NBA digest

Updated: 2013-05-04 07:58

(China Daily)

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Minnesota Timberwolves

Kahn out as Wolves opt to bring Saunders back

NBA digest

Goodbye, David Kahn (pictured). Hello, Flip Saunders. Again.

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Thursday that owner Glen Taylor will not pick up the option for next season on Kahn's contract. Three people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Taylor has agreed on a deal to hire Saunders as Kahn's replacement. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hasn't been made.

Saunders coached the Wolves from 1995-2005, and his reputation in the area only grew when the Timberwolves cratered after his exit.

Atlanta Hawks

Hawks ditch practice after ugly Game 5 loss to pacers

After a dismal playoff performance, the Atlanta Hawks decided it was best to spend some time away from each other.

The team arrived at Philips Arena for what was expected to be a regular practice and film session Thursday, a chance to prepare for a must-win game against the Indiana Pacers. Instead, coach Larry Drew spoke briefly with the players and sent them home.

No practice. No watching film.

"I know our guys are not just physically fatigued but I think they're mentally fatigued as well," Drew said. "I wanted to just allow these guys to kind of get away, kind of regroup, kind of recharge a little bit as we're getting ready for Game 6. I brought them in and spoke to them. But I just really felt the best thing today was to get away from it, get away from us, get away from everybody and get ready for tomorrow."

Houston Rockets

Harden diagnosed with strep throat, but will play

NBA digest

Houston Rockets star James Harden has been diagnosed with strep throat but is still expected to play on Friday night in Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden (pictured) had what the team called flu-like symptoms on Wednesday, but he scored 31 points with seven 3-pointers to lead the Rockets to a 107-100 win in Game 5. The team says Harden was treated by doctors for the condition on Thursday afternoon.

The Rockets have cut the lead in the series to 3-2 and are trying to become the first team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven playoff series after trailing 3-0.

Detroit Pistons

Phil Jackson to help Pistons find a new coach

Phil Jackson will help the Detroit Pistons search for a head coach.

The Pistons said on Thursday night that Jackson will serve as an adviser.

"Phil Jackson is a friend and one of the best minds in the business," Pistons owner Tom Gores said. "We are thrilled to have him as an adviser as we make some very important decisions for this franchise."

The Pistons fired Lawrence Frank after a 29-53 season and 54-94 overall mark in his two seasons.

Jackson left the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011. The Hall of Famer has won 11 NBA titles as a coach, six with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Lakers.

Associated Press

(China Daily 05/04/2013 page16)