September 18, 2019

Lawrence Frank Grinds On

February 01, 2012

Lawrence Frank, head coach of the Detroit Pistons has seen better days. The first year has not started kindly for the guy who as an assistant coach under Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics. Frank helped the Celtics give up the fewest points in the NBA. However, that hasn't been the case in the first 22 games this year, his first with the Pistons.

They came into Madison Square Garden having lost 18 of those games. It hasn't helped that his key player, Ben Gordon from Yonkers, has been out the last 5 games with a shoulder injury. In the 15 games he's played, Gordon averaged 33 minutes and 15 points. Will Bynum (strained right foot) and Charlie Villanueva (sore right ankle) have missed significant time as well. It's life in a league that had to start the year with a shortened training camp and an abbreviated pre-season schedule. Those facts have not been lost on Frank.

"It is what it is," Frank said after watching his team get romped by the Knicks 113-86 on a night where they allowed New York to shoot 60% from the floor and 50% from 3-point land. "There's no excuse. We have to do better with what we have."

For more than 7 years, Frank was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets taking over after then head coach Byron Scott was fired at the end of January during the 2004 season. He quickly made news by winning his first 13 games. No other coach in the four major professional sports began their career in such fashion. Six of those games came on the road, setting another record. When he was let go at the end of the 2009-10 season, Frank was the Nets all-time leader in coaching victories. Under his guidance, Frank's team made the playoffs 4 years in a row, including winning the Atlantic Division twice and advancing to the Conference Semi-Finals three times. Taking over a Detroit franchise that has seen better days may be Frank's most daunting task.

The Detroit Pistons championships years has been well documented. Led by Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars they won back-to-back NBA Titles in 1989 and 1990 against the Lakers and Portland respectfully. Those teams were led by legendary head coach Chuck Daly and the Bad Boys moniker was established by their hardcore defensive players, Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer.

"When I was in New Jersey they (the Pistons) had to go through us in the eastern conference semi-finals. They were a hard-nosed, blue-collar defense first. Share the basketball, team first, grind it out team. Very tough-minded," said Frank.

It would take them 14 years (2004) to win their next championship, with a team that was built more on finesse and athleticism. Larry Brown was at the helm coaching Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Tashuan Prince and Ben Wallace. They defeated a heavily favored Lakers team that included Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O' Neal. Prince and Wallace are still with the Pistons and although they lost the following year to San Antonio, neither has been close to another final. Prince, who finished with 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting, believes the core is there to build another winner. Prince knows he and Wallace can guide the rest of the team in the right direction.

"At some point, we have to build a foundation to where we're going to get to that."

It would help if they could get Gordon, Bynum and Villanueva back and healthy, as soon as possible.

Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers head coach, spoke with reporters at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn prior to the Clippers’ game with the Brooklyn Nets

During the press conference Rivers spoke about:

• Adjustments new guys and teams face when they add new players
• A critique of Clippers’ recent game against the Philadelphia 76er’s
• Sixers guard/forward Ben Simmons’ maturity and all-around skill level
• Praise for Nets’ guards Allen Crabbe and Joe Harris. Crabbe for his shooting ability and Harris for his “unshakeable confidence”
• His last opportunity to sit in the stands and watch an NBA game as a spectator

Joe Harris and D’Angelo Russell each scored 16 points, but all Clippers’ starters scored in double digits

Monday night was not a good night for the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. Team black-and-white could not make any inroads against the Los Angeles Clippers and its 114-101 loss brings the Nets’ losing streak to six consecutive games. Right now, sitting on a 19-39 win-loss record for this season, the Nets need to hustle to bypass its 20-62 win-loss record from last season in order to show that it is an improved team. It hasn’t helped to have several injured players this season. D’Angelo Russell just returned after he was sidelined for six weeks, now both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are out with injuries. And, the Nets are really missing Hollis-Jefferson’s defensive presence.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters at his postgame presser that “defensively” is where the Nets struggled the most tonight.

“We couldn’t stop them,” Atkinson said regarding the Nets’ defensive abilities. “We never found any solution to stop them. They really got downhill on us. Their pick-and-roll game, their guards were in the paint and they were laying it up or shooting floaters or throwing the lob. We held them to 16 three’s but, again, did way too many paint drives. We knew we had to keep them out of the paint and we never did it. That was the story of the game, couldn’t stop them.”

The picture is not totally bleak, as there were some bright spots for Brooklyn. In this game against the Clippers, the Nets registered 10 steals led by three steals from Quincy Acy and two steals from Allen Crabbe. Brooklyn’s assist game was tight showing that the team played as a team, edging the Clippers 27-19 in assists. The Nets have averaged 30.0 assists per game in their last three games, compared to an average of 20.7 assists per game for their last three opponents.

The Nets weren’t exactly doormats. Joe Harris and D’Angelo Russell each had 16 points for the Nets, with Russell adding five assists, two rebounds, and one steal. Allen Crabbe totaled 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and a season-high-tying two steals in 33 minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie also scored in double figures for Brooklyn, tallying 13 points, eight assists, two rebounds and one steal in 36 minutes. DeMarre Carroll recorded his eighth double-double of the season tonight with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 35 minutes.

