Phil Jackson, Brian Shaw

Brian Shaw is a lot more than a guy who coaches the triangle

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Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is all over the place now. Interviewed in Houston, will get interviewed for Golden State, and of course is at the front of the line for the Lakers gig.

Soon, somewhere, he is going to be an NBA head coach.

On of the best bits of reporting this week came in a feature from ESPN’s Arash Markazi talking about the most trying time in Shaw’s life. Shaw had bought his parents a car and a second home in Las Vegas, and his father, mother, sister and young niece were driving out there.

When the phone rang at 8:30 the next morning, Brian Shaw got up slowly, looked at the clock and answered the phone. It was about a 10-hour drive from Oakland to Las Vegas, and Shaw was certain he would hear his father’s voice on the other end of the line.

“It was the coroner’s office saying they had gotten into a car accident,” Shaw said, still struggling with the words nearly 18 years later.

According to reports, the Nevada Highway Patrol would conclude that Charles, 52, fell asleep at the wheel at about 5:15 a.m. on Interstate 15, just 9 miles from Las Vegas. The car hit the center divider and rolled, ejecting Charles; Barbara, 51; Monica, 24; and Brianna. Barbara and Monica died at the scene of the accident. Charles died from his injuries about an hour later at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Brianna, who was riding in a child-restraint seat, survived, but was hospitalized with a ruptured spleen and facial lacerations.

“I felt like I was in a bad dream,” Shaw said. “Like I was in a nightmare and I was going to wake up and everything was going to be fine again.”

Like any of us would, Shaw beats himself up over the incident, even though it was not his fault.

We all to often talk about players, coaches and more in an impersonal way. They are part of a fantasy team or just the guy we see on television. They guy that helped our team succeed or stood in their way.

But they are all human being who struggle with the same issues and challenges we all do. Some with horrific loss. Yes, they have been blessed with athletic gifts and get to make a lot of money playing a game, but that doesn’t make losing your family feel any different.

Go read the whole piece. You’ll come away rooting for Brian Shaw (at least a little bit).

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.