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NBA Roundup: Parker has hamstring strain, Nets down to two coach candidates

The SportsXchange

San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker has a strained hamstring but hopes to play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

The results of an MRI showed no tear or other significant injury, and he's listed as day-to-day with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, the team announced. Parker left Tuesday night's Game 3 against the Miami Heat, saying the hamstring felt weird.

Parker, 31, left the game in the third quarter for a doctor's examination in the locker room and then returned to play for several minutes. But with the outcome firmly under control, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich kept Parker on the bench for most of the fourth quarter.

The Spurs took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 113-77 victory at home. Parker finished with six points and eight assists in 27 minutes.

Injuries limited Parker to 66 games during the regular season, but he still averatged 20.3 points and 7.6 assists. The 11-year veteran is averaging 21.3 points and 7.1 assists in 17 playoff games this year.

---The Brooklyn Nets are down to two candidates to fill their head coaching vacancy, according to reports.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday that former NBA player Jason Kidd is set to become the team's coach and that a deal is expected to be finalized this week.

The New York Daily News is reporting that the Nets will interview Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw on Wednesday. The Daily News also indicated that the Nets would name a coach by the end of the week.

Kidd retired as a player earlier this month after one season with the New York Knicks. During seven of his 19 seasons in the NBA, Kidd played point guard for the then-New Jersey Nets.

The 40-year-old Kidd has emerged as a popular choice for the job despite his lack of coaching experience. Shaw, meanwhile, has worked as an NBA assistant for eight years after retiring as a player.

Shaw also reportedly has interviewed with the Los Angeles Clippers for their head coaching opening.

---Ratings for Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Monday night were down 4 percent from the previous year, but it still was the most-watched programming in prime time, according to Nielsen.

The San Antonio Spurs' 113-77 victory over the Miami Heat on ABC-TV drew a 10.0 overnight rating. It's the 33rd consecutive time the NBA Finals have attracted the highest viewership for the night and the 21st straight double-digit overnight rating.

The game produced a 37.5 local market rating in San Antonio and 28.4 in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market.

---USA Basketball announced a 27-man roster on Wednesday that included a blend of youth, experience and skills for a team training camp to take place July 22-25 in Las Vegas.

The NBA headliners on the llist are Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and Portland Trail Blazers guartd Damian Lillard, the past two NBA Rookies of the Year. The roster also includes Indiana Pacers forward Paul George and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

The lone player invited from the 2012 London Olympics gold-medal team is New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis.

Davis is among a list of big men that has Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, Utah Jazz forward-center Derrick Favors, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Pistons center Greg Monroe, Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders and Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller.

Backcourt players include Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday, Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker and Washington Wizards guards Bradley Beal and John Wall..

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski committed recently to returning as the Team USA coach through the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The next big competition for the U.S. team is the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.

---Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers might be looking to make a change, ESPN reported.

After nine years in Boston, Rivers is the longest tenured coach in the NBA after Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. But there is some uncertainty about whether he wants to return for a 10th season.

Rivers, who has attended the Celtics' pre-draft workouts, has three years left on a five-year, $$35 million contract extension he signed after the 2010-11 season.

A close relationship with general manager Danny Ainge could make a decision to leave Boston difficult. But the Celtics are an aging team led by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce that faces a rebuilding task in the near future.

If Rivers does choose to depart, it's uncertain whether he would pursue another coaching job or return to broadcasting. The Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers asked for permission to talk with him, but Ainge turned them down.

Rivers led the Celtics to an NBA championship in 2008 and an Eastern Conference title in 2010. Boston has reached the playoffs the past six seasons.

---Dejected but focused following a lopsided loss in San Antonio, LeBron James said Tuesday night that he just has to be better in Game 4.

Spurs guard Danny Green, the leading scorer in the NBA Finals through three games, shared defensive responsibility on James with Kawhi Leonard and others, containing James to a 15-point night on 7-of-21 shooting.

Coach Gregg Popovich downplayed the idea that the Spurs' tactical moves have given them an edge over James, and that "we haven't stopped anybody."

The Spurs might be easier to contain if point guard Tony Parker, San Antonio's MVP candidate, is limited by a grade 1 hamstring strain. Parker said Wednesday that he'd wait until gameday to determine his status for Game 4.

Parker had ankle and calf problems in recent weeks, but called the hamstring injury "something new for me." He'll conference with Popovich Thursday afternoon without feeling pressure to take the court.

---Chicago Bulls assistant Ed Pinckney has received permission to speak with the Memphis Grizzlies about their head coaching position, CBSSports.com reported Wednesday.

Pinckney, 50, has received raves for his work with coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago. The former Villanova and NBA player also has worked as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves for two seasons.

Other candidates on the Grizzlies' radar include former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, former Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry, Grizzlies assistant coach Dave Joerger and Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw, who is also a candidate for openings with the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Grizzlies announced Monday that they will not offer coach Lionel Hollins a new contract for next season after he led Memphis to the Western Conference finals. Hollins is among the candidates for the Clippers' and Nuggets' vacancies.

USA Today also reported that the Grizzlies received permission to interview Nets executive Milton Lee for a front-office position. Memphis general manager Chris Wallace is a candidate for the same job with the Sacramento Kings.
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