“Brooklyn shoots a lot of three’s and when they get it going it’s tough,” Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said regarding the Clippers’ need to step up its defense. “For the most part, I was pretty happy. We’ve had some bad losses here. The last two years we’ve had some big leads and it looked like it was going to happen again but we caught ourselves. Give Brooklyn credit. All year they come back. That’s how they play and we warned our guys about that when they started coming back. When they put them away at the end it was nice.”

For the Clippers, all of its starters scored in double digits, along with two from its second unit. Lou Williams came off the bench and led all scorers with 20 points. Austin Rivers scored 17 points. Both Danilo Gallinari and DeAndre Jordan scored 16 points. Jordan added 17 rebounds to his tally and Gallinari scored five boards. Montrezl Harrell tallied 15 points off the bench. Avery Bradley tallied 11 points, and Tobias Harris chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Next up, the Clippers will face the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. Also on Wednesday, the Nets will face the Indiana Pacers at home at the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: NBA Free Agency 2017 took NBA fans on a wild ride with expected and unexpected changes

Yes, NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. There were changes that most of us expected and some that very few people saw coming. Let’s talk about the winners and those who didn't win too much.

Winners

Houston Rockets landing Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers, which seemed to come out of nowhere. But rumor has it that the relationship between Chris Paul and Doc Rivers had soured somewhat because of perceived favoritism towards Austin Rivers who is Doc Rivers’ son. The challenge will be how Chris Paul and James Harden will be able to play together.

Other winners include the Boston Celtics landing Gordon Hayward; OKC obtaining the services of Paul George; Minnesota for adding Jimmy Butler to its roster, the Golden State Warriors because Kevin Durant took a pay cut in order to keep the team intact, and the NBA for continuing to make headlines in mid-July.

Biggest Losers

The Chicago Bulls with the trade of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota Timberwolves by many accounts is the biggest loser in the 2017 NBA Free Agency. 

Also, the Indiana Pacers losing Paul George to OKC, and the Utah Jazz losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics. Indiana and Utah are both small market teams who are losing their draw and possibly revenue.

Nets beat back the Clippers with a 127-122 double overtime win; Sean Kilpatrick scores a career-high 38 points

There was no California sunshine in Brooklyn on November 29th when Los Angeles Clippers came to town. Although the weather outside was dreary, fans ventured out in the elements to celebrate Barbados Culture Night and to cheer on the Brooklyn Nets as they took on one of the powerhouses in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams entered the game looking to end their respective losing streaks, both looking for a spark to create a turnaround.

The start of the game wasn’t stellar for the Nets as they were held scoreless in the opening minutes of the game. Even though the Clippers shot 55% from the floor in the first quarter, the Nets were within striking distance trailing the Clippers by four points going into the second quarter. Brooklyn continued to trail the Los Angeles for the next two quarters, while the Clippers extended their lead to 18 points.

Would this be a repeat of the rout the Nets experienced at the hands of this team earlier in the month at the Staples Center? Perhaps that prospect was too much for the home team. Perhaps it was the scrappy never give up attitude that resides in the Brooklyn locker room. Whatever the reason, the fourth quarter saw a shift in momentum in favor of the Nets. Nets defense clamped down and a bucket by Sean Kilpatrick kicked the Nets offense into high gear. It wouldn’t be the last time an attendee heard “SSSSS K, Sean Kilpatrick” over the PA system after a made basket because Kilpatrick rattled off 20 points in the fourth quarter.

Nets center Brook Lopez contributed to the run and gave the Nets a three-point lead with little over one minute left in regulation. The never-give-up attitude wasn’t in short supply as Clippers point guard Chris Paul sank a game-tying three-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in the game. Sean Kilpatrick launched a potential game-winning shot for the Nets but it rattled off the rim sending the game into overtime.

The electricity in the Barclays Center was thick, the fans were charged and chants of “BROOOKLYNN!” filled the arena. The start of overtime saw the hot hand of Lopez give the Nets the lead and the Clippers fired back courtesy of DeAndre Jordan. Sean Kilpatrick was able to slice through the Clippers defense at will. The night took an interesting turn when Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was assessed a technical foul which sent him into a rage, requiring his staff and players to restrain him and he was gifted with a second technical foul resulting in ejection. With an early exit for Doc, his team was forced to sojourn without him. Missed free throws by Isaiah Whitehead left the door open for the Clippers to tie the score and Jamal Crawford did just that.

Enter the second overtime. The crowd was still energetic as ten exhausted bodies took to the court. Brooklyn had enough spark to outscore the Clippers 9-4 leading them to victory. The Nets ended their losing streak and brought a little sunshine to their fans. Nets center Brook Lopez recognized how integral a part the fans play during the game, calling it a “symbiotic relationship, just feeding off each other.”

