Report: Frank is Pistons next head coach

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Report: Frank is Pistons next head coach

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
BOSTON CSNNE.com has learned that Boston Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank will be the next head coach of the Detroit Pistons, with an announcement to be made within the next day or two.

The story was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

Frank, who spent six-plus seasons as the head coach of the New Jersey Nets, has been in a two-man race for the Pistons job with ex-Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson who was an assistant on the Pistons' 2004 NBA championship team.

The job became available when the Pistons fired head coach, and former Celtics assistant, John Kuester.

With Frank becoming the next head coach of the Pistons, that creates another void on the coaching staff. Former Celtics coaching assistant Darren Erman accepted a similar coaching position with the Golden State Warriors earlier this month.

Of the two, filling the void left by Frank would be a greater priority.

The man the Celtics may turn to may very well be the man Frank beat out for the Pistons job.

Woodson has maintained that he wants back in as a head coach.

"I think I did enough during my first head coaching stint to deserve another shot at running a team," Woodson told CSNNE.com earlier.

After winning just 13 games during his first season in Atlanta, the Hawks improved their winning percentage every season afterward under Woodson which included three consecutive trips to the playoffs -- something no Atlanta coach had done since Lenny Wilkens, the all-time winningest coach in NBA history, in the mid-to-late 1990s.

But there's a reason why the Hawks didn't renew his contract. Woodson proved what he could do with a young, moldable group of players. But it was unclear if Woodson could take the Hawks beyond being a team that every now and then would get out of the first round, but go no further than that.

When you look at the Celtics moving forward, there's little doubt that they'll continue to get younger and more athletic.

They took steps in addressing that by drafting Purdue All-American Jajuan Johnson in the first round of last month's NBA draft.

One of Woodson's strengths, even dating back to his days as an assistant with Larry Brown in Philadelphia and later in Detroit, was his ability to help develop young players.

Joe Johnson is talented and showed flashes of that in Phoenix, but the former first round pick of the Celtics didn't become an all-star talent until he arrived in Atlanta. And Josh Smith, one of the most freakishly athletic players in the NBA, is still a work in progress.

But there's no denying he is a more complete player now in part because of the many run-ins he had with Woodson, who has never shied away from pushing a younger player if he sees more in them than they're showcasing.

Woodson actually spent some time in Boston this past season checking out a couple Celtics practices.

Doc Rivers has made a habit of inviting recently fired coaches to his practices during the season.

"I don't get to sit in anybody's veterans camp," Woodson told CSNNE.com. "To be invited in, get a chance to sit in and see what these other guys are doing, it's kind of nice. You're always competing on the sidelines against them during the season; just to watch them conduct practice and the various things they do. I take a few notes, and try to incorporate some things in what you do and move on."

Don't think for a minute it's a one-way street.

"It's just great to have a fresh set of eyes see your team, and give you feedback," Rivers told CSNNE.com earlier this past season. "They'll all say this helps them, but I get something out of it, too."

Rivers did the same thing with Frank when he was fired by the Nets a couple years ago.

While that didn't necessarily seal the deal for him coming to Boston, "it didn't hurt," Rivers said.

We'll see if a similar ending plays out with Woodson.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – There are 240 minutes of play in an NBA game, but Boston’s 112-99 Game 4 loss to Cleveland came down to seven (six minutes and 46 seconds to be precise).

That would be the amount of time left in the second quarter that LeBron James spent on the bench with four personal fouls (a first for him in the first half of an NBA playoff game ever) and Boston ahead by 10 points.

Boston could not have asked for a better scenario than that, especially considering how well they had played up to that point in the game and again, knowing that James wasn’t about to set foot back on the court until the third quarter.

But here’s the problem.

Boston’s 10-point lead when James left with four fouls.

Halftime rolled around and Boston’s lead was still at just 10 points.

Celtics players agreed that not finding a way to increase their lead with James out was among the more pivotal stretches of play in Game 4.

“They did a really good job of not letting it (the 10-point lead) get out of control while he was on the bench,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told CSNNE.com. “Every time we scored, they came back and scored.  They answered back with everything we answered.”

While many will point to that stretch as a time when the Celtics failed to make the necessary adjustments to increase their chances of winning, it wasn’t as if the Cavs are a one-man team.

“They still have two All-Stars out on the court,” said Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. “With the best player in the world they go to unreal, but they’re still a pretty darned good team when those guys are out there.”

Irving had a playoff career-high 42 points which included him scoring 12 of Cleveland’s 14 points in the final 6:46 of the second with James on the bench.

“He’s one of the best point guards in the NBA, and you know, you can tell he puts in a lot of work in his game, a lot of respect from myself, my teammates,” said Avery Bradley. “We have to do a better job at defending him as a unit, trying to make everything hard on him. He definitely got a great rhythm going tonight, and I felt like we had a chance to make it harder on him.”

James still finished with a strong stat line for the night – 34 points, six assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot.

As good as he was on the court, the Celtics have to be kicking themselves for not doing more with the time James on the bench in the second quarter which in hindsight, was among the bigger factors in them now returning home facing elimination as opposed to being tied at two games apiece in this series.

“What are you going to do?” said Cleveland’s Kevin Love. “You have to continue to fight through it. At halftime, we were down 10. We made some adjustments on the defensive end and we just fought; we needed to. They got everything out of us tonight in that second half, but we played more inspired basketball as well.”

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics don't take advantage of LeBron's foul trouble

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics don't take advantage of LeBron's foul trouble

CLEVELAND – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday night’s Game 4 matchup between Boston and Cleveland which ended with the Cavs rallying for a 112-99 win. Boston now trails Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.

 

STARS

Kyrie Irving

He was simply the best player on the floor by a mile in Game 4 as he tallied a career playoff-high 42 points with 21 coming in the pivotal third quarter.

LeBron James

Despite picking up four personal fouls in the first half – a first for him in a playoff game ever – James bounced back with a dominant performance. He finished with 34 points, 15 of which came in the decisive fourth quarter. He also had six assists and five rebounds.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He continues to be one of the more consistent Celtics in this series. In Game 4, he had 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting with eight rebounds and four assists.

Kevin Love

Most of Game 4, Kevin Love found ways to make life difficult for the Celtics. He ended up with a double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds with five assists and two blocked shots.

Avery Bradley

Boston’s Game 3 hero couldn’t deliver like that in Game 4, but Bradley still managed to score a team-high 19 points to go with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

 

DUDS

Boston’s sense of urgency

They had the Cavs in prime position to be beaten. But they didn’t play with the kind of effort and focus in the second half, that we saw through most of the first. And that 6:46 stretch in the second quarter when LeBron James was on the bench, and they didn’t increase their lead? That was a major, major factor in the game’s outcome.