John Wall
AP

Wizards above .500 after John Wall keys 101-99 win over Bulls

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WASHINGTON (AP) John Wall scored 26 points, including a game-winning baseline jumper with 5.9 seconds left, and added 14 assists as the Washington Wizards moved above .500 with a 101-99 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.

Marcin Gortat had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Washington (19-18). He also set the screen that freed up Wall for his tiebreaking jumper to seal a 10th straight home win.

Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal each added 19 points for the Wizards, who completed their biggest comeback victory of the season after trailing by 18 in the second quarter.

Washington is above .500 for the first time in more than a year. A season ago, the Wizards were 6-5 after a victory on Nov. 24, 2015.

Denzel Valentine set career highs by scoring 19 points and making five 3-pointers for the short-handed Bulls, who despite seeing their lead slip away in the third quarter led by as many as seven in the fourth.

Rajon Rondo added 12 points in his first game since Dec. 30.

Chicago was without leading scorers Jimmy Butler (ill) and Dwyane Wade (resting). Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic also sat out with an illness.

After both teams led during the final stages, Wall hit a pull-up from near the foul line that tied it at 99 with 47.4 seconds to play.

Chicago’s Michael Carter-Williams missed a contested shot on the other end with about 30 seconds left.

Wall got the ball after Otto Porter‘s rebound, took Carter-Williams into Gortat’s screen on the right wing and hit a 16-footer over Robin Lopez‘s late-arriving outstretched arm.

After a timeout, Doug McDermott missed a long 3-pointer for the Bulls, and Wall grabbed the rebound with a second to go.

RONDO RETURNS

Before the game, Rondo said he was told by a member of the Chicago coaching staff that coach Fred Hoiberg was “saving me from myself” by benching the four-time All-Star for the past five games.

Rondo was surprised by the comment and said he did not understand it.

“Save me from myself?” he said. “I’ve never heard that before in my life. I guess he was trying to do the best thing for me.”

Rondo hadn’t played since posting a plus-minus rating of minus-20 during 11 first-half minutes in Chicago’s 111-101 loss at Indiana on Dec. 30. He averaged 7.2 points, 7.1 assists and 6.5 rebounds over 29 games before falling out of favor.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Shot 8 of 10 on 3-pointers in the first half. . Valentine surpassed his previous career high of nine points when his third 3-pointer gave him 11 with 2:22 to go before halftime.

Wizards: Entered tied for the longest active home winning streak with San Antonio, which hosted Milwaukee later in the evening. . Committed 13 turnovers before halftime. . Morris fouled out with 3:58 to play after picking up his fifth and sixth fouls 25 seconds apart.

UP NEXT

Bulls: Try to even their season series with the New York Knicks at 1-all when they visit Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Wizards: Complete their eighth set of back-to-back games Wednesday at Boston.

Report: Mike Woodson close to joining Suns coaching staff

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The Phoenix Suns are bolstering their coaching staff. After spending most the 2017-18 season under interim head coach Jay Triano, Phoenix finally settled on Igor Kokoskov as their top man.

Now, it appears they’re adding some veteran talent to the front row.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Suns are in talks to bring former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson in as Kokoskov’s right hand man. Meanwhile, ArizonaSports.com is reporting that the decision has already been made to hire Woodson.

Via Twitter:

Woodson, 60, was last on the bench with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014-2018. He was head coach of the Knicks from 2012-2014, and helmed the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010.

This is a smart hire for the Suns, who have needed some legitimacy after firing Earl Watson just three games into the season this year. Phoenix has been in a bit of a freefall since letting Jeff Hornacek go in 2015. Indeed, despite for one outlying 48-win season in 2013-14, Phoenix hasn’t been a very good team in this decade.

With a solidified coaching staff and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there’s hope yet for the Suns. Now, the question is who they take with that pick. Luka Doncic? Deandre Ayton? The draft continues to intrigue.

Andre Iguodala out for Game 4 Tuesday vs. Rockets

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“When we’re right, when we’re playing how we are supposed to play, Andre’s right in the middle of it. His defense and being smart, making good decisions. Andre is one of the guys who seems to set the tone for that for us.”

That’s Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Andre Iguodala

The Warriors are going to have to be without that tone Tuesday night, Iguodala will miss the game with a knee contusion.

This is a blow to the Warriors, who have started small with Iguodala through the first three games of this series. The Warriors have been 4.3 points per 100 possessions better with Iguodala on the court through the first three games of this series.

Expect Kevon Looney or Nick Young to start, with the rest of the minutes divided up between Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, and David West.

Whatever Kerr and the Warriors go with, expect James Harden and the Rockets to attack it.

 

WNBA team rehearses ring ceremony at practice of team it beat in Finals

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The NBA does petty very, very, very, very, very, very, very well.

The WNBA is trying to give the NBA a run for its money.

The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have met in the last two WNBA Finals, the Lynx winning last year and the Sparks winning the year before. Minnesota hosted Los Angeles in the season opener Sunday, and the Lynx unveiled their banner and presented players with rings.

Before that, while the Sparks were practicing in Minnesota, the Lynx played their video for the event.

Holly Rowe of ESPN:

The Sparks beat the Lynx on Sunday, but I don’t think that’s enough to override Minnesota’s power move.

Kobe Bryant on Kanye West’s comments: “What the hell are you talking about?”

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Kanye West, the President Trump backing hip-hop star, drew a lot of backlash for his comments on TMZ:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.” 

Mentally, maybe in some cases. But more so physically, with guns and whips and attack dogs and a whole lot more weapons that were all on one side. Nobody chooses slavery.

Tuesday, Kobe Bryant surprised a group of about 300 high school students at WE RISE — a 10-day pop-up festival dedicated to sparking a movement for change in the mental health system — in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the students asked him about Kanye’s comments. Kobe is not down.

“I’m sure (I feel) the same way everybody else here in this room feels. What the hell are you talking about? I think that was my reaction as is everybody else’s reaction….

“The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say…that’s the beautiful thing about living in a democracy. I think, for him, he’s one of these entertainers that’s always in a constant state of growth, he’s always challenging … himself, doing a lot of questioning internally himself…so I just take it for what it is and completely disagree.”

If I need to explain to you why Kobe is in the right here, you need to take a basic American history course again.

Good on Kobe for his comments. More importantly, good on Kobe for taking the time to promote mental health awareness.

“It’s easy for us as people to kind of ignore the emotional side of it,  especially when it comes to things that deal with negativity, things that deal with insecurity, things that deal with fear,” Kobe said. “It’s very easy to take the fear and just push it down, try to act like it doesn’t exist. The reason why it starts with imagination is because you first must imagine the life that you want to have. You must first imagine what it is you dream of becoming.”

Kobe did that, and now he’s got an Oscar. Oh, and a few basketball awards, too.