Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams has won the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year, according to reports on Monday night.
Williams led the Suns to a league-best 64-18 record this season, breaking the franchise record for wins of 62 shared by the 1992-93 and 2004-05 squads. Shams Charania of The Athletic first broke the news of Williams’ win.
The No 1 seeds in the Western Conference are currently tied at 2-2 in their conference semi-final series with the Dallas Mavericks, with Game 5 on Tuesday night in Phoenix.
Highlights of the latest clash between the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semi-final playoffs
The Memphis Grizzlies’ Taylor Jenkins and Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra were this year’s other finalists for Coach of the Year.
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Williams had been tipped to win the award last season, but ultimately was runner-up to the New York Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau in the voting.
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Tom Thibodeau won Coach of the Year honours last season with the New York Knicks
Williams received two more first-place votes than Thibodeau (45-43) but lost 351-340 in total points. The 11-point margin was the smallest to separate first and second place since the points format started in 2002-03.
He previously received the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year Award for the second-straight season, which is voted on by his fellow coaches.
The 50-year-old led the Suns to the 2021 NBA Finals, which they lost 4-2 to the Milwaukee Bucks, and is 149-78 through three seasons with Phoenix.
He is 322-299 overall in his NBA head coaching career, including five seasons with the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans from 2010-15.
Williams is the third Phoenix coach to win the award, joining Cotton Fitzsimmons (1988-89) and Mike D’Antoni (2004-05).
Jokic wins NBA MVP for second successive season
Nikola Jokic has won the MVP award for the second successive season, according to widespread reports, with a formal coronation expected at some point this week.
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Jokic, who is spending time back in his homeland Serbia, is also understood to have heard the news on Monday prior to it being formally reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Once formally confirmed by the NBA, it will mean the Denver Nuggets center becomes just the 15th player to win the award more than once and the second consecutive European to win the award back-to-back after Giannis Antetokounmpo did in 2019 and 2020.
Milwaukee Bucks superstar and reigning NBA Finals MVP Antetokounmpo and NBA scoring champion Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers were the other two finalists for this year’s award.
Jokic had a career year, as he averaged personal highs of 27.1 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. He also averaged 7.9 assists and became the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season.
Mavs fan removed after incident with Chris Paul’s family
Chris Paul on the floor during Game 3 against the Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks said they are aware of an incident between a fan and the family of Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns during Sunday’s Western Conference semi-final round playoff game at American Airlines Center.
ESPN reported members of Paul’s family had been harassed by fans and some in the crowd made physical contact with them.
“It was unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated,” the Mavericks said in a statement. “The Mavericks, along with American Airlines Center, swiftly removed the fan from today’s game.”
After the game, Paul tweeted: “Wanna fine players for saying stuff to the fans but the fans can put they hands on our families,” He also added an expletive.
Immediately after the game, it was unclear what Paul was addressing when he sent the tweet about a player’s family being accosted by fans. He was not asked about it by reporters after the game.