lead, getting outscored 25-16 in the fourth quarter.

Sportsbook.com released the Hawks as nine-point favorites with total of 202.5 in this battle of Eastern Conference clubs fighting for positioning in the playoffs. Atlanta is 14-4 ATS vs. Atlantic Division teams and 9-3 OVER off a spread loss.

Toronto is 4-1-1 ATS in last six road encounters, but 9-23 ATS if last outing was double digit loss. The Raptors are 7-3 OVER after a spread defeat.

This matchup begins at 7:30 Eastern in local TV markets with the favorite 10-3 ATS.

The StatFox Power Line shows Atlanta by 9, almost as if oddsmakers simply looked at that number before releasing it.






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