NBA Notes: Boylan won't return as Bucks head coach

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NBA Notes: Boylan won't return as Bucks head coach

ST. FRANCIS, Wis. -- Jim Boylan will not return as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.

The announcement Wednesday, long expected, comes three days after the Bucks were swept out of their first playoff appearance in three years. General manager John Hammond says a search for a new coach will begin "immediately."

Boylan took over Jan. 8 after the Bucks and Scott Skiles parted ways. Though Milwaukee won its first two games under Boylan and eight of his first 11, the Bucks fell apart at the end of the season. They lost 12 of their last 16 games to finish with a losing record for a third straight year, and had to play the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

Boylan finishes with a 22-32 record (see full story).

Spoelstra pulling right strings
MIAMI -- Erik Spoelstra has spent three years talking about sacrifices made by Miami Heat players, how individual egos get checked at the door of the locker room in pursuit of greater goals.

The Heat coach applies the same rules to himself.

Spoelstra doesn't want to know how many coaches have won back-to-back NBA championships -- it's seven, by the way. He shakes off any talk about his own legacy or how some around the league think he should be a coach-of-the-year candidate this season. And when conversation is sparked about how he manages such a deep roster, he usually gives credit to his staff.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade says Spoelstra's talent as a manager of talent is overlooked. "He's done it," Wade says (see full story).

Summer league adds championship round
MIAMI -- The NBA Summer League is adding a championship round.

The league announced Wednesday that for the first time since the summer league's inception in 2004, it will feature a format that includes preliminary games followed by a single-elimination tournament leading to an eventual champion.

This year's summer league starts in Las Vegas on July 12, and the champion will be crowned on July 22. All teams will play at least five games, with the tournament set to begin after teams are seeding following the conclusion of games played July 16.

Several of the league's top eventual rookies have played in the league in recent years, including Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Kevin Durant, Tyreke Evans, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard (see full story).

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat 114-84
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks 114-110
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

NEW ORLEANS -- Of all the players Joel Embiid could be compared to, a similarity between a 7-foot-2, 270-something-pound center and a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard wouldn’t seem like a match.

That’s exactly what Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry sees, however, when looking at Embiid and reigning MVP Steph Curry.

“He’s different than anybody that’s been in this league in a long, long time,” Gentry said Thursday before the Sixers win over the Pelicans. “He’s a tremendous talent, he really is. I’ve never seen a guy that size, and with that kind of strength, that’s got such a soft touch. He shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry. It’s so soft when it leaves his hand.”

Curry is shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three. Embiid is 45.8 percent from the floor is 44.2 percent from long range.

Embiid flashed a big smile and paused to react when hearing of Gentry’s praise. He had been feeling hard on himself after going 0 for 5 beyond the arc against the Pelicans (see story).

“Steph is probably one of the best shooters in the league right now," Embiid said. "So that compliment means a lot."