Jerry West remembered with moment of silence before Game 3 of NBA Finals

DALLAS (AP) — Jerry West was remembered at the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

The NBA and the fans at Game 3 in Dallas paid tribute to the life of the Basketball Hall of Famer with a pregame video tribute and moment of silence before the game. West died earlier Wednesday at the age of 86.

ABC broadcaster Mike Breen voiced the pregame tribute, which preceded about 15 seconds of silence inside what had been a raucous arena.

“The NBA family mourns the passing of a basketball giant, Jerry West, an NBA cornerstone for over six decades," Breen said as images of West were displayed on the giant overhead scoreboard. "West was an All-Star every year he played and helped the Lakers to the NBA Finals nine times. Off the court, West's brilliance continued, serving as the architect of eight championship teams. An NBA champion, he was recognized by the Hall of Fame as a player, contributor and as a member of the 1960 U.S. men's Olympic team.

“Jerry West was also the first player ever recognized as finals MVP and his ability to deliver in pressure situations time and time again earned him the appropriate nickname, ‘Mr. Clutch,’” Breen added.

Birthday Game

The Celtics' Jrue Holiday became the 12th player in NBA Finals history to play a game on his birthday. Holiday turned 34 on Wednesday.

He was the first player to play in a finals game on his birthday since Phoenix's Jae Crowder in 2021, against Holiday and the Milwaukee Bucks. Before that, the most recent birthday-celebrating player who got minutes in a finals game was Miami's Udonis Haslem in 2011 (also in Dallas) and 2013.

Jack Nichols had three birthdays fall on finals game days in which he played (1949, 1957 and 1958). Earl Lloyd (1954 and 1955), Sam Perkins (1996 and 2000) and Bruce Bowen (2005 and 2007) each had two birthday finals games.

The others who played in one finals game on their birthday: Med Park, Dave Gambee, Calvin Murphy, Kerry Kittles and Michael Doleac.

Title Anniversary

Wednesday was the 13th anniversary of Dallas winning its first, and still only, NBA title. The Mavericks beat Miami in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals on June 12, 2011.

Mavs coach Jason Kidd was on that team and was reminded of the significance of Wednesday's date in his pregame meeting with ABC broadcasters Mike Breen and Doris Burke.

“Time flies by,” Kidd said. “But it was a surreal moment to be able to win the championship. ... When you’re playing so well, you don’t want it to stop. There was no one else to play. We were playing well. As an older player, you want to keep going because you just don’t know if you’ll ever get back there.”

Record For 3s

The 2023-24 Celtics have made more 3-pointers in a season than any team in NBA history.

Jaylen Brown’s 3-pointer with 11:29 left in the third quarter was Boston’s 15th of the night and 1,597th of the season. That’s one more than the Celtics made last year when they set the full-season (including playoffs) record.

Mazzulla's Soccer Update

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla is a big soccer fan, something he makes no secret of. On Wednesday, he revealed why he picked basketball over soccer to focus on during his playing days.

It seems he, well, might have been better at basketball. He played just about every position in soccer, and there was a reason for that.

“When you’re not that good, they just throw you around in a bunch of different places to see where you stick,” Mazzulla said.

Mazzulla has taken some concepts from soccer and applied them to how he coaches basketball, even though the games are obviously quite different.

“Soccer, you really have to pay attention to the game to recognize the impact each individual player is doing, because points are at a premium," Mazzulla said. "Each guy in the right position has a direct impact on the guy in the next position.”

The Referees

Marc Davis, James Capers and Kevin Scott were the referees assigned to Game 3 on Wednesday night.

That means, barring a change to the roster, Scott Foster, James Williams and David Guthrie would be in line to officiate Game 4 on Friday night.

The NBA picked 12 referees to work the series and six — Courtney Kirkland, Josh Tiven, Zach Zarba, Tony Brothers, John Goble and Bill Kennedy — have already worked a game in this series.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

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