Around the Atlantic: Nets honing in on Hollins

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Around the Atlantic: Nets honing in on Hollins

The NBA playoffs may still be in full swing, but that hasn't stopped teams out of the mix from eyeing next year.

According to a report from Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times (via ProBasketballTalk), the Brooklyn Nets have their sights set on Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins. The Nets are in the market for a new coach and Hollins' contract is up at the end of this season.

"Some NBA officials claim the Nets are honing in on Lionel Hollins, Memphis’ coach whose contract will soon expire," Woelfel said. "The Nets’ interest in Hollins is hardly surprising, especially considering the terrific job Hollins has done this season."

Woelfel also writes that the Nets will look at Scott Skiles as a backup option if they aren't able to lure Hollins to Brooklyn.

Shumpert could play in summer league
New York Knicks coaches want guard Iman Shumpert to play in summer league, reports the New York Post's Marc Berman (via ProBasketballTalk).

Shumpert returned to the Knicks midway through this season after suffering an ACL tear in the Knicks' first game of last year's playoffs. He spent most of the season trying to find his footing again before showing signs of his old form during the postseason.

Shumpert averaged 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in 2012-13. He improved those numbers to 9.3 points and 6.0 rebounds a night in the playoffs.

Colangelo getting new role with Raptors
Bryan Colangelo will be moving on from his role as Toronto general manger into the business side of operations for the franchise, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski (via ProBasketballTalk).

The Raptors are reportedly set to make a big run at Denver Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri this offseason to lead their basketball operations.

Richaun Holmes earns high praise from Dwight Howard after career night against Hawks

Richaun Holmes earns high praise from Dwight Howard after career night against Hawks

Richaun Holmes continues to set career-highs in scoring and is doing so against some of the most defensive-minded bigs in the NBA.

Holmes reached his new mark with 25 points against Dwight Howard in the Sixers' 99-92 loss to the Hawks on Wednesday. He also pulled down eight rebounds.

Holmes scored a then-career-high 24 points twice in March, first facing DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers on March 11 and then against Nikola Vucevic and the Magic on March 20.

Holmes' most recent performance earned praise from Howard, who also had a standout night with 22 points and 20 rebounds.

"I thought he played great," Howard said. "I'm real happy for him."

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-Defensive Team selection recalled his early matchups with Holmes and how far Holmes has come in his two years in the league.

"He's a kid that I remember the first time he stepped on the court with me, he was just like excited," Howard said. "He kept saying, 'Wow, I'm on the floor with Dwight Howard.' He just kept saying he was excited. Just to see his growth from that moment, he plays with such passion, it's great to see especially from a young guy like him. I'm proud of him."

Holmes' matchup with Howard was a test of physicality. Howard is listed at 6-foot-11, 265 pounds compared to Holmes at 6-foot-10, 245 pounds.

Holmes rose to the occasion.

"It's another challenge playing against one of the best in the world," he said. "It's another way to learn and another way to get better. Obviously, I enjoyed it."

Holmes is averaging 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in 26.2 minutes over the last 10 games. With an ease playing at the basket, Holmes is working on improving his long-range game. He made a three against the Hawks, which caught Howard by surprise.

There are only seven games remaining in the season. Without a timetable for Jahlil Okafor's return (right knee soreness), Holmes could start in all of them. The once bench-ridden backup has proven he can handle that role.

"He became the forgotten center (earlier this season). Throughout it all, he was not a forgotten teammate," Brett Brown said. "Daylight became available and he has capitalized on that."

Best of NBA: Warriors overcome huge early deficit to beat Spurs

Best of NBA: Warriors overcome huge early deficit to beat Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Klay Thompson had 23 and the Golden State Warriors rallied from a 22-point deficit in the opening quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs 110-98 on Wednesday night for their ninth straight win.

Golden State extended its lead over San Antonio to 3 1/2 games for the league's best record, beating the Spurs for the first time in three meetings this season.

Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and five assists for San Antonio. Leonard shot 7 for 20 from the field while being guarded by a rotation of defenders.

The Spurs had a five-game winning streak halted. Manu Ginobili had 18 points for San Antonio and LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 (see full recap).

Westbrook's mammoth triple-double gives Thunder OT win
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Russell Westbrook had 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 114-106 overtime win on Wednesday night.

Westbrook, a leading MVP candidate, led the Thunder from behind by as many as 21 points in the second half as he recorded his 38th triple-double of the season. And like the 13-point outburst in the final three minutes against Dallas on Monday night for the win, Westbrook was again the catalyst as he hit big shots in the fourth quarter, including the tying 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds remaining to force the extra period.

Enes Kanter added 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Thunder, and Victor Oladipo had 13 points while returning to Amway Center for the first time since being traded by the Magic last June.

Evan Fournier finished with 24 points and Terrence Ross added 23 for the Magic (see full recap).

Bucks knock Celtics out of Eastern Conference's top spot
BOSTON -- Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points and nine rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks knocked the Boston Celtics out first place in the Eastern Conference with a 103-100 victory on Wednesday night.

Malcolm Brogdon, one of the leading contenders for NBA Rookie of the Year, finished with 16 points and nine assists. He had six key points in the final 2:46 to help Milwaukee fend off a late Boston charge.

The Bucks (39-36) have won five of six, including four straight on the road (see full recap).