Stevens named Coach of the Month
Back on July 3, 2013, the Boston Celtics signed rookie college head coach Brad Stevens out of Butler to replace Doc Rivers, who bolted for the West Coast. With no coaching experience at the professional level, many questioned this signing. Now, nearly three years later, it seems that the Celtics’ gamble is starting to pay dividends. It was announced on Tuesday that Coach Stevens (along with Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Scotts from the West) were named Conference Coach of the Month for the month of February.
For the month of February, Stevens guided the Celtics to an impressive 9-3 record, the highest record of the month in the Eastern Conference. This also includes an equally impressive 6-0 record at home in TD Garden. During that same span the Celtics averaged 110.8 points per game (top in the conference), including scoring over 100 points in 10 of the 12 games in the month. The Celtics were also tops in the conference in free throw percentage (81.3%) and finished second in assists per game (26.8) only behind the Atlanta Hawks (27.5).
Though considered a minor award in some people’s eyes, this was the first award at the NBA level that Coach Stevens has won. But like all the greats before him, he knows that the bigger prize is bringing home a championship. Still a little recognition is good ever so often, especially by his peers. However if you ask any Celtic player in that locker room, they believe in Stevens and would run through a wall for him and when you have players who feel that way about you, then you know you’re a top NBA coach.
Part-Time Thunders Owner Dies in Car Crash
If there were any other shocking news this week in the NBA, they would not compare to this one. This past Wednesday, Oklahoma City Thunder minority owner and Oklahoma Energy tycoon Aubrey McClendon (in photo above) was involved in a car crash that took his life. Oklahoma City police arrived on the scene Wednesday morning around 9:00 a.m. to see the vehicle McClendon was driving had crashed into a nearby concrete bridge embankment on interstate I-44.
However the circumstances surrounding the accident are quite puzzling.
Just the previous day McClendon was indicted by a federal grand jury. According to the Department of Justice, McClendon was suspected of orchestrating a scheme between two large energy companies (later to be revealed as Chesapeake Energy & Sandridge Energy) from December 2007 to March 2012. The scheme went as followed: the companies would decide ahead of time who would win bids, with the winner then allocating an interest in the leases to the other company, according to the statement. Then recently, there was an action
The accident itself was also perplexing to the local authorities. According to Oklahoma City Police Capt. Paco Balderrama, McClendon, quote, “…pretty much drove straight into the wall.” Balderrama went on to later add that McClendon went left of the center media, drove through a grassy area before colliding into the embankment. Balderrama believed there was plenty of opportunity for him to correct and get back on the roadway but that didn't occur. Oklahoma City police Sgt. Ashley Peters said a probe of Wednesday's crash likely will take up to two weeks, while the state medical examiner's office says an autopsy investigation could take as long as three months.
Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clayton Bennet released a statement in regards of McClendon’s accident. Quote,
"I am overcome with grief. Aubrey McClendon was a visionary community leader, a trusted business partner and a passionate member of the Thunder family. But more than anything, he was a brother and a dear friend. His love of his community and his desire to make Oklahoma a better place will forever inspire all of us. Louise and I offer our love and prayers to Katie and the McClendon family."
It’s always a joyous day when a team announces that they are getting a new mascot (You can eye roll if you want). This past Monday, the Los Angeles Clippers unveiled their new mascot. No, it wasn’t a pair of toe nail clippers or a paper clip. Rather, the new mascot is a condor named Chuck. (see picture below)
Why a condor? Because the official state bird of California is a condor. They, along with the New Orleans Pelicans, are the only NBA teams whose mascot is official state bird of where they play.
During halftime in last Monday night’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Clippers, team owner Steve Balmer introduced Chuck the Condor to the fans as he entertained the masses with dancing, flips, and the slam dunk off a trampoline.
Now with the introduction of Chuck the Condor, that now leaves the NBA with 3 teams without a mascot (Brooklyn Nets, New York Knickerbockers, Los Angeles Lakers). The Clippers coaches and players are accepting the new team mascot while expecting some sort of blow back from some of the fans. However judging by the warm welcome Chuck got on Monday, it's easy to say that this condor will be perching at the Staples Center for quite some time now.
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