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Bradley Beal says coach Scott Brooks bet him he wouldn’t shoot 20 threes in a game

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The most three-pointers Bradley Beal has attempted in a game this year is 14, against the Cavaliers back on Feb. 6 (Beal finished with 41 points in the OT game).

For Scott Brooks, that’s not enough. And the Wizards coach could win a bet about it.

Beal has started a blog (insert your “welcome to 2004” joke here) and his first post was in praise of Brooks. (Hat tip to Eye on Basketball.) He is far from alone in the Wizards’ locker room for loving the culture that Brooks has built. More importantly, the players like the rest they are getting (if the Wizards had a couple bad games and looked sluggish last season, Randy Wittman often had a hard practice as punishment, then shockingly the players were tired the next game). That rest is both keeping them healthy and fresh, and it has them as the third seed in the East.

But this was the best line out of the post, about Brooks’ work to instill confidence in Beal.

He made a bet with me at the start of the year that I won’t shoot 20 threes in a game. Like, he actually wants me to shoot 20 or more threes, and if I do, he wins. So that’s just one example of what I mean when I say he believes in us as players.

Both players and people around the team are heaping praise on Brooks for the transformation in the Wizards this season, who could potentially make the conference finals. Here is more from Beal on that front.

Ever since he got here, the culture has been different. Everything he does is about our team, our family. Win, lose, or draw, it’s always a collective effort. I know that sounds like something everyone says their team believes in, but it’s one thing to say it, and it’s another thing to live it.

With Coach Brooks, it’s never been about one player dominating the game, or winning us a game. There’s no favoritism for any of us. We’re all being held to a high standard, and knowing that has actually given all of us confidence. Coach trusts us all with the same responsibility, from the top down, and it’s spread throughout the players, too. The team atmosphere is great. It’s a family, brother-like atmosphere.

The Wizards need to build on that confidence to hold off the short-handed Raptors and keep the three seed in the East — meaning avoiding Cleveland in the second round. Do that, and this could be one of the deepest Wizards playoff runs in a long time.

It’s official: Former agent Rob Pelinka hired as Lakers’ General Manager

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Rob Pelinka, who got to know the Lakers’ organization well as the agent for Kobe Bryant, is now officially their new general manager.

The move had been expected, and Tuesday the Lakers made it official.

“Rob’s knowledge of the NBA landscape and the CBA, as well as his relationships with GMs around the league, are invaluable,” said President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson. “After running a successful sports agency and as someone who truly understands the inner workings of salary caps and player negotiations, he will bring the additional skills and experience needed in the Lakers executive office. Rob is a winner and the Lakers are fortunate to have him.”

“I am beyond grateful to join the Lakers front office,” said Pelinka in a statement. “The Lakers are a gold standard for sports franchises in the world, so we all share a responsibility to pursue excellence in everything we do. Excellence is what the Lakers stands for, what Jeanie Buss and Earvin Johnson embody, and what Coach (Luke) Walton demands from our players. That obsession for greatness is what will bring Lakers basketball back to a championship level. With Jeanie and Magic guiding the vision, I am thrilled to help architect the future. I am really excited to get to work.”

Pelinka will work with Magic at the top of the Lakers basketball operations, although exactly how that power sharing arrangement will work is not yet clear. He will oversee a staff that includes Ryan West (son of former Laker GM Jerry West), plus Joey and Jessee Buss, who both have ownership shares in the team and are respected for the work they have put in learning the basketball side of the operation.

What Pelinka brings is an impressive contacts list — he already knows virtually everyone around the league — and an eye for talent, as well as recruiting that talent to his agency. Recruiting of talent has been a weak spot for the Lakers in free agency in recent years. Whether his skills can translate into being a successful GM remains to be seen, but his former players think it can.

Pelinka and Magic take over for Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak, who were forced out of their positions at the head of basketball operations by team governor Jeanie Buss following the Lakers being in the worst four-year stretch in franchise history. The Game of Thrones power struggle for control of the Lakers is not over, as evidenced by Jim and Johnny Buss making a power play last week that Jeanie thwarted.

