Don Nelson, whose 1,335 coaching wins are the most in National Basketball Association history, said he’s headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
A three-time NBA coach of the year, the 71-year-old Nelson told ESPN Thursday that he’d received the call from the hall of fame, and confirmed the account during an interview with the Bay Area News Group in California.
“Very seldom do people get to do something they love to do their whole life,” Nelson said, according to a story in the Mercury News. “But I’m a lucky guy to stay in the business as long as I did. This is just frosting on the cake. It doesn’t get any better than going into the hall of fame.”
An official announcement from the Springfield, Massachusetts, Hall of Fame is expected to come today, the paper said.
Nelson had a 1,335-1,063 record over 31 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, taking teams to the playoffs 18 times. Nelson was the oldest active coach at 70 when he was fired by the Warriors in September 2010 following a second stint with the franchise.
Denver guard has surgery
Denver Nuggets guard Rudy Fernandez had what the team termed successful back surgery on Thursday.
The operation was performed by Dr. Sanjay Jantana.
Fernandez is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season but might be back for the playoffs.
He missed a dozen games with a lower back strain, which flared up against Dallas on March 19, prompting further evaluation.
Fernandez was acquired by the Nuggets along with Corey Brewer in exchange for a future second-round draft pick last December. He averaged 8.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.03 steals in 31 games for Denver.
Bench Mob helps Bulls
The Bulls’ self-dubbed “Bench Mob” is filled with fighters.
They fight to earn or extend leads. While respectful of their roles, they fight to play as long as possible. They even fight over whether starter Luol Deng, who often logs minutes with them, is an honorary member.
“He’s sometimes a Bench Mob member,” Taj Gibson said, laughing. “He kind of gets mad when we say he’s not. So we say he is.”
At the right time, the Bench Mob also is filled with pacifists.
There Gibson was Wednesday night in Atlanta, putting up a strong 19-point, six-rebound effort with smothering defense on Josh Smith to boot, and Joe Johnson went and horse-collared him to the ground. Official Jason Phillips explained — feasibly and what looked to be correctly — that Johnson had hit a wet spot on the court, causing the foul to look flagrant when it didn’t warrant that call.
Gibson didn’t care.
“It’s basketball,” Gibson said. “Just get up and move on. I’m happy I made the foul shots.”
Gibson’s poise under pressure is yet another example of the reliability of the Bulls’ bench. Beyond the fact the reserves have outscored their counterparts 30 times in 52 games with two ties, Gibson and Omer Asik have teamed to turn — and sometimes close — games defensively. John Lucas III has had a career-high scoring night. C.J. Watson has carried the team another night. And on and on and on.
“It says a lot about our team,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We count on everybody, whether it’s in practices, games, extended minutes, short minutes. Everyone has to stay ready. That’s their job.”
More often than not, the bench has delivered. And if Richard Hamilton, who is to return from his extended injury absence to play tonight, and Derrick Rose can stay healthy, look out. Reserves who have played starters’ minutes will drop to their normal roles. And a strong bench could get stronger.