From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: As for Brown, like most of the readers filling our Twitter feed, I have my reservations. He’s an excellent defensive coach, something the Lakers could obviously use, but there were serious and legitimate questions about his offensive creativity and, perhaps more importantly, Brown’s ability to manage egos. On the other hand, while it’s not an award I put a whole lot of stock in, Brown has been a Coach of the Year (’08-’09) and ran up a .663 winning percentage with the Cavs. Fair or not, though, Brown received tons of flak for the ways in which Cleveland failed through their postseason runs in the LeBron James era. In L.A., Brown would have far more frontcourt skill at his disposal than he ever had with the Cavs, which obviously can make any coach look a lot smarter.
From Matt McHale, By The Horns: The Bulls gave absolutely everything they had last night. It wasn’t enough. There are several stats from this game that blow my mind. LeBron James had a playoff career-best success rate at the free throw line (13-for-13) and Chris Bosh wasn’t far off that mark (10-for-11). The Heat — who ranked 12th in the league in free throw shooting (76.9 percent) during the regular season — hit their last 24 foul shots and finished 32-for-38 (84.2 percent), making their 38-22 advantage in free throw attempts even bigger than it already would have been. The Bulls outdueled the Heat 44-24 in the paint and scored 26 fast break points … and lost.
From John Krolik, Heat Index: It was the type of game that has plagued LeBron James throughout his playoff career, and the type of game that has kept him from getting a ring up to this point in his NBA career. A year ago, James led his team to a 2-1 series lead against one of the best defensive teams in basketball, only to be effectively shut down over the next three games. Those struggles against Boston’s defense were the first in a chain of events that saw him go from one of the league’s most admired players to one of the most hated athletes in American professional sports, in part because it wasn’t the first time it had happened to him. Time and again throughout his playoff career, when he was challenged by a defense that refused to give him easy lanes to the basket or easy passing lanes, LeBron came up short, whether it was against Detroit, San Antonio or Boston.
From Broderick Turner, LA Times: The Lakers have put together a deal to hire former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown as their new coach, an NBA official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said late Tuesday. If Brown agrees to the deal, he’ll sign a contract worth between $4 million and $4.5 million per season, the official said. Brown would sign for three years, with a team option on the fourth season that would give him partial pay if he was not retained. Brown, 41, became the front-runner because Jim Buss, the team’s executive vice president of player personnel, was impressed with his defense-minded style. Former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman also was in the mix for the job and will remain a candidate to replace Phil Jackson if Brown turns down the deal from the Lakers.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: With conflicted feelings swirling in his mind, Lakers forward Luke Walton entered his exit interview ready to share his sentiments about playing for Coach Phil Jackson while honestly expressing his frustration over a diminished role. Over the years, Jackson has often joked that he viewed Walton as his “son,” with similarities running strong. They had both been hungry utility players, strong proponents of the triangle offense, and, in the eyes of many Lakers fans, the relationship resulted in Jackson elevating Walton to a role he didn’t deserve. Too bad that didn’t actually fit the reality of the 2010-2011 season, in which Walton played a career-low nine minutes per game, averaging just 1.7 points on 32.8% shooting even though his back was healthy. That’s why Walton’s exit interview was sentimental, because of the deep respect he has for Jackson, but equally frustrating because of his diminished role.
From Janis Carr, OC Register: It’s not like Theo Ratliff doesn’t have enough to think about with his future hanging in the air and a lockout looming. But since his mother taught him to put others first, that’s exactly what the veteran center has been doing since the Lakers were ousted from the playoffs. Ratliff spent nearly a week spearheading an effort to help those in the storm-ravaged areas of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi, starting in Birmingham, Ala. Twenty-three trucks, filled with food, water and other supplies were sent out across the region. “I grew up in Alabama – born and raised – and when all this happened during the playoffs so I couldn’t do anything right away,” said Ratliff, who grew up in the small town of Demopolis, Ala. “My mom lives in Tuscaloosa and while she didn’t get hit by the tornado, down the street a mile or two was hit pretty hard.