Kurt Helin

Watch LeBron James work at pizza place, get mistaken for Dwyane Wade

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LeBron James is one of the investors in Blaze Pizza, which is trying to stand out in the increasingly crowded fast-casual pizza market. The idea is simple: As with a Chipotle burrito or a Subway sandwich, it’s an assembly line where you tell the worker exactly what you want on your personal-sized pizza, they cook it quickly in an 800-degree oven, and you eat.

To help promote his company, LeBron made this ad where he is working behind the counter at a Blaze Pizza in Los Angeles. The best part is when a woman says he looks like Dwyane Wade. LeBron’s response is “I get that all the time.”

Report: Luke Walton, Mike D’Antoni among Suns’ targets for coaching vacancy

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As we said yesterday, the Phoenix Suns are going to conduct a wide-ranging search for their next head coach. Names are starting to pop up on the rumor mill — Villanova’s Jay Wright was first — but it’s going to be an exhaustive list.

Marc Stein of ESPN named a few names on that list.

NBA coaching sources told ESPN.com that Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton, former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni (who currently serves as associate head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers) and former Suns star Dan Majerle (head coach at fledgling Division I program Grand Canyon in the Western Athletic Conference) are among the names likely to feature a broad list of targets.

Some thoughts on these names and the search.

Luke Walton’s name is going to come up in every coaching search between now and him taking a job. He likes being with the Warriors and can afford to be picky about the job he chooses. Which likely means Phoenix is out. The team that concerns Warriors officials is the Lakers, that’s the one that he may be drawn to.

Mike D’Antoni is an interesting name, a little flirtation with the success of the past in Phoenix. I’m a bigger supporter of D’Antoni than many, but bringing him in would come with a caveat — the roster must be modified to fit his style of play. Which means a roster overhaul in Phoenix. Bring him in and you’re committing to a style of play, which isn’t all bad but with D’Antoni you have to go all in.

Majerle is a popular former Suns player who was a Suns’ assistant coach from 2008–2013.

If I were going to bet on this race, I’d put my money on interim coach Earl Watson to get the gig full time. The players want him, and he has a good relationship with the GM.

Suns guard Brandon Knight has sports hernia surgery

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns say guard Brandon Knight has undergone surgery to treat a sports hernia.

The team said in a news release that the surgery was performed Thursday in Philadelphia by Dr. William Meyers. The Suns said Knight has begun rehabilitation and is to return to Phoenix next week.

Injuries limited Knight to 52 games this season but he averaged a career-high 19.6 points for a Phoenix team that, at 21-58, has the third worst record in the NBA. The Suns have been without guard Eric Bledsoe since he underwent knee surgery in late December.

Jamal Crawford hits game-winning three lifting Clippers past Jazz (VIDEO)

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The night started looking like a break for the Jazz — they could use a win in their quest to make the playoffs, and the visiting Clippers decided to rest their big three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan.

But they didn’t rest Jamal Crawford.

The guy making his seemingly annual Sixth Man of the Year push had 30 points on 20 shots, including this game-winning three over Derrick Favors to give Los Angeles a 102-99 win.

This leaves the Jazz in the eighth seed in the West (the final playoff spot), one game ahead of the nine seed Rockets with three to play. Utah’s magic number is three (either their wins or Houston losses) to clinch a playoff spot. Houston has a soft schedule left and should win out, although they also just lost to the lowly Suns so anything can happen. If Utah wins their final three games, they’re in. However, it’s not an easy lineup: Denver (which is playing better of late), Dallas (both teams with playoffs on the line), and the Lakers on the road (Kobe Bryant‘s last game, so it could get interesting).

Reggie Jackson scores 39 points, Pistons clinch playoff spot

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Reggie Jackson and Aron Baynes pushed the Detroit Pistons into the playoffs.

