Karl Malone doesn’t bring his gun, bow to Jazz practice. So he can focus.

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Karl Malone is back working with the Utah Jazz as a special assistant coach — Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and the rest of the young Jazz front line are now learning the tricks of the Mailman.

And Malone is focused on that — at least until next month and his annual hunting trip, he told Rod Sundel of KLS.com.

“To keep me from being late to practices I didn’t bring my [camouflage], gun or a bow. I left them home so my focus was to come here every day.” he said.

Probably wise.

Malone is about as old school as it gets while Favors and Kanter are very young and new school. Situation comedy level humor ensues.

“I’m not concerned with your elbow pads, your knee pads, all of your garb and your full body armor. What do you need all that for? Our soldiers need that in Iraq and they’re doing a hell of a job for us. Take all that off! We don’t need that. What I need you to do is show up and be ready to play. That’s it.

“I had one of my ‘bigs’ today and he had body armor from his thigh to his neck. I ask him what he was doing and he said he was protecting himself. I said ‘Who you protecting yourself [from]?’ There’s no sniper in this building! Man up! If you’re hurt, see the trainer and play the game.”

What really matters is if they are listening and learning (it doesn’t always work that well, remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Andrew Bynum). Malone said the first day was rough but he comes back the next day and the guys were there early to work. That’s a good sign.

We’ll see how it starts to show on the court. Favors and Kanter could be part of a good Jazz frontcourt in a few years, if they develop. They certainly have an instructor who knows the game.

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.)