Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder stops drinking beer and caffeine, eating bread and greasy food – and you’ll never guess what happens

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Jae Crowder played power forward at Marquette, though at 6-foot-6, it seemed he’d have to switch positions in the pros. Quite often, players of that mold go undrafted.

But Crowder plays with so much energy and displayed a decent 3-point shot, the Mavericks chose Crowder high in the second round last summer.

Crowder had a fine rookie year for a second rounder, spending most of his time at small forward. Sometimes, he shot too often as he adjusted to his new perimeter position, and I wondered whether he’d best serve Dallas as a really undersized power forward.

Still, his defense was valuable as a wing, and it could get even more valuable there now that he’s lost 15 to 20 pounds. How did he do it?

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

“You kick it up a notch when you work out,” he said. “And you watch your diet. Me personally, I took out bread and I took out grease foods. I drink water. I don’t drink any caffeine drinks. I stay away from all the sweet drinks and drink water as much as possible.”

And, of course, dietary luxuries had to go. Beer is one thing that packs on a lot of worthless calories.

“I cut that out,” he said. “Occasionally, I’ll have one. But yeah, I cut that out.”

I doubt the Mavericks will have Crowder cover shooting guards by design too often, but there will be plenty of times he gets switched onto one if he’s primarily guarding small forwards, and defense is likely Crowder’s ticket into the rotation.

On the wings, Dallas can probably use another reliable defender. Monta Ellis is a sieve. Shawn Marion and Vince Carter defend well, but at their ages, they probably should be rested more than the typical rotation player. Devin Harris, if he spends substantial time at shooting guard, is too small to defend the position effectively for long stretches.

Likely, Crowder is competing with Wayne Ellington for minutes in this role, and 15 to 20 pounds could prove the difference.

Thunder’s Russell Westbrook has 7th straight triple-double

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook had his seventh consecutive triple-double Friday night in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game against the Houston Rockets, the longest streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989.

Westbrook got his 10th rebound with 7:46 left in the fourth quarter. He already had 16 points and 10 assists. Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

The Thunder won the first six games during his streak, however they fell to James Harden and the Rockets 102-99. Harden was one rebound short of his own triple-double.

It was Westbrook’s 12th triple-double of the season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA’s active leader in the category and ranks overall.

Jordan’s streak came during a run of 10 triple-doubles in 11 games.

NBA denies Raptors’ protest of loss to Kings

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 26:  Jonas Valanciunas #17 and DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Toronto Raptors high five after defeating the Detroit Pistons in an NBA game at Air Canada Centre on October 26, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  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 Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has denied the Toronto Raptors’ protest of their 102-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 20.

The league announced the decision Friday.

Toronto argued that the game officials incorrectly called for an instant replay review of whether the Raptors’ Terrence Ross released a 3-point shot prior to the expiration of actual time remaining.

The Replay Center official reviewed video of the play using a digital timer and determined the actual time remaining in the game expired before Ross released his shot, and the shot therefore did not count.

The league found that calling for an instant replay review in this case was consistent with the playing rules because the game officials determined that there was a clock malfunction.

Cody Zeller throws it down all over Bismack Biyombo (VIDEO)

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Nobody can stop the Zeller brothers!

Well, that’s not exactly true. But in this case, Bismack Biyombo tried and Cody Zeller threw it down with authority over him.

I’m not starting a “Cody Zeller for the dunk contest” campaign, but this was impressive.

Doc Rivers doesn’t think Clippers complain too much to referees

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 29: Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers has some words with referee Sean Wright #4 in the first quarter of Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center on April 29, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. 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 Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Pop quiz: Which team complains the most to the referees in the NBA?

You probably answered “the Clippers.” Most fans do. So do most NBA referees — And everyone else. Which is why after a recent loss to Golden State, veteran Marreese Speight (a Warrior last season) pointed to the Clippers complaining about the officiating as part of the problem.

He went on to say that the scouting report is you can get in the Clippers’ heads by knocking them around a little. Which seems pretty obvious when you watch teams play them. Shockingly, Clippers coach Doc Rivers disagrees with that. Via NBCLosAngeles.com.

“The officiating thing, I don’t think, is our issue. I will say that,” said Rivers about the technical fouls. “If that were the problem, then, Golden State would be struggling. They’ve been No. 2 the last two years in techs, too. I think we need to point fingers in another direction than that.”

Doc may not like it, but Speights is right.

The Warriors do complain too much, but they also have a ring so more is forgiven. The problem for the Clippers is that reputation for complaining starts with Rivers — he complains as much or more than any coach in the league. Then it filters down through Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

Is it fair that more is forgiven with winning? Moot question. Welcome to America. The Clippers complain a lot and have yet to get past the second round with this core. And at times there standing there complaining to the referees does get in the way of them getting back into defense, and they seem to go in a funk.

Want to prove all that wrong? Win. In the playoffs.