Nate Bjorkgren was fired as coach of the Indiana Pacers after just one season.
Indiana went 34-38, finishing the season with an embarrassing 142-115 loss to Washington in the play-in tournament. The Pacers also produced their first losing season at home in 32 years, and at times the effort didn’t appear to be there, either.
A rash of injuries was part of the problem. Indiana’s top scorer in 2019-20, T.J. Warren, suffered a season-ending foot injury after just four games. NBA blocks champion Myles Turner went down with a season-ending foot injury on April 18. And after trading two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo for swingman Caris LeVert in January, LeVert missed the next 24 games after team doctors found a cancerous growth on his left kidney.
Riley fined for tampering
Miami Heat president Pat Riley was fined $25,000 for being too clear that he’d eagerly welcome a reunion with LeBron James.
The league said Riley violated its anti-tampering rule with his remarks during an interview Friday on Dan Le Batard’s radio show.
Riley said he would “leave the key under the doormat” if James called and said he wanted to return to Miami. James led the Heat to two NBA titles and four straight appearances in the finals before returning to Cleveland in 2014.
James to change number
James will be changing from No. 23 to No. 6 on his Los Angeles Lakers uniform next season, but not to pass on his old number to Anthony Davis, as he intended a couple of years ago.
James will don No. 6 for the 2021-22 season and Davis will stay with No. 3, the number he wore when L.A. won the championship in his inaugural season with the purple and gold, a team source confirmed to ESPN.
Nets’ Harden to miss Game 3
Brooklyn’s James Harden will miss Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday in Milwaukee because of the right hamstring injury that forced him out of the series opener. Harden left 43 seconds into that game with tightness but the Nets haven’t missed him, taking a 2-0 lead over the Bucks.
Mitchell lifts Jazz over Clippers
Donovan Mitchell scored 45 points and lifted the Utah Jazz to a 112-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series in Salt Lake City. Mitchell imposed his will offensively after halftime, scoring 32 points to rally the Jazz from a double-digit deficit. Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 18 points apiece. Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points to lead Los Angeles … The Hawks return to Atlanta beaming with confidence in their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers despite their inability to slow down, much less stop, Joel Embiid. The 76ers big man has scored 79 points in the first two games at Philadelphia to open the series, which is tied 1-1 heading into Friday’s Game 3 in Atlanta — where the Hawks have won 13 consecutive games. It’s the longest active home winning streak in the NBA.