Lakers fans may not be sold on the Magic/Pelinka combo, but they would rather give almost anyone a shot other than Jim, who made plenty of mistakes but also became a scapegoat for much more.

Report: Warrant requested for Ty Lawson for alleged violation of his parole in Colorado

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After Ty Lawson had a drunken driving arrest and conviction in the Denver area (separate from the one in California), he was sentenced to a year of supervised probation in Colorado. The former Nugget and current Kings’ player was ordered not to drink or use marijuana during his probation, plus do community service hours. That probation is set to end March 22.

However, Lawson may have violated that probation and officials in Colorado have requested a bench warrant so they can bring him in and talk about it, according to a story on TMZ.

Lawson is currently on probation stemming from his 2015 drunk driving case in Denver — but the Denver Probation Dept. has filed a complaint seeking to revoke his probation citing a potential violation.

Officials would not say what the alleged violation is … but confirmed to TMZ Sports that a bench warrant has been requested so they can bring Lawson to court for a hearing on the matter.

Lawson and his agent have yet to comment.

Remember this is all alleged right now and very vague. We don’t know what Lawson may or may not have done, and if that violated his parole. Don’t jump to conclusions.

Kyle Lowry to critics of him playing All-Star weekend: “Come say it to my face”

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Kyle Lowry took part in the All-Star Saturday Three-Point Contest. Then he participated in the All-Star Game on Sunday. He admitted to getting in a round of golf on that Monday.

Lowry has not played in a Raptors game since then, needing wrist surgery to remove “loose bodies” from the wrist that had been bothering him and getting worse. He hopes to be back for the playoffs. That sent the Raptors from thinking — with the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker — they might be able to climb back up to the two seed, to wondering if they can hold off Atlanta and keep home court in the first round.

It’s not hard to draw a line for fans on Twitter, or for talk radio hosts, Lowry shouldn’t have played All-Star weekend. Even though the “loose bodies” in his wrist are a repetitive use injury — meaning it didn’t happen with one moment or blow, rather it built up over a long time, meaning years — people tend to make simplistic assumptions that confirm what they want to hear. And frustrated Raptors fans are letting Lowry hear it on social media.

Well, he’d hear it if he was listening. Here is what he said pregame Monday, via Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun.

“I didn’t pay no attention to it to be honest,” Lowry said. “I enjoyed my all-star weekend. If anybody had any problem with it, come say it to my face. That’s how I feel.”

Lowry also confirmed the injury was years in the making.

“From what I’ve been told, it’s a 10-year process,” Lowry said.

“It’s a long process of wear and tear, and bumping and grinding, and hitting guys. It’s a little bit of wear and tear. It was just at the point where it got a little bit worse to the point where I couldn’t play. If it’s that serious for me, I knew it was something that needed to be checked on.”

I don’t think you can knock a guy for wanting to be on the court, and wanting to rep his team on a big stage.

The Raptors are in the best stretch of basketball in franchise history, including winning 56 games last season and making the conference finals for the first time ever. This year they are on pace for 48 wins and, assuming they stay the four seed, would likely face the Cavaliers in the second round.

That’s not the step forward some were hoping for. That said, management clearly knows its window is right now and made a smart, aggressive move by trading for Ibaka (with the intention of re-signing him this summer). That’s a move designed to help them match up with Cleveland. Of course, the real problem is Cleveland still has one LeBron James, and there is no counter to that. But the Raptors have tried to position themselves if the Cavaliers are not fully themselves come the playoffs.

Lowry will be there for that — and everyone complaining knows they need him to have a chance in that series. Those same fans will be back on board soon enough.

 

 

 

 

PBT Podcast: Talking coaching, “Basketball is Jazz” with David Thorpe

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Basketball is Jazz.

It’s a new book, subtitled the “Stories and lessons from a basketball lifer” and written by the trainer to the pros and ESPN writer David Thorpe, who joins Kurt Helin for this podcast to talk about the book, and some coaching.

Basketball is jazz is also an excellent description of the game and the life skills that come from it. Both are about people with different skills and styles working to find common ground and be better as a whole. It’s about solos and compromise. It’s about putting aside personal glory for the betterment of the whole. It’s democracy. It’s compromise.

It’s life.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.