While the Courier-Journal’s Brett Dawson reports that embattled Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith has yet to go over the ’06/07 autopsy with AD Mitch Barnhart, Minneapolis’ WCCO claims Smith is en route to the University Of Minnesota, where he could be introduced as the Gophers’ new coach as soon as tomorrow.
Were it not for the fact that much of Boston is hanging on whether or not Jonathan Papelbon will once again be the Red Sox closer, there might be a bigger outcry over Doc Rivers’ decision to do what he previously swore he wouldn’t — tank a game, in this case, last night’s choke-fest against Charlotte. From the Boston Globe’s Shira Springer.
“I was not throwing the game or anything like that because I’ve heard all those questions [before],” said Rivers. “Honestly, I got to the point early in the fourth quarter and I turned to my coaches and I said, ‘We’re going to win or lose with this group.’ I got to the point where I thought, ‘What do we get if we win this game if we put Paul [Pierce] and Al [Jefferson] back in? What do we get out of this game?’ That was what I was asking on the bench. What would we get out of that? If we put those guys in, we win?
“At some point, those other guys have to be able to play a little bit. You look at the Phil Jacksons. They’re able to [put the game in the hands of the bench] all year because they know they’re playing for a title and they can teach lessons to their bench. They’ve lost games that way. All those other coaches who don’t have championship teams don’t have the opportunity to actually do that, where you just leave them in anyway. [Last night], I just said, ‘They’re staying in.’ I got the bad looks from [starters] on our bench and I just told them, ‘No, you’re not going in.’
“Everybody on the bench wants to play on every team. Everybody wants minutes. Then, when you get in, you’ve got to have fight. Just the fight is what bothered me. I thought [Charlotte] took it from them minus Leon [Powe] . . . There was no other message [but], ‘Hold the lead, win the game, and have pride. Lose the lead and show us what you don’t have.’ “