 

Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins makes the list for the second time; others include Los Angeles Clippers President and Head Coach Doc Rivers; Golden State Warriors point guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry; Los Angeles Lakers small forward Metta World Peace, and New York Liberty’s Swin Cash; Mychal Thompson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Get Honorable Mentions

What’s The 411TV announced its list of 25 Most Interesting People of 2015, and the 21-time tennis grand slam winner, Serena Williams, along with five other sports figures made the cut.

The list of 25 leads with a tie between singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist Harry Belafonte; and social relevant photographer Steven Somerstein, who documented the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March. Serena Williams sits at No. 2.

The legendary tennis player won the first three tennis majors in 2015 and lost in the U.S. Open semifinals, thereby missing a calendar-year Grand Slam. Serena Williams, the world’s number one female tennis player, has 26 consecutive wins in majors.

With a spectacular career that has spanned more than 20-years, Williams took tennis lovers and aficionados on an incredible ride this past year, and we're still rooting for her.

Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach Glenn Anton "Doc" Rivers comes in at No. 6 on the list because he's a sage that helped to keep the NBA intact in a moment of serious crisis.

At No. 7 is Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins; he made the list for the second time. We have learned a lot more about Coach Hollins in the past year: he's a straight-shooter, instructive, and he manages the New York media.

Golden State Warriors guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry made the list at No. 8 because, as a fierce competitor, he understands his limitations and has developed strategies to overcome them; a lesson for us all.

Los Angeles Lakers small forward Metta World Peace is No. 13; he, too, is a fierce competitor and when he's in your presence, there's never a dull moment.

At No. 14 is New York Liberty forward Swintayla Marie “Swin” Cash; she has parlayed her prolific scoring and rebounding skills into a studio analyst gig for select New York Knicks games.

In the Honorable Mention category are former NBA player and Klay Thompson’s dad, Mychal Thompson; and Brooklyn Nets rookie small forward, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Although Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson is an NBA All-Star, the elder Thompson still has no problem giving his son fatherly advice. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is currently sidelined with a broken ankle, but he is a selfless millennial who, along with his brother, bought his mother a house as soon as he signed his NBA contract.

What's The 411TV's 25 Most Interesting People of 2015 is an eclectic list of people interviewed by What's The 411TV reporters primarily as exclusives, but this year, we included a couple of group press conferences attended by our reporters. The list consists of people who have spurred a movement; those who have made an impact in their respective fields globally; iconic figures; athletes; coaches; entrepreneurs; and those making it happen behind the scenes. Domestic Violence dominated headlines in 2015, and two people, Katrina Walker and Melissa Holmes, survivors of domestic abuse, are on the list for telling their compelling stories and helping others. Ms. Walker, a mother of four children, left her abusive husband, found a job and then created 24-hour daycare centers in two states.

VIDEO: Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers gives the media his postgame assessment of the Clippers performance against the Brooklyn Nets on December 12, 2015. The Clippers won 105-100.

Nets couldn’t find a way to capitalize on momentum and finish off the Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers (13-10) entered the Barclays Center on Saturday, to take on the Brooklyn Nets (7-15), who were looking to extend their two-game winning streak while the Clippers were looking to rebound after a tough loss to the Chicago Bulls two days prior.

The Clippers shooting woes appeared to be a thing of the past as they made 11 of their first 15 shots to start the game with guard JJ Redick rediscovering his shooter’s touch. The Nets kept pace with the Clippers for a good portion of the first quarter, but their misses from the beyond the arc proved to be the difference, as they fell behind in the first half.

Trailing the Clippers 57-44 at the half, the Nets opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run. With Jarrett Jack leading the offense, the Nets were able to penetrate the defense allowing open shots on the perimeter. After being held scoreless for three quarters, Andrea Bargnani found his stroke in the fourth playing an instrumental role in a 24-8 Nets run showing their competitive nature and desire to end the night with a win.

Trailing by 10 points, Nets head coach Lionel Hollins employed the “Hack-a-Jordan” strategy at the 5:20 mark in the fourth quarter. With DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers center, shooting just 39% from the free throw line, it became a game of odds. Fouling Jordan slowed down the game and gave the Nets offense more opportunities to score. Hollins’ strategy was successful, as the Nets further cut the Clippers lead. This forced Clippers head coach Doc Rivers to bench Jordan, removing his shot blocking ability that alters many of his opponents’ shots in the paint.

With the Clippers leading by two points and momentum in the Nets favor, Doc Rivers re-inserted Jordan into the lineup with 1:35 left in the game. Breakdowns in Nets defense allowed Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to make key baskets down the stretch.

When it was all said and done, the Nets succumbed to the Clippers 105-100.

Even though it was a loss, Nets head coach Lionel Hollins stood behind his team.

"Maybe we take the lead and control the game, but I'm proud of our guys -- how they battled, how they competed," Nets head coach Lionel Hollins said after the game. "You know, it's just disappointing that we couldn't come all the way back and get this win."

Thaddeus Young led all Nets scorers with 18 points. Other Nets starters scoring in double digits were Jarrett Jack with 16 points, both Joe Johnson and Bojan Bogdanovic tallied up 15 points, and Brook Lopez chipped in 14.

For the Clippers, JJ Redick and Blake Griffin scored team highs of 21 points each.

 

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