Jackson had 39 points and nine assists, Baynes hit eight fourth-quarter free throws and the Pistons clinched their first postseason spot in seven years with a 112-99 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

“This is huge, especially to give all of our other starters a chance to finally make it,” Jackson said.

He then pointed to coach Stan Van Gundy.

“It’s also great for Coach,” Jackson said. “In two years, he’s turned this whole franchise around, and that’s why we made sure he was part of the celebration.”

Andre Drummond started the post-game festivities by dumping an ice tub over Van Gundy, and that made it open season.

“We were getting him with bottles of water, ice bags and anything we could find,” Jackson said. “He’s the one who got us here.”

Van Gundy was in a sweatsuit by the time he made it to his post-game press conference.

“Thank God it was only ice water,” he said. “This is a special year for me, because it is the first time for our ownership, the first time for four of our starters, and the end of a long drought for the people that have been with this organization for a long time and seen some great moments. They’ve been waiting to get back.”

Detroit’s last playoff berth came in 2009 when it was swept in the first round by LeBron James and Cleveland. The Pistons will either face James and the Cavaliers again or play second-seeded Toronto.

“Those are two great teams, and I don’t care which one we play,” Van Gundy said. “I just want to finish seventh, because it is better than eighth.”

Detroit had to overcome 29 points from Markieff Morris, who did everything possible to keep twin brother Marcus out of the postseason. Bradley Beal added 25 for the Wizards, who were eliminated by the loss.

“It’s tough to miss out with the talent we have on this team.” Markieff Morris said. “We didn’t have our best player (John Wall), and their best player stepped up for them.”

Marcus Morris had 17 points and nine rebounds in the clincher.

The Wizards had come back from 19 down to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Jackson continued to attack on offense. He helped the Pistons take a 100-94 lead with five minutes left, and clinched the game two minutes later.

After grabbing a defensive rebound away from Markieff Morris, Jackson drove the length of the court and hit a jumper. His free throw to finish the three-point play made it 103-96 with 2:45 left.

That brought the crowd to its feet, where they stayed as the Pistons ran out the clock.

Knowing what was at stake, even coach Stan Van Gundy couldn’t be sure if his team would come out relaxed or pressing to finish things off. The question was answered when they hit their first six 3-point attempts, three by Harris, to take a 39-25 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Pistons moved the margin to as many as 19 early in the second quarter, but their outside shooting dried up just as the Wizards started getting to the basket. Washington scored 20 points in the paint in the second as Drummond struggled to protect the rim.

“You have to give them credit – they came out and shot the lights out in the first quarter,” Wittman said. “After that, we did a good job of taking away the 3-point shot, and we never had an answer for Reggie Jackson.”

The Wizards were down 62-55 at the half, and a 20-point third quarter by Morris, capped off by a 50-foot buzzer-beater, pulled Washington within 86-84 with 12 minutes left.

“I was waiting for Coach to switch me onto him,” his brother said. “He had it going, but I know all his moves.”

A dunk by Morris put Washington up 89-88 with 10 minutes to play, and the Wizards got Andre Drummond out of the game with an intentional foul. He missed both free throws badly — the second was an air ball – and Van Gundy immediately yanked him.

Drummond spent the rest of the game at the end of the bench. He didn’t join team huddles and didn’t celebrate with his teammates down the stretch.

“I gave him a chance, but he missed the first two, and I had a better option on the bench,” said Van Gundy, who dragged Drummond into the post-game celebration. “He’s really frustrated with the whole thing, having to come out of the game. This is a kid who is an All-Star, and he can’t help his team because of one thing he does poorly.”

TIP INS

Wizards: Even with the playoffs on the line, John Wall was forced to sit out the game with a sore left knee. … Markieff Morris’ 20-point third quarter was the biggest of the season by a Wizards player.

Pistons: Paul George had a 21-point quarter against the Pistons on Jan. 2, while Anthony Davis had two 19-point quarters in his 59-point game at the Palace on Feb. 21.