Wittman promises up-tempo, simplified offense for Wizards

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Keep it simple, stupid.

That is the philosophy of new Wizards interim coach Randy Wittman, who takes over for the fired Flip Saunders. He has a young team and he doesn’t want to overwhelm them. Here is a quote via CSNWashington.com.

“This isn’t brain surgery,” Wittman said. “We need to simplify things.”

Wittman was going to go with some coaching basics — no playing time based on reputation, you’re going to have to earn it. Not that any Wizards player has really earned it this season, but now play well and see your minutes increase. Play bad and it falls.

He also vows to have the Wizards playing faster. Washington is already playing at the third fastest pace in the league, but playing fast when you have John Wall — probably the fastest player with the ball in his hand in the league (Derrick Rose is in that conversation, but that’s about it) — is always smart. It’s just getting people to run and do the little things with him.

Wittman needs to try and instigate a culture change, one of professionalism, preparation and focus. Wittman’s history as a coach makes you wonder if he is the guy who can get that done. Or if with this roster it really matters who the coach is. But he gets first crack at it. And he’s keeping it simple.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)