Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr defends Fred Hoiberg

Steve Kerr defends Fred Hoiberg

The Bulls firing Fred Hoiberg may not be the biggest surprise in the NBA, but that doesn't mean everyone around the league thinks it should have happened.

Former Bulls players and current Warriors coach Steve Kerr came to Hoiberg's defense on Monday.

"I look at this as a privilege to coach great talent," Kerr said. "You know I look at Fred Hoiberg today, who was released by the Bulls. Fred never had a chance without really any talent to work with, to build something."

It's nothing unique to see one coach come to the defense of another, but it does paint the picture of Kerr somewhat disagreeing with the decision to oust Hoiberg.

Kerr may have a point as well. Hoiberg got the Bulls to the playoffs in his second year, where an injury to Rajon Rondo derailed the Bulls after going up 2-0 on the road against the Celtics. Then, the Bulls traded away Jimmy Butler the following offseason, shifting into a rebuild. The Bulls were among the teams that appeared to be tanking for a higher draft pick.

Then, this season, Hoiberg was dealt a number of key injuries to start the season. He never got to field a full strength starting five this season, and was down multiple starters for almost every game this season.

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Steve Kerr: 'By the way, I kicked MJ's ass'

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USA TODAY

Steve Kerr: 'By the way, I kicked MJ's ass'

The story of Steve Kerr and Michael Jordan getting into a fight in training camp has become infamous in NBA history.

It was the undersized guard who was a 3-point specialist standing up to the greatest player ever who was notorious for his competitive nature. Kerr still brings it up every so often, and made a reference to it (to comedic effect) on Tuesday.

"By the way, I kicked MJ's ass," Kerr said.

At the beginning of the clip, the Warriors coach is talking about an on-court confrontation between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, which carried over to the locker room after the game.

Kerr's altercation with Jordan took place in 1995, the summer before the Bulls went 72-10 and won the fourth of the team's six titles. The two got matched up in a scrimmage and Jordan, ever the trash talker, starting jawwing at Kerr. Kerr didn't back down, which led to the two needing to be separated.

Apparently Kerr can still laugh about the whole thing, too.

Steve Kerr on LeBron's latest record performance: He's 'playing basketball at a level that I'm not sure anyone's ever seen'

Steve Kerr on LeBron's latest record performance: He's 'playing basketball at a level that I'm not sure anyone's ever seen'

What LeBron James is doing in the 2018 NBA Playoffs is nothing short of miraculous. In his 15th season, the 33-year-old James has singlehandedly led an underwhelming Cavaliers team to their fourth straight Finals appearance - and LeBron's eighth straight.

So it shouldn't have come as any surprise that James began the 2018 NBA Finals in Oakland with a bang.

James took the Warriors, a 13-point favorite, down to the wire in regulation thanks to his 51-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist night. A slough of head-scratching calls and decisions by the officials, George Hill and most notably J.R. Smith cost his team a Game 1 victory, but James did all he could to keep it close.

He shot 19 of 32 from the field, made three 3-pointers and went 10-for-11 from the free throw line. He was sensational, just as he's been the entire 2018 postseason and recevied some pretty high praise from Steve Kerr after the game.

"They have a guy who's playing basketball at a level that I'm not sure anyone's ever seen before when you consider everything he's doing," Kerr said after the Warriors' 124-114 victory.

Kerr's comment is notable for a few reasons. No, he wasn't making a declaration in the goofy LeBron vs. MJ debate. But Kerr was also a teammate of Jordan's during the Bulls' second three-peat. Jordan was pretty incredible during that three-year stretch, and still Kerr believes LeBron's current stretch might be the best ever.

Game 1 also had some Jordan connections in itself. LeBron's 51 points marked the sixth time a player had reached the half-century mark in a Finals game, and the first since Jordan did it in 1993 against the Suns.

LeBron also tied Jordan's mark of 109 playoff games scoring 30 or more points. Odds are he'll break that record at some point in the series.

Jordan's 51 poinst were also tied for the second most points in a playoff game loss. The most? Of course, Jordan's 63 points against the 1986 Celtics, which is still perhaps the greatest playoff performance in NBA history.

Whether LeBron can knock off the Warriors is a different question, but it's clear everyone is taking notice of one of the most incredible stretches in NBA history.