Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes talks about NBA players trend of MMA workouts

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When Matt Barnes started to focus on really getting in shape for the upcoming NBA season, he couldn’t do what a lot of ballers in the Los Angeles area do through the summer — head over to UCLA, home of some NBA-level pickup games. Some days it seems like half the NBA is there.

Barnes didn’t have a contract until last week when he signed with the Clippers, he didn’t want to risk injury that could cost him a paycheck.

Instead, he decided to get in the octagon.

Barnes, like more and more NBA players (including recently Roy Hibbert) are using MMA workouts and training to get ready for the season. Barnes hooked up with former MMA fighter John Marsh at the Redondo Beach Gold’s Gym and trained learning how to fight.

“It’s a great, intense cardio workout,” Barnes told ProBasketballTalk. “Me growing up on the streets, fighting my whole life, learning the proper way way to strike, to throw elbows, to throw knees, to guard, it’s just a great way to get ready and get a workout in.

“I’ve been a huge MMA and UFC fan for years so this great.”

Way better than just getting on a treadmill and running for a few hours. The goal of this kind of workout is not only to work on conditioning but also to make it fun and distracting so it’s not the monotony of another workout.

“You’re learning the proper striking form and guards and blocks and kicks,” Barnes said, adding, “I’m a fan, and I’m huge MMA and UFC fan. So like some guys from other sports did basketball to workout, I get to do MMA to workout for basketball.”

The idea isn’t new, basketball and athletes from other sports have used boxing as an off-season workout for years. Barnes has done that too, but he said MMA is different.

“I think MMA is the new wave,” Barnes said of a younger generation who grew up on the sport. “I’ve done boxing before, but MMA is more complete. Your kicking, your striking, your grappling, and you’re boxing. I did boxing this summer and it’s a great workout, don’t get me wrong. But I like MMA. It feels more gratifying.”

And, some of the lessons apply to the NBA, which is a contact sport itself.

“It’s a lot of core strength, a lot of balance, a lot of lower body movement and that comes with jumping, boxing out, screening people and just being physical on the court,” Barnes said.

So, would Barnes be willing to get in the octagon with Hibbert?

“It’ be fun, I’d love to do that,” Barnes said.”

I bet he thinks it would be fun. Hibbert would be a really big target for a quick guy.

Boston’s Marcus Smart gets flopping warning from NBA

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 17:  Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on October 17, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Boston’s Marcus Smart is one of the league’s more notorious floppers.

He was at it again Monday night against the Houston Rockets — and the league called him on it and gave him a warning.

It happened on the game’s final play — you were probably focused elsewhere, wondering how Al Horford could miss the game-winning layup. But watch Smart as he gets in position for the rebound on that shot.

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The referees didn’t buy it then.

This warning is barely a slap on the wrist. If — in his case, when — Smart gets caught a second time this season he will get a $5,000 fine from the league. Smart is making $3.6 million this season.

Happy birthday Larry Bird. We celebrate with some highlights.

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Larry Bird — the Celtics legend, three-time NBA champion, three-time MVP, 10-time All-NBA — turns 60 on Wednesday.

We celebrate by looking back at his 60-point game March 12, 1985, against the Hawks (video above, and yes that game was played in New Orleans).

Want more Larry the Legend highlights? We got you covered.

Hawks’ Mike Scott sent to D-League on rehab assignment

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Mike Scott #32 of the Atlanta Hawks poses during media day on September 26, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott is expected to play at least two games in the NBA Development League as he comes back from a knee injury that kept him out of training camp and the first 18 games of the season.

Scott played 15 minutes for the Delaware 87ers in Tuesday night’s loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors. He scored four points on 2-of-7 shooting, missing all four of his attempts from 3-point range.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer says the D-League is the best way for Scott to get “meaningful, competitive minutes” after undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his left knee.

Scott has played three games for Atlanta since his return. In 28 minutes, he has two points on 1-of-9 attempts, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

Watch Kyle O’Quinn throw alley-oop to Carmelo Anthony

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Carmelo Anthony isn’t young anymore, but he had the bounce to go get this one.

These were your two best players for the Knicks in their win over Miami Tuesday. Kyle O'Quinn was forced into action earlier than expected when Joakim Noah went on a fouling spree in the third quarter, but O’Quinn played well in the role. ‘Melo dropped 35 on 27 shots — he’s not as efficient as he once was, but he can still get some buckets.

The Knicks picked up a needed win, because they play a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a ticked-off LeBron James (New York will pay the price for Phil Jackson’s “posse” comments with a motivated LeBron Wednesday).