The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the internet
1. “Three things from Houston’s last-second 97-96 win” — Tim Cato, SB Nation
After an impressive comeback for the Warriors, James Harden hit a step-back jumper with 2.7 seconds remaining to win the game for the Rockets. The Beard didn’t play up to his standards in the first two games of the series, but he regained his groove on Thursday night, scoring 35 points on the night and flirting with a triple-double (eight rebounds and nine assists). He also put Draymond Green and Marreese Speights on a poster with a vicious slam in the fourth quarter. On the other side, Shaun Livingston played a huge role in Golden State’s comeback. He punished Houston from mid-range with his refined back-to-the-basket game. His style is a stark contrast to Curry’s, but Livingston fits in perfectly with the Warriors.
2. “Why Wizards fans shouldn’t count on Scott Brooks to lure Kevin Durant” — Chris Mannix, The Vertical
Scott Brooks has agreed to a deal with the Washington Wizards to become their next head coach. Having previously coached Kevin Durant, Scott gives the Wizards hope that they can lure the biggest free agent this summer. However, Mannix believes it to be false hope. Durant reportedly doesn’t want to play in his hometown, where he would have to deal with family, friends and those who claim to be his friends. But whether KD signs there or not, Scott is the best man for the coaching job in Washington. He developed KD and Westbrook into MVP-caliber players and won 62 percent of his games with the Thunder. With John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter, the Wizards have tons of potential for Brooks to work with.
3. “Lakers missed their chance at Tom Thibodeau“– Adrian Wojnarowski, The Vertical
While the Lakers were sitting there, twiddling their thumbs and trying to decide what to do with Byron Scott, they missed out on signing perhaps the best coaching candidate on the market. Thibodeau could’ve helped lure free agents to LA as he’s built relationships with the league’s stars through his USA basketball coaching job. Instead, he’s on his way to Minnesota to groom a promising young team. Had Thibs been present for the Lakers’ free-agent presentation, LaMarcus Aldridge would’ve taken their offer a little more seriously. There’s no guarantee that Thibs would’ve taken the Lakers job even if he were offered, as Minnesota promised him Karl-Anthony Towns and power within the organization. But Thibs revels in the bright lights, and winning in LA would’ve been historic. The Lakers missed their chance.
4. “Warriors loss means nothing, and Rockets bench knew it” — Ray Ratto, CSN Bay Area
The Warriors lost Game 3, and deservedly so, but the Rockets still didn’t show enough to convince anyone they can make noise in this series. It seems the Rockets players don’t seem convinced that this victory matters, as they looked completely emotionless after Harden drained the game-winner. Houston won by a single point in a game where Klay Thompson struggled from the field, Draymond Green played well below his standards and Stephen Curry was out with an ankle injury. Normally the underdog would receive more appreciation for beating a superpower, but in this case, mostly everyone outside of Houston is tired of watching the Rockets.
5. “This is not the end of Kobe Bryant in the NBA, Adam Silver says” — Kami Mattioli, Sporting News
Bryant had an unforgettable last career game, and he certainly won’t be forgotten about in the NBA long after he retires. According to Adam Silver, the league has engaged in discussions with Bryant about the various ways they’d include him in future NBA plans in a role similar to that of former Boston Celtic Bill Russell. Silver called the cultured Bryant a “unique” type of former player for his ability to speak multiple languages and worldwide fame. Thus, Bryant could be a great ambassador for the NBA’s brand across the globe. ESPN and TNT have both expressed interest in bringing in Bryant as an analyst, but the former Laker isn’t interested for now.