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Olynyk makes a big splash in end-of-camp Heat scrimmage

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BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Habits are something Miami coach Erik Spoelstra talks about often with his club, that word becoming as much of his everyday vernacular as probably any other.

Kelly Olynyk has noticed. He’s also noticed that habits can be tough to break.

High on the to-do list for the Heat during this training camp that ended with a scrimmage Saturday was this: Getting Olynyk, the former Boston Celtics forward who signed a four-year deal with Miami this summer, as involved as possible with a core that largely returned intact from last season. It’s a process, though both Spoelstra and Olynyk said afterward they like the way things are heading.

“When you’ve been in this league for four, five years, whatever it is, and where you were you’ve done it one way the whole time, that’s kind of ingrained in your mind,” Olynyk said. “And over four, five years those actions become habits and those habits become routines and rituals. Now when you flip the script and you’re getting into a game or a scrimmage, your body automatically drives toward those habits rather than what you’re quote-unquote supposed to do.”

Old habits indeed die hard. When Heat guard Josh Richardson went down the lane in the third quarter of the scrimmage, Olynyk – who was a bit of a pest, to put it nicely, in past games against Miami – sprang into action and defended the paint with his usual vigor.

Richardson got a bloody nose for his efforts.

“He can foul someone else now,” Richardson said.

Richardson could at least laugh about it afterward, and after a scrimmage where Olynyk’s inside game, outside game, passing ability and defensive aggression were all on display at various times, Spoelstra seemed quite content.

“To be fair, we’re getting to know him,” Spoelstra said of the noticeably slimmed-down Olynyk. “We want to be open to his skillset. We want to challenge ourselves to be able to utilize that versatility in as many dynamic ways as possible, but do it at a healthy rate.”

Miami is bringing back its top nine scorers in terms of points-per-game from a season ago, plus has Justise Winslow returning from shoulder surgery and is finding ways to get Olynyk and rookie Bam Adebayo in the mix as well.

That’s a lot of candidates, and not enough jobs. It’s tough to envision Spoelstra ever going past 10 players in his normal rotation, 11 at the most. But Olynyk was able to show his new teammates right away that he could be a big help for a team that went 30-11 in the second half of last season.

“Kelly just fit right in because of so many things he can do,” Heat guard Dion Waiters said. “He’s a guy who can stretch the floor, he can post up, he can pass the ball out of the post, he can do a lot of different things.”

Those are the habits the Heat want.

“There’s still a progression,” Olynyk said. “I’m still getting used to things.”

 

Andre Iguodala out for Warriors again in Game 5; Klay Thompson available

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The Warriors missed Andre Iguodala in Game 4 against Houston. They don’t have a Death/Hamptons 5 lineup without him. Without his depth, the Warriors had to lean more on players such as Kevon Looney (who started), Nick Young, and others who are can be a liability at the high level of play in this series. Not having Iguodala to keep minutes down, play fierce defense, move the ball on offense, and be a stabilizing force was one of the issues that led to the Warriors fourth-quarter issues in Game 4.

Now they are without him for Game 5, too.

Having Klay Thompson on the court is huge for Golden State, although it will be worth monitoring to see how he moves.

The Warriors have gotten sucked into the switching/isolation game the Rockets want to play, if they are going to take Game 5 on the road they need to get back to “the beautiful game” they want to play. That would have been easier with Iguodala.

Two years after NBA retirement, Amar’e Stoudemire talking comeback

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NBA teams seemed to have moved on from Amar’e Stoudemire. After an impressive NBA career — five-time All-NBA, Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Star — he wasn’t physically the explosive player that dazzled with the Suns. Teams were interested in getting younger and more athletic, and Stoudemire was doing neither. He retired from the NBA and played for a season in Israel where he won a league title. This summer he’s signed up to play with the Big3.

After that he’,d like another crack at the NBA. When asked about an NBA comeback, here’s what Stoudemire told CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter on ‘Reiter’s Block’:

“I am. I am. I’m definitely planning on (coming back). I’ve been training like you wouldn’t believe, my body feels great. I had an amazing year last year playing overseas and so I’m gonna definitely continue to work my way back to top shape and see if there’s a team that needs my talents.”

I’m not sure there’s going to be much demand. Maybe a team does an old friend a favor and brings him in for some workouts. However, his knees and body struggled with the physical grind of the NBA the final few seasons of his career, and it’s unlikely with age that got better. No doubt he’s worked on his conditioning and strength, but Father Time always wins the race and it already felt like this chase was over.

That said, good on Stoudemire for not giving up on the dream. His agent should be making calls, maybe he can become the second player to make the Big3 to NBA leap.

 

 

Kristaps Porzingis after conversation with David Fizdale: ‘Man im excited!’

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David Fizdale learned a lot of lessons in his first go around as a head coach, spending 101 games with the Memphis Grizzlies. At the top of the list: Build a strong bond with your star player. Or else.

Fizdale is trying to do that, saying he would fly to Latvia this summer to spend time with Kristaps Porzingis. But first came a phone call, and that seemed to go very well.

It’s not just Porzingis. Fizdale was bonding with Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Damyean Dotson on Wednesday night in Boston. A little “this is where we want to be” motivation.

Good on Fizdale for all of this.

The Knicks got the best coach for them on the board in Fizdale, and so far the new front office — general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills — are making smart decisions. Knicks fans should be optimistic. Knicks ownership just needs to be patient (not James Dolan’s strong suit), because with no Porzingis for a large portion if not all of next season the team will struggle. Wins will be hard to come by. Fizdale needs a season to develop players and lay the foundation for what he wants to build, while the new front office needs time to clean up the salary cap mess that is New York right now.

With some patience, the Knicks could have something special in a few years. And Fizdale may have found the right home for his talents because he’s already got players buying in.

Report: Police officers involved in Sterling Brown’s arrest suspended 15, 10 and two days

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Bucks guard Sterling Brown was tased and arrested in January despite not being violent or overly combative while being questioned about a parking violation.

Gina Barton, Mary Spicuzza and Ashley Luthern of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Milwaukee police officer who first confronted Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown outside a Walgreens in January was suspended for two days, the Journal Sentinel has learned.

Two supervisors who later arrived, escalating the situation, were suspended for 10 and 15 days, sources said. Several other officers were reprimanded.

I don’t know whether these suspensions are the appropriate punishment.

But police too often trampling on the rights of people, especially minorities, is a far greater problem than these three officers and this incident.