NBA Roundup: Nuggets-Clippers in do-or-die; D’Antoni leaves Rockets; Pau Gasol, wife name newborn after Kobe’s daughter Gianna

Published September 14, 2020, 5:26 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

The Denver Nuggets lived for another day as they triumphed over the Los Angeles Clippers and forced a do-or-die Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal series in Orlando Sunday.
Nuggets rally to beat Clippers, force Game 7
Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets react during the fourth quarter against the LA Clippers in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 12, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Michael Reaves / Getty Images / AFP)

Denver showed resiliency in an elimination game, overcoming a 19-point second half deficit via torrid shooting and smothering defense to beat the Clippers 111-98.

The Nuggets outscored the Clippers 64-35 on 61.1 percent shooting in the second half – 7-of-12 from three-point range – and held the Clippers to 26.3 percent shooting.

Nikola Jokic scored 34 points and had 14 rebounds and seven assists. Teammates Jamal Murray chipped in  21 points, five rebounds, and five assists and Gary Harris added 16 points, four rebounds, and four steals.

Paul George finished with 33 points, six rebounds and five steals, while Kawhi Leonard had 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals for the Clippers.

The Clippers held a 63-47 halftime lead but Denver regrouped in the third, clamping down on defense and ran the score while the Clippers’ offense bogged down, enabling Denver to trim the lead.

Denver tied the game at the beginning of the fourth 79-79  and buried a three to take the lead. Jokic nailed back-to-back triples to pad the margin. He later scored five points to put the game out of reach 106-93 with 2:27 left.

D’Antoni won’t return as Rockets coach
Mike D'Antoni
Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Kevin C. Cox / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Mike D’Antoni won’t be back as coach of the Houston Rockets next season to pursue coaching options elsewhere in the NBA.

Houston owner Tilman Fertitta confirmed D’Antoni’s decision which came after team was eliminated from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1.

Fertitta thanked D’Antoni for the four seasons he spent guiding Houston.

”I would like to thank Mike D’Antoni and his wife, Laurel, for their incredible contributions to the Houston Rockets organization and the Houston community,” Fertitta said. ”Mike is a true professional and an amazing basketball mind. He is a winner, and we have been blessed to have such an outstanding coach and leader to work with the past four seasons.”

D’Antoni and Houston had been unable to agree on a contract extension which could be a possible reason for his decision.

He went 217-101 in regular-season contests for a .682 winning percentage and  28-23 in the playoffs with Houston. D’ Antoni was the NBA  coach of the year in 2016-17 in his first season with the Rockets.

A report has said that D’Antoni is a candidate for the vacant Philadelphia 76ers head coaching job.

Houston General Manager Daryl Morey is reportedly keeping  his job for now, following D’Antoni’s exit and the team’s second round playoff elimination.

Five bets to replace D’Antoni

Five names have cropped up as possible replacements for D’Antoni.

One is an NBA champion, another coached Houston before, one was fired last March, and two are assistant coaches.

Two of them have ties to the team, either as a player or coach.

They are:

1. Jeff Van Gundy, 58. He  coached the Rockets from 2003 to 2007.

2. Sam Cassell, current Clippers assistant coach.  He played for the Rockets from 1993 to 1996.

3. Tyronn Lue. Coach of the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers who overcame a 3-1 deficit to win  the NBA Finals in 2016.

4. Kenny Atkinson. He was fired by the Brooklyn Nets last March or just before the season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Stephen Silas. An assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks, he was almost named Houston head coach four years ago.

Pau Gasol, wife name newborn after Kobe’s daughter Gianna
Pau Gasol Family
Pau Gasol and wife Catherine welcome their newborn daughter, Elisabet Gianna. (From Pau Gasol’s Twitter account)

Two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol and his wife Catherine McDonnel announced the birth of their first child Sunday.

They named her Elisabet Gianna in honor of  Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Father and daughter were killed in a helicopter crash last January.

Elisabeth Gianna was born on Sept. 10 which coincided  with her great-grandmother’s 100th birth anniversary  and her parents’ second engagement anniversary.

The couple adored their little bundle of joy.

’Our little one has finally arrived!! The delivery went really well and we couldn’t be happier!!” Gasol said in an Instagram photo showing him holding their newborn’s little hand.

“Elisabet Gianna Gasol ?, a very meaningful name for our super beautiful daughter!! ❤️??? #girldad,” Gasol added in another photo with his wife in the hospital.

Elisabet Gianna’s godparent is Vanessa, Kobe’s wife. Vanessa congratulated the Gasols on Instagram for the birth of their child, adding she was touched by their request and is excited to hold her. (Compiled by Tristan Lozano)