Josh Howard creates a nice Web site, that a “respected leader” does not make

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I get Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is about second chances. Second chances for a struggling franchise, second chances for Gilbert Arenas. We need that in sports and just in life — people screw up but that is different than being a screw up.

Josh Howard is getting a second chance. A chance to play after an injury that kept him out most of last season (and has him missing the start of this one). So Leonsis put up on his blog (via Ball Don’t Lie) a little post pimping Howard’s slick new Website:

He should be back in a Wizards uniform soon. He is a respected leader and has promised to make a comeback from injury. We all can’t wait but we won’t rush him in any way.

Well done Josh. Well done.

*scratching record noise*

Wait, did he say “respected leader.” Really?

For the guy who admitted during a playoff series that he smoked marijuana in the offseason, turning the issue (whatever you think of his smoking habits) into a huge playoff distraction. An issue that brings up the stereotype of NBA players who, um, get the munchies a lot in the offseason.

The respected leader who said he didn’t respect the American national anthem. The guy who threw a big birthday party for himself during the playoffs on the night of a loss. The guy who… well, it goes on and on. No reason to catalogue everything off the court. Or on it, where his game has slipped in the last couple years (when he has been healthy).

Maybe Leonsis leadership style is to publicly put out things like that, what he wants people to be, then see if they can live up to that standard. Maybe that is what is happening here. But it still seems a pretty big misrepresentation of what has happened.

I hope Howard makes it back on the court and makes it back to playing like he did five years ago, when he was a key cog of some very good mavericks teams. He’s got a ways to go to prove he can do that. He’s got a much, much longer way to go to prove he is a respected leader.

PBT Extra: Fan votes from twitter on MVP, other awards

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We reached the middle of the NBA season, which is a good time to consider where things stand for the end-of-season awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. We have made our picks and even broken them down in a podcast.

Now it was time to ask you who you thought should win awards.

I put it out there on Twitter in some polls, and I cover your responses in this PBT Extra. I’m with you on Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year, although I think it’s close. Did you choose LeBron James or James Harden for MVP? Watch and find out.

Michael Carter-Williams and Tim Frazier ejected for altercation, leading to hilarious Dwight Howard free throws (video)

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Jason Smith pushed down Michael Carter-Williams while going for a rebound. Carter-Williams pulled Smith to the floor. Tim Frazier flew in heated.

It was more than a typical NBA altercation – Carter-Williams clenched his fist, though never swung – but it wasn’t quite a fight. It was just reserves getting feisty late in a blowout, the Hornets’ 133-109 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Carter-Williams and Frazier were given double technical fouls and ejected.

One catch: Smith was called for personally fouling Carter-Williams, who was due free throws. With Carter-Williams unavailable, Washington could pick his replacement at the line.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks chose Dwight Howard, a poor free-throw shooter who’d been resting the entire fourth quarter and surely figured his night was over. Maybe it was only about Howard’s team-worst 53% shooting from the line, but it’s also possible Brooks was trying to make an opponent uncomfortable.

The Charlotte crowd went wild, and Howard only added to the fervor.

He sunk both free throws – padding his stats (18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals) – and blew Brooks a kiss. Howard might appreciate the extra points Brooks afforded him, but they’ll likely come at a cost. Howard celebrated with the Sam Cassell/big-balls dance, which usually draws a fine from the NBA.

Kent Bazemore hits game-winner to lift Hawks over Pelicans (video)

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Just when it seemed as if the Pelicans were rolling… they lose to the lowly Hawks.

This was the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Celtics in overtime, and New Orleans looked the part, blowing a 15-point lead in the final 19 minutes.

Kent Bazemore‘s jumper with 2.1 seconds left stood as the game-winner when DeMarcus Cousins missed a rushed post-up on the other end.

Jalen Rose calls Paul Pierce petty to his face (video)

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Paul Pierce is being petty about Isaiah Thomas‘ tribute video.

And that’s from someone who empathizes with Pierce’s point of view.

When retiring a player’s number, teams tastefully use stoppages to show highlights and tributes to the player. The whole night, not just the moment of raising a number into the rafters, can be about celebrating the player. It’s reasonable for Pierce to want the entire package.

But to go on television and advocate for not showing Thomas’ video? To continue the campaign after Thomas made clear how important his video was to him? To tell the Celtics not to show a short video for Thomas during introductions?

It’s way too far.

Too many people around Pierce enabled his flawed approach. Jalen Rose put that to a pointed stop.

Rose on ESPN:

I’ve got say a word for you, fam. I think it was petty.

On Paul Pierce’s part.

I love Paul. This is my brother. Because to me, there are going to be all type of announcements that happen in the 48 minutes during that game. All types. Including Isaiah Thomas could be one of them. It does not take away from your situation. Like Kobe’s, it happened during the game. Because they’re doing yours post-game.

The look on Pierce’s face while Rose was talking!