The Philadelphia 76ers are in the middle of a heated second-round battle with the Boston Celtics, with the series currently tied 1-1.
As the second round continues throughout the league, teams both in the battle and already eliminated are making news.
From coach firings to weird press conferences and everything in between, let’s look at the headlines around the NBA.
Bucks fire head coach Mike Budenholzer
The Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Mike Budenholzer on Thursday after the Bucks fell in the first round of the NBA Playoffs to the Miami Heat, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Bucks were the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
BREAKING: The Milwaukee Bucks dismissed coach Mike Budenholzer, sources tell ESPN. Budenholzer is out after the East’s top-seed suffered a first-round loss to the Miami Heat. pic.twitter.com/wQp0Zk3lxi— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 4, 2023
Budenholzer had five years of service in the position and helped bring Milwaukee its second ever NBA Championship in 2020-21. His record with the team ends at 271-120, a 69.3 percent win rate.
Grizzlies tell Dillon Brooks to hit the road
The Grizzlies have told Dillon Brooks, a pending free agent, that they will not be bringing him back to Memphis “under any circumstances,” according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Memphis Grizzlies have informed pending free agent Dillon Brooks that he will not be brought back under any circumstances, league sources say.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 2, 2023
Full story and details at @TheAthletic: https://t.co/CRztYTgYi7
This comes just a week after Brooks made a fool of himself for a week straight while the Grizzlies took on the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Charania reports that the series was the “breaking point” for the Grizzlies:
In the span of the Grizzlies’ series loss in six games, he called LeBron James, the Lakers’ best player and a four-time NBA champion, “old,” “tired,” and suggested he was not as good as he used to be. Brooks punched James in the groin area in Game 3, earning an ejection. He missed a defensive assignment to help on James on the game-tying basket in Game 4, and then gave up a critical basket to James in overtime of that loss. Brooks also chose not to speak to the media after three of the losses in the series, resulting in a $25,000 fine by the NBA
The Lakers defeated the Grizzlies 4-2 in the series.
Brooks also blamed the media for his bad guy persona, and not the fact that, in addition to the above, he had 18 technical fouls this season. He has spent his entire six-year NBA career with the Grizzlies, and now will have to pick up his baggage and look for a new home.
Celtics’ coach Joe Mazzulla not enjoying press conferences
Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has had a few weird interactions at press conferences this past week as his squad faces the Sixers in the second round.
The first came at the end of his postgame conference after Game 2 in which the Celtics pummeled the Sixers 121-87 to tie the series at one game apiece. Looks like he didn’t think the media was giving him enough credit for the adjustments made between Games 1 and 2, and he made it known:
Joe Mazzulla drops the mic to end his press conference.— Ian Steele (@IanSteeleABC6) May 4, 2023
"What, no one wants to ask about the adjustments we made from game one to game two?"
: @NCoitABC6 @ABC6 #BleedGreen #JohnstonJoe #NBA #NBAPlayoffs @HendrickenHawks @HendrickenHawks pic.twitter.com/a6YU2cPVK1
Maybe the media had been a little tough on him in the past and he was just looking for a pat on the back instead. Whatever the case may be, it’s a lingering feeling, apparently. On Thursday, he ended his video press conference, standing up and audibly muttering “I’m the worst coach ever”:
Joe Mazzulla wrapping his presser today: “I am the worst coach ever.”https://t.co/VEIOBVqdOl pic.twitter.com/xMdbvrWqqu— Bobby Manning (@RealBobManning) May 4, 2023
A dry sense of humor or a coach wound too tight? Maybe a bit of both? Either way, just a weird few days for Mazzulla and the media.
Celtics’ Marcus Smart wins 2022-23 NBA Hustle Award
For the third time, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been given the NBA Hustle Award:
The winner of the 2022-23 NBA Hustle Award is... Marcus Smart!#NBAAwards pic.twitter.com/87AtlfItBe— NBA (@NBA) May 4, 2023
Like with any award, not everyone is happy with the selection. Twitter users drew attention to Smart’s affinity for flopping and for his repeated recklessness throwing his body into the knees and ankles of other players.
Regardless, Smart is the only player to have won the award more than once... so, kudos, I guess.