Chicago Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau yells out during the first quarter of their NBA pre-season basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Chicago, Illinois

Thibodeau wants to know how restricted area will be officiated this season


Each year about this time, the NBA coaches get together for a series of meetings in Chicago — consider it a little meeting where the coaches just talk shop for a few days with their guard down. Relatively.

Part of it is fun — you can get fitted for a suit, the coaches all go out to dinner together.

Another part of it is work, such as going over the league’s officiating “points of emphasis” for the upcoming season. That’s when the NBA tells the coaches what rule they are going to start to really enforce this season (something that often kind of reverts to form halfway through the season). For example a couple years ago it was the quick technical for anyone seen as showing up an official (something that is now inconsistently enforced).

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told what he wants to talk about is play in the restricted area.

“After a summer of watching our games [from last year], watching how the restricted area’s being officiated is always something I’m concerned with. I think initially the offensive player was getting the benefit and they were throwing themselves into the defensive players and getting to the free-throw line.

“Then I think the officials adjusted to that – but now maybe going the other way. There are a lot of guys who are fouling in the restricted area and the defense is getting the benefit of the doubt. So I’m curious to see how that changes.”

That will be one thing to watch, but you can bet there will be others. It will be interesting to see the league’s new focus, we just know it’s not flopping.

Cavaliers stand in middle of Raptors dancers’ routine (video)

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The Cavaliers were ready for their game against the Raptors tonight, and Toronto’s dance team wasn’t going to change that.

The last time I remember something like this happening, Grizzlies guard Tony Allen walked through the Warriors’ kid dancers. This video doesn’t show got the Cavaliers got to that point, but they might have the defense of being there first. Allen definitely didn’t have that.

Wizards score 6 (!) fourth-quarter points in loss to Hornets

Cody Zeller, Ramon Sessions
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Gary Neal made a jumper with 10:12 remaining in tonight’s Wizards-Hornets game.

That was Washington’s last basket.

Jared Dudley made a pair of free throws on the Wizards next possession, and Neal added two more free throws with 23 seconds left.

And that was all the Wizards scoring in the quarter.

Washington, which entered the final period up seven, lost 101-87 after its 1-for-20 final-period shooting.

The six fourth-quarter points were the fewest by an NBA team in a quarter since Cavaliers scored six third-quarter points in a Jan. 26, 2014 loss to the Suns. Last time a team scored so few in a fourth quarter: Nov. 13, 2012, when the Raptors had five against the Pacers.

At least Neal’s late free throws spared the Wizards further shame. Nobody has scored four or fewer points in a quarter since the Warriors managed just two in a Feb. 8, 2004 loss to the Raptors.

As it stands, this is one of only 44 times in the shot clock era a team has scored so few points in a quarter.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell

After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.