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Billy Donovan: ‘Have Enormous Amount of Trust [in Westbrook]’

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Russell Westbrook has been able to do just about anything he wants this season. He averaged a triple-double, broke Oscar Robertson’s single-season record for triple-doubles and carried the Thunder to the playoffs despite the loss of Kevin Durant in free agency. Thus far in the playoffs, however, his individual brilliance hasn’t translated into wins against the Houston Rockets.

“Let’s be honest,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Thursday after his team practiced in Oklahoma City. “When Russell has been off the floor for us, there’s been a differential.” “I have an enormous amount of trust and confidence after being with Russell this season for 82 games and seeing the ways he’s closed out games and different things that he’s done,” Donovan said. “I trust him when he’s got the ball in terms of making decisions.

Source: Ramona Shelburne of ESPN

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Sources: Milwaukee Bucks Fire Coach Jason Kidd

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The Milwaukee Bucks have fired coach Jason Kidd, sources ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Clint Capela: ‘We are better’ than Golden State

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Superstar guard James Harden called the Houston Rockets’ 116-108 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night important “for our swag,” which was soaring after the Rockets claimed the regular-season series over the defending NBA champions.

“We’re confident because we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to beat them,” Rockets center Clint Capela told ESPN. “We’ve got to keep playing. We know that they’re going to come back if we have the lead, and we’ve just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do on defense — all the switches, the weak side — and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them.

“We are better than them.”

Houston won two of three meetings with Golden State this season. The Rockets rallied from a 17-point deficit for a road win in the season opener despite Chris Paul playing on a bruised knee that sidelined him for the next month. Golden State won in Houston on Jan. 4 in a game in which Warriors star Kevin Durant and MVP front-runner Harden sat out because of injuries. The Rockets withstood a Warriors rally from a 17-point deficit, with the lead changing six times in the fourth quarter, to claim a tiebreaker that Houston hopes to make relevant.

Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN

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Report: Spurs Demote Tony Parker to Bench, to Start Dejounte Murray

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San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker met with Gregg Popovich before Sunday’s 94-86 loss against the Indiana Pacers, and the coach told him he “thought it was time” to go with someone else in the starting lineup.

So, with second-year man Dejounte Murray hitting the court with the starters at point guard, Parker came off the bench for the 21st time of his 17-year career (postseason included), and for the first time since the 2010 playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.

“I was like, ‘Oh, no problem,'” an upbeat Parker said of his reaction to Popovich’s decision. “Just like Manu [Ginobili], just like Pau [Gasol], that day’s going to come. And if Pop sees something that is good for the team, I’ll try to do my best. I support Pop’s decision, and I’ll try to help [Dejounte Murray] out as best I can, and try to be the best I can in that second unit with Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills].”

After undergoing surgery to repair a torn quadriceps tendon last May, Parker spent seven months working through the rehabilitation process, and returned to the lineup Nov. 27 in a win over the Mavericks. Throughout Parker’s return, the Spurs have worked to manage the veteran’s minutes. But Parker admitted to “hitting a wall” recently, saying “I’m just more focused on my leg because I know I [still] have another two months before I feel 100 percent.”

Source: Michael C. Wright of ESPN

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