Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

Steve Alford

Steve Alford led New Mexico to three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Steve Alford has been hired as UCLA’s basketball coach, the university announced Saturday morning.

Alford, 48, spent the last six seasons at New Mexico, compiling a 155-52 record. He replaces Ben Howland, who was fired after going 25-10 and winning the Pac-12 Conference regular-season championship.


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CHICAGO — The streak lived a good life — a great life, actually.

Born Feb. 3, it covered 27 consecutive Miami Heat victories and lasted 52 days, destroying almost everything in its path.

The streak traveled well, too, crisscrossing North America in visiting some of the finest cities in the USA and Canada: Toronto, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Cleveland. The streak spent the rest of its time in cosmopolitan Miami. It lived a fine life, indeed.

But the streak met its demise against the shorthanded Chicago Bulls, who were missing not only star point guard Derrick Rose, but All-Star center Joakim Noah, starting guard Richard Hamilton and key reserve guard Marco Belinelli. The Bulls took an early double-digit lead, squandered it, got it back and held on for a 101-97 victory Wednesday, ending the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, the second-longest in NBA history. The Heat fell six wins shy of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ 33 wins in a row.

“We’re very humble about being a part of this team and this streak,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “Ultimately we want to win an NBA championship.”

LEBRON: Heat star rips referees after loss

WATCH: LeBron’s late flagrant foul is costly

RIP, Heat streak.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged streak with his players following the loss.

“It was the first time that I had mentioned the streak,” Spoelstra said. “It was a heck of an experience to have together. Its significance will mean much more later to us in our careers. I asked them all to share the moment with each other.

“However, it has never been about the streak.”

The Bulls received strong performances from forwards Luol Deng (26 points) and Carlos Boozer (21 points, 17 rebounds) and guard-forward Jimmy Butler (17 points).

PHOTOS: Check this out….The best shots from the stunning upset….

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With the score 92-85, James missed a three-pointer and Chris Bosh got the rebound. But Kirk Hinrich stole the ball and the on the next trip down the floor, forward Taj Gibson‘s baseline jumper with 2:19 left gave Chicago a 94-85 lead.

The Heat trimmed it to four a couple more times, but never got closer. Timely shooting propelled the Bulls. Whenever it looked like Miami might make a bigger dent in Chicago’s lead, the Bulls responded.

Butler hit a corner three-pointer extending Chicago’s lead to 86-78. Boozer hit two free throws after the Heat made it 91-85 and put back a missed shot making it 96-89 with 57 seconds left.

“More often than not, it comes down to that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a loose ball, a hustle play.”

BULLS: Second-leading career rebounder dies

WATCH: Kirk Hinrich tries to tackle LeBron, fails

Chicago, which had not been plays its normally strong defense lately, held the Heat offense down with physical play. The Bulls outrebounded the Heat 43-31, including 12-6 on the offensive end.

“Miami is a great team, and you have play great from start to finish,” Thibodeau said. “Overall, I did think we played start to finish and stepped up. … We did a great job. Great job.”

Some of the Heat’s closest calls during the streak were marked by uninspired starts, and a slow start finally doomed the Heat. The Heat trailed by 13 points in the first and second quarters and didn’t get much help from any player except James.

Second-chance and fastbreak points allowed the Bulls — 39-31 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference — to pull off the upset.

“It says we have a good team,” reserve forward Taj Gibson said. “A lot of people kind of write us off every other day. But we just stick to our principles and do what we have to do. … Guys just understood to go out and play hard and take hard fouls. It’s playoff basketball.”

James finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and two assists. As great as he is, James couldn’t win this game by himself.

Miami had been receiving strong play from its second unit, but its bench scored just 17 points. Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who played after missing the previous two games with a sore right knee, had 18 points. Chris Bosh posted 21 points, but no other Heat player reached double figures.

Now, the Heat, who embraced the streak for its rarity and sustained excellence, can focus on its main goal: winning a second consecutive NBA championship.

“We have had a bigger goal in mind,” Spoelstra said.

PHOTOS: Also check this out…. Remember the Heat’s 27-game streak…..

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