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Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart gets 1-game suspension for ‘threatening language’ to an official

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Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal says hamstring is not 100 percent ahead of play-in game vs. Boston Celtics

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Bradley Beal said his strained left hamstring won’t be 100 percent and that he will have to manage it when the Washington Wizards play the Boston Celtics in the play-in tournament on Tuesday.

Beal said his hamstring did not worsen after he scored 25 points and grabbed six rebounds in 35 minutes during the Wizards’ 115-110 win over Charlotte on Sunday, clinching the eighth spot for Washington.

“There’s no setbacks which is good,” Beal said. “I didn’t injure it any worse than what it was. Obviously it still probably won’t be 100 percent. It is just a matter of managing it as best I can.”

Washington head coach Scott Brooks said Beal “felt great” and that point guard Raul Neto, who missed Sunday’s game with a strained left hamstring, will be a game-time decision against Boston on Tuesday night.

Beal — who shot 8-for-27 but said he learned what he could and couldn’t do on his hamstring after the first half against Charlotte — will continue to receive treatment on his hamstring before the Wizards play the seventh-seeded Celtics. Beal missed three straight games after straining the hamstring and not playing at the end of regulation and in overtime during a 133-132 overtime win over Indiana on May 8.

He called his decision to return and play against Charlotte a “hard-headed” one because he wasn’t fully healthy but did not want to let his teammates down.

“I felt good,” Beal said of how he was feeling after the game. “I would say I am not as sore as I thought I would be. Not as beat up as I would have thought.”

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Al Horford says shutdown during Oklahoma City Thunder season was part of the plan

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Oklahoma City Thunder center Al Horford addressed the unique situation of him shutting down for the team’s final 28 games, calling it a mutual decision that was always part of the plan since his arrival to the franchise.

“We’ve had great communication since the moment I got here, and leading to that point, once Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander]’s injury happened, it just kind of brought that question even sooner,” Horford said. “Both of us understanding that the team also wanted to play younger guys and see what they could do with their development, and for me, for myself, health-wise, what’s best for me, putting me in the best position to be able to play at a high level for many years to come.”

On March 27, the Thunder announced center Horford would be a healthy scratch for the remainder of the season. At the time Horford was shut down, the Thunder were 19-25. As they pivoted toward playing younger players and focusing on development, they went 3-25 the rest of the way, which included a 14-game losing streak and a span where they were outscored by 490 points over a 25-game stretch, the largest margin in NBA history.

Horford’s shutdown coincided with an injury to Gilgeous-Alexander (plantar fascia tear) that forced him to miss the final 29 games. For the most part, Horford remained with the team, staying involved in games and huddles at home games. Horford did not travel with the team for road games. And for now, he remains with the Thunder.

“Al is on the team, and Al is on our roster,” coach Mark Daigneault said. “I think our staff has done a great job with him during this period of time at keeping him sharp and ready and having a plan for him and being with him in that plan in the way that we can support it.

“He’s under our umbrella right now, and we’re going to be present with him in the offseason just like we are with the rest of the group,” Daigneault said.

Horford, 34, has two years and $53.5 million left on his contract, with a partial guarantee of $14.5 million in the final season (2022-23). The Thunder are expected to work toward trading Horford this summer, working with him and his representation to find a new destination.

“I’m sure that I’ll be talking with the team and we’ll figure out what’s best,” Horford said of a trade.

Acquired from Philadelphia before the season, Horford was solid in 28 games this season, averaging 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

The Thunder have embarked on a clear rebuilding plan, focusing on drafting and development. With Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, a possible top-five pick and a war chest of draft capital in the future, the Thunder are well set to turn things around. Asked if the Thunder’s bright future would make him prefer to stick around, Horford left that door open.

“It’s a conversation that when it comes up, I’ll have to talk with the team and [general manager] Sam [Presti] most importantly about it and kind of go from there,” Horford said. “I’ve just been very impressed with how well the organization — it is here, all the resources that we have and all the players that we have. It’s something that really excites me.”

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Texas Tech guard Mac McClung to sign with agent, remain in NBA draft

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Big 12 newcomer of the year Mac McClung has elected to forgo his remaining college eligibility and keep his name in the 2021 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Monday.

“I just felt the timing was right for me to go all-in,” McClung said. “I looked at multiple factors and decided the best time for me to take this step was now. I feel the NBA game and spacing is suited for my play style and I can’t wait to start this chapter of my life. I’m very blessed to be able to chase my dreams.”

McClung was named to the AP All-Big 12 first team after a strong season in which he averaged 15.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists, helping lead Texas Tech to the NCAA tournament, where it fell to Arkansas in the round of 32. He spent his first two collegiate seasons at Georgetown, electing to transfer to Lubbock last summer. He had two years of eligibility remaining but will sign with agent Dan Poneman of Beyond Athlete Management in hopes of accelerating his leap to the professional ranks.

“I decided to go all-in now, rather than just testing the waters, so teams know that I’m fully committed to staying in the draft and that I am not just one foot in, one foot out.”

McClung has one of the largest followings of any player in the college game, with more than 730,000 followers on Instagram alone. He achieved online celebrity in high school by eclipsing Allen Iverson’s career scoring record in the state of Virginia, as well as from several highlight-reel finishes that went viral.

McClung is coming off his most efficient season in a winning campaign at Texas Tech, rounding out his offensive game while showcasing impressive toughness on the defensive end.

“I can’t wait to show teams how much I’ve improved my playmaking ability and how hard I have been working on making the right reads in the pick-and-roll. Also I’m looking forward to showing teams my determination and will to win. I’m really looking forward to pre-draft workouts, going head-to-head with other guards in the draft, and showing teams what I’m made of.”

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