Dwight Howard named Defensive Player of Year. Again.

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UPDATE 1:33 pm: It’s official, Dwight Howard has a three-peat as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

“I want to thank my teammates for allowing their men to get to the basket again, forcing me to block shots and pick up fouls, and sometimes technical fouls,” Howard joked at the press conference. Or half joked. Or maybe not joked at all.

Howard is the first player ever to win it three years in a row. He also got 114 of the 120 first place votes.

The rest of the voting: 2) Kevin Garnett; 3) Tyson Chandler; 4) Tony Allen; 5) Rajon Rondo; 6) Andrew Bogut; 7) Grant Hill; 8) Andre Iguodala; 9) LeBron James; 10) Luol Deng.

11:32 am: There’s a “major announcement” coming from the Orlando Magic at 1:30 pm Monday, following the team’s practice.

It has all the suspense of whether or not David Caruso will take off his glasses and deliver a cheesy line when they find the criminal on CSI:Miami.

Dwight Howard will be named Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight year, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

It’s well deserved. No player impacts the game defensively like Howard, who clogs the paint and allows the Magic defenders to be more aggressive out on the perimeter. What’s more, the Magic didn’t suffer a big defensive setback after their midseason trades to bring in weak defenders like Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. That’s all Howard.  The Magic are 3 points per 100 possessions better on defense when Howard is on the floor, teams shoot 2 percent better when he sits and the Magic’s rebounding gets worse.

This likely will be the consolation prize for Howard, as Derrick Rose is almost certain to win the MVP, with Howard coming in second or third (LeBron James will be in the mix, too).

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.