It’s been a season of coaching stability, rare for the NBA

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MIAMI (AP) There were 10 coaching changes in the NBA during
this past offseason, an unusually high number.

Stability has somehow reigned since.

With less than a month remaining in the regular season, all 30
coaches who started back in October are still in their jobs. If
that holds, this would be the first time in 53 years that no
team has made an in-season change for any reason.

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”I’m obviously a big fan of all the guys that coach in this
league,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who also serves as
president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. ”I
know them all well. They’ve all earned their positions. And
this league should be a stable league.”

It rarely is.

The only seasons where there wasn’t at least one in-season
change were 1960-61 (an eight-team NBA) and 1963-64 (a
nine-team NBA). The Toronto Huskies had four different head
coaches in 1946-47 – the league’s first season. Technically,
1954-55 would have been coaching-change free if the Baltimore
Bullets hadn’t replaced Clair Bee with Al Barthelme three games
before the franchise disbanded.

Out of the current 30 coaches, 12 have been in their current
job for less than two seasons. There have been more than 230
coaching changes since Gregg Popovich took over in San Antonio
in 1996, and 100 since Miami’s Erik Spoelstra got promoted to
the first chair by the Heat in 2008 – just a few days before
Carlisle became Dallas’ coach.

”It’s a little bit skewed,” Spoelstra said, noting the zero
moves this season come after an offseason of widespread change.
”I wouldn’t necessarily jump to that conclusion that
organizations have changed their perception and won’t pull the
quick trigger. It’s never just about coaching. It has to be a
collaboration, with players, with personnel and most
importantly with personnel and management. Thank God we have
that here.”

Combined, the league’s current coaches have 11 NBA titles as
head coaches. Popovich (5), Spoelstra (2) and Carlisle (1) have
eight of those.

Maybe that shows the worth of franchise stability, or shows the
consequence that comes with not winning the ultimate prize.

”Patience usually pays off,” said New Orleans’ Alvin Gentry,
who has been involved in six in-season coaching changes – three
times as the coach coming in, three times as the coach who’s
out. ”Sometimes there’s extenuating circumstances as to the
adjustment of your team and becoming consistent and things like
that. I think you have to be patient and understand that
sometimes it doesn’t happen overnight.”

REMEMBER THE 2

Golden State and Houston get plenty of notoriety for what they
do from 3-point range.

Quietly, both teams are historically good from inside the arc
right now.

Since the 3-point line came into the NBA game, only two teams –
the 2013-14 Miami Heat and 1984-85 Los Angeles Lakers –
finished the regular season shooting at least 55 percent from
2-point range.

The Warriors and Rockets are both on pace to join them. Golden
State is at 55.4 percent through its first 69 games, and
Houston is making 55.1 percent of its 2s after 70 games.

Miami shot 55.8 percent in 2013-14, and the Lakers shot 55.5
percent in 1984-85.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Here’s some games to keep an eye on this week:

Washington at Boston, Monday: A game that should loom large in
the battle for top-four positioning in the Eastern Conference
playoff race.

Phoenix at Miami, Tuesday: In four games for the Heat against
his former team, Goran Dragic is averaging 23 points on 53
percent shooting.

Memphis at San Antonio, Thursday: A potential first-round
matchup, and possibly the 22nd Marc Gasol vs. Pau Gasol
matchup. (Pau leads 12-9).

Utah at L.A. Clippers, Saturday: Another possible first-round
matchup, one where the Jazz will try to get a four-game split
of the season series.

Oklahoma City at Houston, Sunday: MVP candidates square off,
with the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and the Rockets’ James
Harden.

STAT LINE OF THE WEEK

Vince Carter, Memphis: The 40-year-old wonder shot 8 for 8 from
the field, including 6 for 6 from 3-point range, and scored 24
points on March 13 in a win over Milwaukee. It was the first
time in exactly 26 years that someone 35 or older shot 8 for 8
(or better) in an NBA game, with Gerald Henderson doing it on
March 13, 1991.

AP freelance writer Ian Quillen in Washington contributed to
this story.

Follow AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds at

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